Sections 498A and 406 quash on 10 year old Sister-in-law with S.482

PUNJAB AND HARYANA HIGH COURT

Before :- K.K. Srivastava, J.

Crl. Misc. No. 6805-M of 1994. D/d. 29.9.1998.

Kiran – Petitioners
Versus
State of Haryana – Respondents

For the Petitioners :- Mr. Vipen Kumar Bali, Advocate.
For the Respondent No. 1 :- Mr. Surinder Lamba, Assistant Advocate General, Haryana.
For the Respondent No. 2 :- Mr. Ashit Malik, Advocate.

Notes :
Indian Penal Code, 1973, Sections 498A and 406 – Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, Section 482 – Cruelty – FIR under Sections 498A, 406 Indian Penal Code lodged by wife against her husband, his parents, sister and brother – Sister 10 years old when marriage took place – Highly improbable that she would beat her Bhabhi (brother’s wife) – Allegation against her and her brother of general nature – FIR qua both quashed.
[Paras 6, 7 and 8]

JUDGMENT

K.K. Srivastava, J. –

Petitioners, Kiran daughter of Mange Ram, Parveen Kumar and Anil Kumar sons of Mansa Ram, all residents of B.III-A, Ram Nagar Om Vihar Uttam Nagar, Nazafgarh, New Delhi, seek the quashing of First Information Report No. 63 dated 28.2.1994 under Sections 498A and 406 of the Indian Penal Code registered at police Station Gharaunda District Karnal and subsequent proceedings flowing therefrom and pending before the Judicial Magistrate Ist Class, Karnal.

Respondent No. 2 Pinki Rani was married with Pawan Kumar at Gharaunda District Karnal on 13.6.1991. The marriage was duly consummated and a female child, namely, Ritikka was born out of this wedlock at Delhi on 29.9.1992. The petitioners are the sister and brothers of Pawan Kumar aforesaid. Respondent No. 2 wife Pinki Rani daughter of Shri Hari Chand, Resident of Gharaunda, lodged the First Information Report aforesaid on the allegations inter alia that the behaviour of the accused since the date of marriage was cruel. Accused-husband Pawan Kumar even refused to join the company of the complainant-wife Pinki Rani for a few days as he was greatly dissatisfied by the dowry given at the time of marriage. The complainant-respondent No. 2 Pinki Rani alleged that her parents had spent a sum of Rs. 2 lacs on the marriage and even that amount was beyond the capacity/means of her parents. The articles which were given in dowry, mentioned in the list were handed over to accused No. 1 Pawan Kumar, his father Mansa-Ram accused No. 4, and his mother Smt. Prito wife of Mansa Ram, accused No. 5 in the presence of witnesses including Ramesh Kumar son of Geeta Ram, Rattan Lal son of Prabhu Ram, Siri Chand son of Daya Ram and other relatives who were present at the time of marriage of the complainant-respondent No. 2. The complainant-wife Pinki Rani behaved sensibly thinking that better days may come and she tried to compromise with the circumstances and the behaviour of the accused persons. It is alleged that the behaviour of the accused, however, became still unbearable and worse. On 28.4.1992 accused-husband Pawan Kumar and his father Mansa Ram came to Gharaunda and left the respondent No. 2 complainant Pinki Rani at the house of her parents saying that until their demand of Rs. 10,000/- in cash was met and the amount is paid to them, they will not take the respondent No. 2-Pinki Rani with them to their house at Delhi. The parents of Pinki Rani made a request to Mansa Ram and his son Pawan Kumar that they should keep their daughter Pinki Rani with them and assured them they would make arrangement for the amount demanded and pay the same to them within a couple of days. It is alleged that on 2.5.1992 Ved Parkash-brother withdrew a sum of Rs. 10,000/- from his bank account and paid the same to Smt. Prito mother-in-law of Pinki Rani. It is alleged that at the time of the payment, accused No. 3, namely, Anil Kumar, who is petitioner No. 3 in this petition, was present. Further contention of the complainant was that the payment of Rs. 10,000/- to her husband and her parents-in-law did not satisfy them and their behaviour did not improve. Respondent-Pinki Rani was used to be beaten by her mother-in-law, petitioner No. 1-Miss Kiran along with petitioner No. 2-Anil Kumar on trifling matters. A Panchayat was convened by the father of the complainant- Pinki Rani at Safidon, which comprised of the relations of the accused and of the complainant-wife. In this Panchayat, the relations of Pinki Rani requested the accused persons to behave properly with Pinki Rani and the accused in turn promised that they will behave properly with the complainant and will not demand dowry in future. However, this proved to be a false promise as on 10.2.1993 petitioner No. 3-Anil Kumar accompanied by husband- Pawan Kumar came to Gharaunda and left the complainant Pinki Rani in two plain clothes at the house of her parents and at that time raised a further demand of payment of Rs. 20,000/- in order to run their business and in default of payment, they threatened that the complainant Pinki Rani should not be sent to their house in Delhi otherwise, they will kill her. It is alleged that the parents of Pinki Rani arranged for the amount demanded as aforesaid and paid the same to Mansa Ram, father-in-law of Pinki Rani and Pawan Kumar, her husband. After the delivery of the female child, Pinki Rani was affected by a disease of tuberculosis due to some infection, which she got in the hospital and since then the accused persons became quite cruel towards her and they said that this was an excuse to get divorce from Pinki Rani. When Pinki Rani could not bear the taunts and the harassment meted out to her, she wrote a letter to her parents on 18.7.1993 apprising them of the behaviour of the accused persons and maltreatment meted out to her at their hands. On receiving letters, the father of the complainant-wife convened a panchayat which consisted of one Jagdish son of Ganpat Ram and Ramesh son of Geeta Ram, Municipal Commissioner, Gharaunda, who went to Delhi and demanded the return of the dowry items given in the marriage and the amounts of Rs. 10,000/- and Rs. 20,000/- paid to the accused persons. Husband Pawan Kumar and his parents told the Panchayat that they will return the dowry articles within one or two days when they would visit Gharaunda. These accused persons came to Gharaunda but they tried to persuade the parents of Pinki Rani to agree for divorce of Pinki Rani from Pawan Kumar and then they would return the dowry articles. The respondent finding no alternative to the situation, launched the impugned First Information Report at Police Station Gharaunda on 28.2.1994.

