498A misused for extortion – Husband, in-laws acquitted

IN THE COURT OF Dr. KAMINI LAU: ADDL. SESSIONS JUDGE (NW)II
ROHINI COURTS:DELHI.

Criminal Appeal No. 4/2011

State
Vs.
1. Sanjay Kumar
S/o Vijay Kumar Gupta
R/o 279/2, Rahul Garden,
near Shiv Mandir Pretha, Hazipur
Distt. Distt Gazipur, U.P.

2. Vijay Kumar
S/o Jagminder Shah
R/o 279/2, Rahul Garden,
near Shiv Mandir Pretha, Hazipur
Distt. Distt Gazipur, U.P.

3. Smt. Beena Devi
W/o Vijay Kumar
R/o E1/
28, Sultanpuri, Delhi.

4. Ranjeet
S/o Vijay Kumar
R/o E1/ 28, Sultanpuri, Delhi.

O R D E R
16.9.2011

Vide this order, I propose to decide the appeal filed on behalf of the State, under Section 378 Cr.PC against the order of acquittal passed by Ms. Vandana, Ld. MM on 29.4.2011 in case FIR No. 679/99 Police Station Jahangirpuri, Under Section 498A/406/34 Indian Penal Code acquitting the accused / respondents.

It has been pleaded that the impugned order is unlawful, unreasonable and miscarriage of justice. It is pleaded that Ld. MM failed to appreciate the testimony of PW1 on oath is substantive against the accused and has wrongly based the impugned order on the testimony of hostile witnesses. It is further pleaded that the impugned order is completely silent about the evidence pertaining to offence under Section 406 IPC despite specific allegations made by the complainant that the stridhan are still in the custody of the accused.

According to the respondents, the complainant Veena has already settled the matter with them vide a memo of understanding dated 28.8.2000 duly signed by the complainant in the presence of the witnesses and also received all the stridhan and a cash amount of Rs.25,000/towards her past, present and future alimony one for all, copy of which has been placed on record by the respondents.

The complainant on the other hand has repeatedly deposed to the effect that her inlaws used to harass her father for demand of dowry and for other reasons, but her testimony does not find any corroboration from any other source, both her brother and father who appeared as her witnesses not having uttered a single word in the court despite examination by the Addl. PP for the State.

PW7 W/SI Uma Bhardwaj has proved having received a complaint regarding harassment and cruelty and also proved that she tried for reconciliation but could not be materialized and it is for this reason that the FIR was got registered. The testimony of the father and the brother of the complainant are contradictory to the testimonies of the complainant Veena. They did not support any allegations made by the complainant though there are allegations by the complainant that the accused had told her father that he would not see her alive if she will not bring scooter, colour TV, fridge and gold chain and she objected to the accused not to give such treatment to her father, but her father PW4 Anant Kumar does not corroborate what she has stated. She has further alleged that she was beaten up bitterly and remained in the hospital and it was her father who spent the money for her treatment, but again her father does not corroborate her testimony in this regard and has not spoken even a word against the accused. It is writ large that the oral testimony of the complainant does not find any corroboration from any independent source and despite their being sufficient opportunity in this regard she has also not produced any medical record to prove any physical assault upon her or if she had been treated in any government hospital nor she has examined any doctor to prove the copies of the documents placed on record by the prosecution.

The trial court record has been duly received and perused. I have also gone through the evidence available on record and the arguments advanced before me. I may observe that the only evidence supporting the case is the testimony of PW1 Smt. Veena, which testimony does not find any independent corroboration from any source, rather, her younger brother i.e PW3 Manoj Kumar has resiled from his earlier statement and has specifically deposed that as of now his sister Veena has no concern with the accused now and she would take a divorce from the accused and has denied the suggestion that the accused persons had harassed his sister or misappropriated her stridhan articles. Further, the PW4 Anant Prashad who is the father of PW1 Veena whom she calls Phoofa. He has also testified in the Court to the effect that she has no concern with the accused persons as of now and would take divorce. He has denied the suggestion that Veena had been harassed by the accused persons or her stridhan had been misappropriated by them. The police witness are only the formal witnesses who had formally arrested the accused who were on anticipatory bail.

In this background, this being so, it is not safe to rely upon the uncorroborated testimony of the complainant which does not find any corroboration from any independent source I may further observe that Section 498A IPC in the recent years has become consummate embodiment of gross human rights violation, extortion and corruption and even the Apex Court of our country had acknowledged this abuse and termed it as Legal Terrorism. The provisions of Section 498 A IPC are not a law to take revenge, seek recovery of dowry or to force a divorce but a penal provision to punish the wrong doers. The victims are often misguided into exaggerating the facts by adding those persons as accused who are unconnected with the harassment under a mistaken belief that by doing so they are making a strong case as has happened in the present case where the complainant has involved the entire family of the husband i.e. father in law, mother in law and brother in law.

Courts cannot be a party to any kind of exploitative situation and it is necessary for every complainant to remember that it is only an honest complaint which succeeds in law where contents are supported by facts on the ground and persons, who are not connected with the harassment, should never be arrayed as accused. The platform of the courts cannot be permitted to be used to wreck personal vendetta or unleash harassment and the tendency of the complainants to come out with inflated and exaggerated allegations by roping in each and every relation of the husband is required to be deprecated. The obligation of the court is to ensure that innocent persons are not put to harassment and to curtail the frivolous allegations at the earliest stage by looking for due corroboration from the facts. [Ref.:Savitri Devi vsRamesh Chand & Ors. CRL (R) No. 462/2002 decided on 30.5.2003; Criminal Appeal No. 33941/ 05 dated 2.3.2010, Delhi High Court; Arjun Ram vsState of Jharkhand & Anr. reported in 2004 CLJ 2989; Mukesh Rani vsState of Haryana reported in 2002 (1) RCR (Criminal) 163 and Anu Gill vsState & Anr. reported in 2001 (2) JCC (Delhi) 86]

Before ending, a word of advise for the complainant that not all relationships in this world are successful. In fact most relationships which appear to succeed are only based upon compromises. Let go the past which is painful since attaching yourself to it will only give pain and miseries and help none. In the words of the famous poet Sahir Ludhyanvi Taaruf rog ho jaaye to usko bhoolna behtar; Taalluk bojh ban jaaye to usko todna achcha;Vho afsaana jise anjaam tak laana na ho mumkin; Use ek khoobsoorat mod dekar chhodna achcha. Now is the time for the complainant to move forward in life by leaving the past behind.

When the entire family of the complainant including her own father and brother have not supported her version in the Court, perhaps wanting her to move on in life, how then can one find fault with the order of the Ld. Trial Court. I find no infirmity or irregularity in the impugned order of Ld. Trial Court warranting interference. The grounds raised in the appeal are devoid of merits and consequently the appeal is dismissed.

Trail Court record be sent back along with copy of this order be sent. Appeal file be consigned to Record Room.

Announced in the open court

(Dr. KAMINI LAU)
Dated: 16.9.2011 ASJ (NW)II:
ROHINI

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