Tammineedi Bhaskara Rao Vs State of AP

THE HON’BLE SRI JUSTICE RAMESH RANGANATHAN
Criminal Petition No. 3670 OF 2005 18.11.2006

Mr. Tammineedi Bhaskara Rao and two others.
State of A.P. rep., by Public Prosecutor and another.

Counsel for the Petitioners: Sri K. Jagadishchandra Prasad
Counsel for the Respondent No.2: Sri B. Adinarayana Rao

:ORDER:
Seeking to have the proceedings in Cr. No. 31 of 2005 of Samalkota Police
Station, East Godavari District quashed, the present criminal petition is filed
by accused 2 to 4. The complaint, in Cr. No. 31 of 2005, was filed before the
Samalkota Police Station against accused 1 to 4 for offences under Sections 417,
418, 420, 498-A, 506 read with Section 34 of IPC and Sections 3 and 4 of the
Dowry Prohibition Act.

The allegations in the complaint, filed on behalf of the complainant by her
mother and power of attorney holder, are that the complainant is living in St.
Kitts in the U.S.A. The 1st accused is her legally wedded husband and the 2nd,
3rd and 4th accused are the father, mother and brother respectively of the 1st
accused. The complainant, though born in Kakinada, went away to the U.S.A.
along with her parents and was brought up there. She later came down to India
for her higher education and joined M.B.B.S. course in the Manipal Medical
college in the year 1995. In May 1996, accused 1 to 4 approached the
complainant, and her father (L.W-2), at the house of one Betina Setayamma (L.W-
3) seeking marriage alliance of the complainant with the 1st accused, however,
with the condition that the complainant and her parents should bear all the
expenses of the 1st accused for his career and stay in the U.S.A. The accused
are said to have asked the complainant’s father as to how much assets would be
given by him to his daughter and it is only when the complainant’s father
informed that the complainant had nearly 2 lakh U.S. dollars in her account,
that the accused started marriage talks with the complainant’s father. The 2nd
accused is alleged to have demanded Rs. 2,50,000/- as dowry for performing the
marriage of the 1st accused with the complainant and to have also asked the
complainant’s parents to bear the entire responsibility of the 1st accused from
the date of the wedding, including expenditure towards his education in India,
his VISA and other expenses to go to the United States of America for higher
education and the entire expenditure for his travel, stay in the U.S.A. etc.
The complainant’s parents agreed to bear all the expenses in the interest of
their daughter anticipating a good future for her. All the accused had made the
complainant believe that the 1st accused would look after her well and would
live happily with her as husband and wife. The engagement, of the complainant
and the 1st accused, took place at Kakinada in May, 1995. At that time the
complainant’s parents also got the “Lagna Patrika” imprinted of a six sovereign
gold plate and gave it to the accused. The 2nd accused also collected
Rs.50,000/- from the complainant’s father apart from dowry and at that time all
the accused had promised, and had made the complainant believe, that the 1st
accused would look after and live happily with her as husband and wife.
Believing their words, the parents of the complainant agreed to spend the huge
amount required for his stay in the U.S.A. to pursue his career. The marriage,
between the complainant and the 1st accused, was solemnized on 19th December,
1996 at Ladies club Building, Kakinada. On the demand of the accused, the
complainant’s father’s elder brother (L.W-4) paid Rs. 2,00,000/- to the 2nd
accused in the presence of L.Ws 1 to 3 and 5 to 8 and the same was recorded in a
video cassette. The complainant’s parents gave a diamond ring to the 1st
accused, apart from silver articles, and spent Rs.5,00,000/- towards the
marriage. The marriage was also registered with the Registrar of Marriages at
Kakinada. Ever since the beginning, the complainant found that the 1st accused
was reluctant to live with her and was deliberately avoiding her company. The
complainant was genuine in her approach towards the accused, and was trying to
understand his feelings, but the 1st accused never tried to lead a normal
married life with her. The 1st accused used to ask for money and the
complainant had no other go but to draw money from her account. The accused had
drawn the entire amount, from the complainant’s account, from time to time, on
some pretext or the other. The complainant was confused over his behaviour and
was unsure as to whether he liked her at all or had got married to her for the
sake of her money or only with the aim of going to the U.S.A. Whenever the
complainant asked the 1st accused about his behaviour he used to talk to her in
a rude manner, gave her an ultimatum not to question his behaviour and also
insisted that she not to reveal his attitude to any one else. The 1st accused
is said to have threatened not to live with her if his green card status was not
arranged by the complainant and her parents. The complainant went into a state
of dejection. The 1st accused is said to have deserted the complainant for
months together without reason and without communicating with her. He remained
cold and detached towards her. She had to undergo suffering due to the mental
cruelty inflicted by him on her by his behaviour. Accused 2 and 3 supported the
1st accused and abetted him in his acts of cruelty towards the complainant. The
1st and 2nd accused retained with them the gold “Lagna Patrika”, silver
articles, gold kumkuma bharini etc. After her wedding, it was decided that the
1st accused would go to Manipal to prepare for his exams and live with the
complainant. However the 1st accused expresses his unwillingness either to go
to Manipal or to join the complainant there and wanted to stay at Hyderabad to
prepare for his examination. The complainant’s parents advised her to
discontinue her studies in Manipal Medical College and to pursue her family life
with the 1st accused. Though the complainant’s father had spent more than
60,000 U.S. Dollars for her education in the Medical College, they advised her
to discontinue her medical education for the sake of her matrimonial life and to
join the 1st accused at Hyderabad. To their shock and surprise, the 1st accused
declined to take her to Hyderabad to live with him stating that it would be a
great hindrance to his education as he would lose concentration in his studies.
He is said to have advised the complainant to stay with her parents in the
United States of America and pursue her studies there until his behaviour
changed. Though the complainant requested the 1st accused to take her along
with him, the 2nd accused is said to have supported his son and as there was no
alternative she went to the U.S.A. to live with her parents waiting for the 1st
accused to get his VISA soon to come to the U.S.A. and join her in matrimony.
