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Jagjit Singh vs State Of Punjab & Anr on 22 March, 2018

Crl. Misc. No. M-4465 of 2013 (OM) 1

IN THE HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB HARYANA
AT CHANDIGARH

Crl. Misc. No. M-4465 of 2013 (OM)
Date of decision : 22.03.2018

JAGJIT SINGH
……Petitioner(s)

Versus

STATE OF PUNJAB AND ANOTHER
…Respondent(s)

CORAM: HON’BLE MRS. JUSTICE ANITA CHAUDHRY

Present: Mr. T.S. Sangha, Sr. Advocate with
Mr. Narinder Singh, Advocate
for the petitioner.

Mr. Pawan Sharda, Sr. DAG, Punjab.

Ms. Isha Goyal, Advocate
for respondent no.2.

****

ANITA CHAUDHRY, J.

CRM-33903-2015

For the reasons set out in the application, same is allowed as

prayed for. Amended petition and other accompanying documents are

allowed to be taken on record.

MAIN CASE

The instant petition has been filed under Section 482 Cr.P.C.

seeking quashing of FIR No.5 dated 06.01.2012 registered under Sections

498-A, 506 IPC, Police Station Tibber, District Gurdaspur.

The basic facts which are not in dispute are as under:-

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The petitioner is the son-in-law of the complainant-respondent

no.2. This petition has been filed through the attorney. The complainant’s

daughter Rajwinder Kaur was married to the petitioner. The civil ceremony

took place on 17.06.2011. The petitioner was a student while the

complainant’s daughter was living in U.S. even before the civil marriage.

Rajwinder Kaur filed divorce petition in the Superior Court of

California on 25.01.2012. It is apt to mention here that after the civil

ceremony in U.S., the marriage was not consummated nor the couple

stayed together. It was agreed that the couple would stay together after the

nuptials ceremony, which was to take place in India. Both the girl and the

boy came to India. The marriage was fixed for 8th January 2012. The

marriage ceremony was not performed as disputes arose. The FIR was

lodged on 06.01.2012. The same evening the petitioner went abroad.

The complainant’s daughter also returned to U.S. and filed

petition for annulment of the marriage. The petitioner contested the petition

but midway there was an amicable settlement and parties were divorced in

July 2014. The police meantime had filed the challan against the husband

in 2013 on the complaint given by the father-in-law.

I have heard counsel of both the sides.

The counsel for the petitioner contends that the petitioner was

studying in U.S. whereas the complainant’s daughter was a Green Card

holder and it was agreed that they would be married and the civil ceremony

was performed in U.S. and it was agreed that they would start living

together after marriage as per Hindu rites, which was to take place in India.

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It was urged that both the parties travelled to India but then disputes arose

as to who would bear the expenses. It was urged that in the FIR there is a

reference that a joint reception ceremony was to be held and the

complainant has alleged that certain demands with respect to dowry were

made. It was urged that the haste the police had shown in registering the

FIR can be seen as the complaint was given at 6:10 P.M. and the FIR was

registered the same day without even making a preliminary inquiry and

without giving a reasonable opportunity to the respective parties or calling

for their version. It was urged that Rajwinder Kaur had filed a petition

seeking nullity of the marriage on the ground of fraud but that petition was

dismissed as it was found that there was no mis-representation nor there

was any intention to deceive and the superior Court had noted in its

elaborate order that the petitioner had every intention to marry and have a

Indian ceremony and there were exchange of long phone calls and texts in

the intervening period and guests had been invited by both the families

from all over the world, therefore, the Judge of the Supreme Court

dismissed the petition filed by the wife holding that there was no mis-

representation or intention to deceive and the request for annulment of

marriage was denied in 2013. It was urged that mere demand is not enough

and the couple had never lived together and there was no cruelty or

entrustment. It was urged that mere demand of dowry is not an offence

under Section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code and it would be a futile

exercise to direct the trial Court to hold a trial and it would be an abuse of

the process of law. Reliance was placed upon Harmanpreet Singh

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Ahluwalia Ors. Vs. State of Punjab Ors. 2009(2) RCR (Crl.) 956 and

Parveen Kumar Vs. State of Himachal Pradesh 2011(4) RCR (Crl.) 640.

On the other hand, it was urged that the police had

investigated the case and the petitioner had not joined the investigation

and the police had approached the Ministry seeking warrants of arrest. It

was urged that the petitioner had entered into the marriage so that he

could get a permanent visa whereas he had no intention to marry and there

are allegations with respect to demand made by the petitioner and his

family. It was urged that the demand came before marriage and the details

are given in the FIR.

The civil ceremony between the petitioner and complainant’s

daughter was solemnized in U.S. Admittedly, the complainant’s daughter

is a U.S. Citizen. The petitioner at that point of time was studying in U.S.

The parties had agreed that the couple would start living together after the

Hindu religious ceremonies. It is not disputed that the boy and the girl

travelled to India and the initial functions before the wedding were also

arranged. The wedding hall had been booked and the advance payments

had been made by the complainant side. The complainant had alleged that

the petitioner and his family started demanding dowry. The tone and tenor

of the FIR does show that there was a dispute as to who would bear the

expenses for the functions. The complainant had alleged that a list was

given to them with respect to the Milnis and the amount which was to be

handed over at the time of the Milni and the gifts to the relatives.

The FIR also refers to the various demands made and the

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Milni and Shagun demanded at different stages of the wedding

ceremonies. The wedding, however, was called off and did not take place.

The wife had filed for annulment of the marriage and she had alleged that

the husband had played fraud and had no intention to marry. Her plea was

not accepted by the U.S. Courts and detailed reasons have been given in

the order dated 04.06.2013 (Annexure P-3) with the amended petition. It

is not disputed that the wife approached the Courts for divorce which was

not contested and a divorce decree was passed. The marriage was never

consummated.

The question which would arise is whether mere demand is

enough to constitute an offence under Section 498-A IPC. Admittedly,

the demand was not fulfilled nor the marriage ceremony took place nor

the couple had lived together. There are no allegations of cruelty or

harassment related to dowry demand. Mere demand of dowry is not

enough and the prosecution would be obliged to go further, allege and

also prove that there was torture and harassment of the complainant’s

daughter which is missing in this case. The marriage was called off. The

offence would not fall under Section 498-A of IPC.

After carefully considering the facts, I am of the considered

view that the parties had invoked the jurisdiction of the Courts at U.S. in

terms of their matrimonial status and the proceedings were contested

and there was an amicable settlement followed by a divorce decree. The

proclamation proceedings were initiated against the petitioner namely the

declaration under Section 82 Cr.P.C. when he was not in India, therefore,

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the validity of the proclamation is doubtful. It is declared that those

proceedings are nonest and are set aside. In view of the fact situation, the

continuation of the present criminal proceedings would be an abuse of the

process of law. Accordingly, the instant petition is allowed and the

aforesaid FIR and all consequent proceedings conducted on the basis

thereof are quashed.

(ANITA CHAUDHRY)
JUDGE
22.03.2018
sunil

Whether speaking/reasoned : Yes/No

Whether reportable : Yes/No

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