498A quash – No specific instances of alleged torture or cruelty with exact date and time

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT PATNA

Cr.Misc. No.2920 of 2008

SANTOSH KUMAR MAURYA @ SANTOSH KUMAR, Son of
Parshuram Maurya, of village Mrigu Ashram Balia, Near Shashtri
Nagar Park, P.s. Kotwali, District Balia (U.P.)…… Petitioner

Versus

1. THE STATE OF BIHAR
2. Ramashish Singh, son of Bandhu Singh, R/o village Fazalganj,
P.s. Sasaram, Town District Rohtas….. Opp. Parties

For the petitioner : M/s Yogesh Chandra Verma, Sr. Advocate & Javed Aslam, Advocate

For the State : Mr. Jharkhandi Upadhaya, A.P.P.

For O.P. No. 2 : M/s Bindhkeshari Kumar, Sr. Advocate &
Rajni Kant Singh, Advocate

ORDER

1. The petitioner who has been arrayed as one of the accused in Complaint Case No. 1014 (C) of 2001 has prayed for the quashing of the whole of the criminal proceeding arising therefrom including the order dated 9.11.2001 passed therein, whereby the learned Chief Judicial Magistrate, Rohtas at Sasaram, has taken cognizance under Sections 406 and 498(A), IPC as also Sections 3, 4, Dowry Prohibition Act against all the accused including the petitioner.

2. The complainant, one Ramashish Singh, impleaded herein as O.P. No. 2, the father-in-law of the petitioner filed the aforesaid complaint case inter alia alleging therein that the marriage of his daughter Savita Devi was solemnized with the petitioner Santosh Kumar Maurya on 24.2.2001 where at gold ornaments, clothes and refrigerator, cooler and other items worth Rs. one lac, were presented to the bride and on the following day his daughter left for the matrimonial home accompanied by her brother Sanjay Kumar. It is said that co-accused Baban Maurya is the cousin (mamera bhai) of the father of the petitioner and jointly they carry on business in diesel pump sets and spare parts in the town of Balia which is mainly looked after, by Baban. It is also said that since the petitioner’s mother had died prior to the marriage of the petitioner the jethani of Savita performed the role of the mother-in-law. It is also stated that after remaining for two days in the matrimonial home of Savita, her brother returned home and while her brother Sanjay was returning home, Parasuram allegedly told him that his father had given nothing in dowry and that he should purchase a new Marshal jeep and have it delivered at his doorstep which Sanjay on arriving home informed his father, informant, who thinking it to be a joke took it lightly.

3. It is further alleged that all the accused started pressuring Savita to get the jeep from her father and when she objected to the same, she was subjected to cruelty. It is further alleged that having spent 15 days in her matrimonial home Savita returned home and while departing her husband, Jethani and Baban’s wife reiterated the demand for the vehicle. It is also stated that when the informant’s son Sanjay had gone to bring Savita he too was reminded of the demand. Then on 11.4.2001 Santosh came to the house of the informant and took back his wife on 13.4.2001 and on that occasion too the demand was reiterated but the informant expressed his inability to meet the same. On arriving at the matrimonial home Savita was again subjected to torture, assault and abuse and she was also threatened with dire consequences if the demand was not met. It is further alleged that when on 11.5.2001 the complainant went to meet his daughter Savita is said to have narrated to him her tales of woe and expressing her apprehension of some evil omen befalling her she requested her father to take her back to the parental home and when the complainant sought permission from Parasuram for taking Savita back he again reminded him of the dowry demand and all pleadings by the informant had no effect. The pleadings of the informant with the neighbours to reason with the accused turned useless since none was willing to speak to him because of his political clout. It is further alleged that when the informant sought for bidai of his daughter the same was refused and he was informed that unless the demand was made bidai would not be performed. Eventually the informant was made to deliver a blank cheque with a signed letterhead of his firm which he handed over to him on 12.5.2001. On 13.5.2001 bidai of Savita was performed and as her health was deteriorating she was taken to Sundarlal Hospital in Banaras where she was accompanied by co-accused Santosh, Baban and Kusum Devi and her treatment started but even during that period the demand was reiterated several times and Parasuram even went further to state that he would get Santosh married elsewhere. The informant claims to have gone to Balia for return of the cheque and letter which was refused.

