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Wife dragged 80 & 90 Yrs distant relatives in Dowry – 498A Quashed against entire family

IN THE HIGH COURT OF GUJARAT AT AHMEDABAD CRIMINAL MISC.APPLICATION
(FOR QUASHING & SET ASIDE FIR/ORDER) NO. 9064 of 2015

CHIRAG GIRISHBHAI MEHTA & 7….Applicant(s)
Versus
VILSUBEN CHIRAGBHAI MEHTA & 1….Respondent(s)

Appearance: DELETED for the Applicant(s) No. 1
MR UMESH A TRIVEDI, ADVOCATE for the Applicant(s) No. 2 – 8
NOTICE SERVED for the Respondent(s) No. 1 MS. PATHAK, ADDL. PUBLIC PROSECUTOR for the Respondent(s) No. 2

CORAM: HONOURABLE MR.JUSTICE J.B.PARDIWALA
Date : 11/01/2017
ORAL JUDGMENT

1. Although the respondent No.1-original first informant has been served with the notice issued by this Court, yet she has chosen not to remain present either in person or through an advocate and oppose this application.

2. Rule returnable forthwith. Ms. Pathak, the learned APP, waives service of notice of rule for and on behalf of the respondent No.2.

3. 3. By this application under Section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, the applicants seek to invoke the inherent powers of this Court praying for quashing of the first information report being II-C.R. No.7 of 2015 registered with the Mahila Police Station, Bhavnagar for the offence punishable under sections 498A, 504, 506(2), 323 read with section 114 of the Indian Penal Code and sections 3 and 7 of the Dowry Prohibition Act.

4. On 25th June, 2015, the following order was passed;

“Mr.Umesh A. Trivedi, learned advocate for the applicant states, upon instructions, that he does not press the application qua applicant No.1-Chirag Girishbhai Mehta, husband of respondent No.2-Complainant. He prays for permission to withdraw the application qua applicant No.1. He is permitted to do so. The application qua applicant No.1 stands withdrawn. The application survives only with respect to applicants Nos.2 to 8.
Heard the learned advocate for the applicant.
It is submitted that applicants Nos.4 and 5 reside separately at Mumbai from applicants Nos.1 to 3 who are husband, mother-in-law and father-in-law of respondent No.2. Applicants Nos.6 to 8 reside at Bhavnagar. However, all the family members have been roped in on the basis of general allegations which do not constitute the offence under Section-498A of the Indian Penal Code. Issue Notice returnable on 22.07.2015.
Ms.Chetna M. Shah, learned Additional Public Prosecutor waives service of notice for respondent No.2. No coercive action be taken against applicants Nos.2 to 8, till then.”

5. Thus, it appears that this application was not pressed so far as the applicant No.1, I.e. the husband is concerned. It appears that since this Court declined to entertain this application so far as the husband is concerned, the investigation proceeded against him and charge-sheet was filed, which culminated in the Criminal Case No.8072 of 2015 pending in the court of the learned 12th Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Bhavnagar. The husband was put to trial and, ultimately, vide judgment and order dated 22nd December, 2016 passed by the Trial Court, he came to be acquitted of all the offences. The copy of the judgment and order passed by the Trial Court is placed on record. It appears that the learned APP is not sure whether any acquittal appeal has been filed by the State against the judgment and order of acquittal or any appeal has been filed by the original first informant.

6. In such circumstances referred to above, I am now left with to consider the case so far as the applicants Nos.2,3,4,5,6,7 and 8 are concerned.

7. The case of the first informant is as under;

7.1 The applicant No.2 is the mother-in-law, the applicant No.3 is the father-in-law, the applicant No.4 is the brother of the father-in-law, the applicant No.5 is the son of the brother of the father-in-law, the applicant No.6 is the sister-in-law, the applicant No.7 is the husband of the sister-in-law and the applicant No.8 is the aunt of the husband of the first informant

7.2 In the first information report, it has been stated that the first informant got married to Chiragbhai Girishbhai Mehta on 4 th December, 2007. As usual, it appears that soon after the marriage, matrimonial disputes cropped up between the husband and wife. The first informant has levelled general, vague and sweeping allegations of harassment and demand of dowry.
8. Mr. Trivedi, the learned counsel appearing for the applicants would submit that in the wake of the acquittal of the husband by the Trial Court, nothing survives in the matter. If the allegations against the husband could not be established, how is the wife going to establish the case against the other applicants, who are none other than the distant and near relatives of the husband

9. In such circumstances referred to above, Mr. Trivedi prays that there being merit in this application, the same be allowed and the first information report be quashed.

10. On the other hand, this application has been vehemently opposed by Ms. Pathak, the learned APP appearing for the State.

11. . The learned APP would submit that the plain reading of the first information report, prima facie, discloses the commission of cognizable offence. According to her, there are allegations of harassment levelled by the wife against one and all. She would submit that this Court may not embark upon an inquiry whether the allegations are true or false or whether they are reliable or not. She would further submit that the acquittal of the husband, by itself, is no ground to quash the first information report so far as the other co-accused are concerned.

12. She prays that there being no merit in this application, the same be rejected.

13. Having heard the learned counsel appearing for the parties and having considered the materials on record, the only question that falls for my consideration is whether the first information report should be quashed so far as the applicants are concerned.

14. In my view, this is one more matter, wherein the wife has shown the tendency to implicate as many persons of the husband’s family. It appears that she has spread none. The applicant No.4 happens to be the brother of her father-inlaw,aged 88 years. The applicants Nos.6 and 7 are residing at Bhavnagar. The applicant No.8 is a lady, aged 78 years and happens to be a distant relative of the husband. The allegations against these applicants are of instigation.

15. As stated above, the trial proceeded against the husband and the prosecution failed. If that be so, putting the applicants herein to trial will be nothing but travesty of justice.

16. In such circumstances referred to above, this application succeeds and is hereby allowed. The first information report being II-C.R. No.7 of 2015 registered with the Mahila Police Station, Bhavnagar is hereby quashed. Rule is made absolute to the aforesaid extent. Direct service is permitted.

(J.B.PARDIWALA, J.)

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