MP HC: 498A/DP Quash against Brother-in-Law in the absence of any specific allegation

Madhya Pradesh High Court
Dr. Dheeraj Singh vs The State Of Madhya Pradesh on 31 August, 2017

MCRC. 6476/2017
Dr. Dheeraj Singh vs. State of MP & Anr.

31/08/2017
Shri Ravi Ballabh Tripathi, Counsel for the
applicant
Shri Prakhar Dhengula, Public Prosecutor for the
State /respondent No.1.
Shri Ajit Singh Bhadoria, Counsel for the respondent no.2.

Heard finally.

This application under Section 482 of Cr.P.C. has been filed for quashing the F.I.R. No.37/2017 registered by Police Station Mahila Thana, Padav, Gwalior for offence under Section 498- A read with Section 34 of I.P.C. and under Section 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act.

The necessary facts for the disposal of the present application in short are that the applicant is the elder brother-in-law (tsB) of the respondent/ complainant. It is further submitted by the Counsel for the applicant, that the charge sheet has not been filed.

The necessary facts for the disposal of the present application in short are that the respondent/complainant, lodged a report on 3-4-2017 against her in-laws including the applicant that She was married to Dr. Rakesh on 27-2-2016. A total amount of Rs. 12,54,850/- was spent by her parents in the marriage. Several household articles were given in the marriage. However, immediately after the marriage, her in-laws, including the applicant, started demanding 10 tolas of gold, Fridge, Sofa Set etc. and when the respondent/complainant refused to fulfill their demand, then her in-laws including the applicant started beating her. An application was given by her in the Police Station and counselling was done on various occasions, but their conduct did not improve and accordingly, an F.I.R. was lodged against the in-laws and the applicant.

On the basis of the allegations made by the respondent/ complainant, the police station Mahila Thana, Padav, Gwalior, has registered the crime no.37/2017 for offence under Section 498-A read with Section 34 of I.P.C. and under Section 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act.

Calling in question, the F.I.R., lodged by the respondent/ complainant, it is submitted by the applicant that he is the elder brother-in-law (tsB) of the respondent/ complainant. In the F.I.R. itself, it is clearly mentioned that on earlier occasion, she had made a complaint to the police on which counselling was held on various occasions. By referring to the earlier complaint made by the respondent/ complainant, it is submitted by the Counsel for the applicant that there is not a single whisper against the applicant and the allegations were made by the respondent/ complainant against her husband and her parents-in-law. It is further submitted that the applicant is a Doctor by profession and is working in a Govt. Hospital and has been allotted official accommodation in the year 2008 and he is residing separately along with his family. He has nothing to do with the family affairs of his brother. Further, it is submitted that it would clear from the F.I.R. as well as the case diary statement of the respondent/ complainant, no specific allegations have been made and omnibus and vague allegations have been made. The respondent/ complainant has also stated in her case diary statement that the applicant is residing locally which clearly means that it is undisputed that the applicant is residing separately, although in the same city. It is further submitted that the tendency of over-implicating the near and dear relatives of the husband is increasing in order put additional pressure on the husband.

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Per contra, the application is opposed by the State Counsel as well as by the Counsel for the respondent/ complainant. It was submitted that as the investigation is pending, therefore, there is a possibility of collection of more evidence and therefore, the investigation may not be quashed. It is further submitted that the allegations made in the F.I.R. as well as the case diary statement of the respondent/ complainant are sufficient to prima facie make out a case against the applicant warranting his prosecution.

Heard the learned Counsel for the parties. The copy of the earlier complaint made by the respondent/ complainant to S.H.O., Police Station Mahila, Padav, Gwalior dated 11-10-2016 has been placed on record by the applicant. The Counsel for the complainant has not denied that such complaint was never made by the respondent/ complainant. Thus, it is clear that 11-10-2016, the respondent/ complainant had made a written complaint to the S.H.O., Police Station Mahila, Padav, Distt. Gwalior. This Court has gone through the written complaint. There is no iota of allegation against the applicant, even the name of the applicant is not mentioned in the complaint. Secondly, in the F.I.R., except the omnibus and vague allegation that She was subjected to harassment by her in-laws, including the applicant, there is no specific allegation against the applicant. Although the F.I.R., cannot be treated as an encyclopedia of the offence, but even in the case diary statement of the respondent/ complainant, there is no specific allegation against the applicant. In the case diary statement, it is merely mentioned that after the marriage, her in-laws, including the applicant were not satisfied with the dowry given by the parents of the respondent/ complainant and therefore, they started harassing her. It is also specifically mentioned in the case diary statement that the applicant is residing in the same city and he also frequently visits the house of the respondent/ complainant which reads as under :-”

“esjs tsB Hkh yksdy es jgrs gSA ftudk /kj ij vkuk tkuk cuk jgrk gSA”
If the applicant, who is residing in the same city, visits the house of his parents, then by no stretch of imagination, it can be said to be abnormal. Further, the applicant has filed letter of allotment of house. According to this allotment letter dated 26-3-2008, the applicant who is working as a Doctor was allotted official accommodation situated in the campus of the Hospital itself. Thus, from the admission made by the respondent/ complainant in her case diary statement as well as from the letter of allotment of house, it is clear that the applicant is residing separately from his brother and parents.