The 1st accused deceptively promised the complainant, and her parents, that he
would join the complainant in the U.S.A. after completing his studies in India
as he wanted the complainant’s parents to pay his examination fee etc in India
and for his VISA to the U.S.A. Believing his promise, the complainant’s parents
provided the accused with financial support for his studies, paid his
examination fees twice, firstly for ECFMG at Hyderabad and later at Bangkok.
With the VISA support arrangements being made by the complainant’s parents, the
1st accused reached the U.S.A. in July, 1998 to continue his higher education by
joining the complainant. However, even in the U.S.A, the 1st accused
deliberately avoided her company on some pretext or the other. After a few
months in the U.S.A, he went to the United Kingdom for studies promising to join
the complainant after his return. The complainant’s parents bore the entire
expenditure of 50,000 U.S. Dollars for his higher education, travel and living
expenses in India, U.S.A, U.K. etc, as the 1st accused had informed them that,
only on completion of his studies, would he permit the complainant to join him
at their matrimonial home. Accused 1 to 3 also demanded that the complainant
and her parents make arrangements for the job related VISA to the U.S.A. for the
4th accused otherwise they would not allow the 1st accused to live with the
complainant. The complainant’s parents arranged both for a VISA and a job for
the 4th accused in the U.S.A. through their relatives. The complainant, and her
parents, came to know later that the 1st accused had been taking the advice of
immigration lawyers in the U.S.A. to secure his future stay there and, in order
to obtain a permanent green card for which a citizen spouse of the U.S.A. must
sign all the supporting documents, the first accused had obtained the
complainant’s signature for this purpose. The complainant, and her parents,
made all necessary arrangements in this regard as they thought that, after he
secured his green card, the 1st accused would look after the complainant
comfortably. The 1st accused, technically making it appear as though he lived
with the complainant in the United States of America for two years, though he
was living separately from her on the pretext of his studies, presented his
papers for securing the green card. He had, however, cheated the complainant
and her parents as also the Government of the United States of America’s
immigration authority for the purpose of obtaining a permanent green card. The
complainant and her parents were initially unaware, of the intention of the 1st
accused, that he had married the complainant only to get a permanent green card
in the U.S.A, that he was gaining a period of seven years of stay in the U.S.A.
to get a green card as also to take his brother, the fourth accused, to the
U.S.A. After obtaining all the supporting documents from the complainant and
her parents, and having presented his green card papers, the 1st accused openly
challenged during 2003 that he would never take the complainant into his fold at
any cost and that he would not give divorce to the complainant on the ground of
fraud until he got a green card from the U.S.A. government. The complainant
filed a petition for nullity of marriage against the 1st accused for his acts of
cruelty in the U.S.A. The annulment petition was rejected on the ground of
being barred by limitation according to the State Laws. Thereafter the
complainant came to India in September 2003, along with her mother L.W-1, and
filed O.P. No. 25 of 1994 against the 1st accused for annulment of marriage
which is said to be pending on the file of the Principal Senior Civil Judge,
Kakinada. Later the complainant left India to Caribbean Islands for her
education. The complainant still hoped that the 1st accused would realise his
mistakes and come back to her. The complainant, and her parents, recently came
to know that the 1st accused was not fit for married life and was therefore
avoiding the complainant. Though she gave all support to him, and his family
members, the 1st accused used his marriage with the complainant only as a
stepping stone to gain entry into the United States of America to get a
permanent green card through her and only to earn huge amounts of money for
himself and his brother. The 1st accused had stolen all documents, including
diaries and passport of the complainant, since he had planned to abandon the
complainant once and for all. The 1st accused, along with the other accused, is
alleged to have committed an offence of cheating under the Indian Penal Code.
It is alleged that the permanent green card is worth lakhs of U.S dollars
earning capacity to the 1st accused and the complainant realized that obtaining
the same was his goal after getting married to her. The 1st accused, after
presenting all his permanent green card papers signed by her, proceeded to
permanently desert the complainant filing a separation case against her in the
U.S courts and in this process the 1st accused had joined the other accused and
had committed various offences punishable under the Indian Penal Code.
According to the complainant, the accused had committed an offence under Section
417 IPC since the 1st accused, right from the beginning of his marriage with the
complainant, had used their marriage only as a spring board for him, and his
brother the 4th accused, to migrate to the U.S.A, without any intention to live
with her and with a view to extract huge sums of Rs.25,00,000/- by way of dowry,
marriage expenses, including the huge expenditure for his studies at
Visakhapatnam, Hyderabad, U.S.A, Bangkok and U.K, had falsely promised the
complainant and her parents that he would start living with the complainant
after completing his studies, and that he had induced in a fraudulent manner by
cheating the complainant, (ii) that the accused had committed an offence under
Section 418 IPC as they were bound by law to protect the complainant and had
cheated her with the knowledge that they were using her money, influence and
position in the U.S.A. for their gain, causing wrongful loss to the complainant
in every aspect of her life. (iii) the accused had committed an offence under
Section 506 IPC by way of criminal intimidation to the complainant, (iv) the 1st
accused had committed an offence under Section 498-A IPC since, for the sake of
dowry from the parents of the complainant, in the form of his marriage and
educational expenses at Vizag, Hyderabad, U.S.A. and England, apart from his
green card expenses, he had occasioned mental cruelty to her which was likely to
drive her to mad or commit suicide. Accused 2 to 3 also abetted the 1st accused
in all the said offences; and (v) all the accused had committed offences under
Sections 3 and 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act.

