Suresh Kumar Meena vs State & Anr on 22 January, 2018

HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE FOR RAJASTHAN AT
JODHPUR
S.B. Criminal Misc(Pet.) No. 645 / 2017
Suresh Kumar Meena S/o Shri Ramratan Meena, Aged About 47
Years, By Caste Meena, R/o Bichali Patti, Village Post And Tehsil
Bamanwas, District Sawai Madhopur, Allottee of Quarter No. D-3,
Aakashwani Colony, Bikaner, Presently R/o D-618, Murlidhar Vyas
Colony, Bikaner. Presently Posted As Dy. Director (Engg.), All India
Radio, Bikaner.

—-Petitioner
Versus

1. State of Rajasthan

2. Shivangi Meena D/o Ramdhanlal Meena, By Caste Meena, R/o
Dalanpur, Tehsil Hindaun City, District Karauli (Raj.) Also At A-37,
Dayalbagh Colony, Near Lakkadpur, Faridabad (Haryana) and At B-
31, Green Vally, Sector 41-42, Gurukul Road, Faridabad
(Haryana). Presently At Q. No. D-3, Aakashwani Colony, Sector-5,
JNV Colony, Bikaner.

—-Respondents
__
For Petitioner(s) : Mr. Vivek Shrimali
For Respondent(s) : Mr. Vikram Singh Rajpurohit, P.P.

Mr. Sushil Solanki
__
HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE SANDEEP MEHTA
Order
22/01/2018

By way of this petition under Section 482 CrPC, the

petitioner herein has approached this court for challenging the

order dated 04.04.2016 passed by learned Judicial Magistrate

No.3, Bikaner in connection with FIR No.34/2014 registered at

Mahila Police Station Bikaner taking cognizance against him for

the offences under Sections 498-A and 406 of the IPC as affirmed

by the order dated 19.12.2016 passed by the learned Additional

Sessions Judge, (Women Atrocities Cases), Bikaner in revision.

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Facts in brief are that the respondent complainant

submitted an FIR at the Mahila Police Station, Bikaner on

14.12.2014 alleging inter alia that she was married to the present

petitioner on 12.05.1998 in Village Patti Khurd, Tehsil Bamanwas,

District Sawaimadhopur with Hindu rites and ceremonies. A son

was born from the wedlock of the petitioner and the complainant,

who is under the complainant’s guardianship. The complainant

alleged that right after her marriage, the petitioner and his family

members started harassing and humiliating her on account of

demand of dowry in form of cash and other valuables. In the year

2006, the petitioner thrashed the complainant and turned her out

of the matrimonial home while retaining all her Stridhan articles.

Upon this, the complainant was forced to live with her father at

Delhi. The complainant’s father tried to mediate and resolve the

disputes which had arisen between the spouses, but his efforts

proved futile. Citing the reason of inability to maintain herself and

her son, the complainant filed an application under Section 125 of

the CrPC in competent court at Delhi and by way of counter-blast,

the petitioner Suresh Kumar allegedly filed numerous false cases

against the complainant and her father at Rajasthan. The

complainant came to know that the petitioner had contracted a

second marriage with a widow named Anita Meena, resident of

Bikaner. On coming to know of all these facts, she went to

Bikaner and tried to enter the matrimonial home. However, her

husband, the present petitioner, misbehaved with the complainant

and threatened that she would not be allowed to step into the

matrimonial home unless she brought a Skoda car and a huge
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cash amount from her father and until she withdrew the cases

filed by her. On 13.12.2014, the complainant, her son Dhimant

and her parents went to the office of the petitioner and tried to

appease him, but the petitioner bluntly repelled their endeavour

stating that his parents and his second wife were not agreeable to

the proposal of their staying together and that in case, a sum of

Rs.5 lacs and a Skoda car were given to him, he could consider

keeping the complainant and her son in the Village Bamanwas.

However, he bluntly stated that only his second wife would reside

with him. The complainant demanded return of her Stridhan

artilces, but the petitioner Suresh Kumar outrightly refused.