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The petitioners seek the quashing of the impugned First Information Report on the grounds inter alia that a bare perusal of the impugned First Information Report will go to show that no allegations have been made against them regarding the entrustment of the dowry items and about making any demand of dowry and harassing and torturing the respondent-wife Pinki Rani. It has been urged that the main allegations are against the husband Pawan Kumar and their parents Mansa Ram and Smt. Prito. It has been contended that since the impugned First Information Report on the face of it does not disclose the commission of offences punishable under Sections 406 and 498A of the Indian Penal Code against the petitioners, the impugned complaint and the proceedings flowing therefrom in the Court of Judicial Magistrate I Class, Karnal deserve to be quashed. Additionally, it was urged that the cause of action for offences punishable under Sections 406 and 498A of the Indian Penal Code arises at Delhi inasmuch as the property is said to have been entrusted to the husband and in-laws of Pinki Rani at Delhi, the demand for the return of the dowry items was made at Delhi and the harassment and the torture of Pinki Rani for non-fulfilment of dowry also took place at Delhi and as such, the Court at Karnal had no territorial jurisdiction to try the offences.

Notice was issued to Advocate General for the State of Haryana and respondent No. 2-Smt. Pinki Rani, who puts in appearance through Shri Ashit Malik, Advocate, and sought time to file reply. The reply was filed on behalf of respondent No. 2 denying the allegations made in the petition. It has been motioned in the reply/affidavit of Pinki Rani that specific instances of harassment and torture have been mentioned in the First Information Report. The allegations made in the First Information Report qua the petitioner No. 3-Anil Kumar are specific that he used to beat her. Apart from it, there are specific allegations of the demand of a sum of Rs. 20,000/- made by the petitioner No. 3-Anil Kumar. The demand for the return of dowry articles was also made specifically, but the same was not fulfilled.

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I have heard the learned counsel for the petitioners and the learned counsel for the respondents.

Miss Kiran-petitioner No. 1 is the sister of Pawan Kumar-husband of respondent No. 2-Pinki Rani. According to the allegations made in the First Information Report, Ms. Kiran was minor at the time of occurrence. In support of her contention, copy of the birth certificate (Annexure P-3) has been filed which shows the date of birth of Kiran daughter of Mansa Ram as 24.2.1981. The age of the petitioner No. 1 in 1994 was around 13 years and at the time of marriage which took place in June, 1991, she was aged about 10 years and four months. The allegation made in the impugned First Information Report insofar as petitioner No. 1-Kiran is concerned is as under :- “……Not only this, accused No. 5, Smt. Preeto and accused No. 6 Miss Kiran along with Parveen Kumar accused No. 2 used to beat the complainant on very trifle matters….”

It appears inherently improbable that a minor girl, who was aged a little over 10 years at the time of marriage of respondent No. 2-Pinki Rani, would join hands with her mother in assaulting and beating her sister-in-law (Bhabhi). There are no allegations made in the First Information Report about Miss Kiran making any demand of dowry and harassing and torturing the respondent No. 2. There are no allegations of the entrustment of the dowry items to the petitioner No. 1-Kiran. In my considered view, the impugned First Information Report does not prima facie show the involvement of Kiran for offences punishable under Sections 406 and 498A of the Indian Penal Code.

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So far as petitioner No. 2-Parveen Kumar is concerned, he has also been involved only on the general allegations of beating Smt. Pinki Rani along with his mother Smt. Prito for the similar reasons as mentioned in respect of Miss Kiran. The allegations regarding petitioner No. 2-Parveen Kumar joining hands with his mother to beat his Bhabhi does not appear to be probable. There are no other allegations made against petitioner No. 2 Parveen Kumar. There are no allegations made in the First Information Report that Parveen Kumar made any demand of dowry and beat Pinki Rani for non- fulfilment of demand of dowry. Likewise, there is no allegation regarding entrustment of the dowry articles with Parveen Kumar.

So far as the petitioner No. 3 Anil Kumar is concerned, there are, no doubt, allegations against him for demanding dowry, who accompanied his brother Pawan Kumar-husband at Gharaunda and also threatened the father of Pinki Rani. The First Information Report shows prima facie involvement of petitioner No. 3-Anil Kumar for the offences under which the First Information Report has been registered.

In view of the foregoing discussion, this petition succeeds in part and is allowed insofar as Miss Kiran and Parveen Kumar are concerned and the impugned First Information Report and the proceedings flowing therefrom are quashed qua petitioners 1 and 2, i.e., Miss Kiran and Parveen Kumar.

Insofar as the petitioner-Anil Kumar is concerned, it lacks merit and is dismissed.

Petition partly allowed.

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