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Sri K. Jagadishchandra Prasad, learned Counsel for the petitioner, would submit
that most of the allegations in the complaint relate to the 1st accused who was
abroad and that there are no specific allegations in the complaint against the
petitioners herein (accused 2 to 4). Learned Counsel would submit that it is
only with a view to harass the petitioners herein that the 2nd respondentcomplainant
had needlessly filed a complaint against them levelling false and
baseless allegations in the complaint. According to the learned Counsel, even
if the complaint were to be read as a whole, and accepted in its entirety as
true, no case has been made out against the petitioners herein of their having
committed the offences of which they are charged. Learned Counsel would submit
that, except to state that the petitioners herein had committed offences under
Sections 417, 418, 420, 498-A and 506 IPC and Sections 3 and 4 of Dowry
Prohibition Act, the complaint is bereft of even the basis particulars to
indicate as to how the ingredients of the offences, of which the petitioners
herein are charged, are attracted. Learned Counsel would submit that the
specific allegations made in the complaint, against the petitioners herein,
relate to the demand of dowry attracting the ingredients of Sections 3 and 4 of
the Dowry Prohibition Act. Learned Counsel would refer to Rule 10, of the A.P.
Dowry Prohibition Rules, to contend that since the allegation of demand of dowry
against respondents 2 to 4 are at the time of the marriage which, even according
to the complaint, took place in December 1996 and as the complaint was filed
eight years thereafter in December 2004, it was barred by limitation. Learned
Counsel would submit that, in any event, no allegations are made in the
complaint against the 3rd petitioner (4th accused) and as such the complaint
filed against him is liable to be quashed. Learned Counsel would place reliance
on Ruchi Agarwal Vs. Amit Kumar Agrawal1.

Sri B. Adinarayana Rao, learned Counsel for the 2nd respondent-complainant, on
the other hand, would submit that this Court, under Section 482 Cr.P.C, would
not stifle an investigation into the allegations made in the complaint. Learned
Counsel would submit that, since the jurisdiction under Section 482 Cr.P.C. is
to be exercised only in the rarest of rare cases, it was not open to the
petitioners herein to have this Court minutely examine the veracity of the
allegations made in the complaint to ascertain as to whether all the ingredients
of the offence, of which the petitioners herein are charged, has been made out.
Learned Counsel would submit that the truth, or otherwise of the allegations in
the complaint, are all matters for the trial Court to examine, that too when a
charge sheet is filed. According to the learned Counsel, the scope of
interference under Section 482 Cr.P.C. against F.I.Rs is even more limited and
it is only in very exceptional circumstances that this Court would interfere to
quash a complaint. Learned Counsel places reliance on M. Narayandas Vs. State
of Karnataka2; State of Punjab Vs. Subhash Kumar3; Savita Vs. State of
Rajasthan4 and the judgment of the Division Bench of this Court in Pavana Sutha
Plate Embossers Private Ltd., Eluru Vs. Commissioner of Transport, Govt. of A.P.
Hyderabad 5.

Before examining the rival contentions, it is necessary to take note of Sections
417, 418, 420, 498-A and Section 506 IPC and Sections 3 and 4 of Dowry
Prohibition Act which read as under:

INDIAN PENAL CODE:
417 Punishment for cheating:-
Whoever cheats shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a
term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both.