On the basis of this report, an FIR No.34/2014 came to

be registered against the petitioner for the offences under Section

498, 406, 323 and 494 of the IPC at the Mahila Police Station,

Bikaner. The Investigating Officer, while conducting investigation

collected copies of the documents pertaining to numerous

litigations pending inter se between the parties and upon a critical

analysis thereof, it came to light that the complainant Shivangi

was drawing a sum of Rs.11,000/- per month from the petitioner

as maintenance under the order passed by the competent court at

Delhi under Section 125 CrPC and the petitioner was regularly

making payment of the said maintenance amount. The accused

petitioner had filed an application in the court of Civil Judge,

Bamanwas for restitution of conjugal rights way back in the year

2007, however, the complainant filed an application in the

Supreme Court and got the matter transferred to Delhi. The

matrimonial rift was carried to the Meena community Panchayat,
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Bamanwas in the year 2011 at the petitioner’s instance and the

Panchayat customarily dissolved the marriage of the complainant

and the petitioner by a resolution dated 27.02.2011. The

petitioner filed a suit for declaration in the Court of learned Civil

Judge, Bamanwas praying that the marriage between the

petitioner and the complainant may be declared as null and void in

view of the Panchayat resolution/decision dated 27.02.2011. The

said suit was contested by the complainant and the civil court

decreed the suit on 10.11.2016. A copy of the judgment as well

as the decree has been filed on record of this miscellaneous

petition by the petitioner.

The police, after thorough investigation of the case,

filed a negative final report in the matter with a conclusion that

the complainant and the petitioner were living separately since

long and no significant interaction took place between them from

the year 2006 onwards. The complainant was getting

maintenance to the tune of Rs.11,000/- per month from the

petitioner. The complainant tried to forcibly enter into the

Government quarter of the petitioner, on which the petitioner

lodged a criminal case against her, of which the competent court

took cognizance. On these conclusions and recording that the

offences alleged were not found to be proved against the

petitioner, a negative final report was filed by the Investigating

Officer in the court concerned.

Being aggrieved of the negative report, the respondent

complainant submitted a protest petition, which came to be

accepted by learned Judicial Magistrate No.3, Bikaner by order
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dated 04.04.2016 and cognizance was taken against the petitioner

for the offences under Sections 406 and 498-A of the IPC. The

said order taking cognizance was challenged by the petitioner by

way of a revision, which was rejected as stated above, by the

order dated 19.12.2016; hence, this miscellaneous petition.

Learned counsel Mr. Vivek Shrimali, representing the

petitioner, vehemently urged that the proceedings sought to be

taken against the petitioner under the impugned orders amount to

a gross abuse of process of law. He urged that the complainant is

living separately from the petitioner from the year 2006 onwards

when the matrimonial relations between the two turned sour. The

petitioner tried his level best to restore the matrimony by filing an

application for restitution of conjugal rights in the competent court

at Bamanwas, Alwar but the complainant frustrated the said

attempt of the petitioner by getting the proceedings transferred to

Delhi. She filed an application under Section 125 of the CrPC and

is drawing maintenance at the rate of Rs.11,000/- per month for

herself and for the minor son from the petitioner. The community

Panchayat annulled the marriage of the petitioner and the

complainant vide resolution dated 27.02.2011 as per the

applicable usages and customs. Neither the complainant nor her

representative appeared before the Panchayat despite receiving

notice of the proceedings. The resolution of the Panchayat passed

in accordance with the customs applicable to the parties received

the seal of approval from the civil court in a contested civil suit, in

which, a decree was passed holding the Panchayat’s resolution to

be valid and also dissolving marriage of the parties by judgment
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dated 10.11.2016. He, thus, urged that allowing continuance of

these criminal proceedings against the petitioner is nothing short

of a gross abuse of process of law and implored the court to quash

and set aside the orders impugned.

Per contra, Mr. Sushil Solanki, learned counsel

representing the respondent complainant vehemently opposed the

arguments advanced by petitioner’s counsel. He urged that the

decision of the Panchayat has no sanctity in the eye of law and the

marital status of the petitioner and the complainant still subsists.