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4. Following an inquiry cognizance was taken against the petitioner and others.

5. It has been submitted on behalf of the petitioner that he has been falsely implicated in this case with ulterior motive. It was further submitted that, since the father of the petitioner, Parasuram and complainant were known to each other from before through their business transactions as the complainant was given to purchasing articles from the shop of Parasuram. The complainant offered to marry his daughter with the petitioner, without disclosing the fact that his daughter was suffering from mental disease, and Parasuram readily agree. Even at the time of the marriage and thereafter the complainant kept suppressed the fact that Savita was psychotic and it was only after she had come to the matrimonial home and on the day of reception i.e. 28.2.2001 her ailment came to light when she suffered an attack of schizophrenia and it was detected that she has a long history of the ailment of schizophrenia and had been treated at the Institute of Medical Sciences and Sir Sunderlal Hospital, Varanasi. It has also been submitted that at the time of her medical examination in the Institute of Medical Sciences, Varanasi, Savita had disclosed about her long standing ailment and this finds a mention in the history-sheet of the patient prepared at the Institute and her parents admitted about her long standing ailment. It was, therefore, submitted by the learned Counsel for the petitioner that in the facts and circumstances of the case and what had been stated above the allegation of Savita being tortured by her in-laws in the matrimonial home was a false and frivolous allegation. It is further submitted that as no improvement took place in the mental condition of Savita her husband Santosh filed a divorce suit in the civil Court, Balia, being Divorce Case No. 315 of 2001 and eventually notices were issued to Savita and served upon her. In the meanwhile the complainant, Savita and muscleman of the complainant went to the house of Parasuram on 7.10.2001 and 30.10.2001 and abused him in filthy language for which Parasuram filed a petition before the Superintendent of Police, Balia. It was only after notices had been served on Savita that the instant complaint case came to be filed before the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Rohtas on 9.11.2001 by suppressing material facts. The matrimonial case was eventually disposed of on 6.9.2002 declaring the marriage of the petitioner with Savita as null and void. A First Appeal No. 379 of 2002 was filed before the High Court at Allahabad against the order of the matrimonial Court which was dismissed vide order dated 1.2.2005. It is further submitted that curiously in the written statement filed by Savita in the matrimonial case no allegation about her torture had been made. On this premise it was submitted that since the marriage between the petitioner and Savita had been dissolved the offence either under Section 498(A), 1PC or under Sections 3, 4, Dowry Prohibition Act cannot be said to have been made out against the petitioner.

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6. Although O.P. No. 2 made an appearance in the instant case pursuant to the notice issued by this Court no counter-affidavit or show cause has been filed on his behalf and only oral submissions have been advanced to justify the impugned order.

7. From a perusal of the complaint petition it appears that there is no reference, at all therein of Savita having a history of schizophrenia and of her treatment therefor before Dr. P.K. Singh of Sasaram and the Hospital in Banaras. Apparently the complainant had not approached the Court with clean hands and had suppressed material facts. There is also no mention of the divorce case having been filed by the petitioner. The learned Counsel for O.P. No. 2 was not in a position to justify this aspect of the matter.

8. That apart from a perusal of the complaint petition it would appear that no specific instances of the alleged torture or cruelty with their exact date and time as also location has been furnished and a general and bald statement, of Savita being subjected to torture and cruelty as also assault has been made. In the aforesaid circumstances I am very much in agreement with the submissions advanced by the learned Counsel for the petitioner that the instant complaint is by way of a counterblast to the divorce case filed by the petitioner which eventually was decreed and the First Appeal preferred thereagainst before the Allahabad High Court was dismissed.

9. Due regard being had to the facts and circumstances of the case, I find good grounds to interfere with the impugned order as also the criminal proceeding initiated against the petitioner.

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10. Accordingly the entire criminal proceeding including the order taking cognizance, so far as the petitioner is concerned is hereby quashed and the application is allowed.

Application allowed.

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