418 Cheating with knowledge that wrongful loss may ensue to person whose
interest offender is bound to protect:-
Whoever cheats with the knowledge that he is likely thereby to cause wrongful
loss to a person whose interest in the transaction to which the cheating
relates, he was bound, either by law, or by a legal contract, to protect, shall
be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend
to three years, or with fine, or with both.

420 Cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property:-
Whoever cheats and thereby dishonestly induces the person deceived to deliver
any property to any person, or to make, alter or destroy the whole or any part
of a valuable security, or anything which is signed or sealed, and which is
capable of being converted into a valuable security shall be punished with
imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years,
and shall also be liable to fine.

498A Husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty:-
Whoever, being the husband or the relative of the husband of a woman, subject
such woman to cruelty shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may
extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine.
Explanation.-For the purposes of this section, ‘cruelty’ means-
(a) any wilful conduct which is of such a nature as is likely to drive, the
woman to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to life, limb or
health (whether mental or physical) of the woman; or
(b) harassment of the woman where such harassment is with a view to coercing her
or any person related to her to meet any unlawful demand for any property or
valuable security is on account or failure by her or any person related to her
to meet such demand.]

506 Punishment for criminal, intimidation:-
Whoever commits the offence of criminal intimidation shall be punished with
imprisonment of either description for a term. which may extend to two years, or
with fine or with both. If threat be to cause death or grievous hurt, etc.-and
if the threat be to cause death or grievous hurt, or to cause the destruction of
any property by fire, or to cause an offence punishable with death or
imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven
years, or to impute unchastity to a woman, shall be punished with imprisonment
of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, or with fine,
or with both.
Dowry Prohibition Act
3. Penalty for giving or taking dowry:- (1) If any person, after the commencement of
this Act, gives or takes or abets the giving or taking of dowry, he shall be punishable with
imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than [five years, and with fine which
shall not be less than fifteen thousand rupees or the amount of the value of such dowry,
whichever is more:]
Provided that the Court may, for adequate and special reasons to be recorded in the
judgment, impose a sentence of imprisonment for a term of less than [five years.]
[(2) Nothing in sub-section (1) shall apply to, or in relation to,-
(a) presents which are given at the time of a marriage to the bride (without any
demand having been made in that behalf):
Provided that such presents are entered in a list maintained in accordance with the
rules made under this Act;
(b) presents which are given at the time of a marriage to the bridegroom (without
any demand having been made in that behalf):
Provided that such present are entered in a list maintained in accordance with the
rules made under this Act:
Provided further that where such presents are made by or on behalf of the bride or
any person related to the bride, such presents are of a customary nature and the value
thereof is not excessive having regard to the financial status of the person by whom, or on
whose behalf, such presents are given.]
[4. Penalty for demanding dowry:- If any person demands, directly or indirectly, from
the parents or other relatives or guardian of a bride or bridegroom, as the case may be,
any dowry, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less
than six months, but which may extend to two years and with fine which may extend to
ten thousand rupees:
Provided that the Court may, for adequate and special reasons to be mentioned in the
judgment, impose a sentence of imprisonment for a term of less than six months.]
It is no doubt true that summoning an accused, in a criminal case, is a serious
matter and criminal law cannot be set in motion as a matter of course. The
accused can approach this Court, under Section 482 Cr.P.C, to have the
proceedings quashed `when the complaint does not make out any case against him
and he is still required to undergo the agony of a criminal trial, for the
provisions of Section 482 of the Code are devised to advance justice and not to
frustrate it. (Pepsi Foods Ltd. v. Special Judicial Magistrate6).

While exercising powers under the section, the Court does not function as a
court of appeal or revision. Inherent jurisdiction under the section, though
wide, has to be exercised ex debito justitae to do real and substantial justice
for the administration of which alone courts exist. Authority of the court
exists for advancement of justice and if any attempt is made to abuse that
authority so as to produce injustice, the court has the power to prevent abuse.
It would be an abuse of process of the court to allow any action which would
result in injustice and prevent promotion of justice. In exercise of these
powers the Court would be justified in quashing any proceeding if it finds that
initiation/ continuance of it amounts to an abuse of process of court or
quashing of these proceedings would otherwise serve the ends of justice. The
powers possessed by the High Court under Section 482 of the Code are very wide
and the very plenitude of the power requires great caution in its exercise. The
Court must be careful to see that its decision, in exercise of this power, is
based on sound principles. The inherent power should not be exercised to stifle
a legitimate prosecution. The High Court, being the highest court of a State,
should normally refrain from giving a prima facie decision in a case where the
entire facts are incomplete and hazy, more so when the evidence has not been
collected and produced before the Court and the issues involved, whether factual
or legal, are of magnitude and cannot be seen in their true perspective without
sufficient material. (Minu Kumari Vs. State of Bihar7).