The petitioner, in addition to neglecting the complainant also

harassed and humiliated her on account of demand of dowry. The

complainant’s father could not satisfy the unreasonable demands

and greed of the accused and consequently, the complainant was

beaten and turned out of the matrimonial home in the year 2006

and since then she is being forced to live a life of destitution. The

petitioner managed to procure a manipulated decision of

dissolution of marriage from the Panchayat. He further submitted

that the Stridhan articles of the complainant were not returned to

her despite repeated demands and as such, this court should not

feel persuaded to exercise its inherent powers so as to interfere in

the well-reasoned orders passed by the courts below.

I have heard and appreciated the arguments advanced

by learned counsel representing the parties and have gone

through the impugned orders and other documents placed on

record. It is a common ground between the parties that the

litigating spouses are living separately since the year 2006

onwards, when the complainant was allegedly turned out of the
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matrimonial home by the accused petitioner. Though the

complainant tried to portray in her highly belated FIR that she

managed to re-enter the matrimonial home in the year 2012 and

was again turned out, but the said allegation prima facie appears

to be false and seems to have been concocted just with the aim of

somehow justifying the highly belated and vindictive prosecution.

Launched as late as in the year 2014. The fact regarding the

marriage of the parties having been dissolved by the community

Panchayat by way of a resolution dated 27.02.2011 on the basis of

the customs applicable to them has received the stamp of

approval with the judgment-cum-decree dated 10.11.2016 passed

by learned Civil Judge – cum – Judicial Magistrate, Bamanwas.

Thus, ex facie this court is of the opinion that the highly belated

FIR lodged by the complainant against the petitioner was filed with

plain and simple intention of wreaking vengeance and nothing

else.

Otherwise also, the offences under Sections 498-A and

406 of the IPC carry a maximum sentence of 3 years. As per

Section 468 CrPC, the starting point for calculating limitation for a

valid prosecution of such offences would begin from the last act of

cruelty alleged to have been committed by the husband or his

relatives on the wife. Admittedly, the complainant was turned out

of her matrimonial home way back in the year 2006 and as a

corollary thereto, the highly belated prosecution launched by the

complainant in the year 2014 for the offences under Sections 498-

A and 406 of the IPC is palpably bad in the eye of law as the same
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is hopelessly barred by limitation provided under Section 468 of

the CrPC.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court has clearly laid down a

cardinal principle in the case of Arun Vyas Anr. Vs. Anita

Vyas reported in AIR 1999 SC 2071 that unless the delay is

condoned by the court for valid reasons, prosecution for the

offences under Sections 406 and 498-A of the IPC has to be

governed by limitation provided under Section 468 CrPC, which

would start running from the last incident of cruelty allegedly

committed on the wife. As admittedly, in the case at hand, the

spouses never resided together after the year 2006 as a necessary

consequence, the last date of cruelty, if at all, would relate back to

the said period; hence, the prosecution case, apart from being

false, fabricated and malafide is also hopelessly barred by

limitation.

The Investigating Officer conducted thorough

investigation into the matter and gave a negative final report

detailing strong grounds and assigning cogent reasons for

discarding the complainant’s case. Neither the trial court nor the

revisional court adverted to these conclusions and findings while

considering the matter and failed to adjudicate the issues in the

correct perspective.

In view of the discussion made hereinabove, this court is

duly satisfied with the argument advanced by Mr. Shrimali, learned

counsel for the petitioner, that the prosecution lodged by the

complainant against the petitioner by way of the FIR registered at
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the Mahila Police Station, Bikaner in the year 2014 amounts to a

gross abuse of the process of law.

As a consequence of the above discussion, the instant

miscellaneous petition deserves to be and is hereby allowed. The

impugned order dated 04.04.2016 passed by learned Judicial

Magistrate No.3, Bikaner, whereby cognizance was taken for the

offences under Sections 498-A and 406 IPC and so also the order

dated 19.12.2016 passed by the learned Additional Sessions

Judge (Woman Atrocities Cases), Bikaner in revision affirming the

Magistrate’s order and all proceedings sought to be taken

thereunder, against the petitioner are hereby quashed and set

aside.

(SANDEEP MEHTA),J.

Pramod

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