Jurisdiction and Vague allegations, 498a quashed

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JHARKHAND AT RANCHI

Cr.M.P.No. 70 of 2002

1. Shashi Kumar Verma.
2. Raj Kumar Prasad.
3. Raj Kumar Srivastava.
4. Sanjay Kumar Sinha.
5. Smt. Sanju Verma.
6. Smt. Kiran Sinha.
7. Smt. Muni Srivastava. … … … …Petitioners
-Versus-
1. The State of Jharkhand.
2. Smt. Sandhya Rani. … … … …Opp.Parties

CORAM: THE HONE’BLE MR. JUSTICE D.N.UPADHYAY

For the Petitioners: Mr. P.S.Dayay, Advocate.
For the State: A.P.P.

This  Cr.M.P.  has  been  filed  for  quashing  the  order  dated

18.04.2000 passed by Smt. Reeta Mishra, Judicial Magistrate, 1st Class, Dhanbad in Complaint Case No. 386/1995 whereby the petitioners have been directed to face trial for the offences punishable under Sections 498A/323 of the Indian Penal Code and accordingly, they were directed to be summoned.

The facts in brief is that the complainant namely, Smt. Sandhya Rani was married with Ashok Kumar Verma on 15.02.1989 according to Hindu rites and customs. After the marriage she had started living with her husband and in-laws at Patna. The husband of the complainant died on 06.09.1994 and after that the complainant came back to Dhanbad to her parents house. The complainant again went back to her matrimonial home but she was not welcomed and subjected to torture and assault by her father-in-law and relatives of her husband. She came back to Dhanbad and lodged a complaint vide C.P. Case No. 386/1995. Enquiry was conducted and the learned Magistrate after considering the statement of complainant recorded on S.A. and the statement of witnesses examined during enquiry passed the impugned order directing the petitioners and other accused to face trial. It is necessary to mention that initially the learned C.J.M. did not take cognizance and dismissed the complaint for want of jurisdiction. Thereafter the complainant preferred Cr.Misc. Petition No. 534/1996(R) before the High Court of Judicature at Patna (Ranchi Bench). The order dated 30.08.1995 passed by the learned C.J.M. Dhanbad was set aside and the matter was remanded back to the court-below and after that the learned Magistrate, Smt. Reeta Mishra passed the order impugned.
It is submitted that place of occurrence was at Patna is not in dispute but the complaint has been filed at Dhanbad. Learned Counsel has
brought to the notice of this Court that after filing of the complaint, the complainant got herself married with Nitya Nand Prasad Lala on 4.6.1997 and from that date her second conjugal life commenced.

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It is submitted that this Court has considered Section 179 of the Cr.P.C. and held that offence though committed at Patna but consequences ensued at Dhanbad because the complainant was suffering with mental agony. In this context, judgment reported in 2008 (XI) S.C.C.

“Bhura Ram Ors. Vrs. State of Rajasthan Anr.” has been It is argued that offence punishable under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code is not continuing offence and, therefore, the place of occurrence will be the place for criminal prosecution.
Learned Counsel has further submitted that complaint was filed against 13 accused but cognizance has been taken only against original accused no. 1 to 10 and out of those accused, father-in-law accused no.1 and two other accused i.e. accused no.2 and accused no.5 are now no more in this world. The petitioners before this court are two married sister-in-law and their husband one Gotni and her husband and son of sister-in-law. These petitioners have nothing to do with the domestic affairs prevailing in the house of the husband of the complainant because they had been living separately in mess and kitchen with their family members. Furthermore, vague statement regarding occurrence has been given in the complaint. She has stated that she was subjected to torture and assault while she had been to her matrimonial home. It is not specifically indicated whether these petitioners were present in the house at that point of time or not. No specific overt act committed by any of the petitioner has been disclosed by the complainant in her S.A. At this juncture, learned Counsel has referred the judgment reported in 2013(1) J.L.J.R. S.C. 115 “Geeta Mehrotra Anr. Vrs. State of U.P. Anr.”and submitted that the complainant had started living peacefully with her new husband since the year 1997 and that clearly indicates that now she is not suffering under any mental agony due to the torture, if any, committed on her by her in-laws after the death of her husband.
In the circumstances stated above, the order impugned is liable to be quashed.
Learned Counsel appearing for the complainant-opposite party has submitted that point of jurisdiction has already been decided by this Court in Cr.M.P.No.534/1996(R) and therefore question of jurisdiction cannot be discussed again in this Cr.M.P. The complainant has knocked the door of the Court for seeking justice for the occurrence which had taken place on 6.9.1994 and onwards. She was subjected to torture and assault
3.

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by her father-in-law and relatives of her husband and that too after the death of her husband. If the offence was committed, wrong doer are liable to be punished. There is no merit in this Cr.M.P. and the same is liable to be dismissed.

I have gone through the documents and record placed before me. The Hon’ble Supreme Court has held for the offence punishable u/s 498A I.P.C., the Court within whose jurisdiction the offence is committed will have the jurisdiction to try the offence and the offence u/s 498A I.P.C. is not a continuing offence.

In the present case, the complainant admits that occurrence had taken place at Patna. The important aspect which I would like to consider in the present case is that the complainant got herself married within two years from the date of filing of the complaint case and since then she has been living peacefully with her new husband. It is not reported that after she got herself re-married any untoward at the hands of any of the petitioner has ever taken place. It is also required to be considered that all the petitioners are living separately since prior to the date of occurrence and the complainant has not specifically averted that any of them were present on the date of incident and they committed any overt act.

Considering all these aspect and the judgment cited above, I feel inclined to allow this Cr.M.P. and accordingly order dated 18.04.2000 passed by Smt. Reeta Mishra, Judicial Magistrate, 1st Class, Dhanbad in C.P. Case No. 386/1995 stands set aside and the prosecution arising out of complaint case against these petitioners stands quashed.

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[D.N.Upadhyay,J.]

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