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Under Section 482 of the Code, the High Court has inherent powers to make such
orders as may be necessary to give effect to any order under the Code or to
prevent the abuse of process of court or otherwise to secure the ends of
justice. But the expressions “abuse of the process of law” or “to secure the
ends of justice” do not confer unlimited jurisdiction on the High Court and the
alleged abuse of the process of law or the ends of justice can only be secured
in accordance with law including procedural law and not otherwise. Further,
inherent powers are in the nature of extraordinary powers to be used sparingly
for achieving the objects mentioned in Section 482 of the Code. (Arun Shankar
Shukla v. State of U.P.8)

Exercise of power under Section 482 of the Code is the exception and not the
rule. Inherent jurisdiction under the Section, though wide, has to be exercised
sparingly, carefully and with caution and only when such exercise is justified
by the tests specifically laid down in the Section itself. While judicial
process should not be an instrument of oppression, or needless harassment, at
the same time the section is not an instrument handed over to an accused to
short-circuit a prosecution and bring about its sudden death. (State of
Karnataka Vs. M. Devendrappa9; State of A.P. Vs. Golconda Linga Swamy10).
Cases which require interference, under Section 482 Cr.P.C, are few and far
between. The most common cases where inherent jurisdiction is generally
exercised is where criminal proceedings are required to be quashed because they
are initiated illegally, vexatiously or without jurisdiction. The inherent
power under Section 482 Cr.P.C must be exercised only in the rarest of rare
cases, (State Vs. Navjot Sandhu11; State of Bihar Vs. Rajendra Agrawalla12, M.
Narayandas2, Mohd. Malek Mondal Vs. Pranjal Bardalai13), for such a power does
not confer arbitrary jurisdiction on the High Court to act according to whim or
caprice. (Kurukshetra University v. State of Haryana14).

The High Court should not act as an investigating agency at the stage when
the F.I.R is under investigation or enter into the factual arena while quashing
the complaint under Section 482 Cr.P.C. It is not for the High Court, while
exercising jurisdiction under Section 482 Cr.P.C, to weigh the evidence or to
examine the truth or otherwise of the allegations in the complaint. It is also
not for this Court to minutely examine each and every sentence of the complaint
or carry out a microscopic examination as to whether the allegations made
therein cover each and every ingredient of the offence of which the accused is
charged.

In exercise of the powers under Section 482 Cr.P.C, the Court would be justified
in quashing any proceeding if it finds that its initiation/continuance amounts
to an abuse of the process of court or quashing of these proceedings would,
otherwise, serve the ends of justice. When no offence is disclosed by the
complaint the Court may examine the question of fact. When a complaint is sought
to be quashed it is permissible for the Court to look into the materials to
assess what the complainant has alleged and whether any offence is made out even
if the allegations are accepted in toto.