By relying on judgments passed by the Supreme Court in cases of Geeta Mehrotra Vs. State of U.P. reported in (2012) 10 SCC 741, Preeti Gupta Vs. State of Jharkhand, reported in (2010) 7 SCC 667, it is submitted by the Counsel for the applicant that there are to be some what specific and clear allegations against the relatives of the husband. There is an increasing tendency in the society to over- implicate the near and dear relatives of the husband so as to pressurize the husband.

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The Supreme Court in the case of Kansraj Vs. State of Punjab, (2000) 5 SCC 207, has held as under :-

“In the light of the evidence in the case we find substance in the submission of the learned counsel for the defence that Respondents 3 to 5 were roped in the case only on the ground of being close relations of Respondent 2, the husband of the deceased. For the fault of the husband, the in-laws or the other relations cannot, in all cases, be held to be involved in the demand of dowry. In cases where such accusations are made, the overt acts attributed to persons other than the husband are required to be proved beyond reasonable doubt. By mere conjectures and implications such relations cannot be held guilty for the offence relating to dowry deaths. A tendency has, however, developed for roping in all relations of the in- laws of the deceased wives in the matters of dowry deaths which, if not discouraged, is likely to affect the case of the prosecution even against the real culprits. In their over- enthusiasm and anxiety to seek conviction for maximum people, the parents of the deceased have been found to be making efforts for involving other relations which ultimately weaken the case of the prosecution even against the real accused as appears to have happened in the instant case.”
The Supreme Court in the case Monju Roy Vs. State of West Bengal, reported in (2015) 13 SCC 693, has held as under :

“8. While we do not find any ground to interfere with the view taken by the courts below that the deceased was subjected to harassment on account of non-fulfillment of dowry demand, we do find merit in the submission that possibility of naming all the family members by way of exaggeration is not ruled out. In Kansraj v. State of Punjab, (2000) 5 SCC 207, this Court observed : (SCC p. 215, para 5) “5………A tendency has, however, developed for roping in all relations of the in-laws of the deceased wives in the matters of dowry deaths which, if not discouraged, is likely to affect the case of the prosecution even against the real culprits. In their over enthusiasm and anxiety to seek conviction for maximum people, the parents of the deceased have been found to be making efforts for involving other relations which ultimately weaken the case of the prosecution even against the real accused as appears to have happened in the instant case.”
The Court has, thus, to be careful in summoning distant relatives without there being specific material. Only the husband, his parents or at best close family members may be expected to demand dowry or to harass the wife but not distant relations, unless there is tangible material to support allegations made against such distant relations. Mere naming of distant relations is not enough to summon them in absence of any specific role and material to support such role.

9. In Raja Lal Singh vs. State of Jharkhand, (2007) 15 SCC 415, it was observed : (SCC p. 419, para 14) “14. No doubt, some of the witnesses e.g. PW 5 Dashrath Singh, who is the father of the deceased Gayatri, and PW 3 Santosh Kr. Singh, brother of the deceased, have stated that the deceased Gayatri told them that dowry was demanded by not only Raja Lal Singh, but also the appellants Pradip Singh and his wife Sanjana Devi, but we are of the opinion that it is possible that the names of Pradip Singh and Sanjana Devi have been introduced only to spread the net wide as often happens in cases like under Sections 498-A and 394 IPC, as has been observed in several decisions of this Court e.g. in Kamesh Panjiyar v. State of Bihar [(2005) 2 SCC 388], etc. Hence, we allow the appeal of Pradip Singh and Sanjana Devi and set aside the impugned judgments of the High Court and the trial court insofar as it relates to them and we direct that they be released forthwith unless required in connection with some other case.”

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11. The Court has to adopt pragmatic view and when a girl dies an unnatural death, allegation of demand of dowry or harassment which follows cannot be weighed in golden scales. At the same time, omnibus allegation against all family members particularly against brothers and sisters and other relatives do not stand on same footing as husband and parents. In such case, apart from general allegation of demand of dowry, the court has to be satisfied that harassment was also caused by all the named members.”

If the facts of the present case are considered in the light of the judgments passed by the Supreme Court, then the following picture would emerge :-

1. That the applicant, who is a Doctor by profession, is residing separately in an officially allotted accommodation, although in the same city.

2. That the respondent/complainant in her first written complaint made to the S.H.O., Mahila Thana, Padav, Distt. Gwalior did not utter a single word against the applicant.

3. The applicant is the elder brother of the husband of the respondent/complainant.

4. No specific allegation has been made against the applicant either in the F.I.R., or in the case diary statement by the respondent/complainant. So far as the pendency of the investigation is concerned, true it is that normally, the investigation should not be quashed, but where the case is based on the allegations made by the respondent/complainant, and when her statement has already been recorded, and if it is found that the allegations made against a near and dear relative of the husband are not sufficient, then the Court may not refuse to exercise its power under Section 482 of Cr.P.C. to quash the investigation because it cannot be said that there is any possibility of collection of some more evidence.

Thus, considering the fact that there is an increase in the tendency of falsely implicating the near and dear relatives of the husband so as to pressurize him couple with the fact that there is no specific allegation against the applicant and the applicant is residing separately in an officially allotted accommodation, this Court is of the view, that the F.I.R. No.37/2017 registered by Police Station Mahila Thana, Gwalior qua the applicant is liable to be quashed.

Accordingly, the F.I.R. No.37/2017 registered by Police Station Mahila Thana, Gwalior qua the applicant is liable to be quashed.

The application succeeds and is hereby allowed.

(G.S.Ahluwalia) Judge *MKB*

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