The inherent power, under Section 482 Cr.P.C., should, however, not be exercised
to stifle a legitimate prosecution. It would not be proper for the High Court to
analyse the case of the complainant, in the light of the probabilities, in order
to determine whether a conviction would be sustainable and on such premise
arrive at a conclusion that the proceedings are to be quashed. It would be
erroneous to assess the material before it and conclude that the complaint
cannot be proceeded with. In a proceeding instituted on a complaint, exercise of
the inherent powers to quash the proceedings is called for only in a case where
the complaint does not disclose any offence or is frivolous, vexatious or
oppressive. If the allegations set out in the complaint do not constitute the
offences of which cognizance has been taken by the Magistrate, it is open to the
High Court to quash the same in exercise of its inherent powers under Section
482 of the Code. It is not, however, necessary that there should be a meticulous
analysis of the case before the trial to find out whether the case would end in
conviction or acquittal. The complaint has to be read as a whole. If it
appears, on a consideration of the allegations and in the light of the statement
made on oath by the complainant, that the ingredients of the offence or offences
are disclosed and there is no material to show that the complaint is malafide,
frivolous or vexatious, there would be no justification for interference by the
High Court. When an information is lodged at the police station, and an offence
is registered, it is the material collected during the investigation and
evidence led in court which decides the fate of the accused. (Zandu
Pharmaceutical Works Ltd. v. Mohd. Sharaful Haque15.
In M. Narayandas2, the Supreme Court observed:-
“……It must also be mentioned that it is settled law that the power to quash
must be exercised very sparingly and with circumspection. It must be exercised
in the rarest of rare cases. It is also settled law that the court would not be
justified in embarking upon an inquiry as to the reliability or genuineness or
otherwise of the allegations made in the FIR. The court also cannot inquire
whether the allegations in the complaint are likely to be established or not.
Keeping the abovementioned principles in mind, let us now see what the High
Court has done in the impugned judgment. In the impugned judgment, the High
Court proceeds to consider the case of the appellant in the complaint and the
case made out by the respondents. The High Court examines the documents,
compares the signatures thereon and then proceeds to arrive at the conclusion
that the documents are not false or fabricated. The High Court takes into
consideration certain photographs and other material produced by the respondents
and concludes that the complaint was vexatious, frivolous and false. On this
basis the High Court proceeds to quash the complaint and impose cost of Rs
10,000 on the appellant. The High Court does not conclude, as it could not
have, that the allegations made in the complaint, if taken at their face value
and accepted in their entirety, do not prima facie constitute any offence or
make out a case against the accused. The High Court does not conclude, as it
could not have, that the allegations in the complaint do not disclose a
cognizable offence justifying an investigation by the police officer. The
conclusion of the High Court that the complaint was false, vexatious and
frivolous is based on the material produced by the respondents. One fails to
understand how without evidence the High Court could have relied on this
material. It is clear that the impugned order is totally unsustainable…..”
It was next submitted that on the material placed before it the High Court was
right in concluding that the complaint was false, frivolous and vexatious. It
was to be noted that the High Court arrived at this conclusion on the basis of
the unsubstantiated allegations made by the respondents…..”
……… If, as claimed, there is no substance in the complaint the
investigation will say so. At this stage there were only allegations and
recriminations. The High Court could not have anticipated the result of the
investigation or rendered a finding on the question of mala fides. Even if the
appellant had made the complaint on account of personal vendetta, that by itself
was not a ground to discard the complaint which had to be tested and weighed
after the evidence was collected…..” (emphasis supplied)
In Subhash Kumar3, the Supreme Court held:-
“….. Curiously, the High Court by entering into the factual arena has passed
the impugned order quashing the FIR. Such a course is wholly impermissible. The
High Court acted more as an investigating agency at a stage when the FIR was
under investigation…….” (emphasis supplied)
Again in Savita4:-
“…….The High Court while entertaining the petition under Section 482 of the
Code of Criminal Procedure took into consideration certain statements made by
the appellant Savita in a divorce proceeding between her and the first
respondent and based on such evidence, as if it was sitting in an appeal,
proceeded to give a finding that it does not disclose any cognizable offence
against any of the respondents herein in a Section 482 petition.
We think that this was too premature a stage for the High Court to give such a
finding when even the investigation had not started and the said agency had no
occasion to find out whether there was material to file a charge-sheet or not.
“….. The second respondent further contended that subsequently in the divorce
proceeding the Court has given a conclusive finding that the allegation made by
the appellant Savita is not established, but that is a finding again given by
the civil court subsequent to the impugned judgment in this case. Even otherwise
as held by us hereinabove, that is a material to be taken note of by the
investigating agency or the court before which the charge-sheet is filed…..”
(emphasis supplied)
In Pavana Sutha Plate Embossers Private Ltd., Eluru5, the Division bench of this Court observed:-

“……In State of Haryana Vs. Bhajan Lal, 1992 Supp (1) SCC 335, Janata
Dal Vs. H.S.Chowdhary, (1992) 4 SCC 305, State of Bihar Vs. P.P. Sharma, (1992)
Supp. 1 SCC 222, Roopan Deol Bajaj Vs. Kanwar Pal Singh Gill, (1995) 6 SCC 194,
State of Maharashtra Vs. Ishwar Piraji Kalpatri, 1996(1) ALD (Crol.) 139 (SC) =
(1996) 1 SCC 542, State of U.P. Vs. O.P.Sharma, 1996(1) ALD (Crl.) 823 (SC) =
(1996) 7 SCC 705, Rashmi Kumar Vs. Maheswh Kumar Bhada, (1997) 2 SCC 397,
Rajesh Bajaj Vs. State NCT of Delhi, 1999 (1) ALD (Crl.) 760 (SC) = (1999(3) SCC 259,
Satvinder Kaur Vs. State (Govt. of NCT of Delhi), (1999)8 SCC 728, Jagdish Ram
Vs. State of Rajasthan, 2004(1) ALD (Crl.) 672 (SC) = (2004) 4 SCC 432, A.V.
Mohan Rao Vs. M. Kishan Rao, (2002) 6 SCC 174, State of Karnataka Vs. M.
Devendrappa, 2002(1) ALD (Crl.) 412 (SC) = 2002(3) SCC 89 and State of Orissa
Vs. Saroj Kumar Sahoo, (2005)13 SCC 540, the Supreme Court has repeatedly held
that the High Court should not readily exercise its power under Article 226 of
the Constitution of India or Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973
for quashing the proceedings emanating from a First Information Report or
complaint and that such power should be exercised sparingly and with great care
and circumpspection. In Bhajan Lal’s case (supra), the Supreme Court considered
the ambit and scope of the power vested in the High Court under Article 226 of
the Constitution and Section 482 Cr.P.C. and ruled that the High Court should
not embark upon an enquiry into the merits and demerits of the allegations and
quash the proceedings without allowing the investigating agency to complete its
task……” (emphasis supplied)

The primary question, which arises for consideration in proceedings under
Section 482 Cr.P.C, is whether the allegations in the first information report
or the complaint, even if they are taken at their face value and accepted in its
entirety, do not make out a case against the accused? For determination of this
question it becomes relevant to note the nature of the offences alleged, its
ingredients and the averments made in the complaint. (Hridaya Ranjan Prasad
Verma v. State of Bihar16).

In Anil Mahajan v. Bhor Industries Ltd.,17 the Supreme Court observed:-
“…… The substance of the complaint is to be taken. Mere use of the
expression “cheating” in the complaint is of no consequence. Except mention of
the words “deceive” and “cheat” in the complaint filed before the Magistrate and
“cheating” in the complaint filed before the police, there is no averment about
the deceit, cheating or fraudulent intention of the accused at the time of
entering into MOU wherefrom it can be inferred that the accused had the
intention to deceive the complainant to pay………..” (emphasis supplied)
No doubt, exercise of the powers, under Section 482 CrPC, by the High Court
should be limited to very extreme exceptions but in a case where the ingredients
of the alleged offences are not satisfied, even prima facie, it cannot be said
that power under Section 482 CrPC should not be exercised. If no offence is made
out, from the allegations in the complaint, there should be no hesitation in
exercising the power under Section 482 CrPC to pass appropriate orders. (S.W.
Palanitkar v. State of Bihar18).

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While it is true that a complaint need not verbatim reproduce in the body
of the complaint all the ingredients of the offences alleged nor is it for this
Court to split up the definition into different components of the offence to
make a meticulous scrutiny whether all the ingredients have been precisely spelt
out in the complaint, in cases where the information in the complaint is so
bereft of even the basic facts which are essential for making out the offence,
the complaint is liable to be quashed. (Rajesh Bajaj Vs. State NCT of Delhi19).
The allegations in the complaint must be read as a whole and in its entirety,
(R.P. Kapoor Vs. State of Punjab20, Anil Mahajan17, Hridaya Rajnan Prasad
Verma16, Zandu Pharmaceuticals Works Ltd15) and a prima facie case of the
accused having committed the offences of which they are charged must be made
out. (Dr. Sharma’s Nursing Home Vs. Delhi Administration21). If the
allegations set out in the complaint do not constitute the offence of which
cognizance has been taken by the Magistrate, it is open for the High Court to
quash the same in exercise of its powers under Section 482 Cr.P.C. (Zandu
Pharmaceuticals Works Ltd15). In cases where the ingredients of the alleged
offences are not satisfied, even prima facie, the power under Section 482
Cr.P.C. must be exercised. (S.W. Palnitkar18).

While the allegations in the complaint relate mainly to the 1st accused,
(who is not before this Court), the allegations against Accused 2 to 4,
(petitioners 1 to 3 herein), are:-

(1) Accused 2 and 3 supported the 1st accused and abetted him in his acts of
cruelty towards the complainant;

(2) The 1st and 2nd accused retained with them the gold “Lagna Patrika”, silver
articles, gold kumkuma bharini etc;

(3) Though the complainant requested the 1st accused herein to take her along
with him to Hyderabad the 2nd accused supported his son, and as there was no
alternative she went to the U.S.A to live with her parents;

(4) Accused 1 to 3 demanded that the complainant, and her parents, make
arrangements for the job related VISA to the U.S.A. for the 4th accused.
Otherwise, they would not allow the 1st accused to live with the complainant;

(5) The 1st accused, along with the other accused, committed the offence of
cheating punishable under the I.P.C.

(6) The accused had committed the offence under Section 417 I.P.C. since the 1st
accused, right from the beginning of his marriage with the complainant, had used
their marriage only as a spring board for him, and his brother the 4th accused,
to migrate to the U.S.A, without any intention to live with her and to extract a
huge sum of Rs.25,00,000/- by way of dowry, marriage expenses, including the
huge expenditure for his studies etc. by falsely promising the complainant, and
her parents, that he would start living with the complainant after completing
his studies;

(7) The accused had committed the offence under Section 418 I.P.C. as they were
bound by law to protect the complainant and had cheated her with the knowledge
that they were using her money, influence and position in the U.S.A. for their
gain, causing wrongful loss to the complainant in every aspect of her life;

(8) the 1st accused had committed the offence under Section 498-A since, for the
sake of dowry from the parents of the complainant in the form of his marriage
and educational expenses apart from green card expenses. He had occasioned
mental cruelty to her which was likely to drive her mad or to commit suicide
and;

(9) all the accused had committed offences under Sections 3 and 4 of the Dowry
Prohibition Act.
It is necessary to examine whether the aforesaid allegations in the
complaint against the petitioners herein, (Accused 2 to 4), when read in its
entirety and accepted as true, attract the ingredients of Sections 417, 418,

420, 498-A and 506 I.P.C. and Sections 3 and 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act.
Since Sections 417, 418 and 420 relate to cheating, in one form or the other, it
is necessary to note the ingredients of “cheating” in Section 415 I.P.C, which
are:-
(1) deception of any person;
(2)(a) Fraudulently or dishonestly inducing that person (i) to deliver property
to any person; or (ii) to consent that any person shall retain any property ; or
(b) intentionally inducing that person to do or omit to do anything which he
would not do or omit to do if he were not so deceived;
and which act of omission causes or is likely to cause damage or harm to that
person in body, mind, reputation or property.
The definition of cheating contains two classes of acts which the person
deceived may be induced to do. Firstly he may be induced fraudulently or
dishonestly to deliver any property to any person or to consent that any person
shall retain any property. The second class of acts is the doing or omitting to
do anything which the person deceived would not do or omit to do if he/she were
not so deceived. In the first class of acts, the inducement must be fraudulent
or dishonest and in the second class of acts it must be intentional but not
fraudulent or dishonest. “Deceiving” means causing to believe what is false or
misleading as to a matter of fact or leading into error. Whenever a person
fraudulently represents as an existing fact, that which is not an existing fact,
he commits deception. The person cheated must have been intentionally induced
to do an act which he would not have done, but for the deception practiced on
him. The intention at the time of the offence and the consequence of the act or
omission has to be considered. The damage which is caused by the act or
omission must be direct, natural or a probable consequence of the induced act.
The person deceived must have acted under the influence of the deceit. It is
necessary that harm should be caused to the person deceived.
The allegations in the complaint, in relation to “cheating” under Sections 417,
418 and 420 I.P.C, are that the accused had cheated the complainant with the
knowledge that they were using her money, influence and position in the U.S.A
for their gain, causing wrongful loss to the complainant in every aspect of her
life. Accepting as true the allegations that the intention of the accused was
that the 1st accused should use his marriage, with the complainant, to go to the
USA and to make them part with their money towards his studies, stay in the USA
and as dowry, in effect, the complainant and her parents were induced to do
something which they would not have done had they not been so deceived. It
cannot, therefore, be said that the ingredients of ‘cheating’ are not attracted,
even prima facie.

It is not every harassment or every type of cruelty that would attract
Section 498-A I.P.C. The complainant must allege that the harassment in
question was with the intention to force her to commit suicide or to fulfill
illegal demands of dowry. It is only when the harassment is shown to have been
caused for the purpose of coercing a woman to meet such demands does it amount
to cruelty which is made punishable under Section 498-A I.P.C. Cruelty
postulates such harassment as to cause a reasonable apprehension in the mind of
the wife that her living with her husband would be harmful and injurious to
her life. Cruelty under Section 498 – A I.P.C must be of such a nature as to
coerce the wife to meet the illegal demands or to commit suicide.
While there are specific allegations against the 1st accused that he had
occasioned mental cruelty on the complainant which was likely to drive her mad
or to commit suicide, the allegations, in so far as accused 2 and 3 are
concerned, are that they had supported the 1st accused and had abetted him in
the acts of cruelty towards the complainant. Since the allegations against the
1st accused attract the ingredients of Section 498-A I.P.C. and as accused 2 and
3 (Petitioners 1 and 2 herein) are alleged to have abetted the 1st accused in
his acts of cruelty towards the complainant, it cannot be said that there are no
allegations against petitioners 1 and 2, (Accused 2 and 3), attracting the
ingredients of Section 498-A I.P.C. While it is true that there are no specific
acts of cruelty attributed to petitioners 1 and 2 herein, it must not be lost
sight of that this Court, in proceedings under Section 482 Cr.P.C, would not
sieve the complaint to minutely examine each and every sentence to verify as to
whether each and every part of the ingredients of the offence, which the accused
are alleged to have committed, has been made out, more so, when investigation
into the complaint has not been completed and no charge sheet has, as yet, been
filed.

In order to attract the ingredients of Section 506 I.P.C the intention of the
accused must be to cause alarm to the victim. Mere expression of words, without
any intention to cause alarm, would not suffice. To constitute an offence under
Section 506 I.P.C. it must be shown that the person charged actually threatened
another with injury to his person, reputation or property or to the person or
reputation of any one in whom that person is interested, with the intention to
cause alarm.

Even if the allegations in the complaint are read as a whole, and are accepted
in their entirety as true, the ingredients of Section 506 I.P.C. are not
attracted in so far as the petitioners herein are concerned. Except to allege
that the 1st petitioner had supported his son in his refusal to take the
complainant along with him to Hyderabad, there is no specific allegation that
the petitioners herein had threatened the complainant with injury to her person,
reputation or property or to the reputation of any one in whom the complainant
is interested with the intention to cause her alarm. The complaint, in so far
as the petitioners herein are alleged to have committed an offence under Section
506 I.P.C, is quashed.

Section 3 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 prescribes the penalty for giving
or taking dowry and thereunder if any person, after commencement of the Act,
gives or takes or abets the giving or taking of dowry, he shall be punishable
with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than five years and with
fine which shall not be less than Rs.15000/- or the amount of the value of such
dowry, whichever is more. Section 2 defines ‘dowry’ and, under clause (b)
thereof, dowry means any property or valuable security given or agreed to be
given either directly or indirectly by the parent of either party to a marriage
at or before or at any time after the marriage in connection with the marriage
of the said parties. As such giving of property, even after marriage, falls
within the definition of ‘dowry’. Section 4

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