Manoj Kumar Rohila vs Meenakshi And Anr on 5 April, 2017

CRR No.152 of 2017 (OM) 1

IN THE HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB AND HARYANA AT
CHANDIGARH

CRR No.152 of 2017 (OM)
Date of decision: 05.04.2017

Manoj Kumar
….Petitioner
Versus
Meenakshi and another
….Respondents

CORAM: HON’BLE MRS. JUSTICE REKHA MITTAL

Present: Mr. K.D.S. Hooda, Advocate
for the petitioner.

Mr. S.S. Dinarpur, Advocate
for respondent No.1.

Mr. Pawan Garg, AAG, Haryana.

REKHA MITTAL J.

The present petition directs challenge against consistent

findings recorded by the Courts below whereby the petitioner (husband

of the complainant) has been convicted and sentenced for commission

of offence punishable under Sections 498-A and 323 of the Indian Penal

Code, 1860 (in short ‘IPC‘) and a relevant extract from the order of

sentence reads as follows:-

Sr. Under Sections Imprisonment Fine
No.
1. 498-A IPC Simple imprisonment for Rs.500/-
six months
2. 323 IPC Simple imprisonment for ——
three months

Briefly stated, marriage of complainant was solemnized

with the petitioner on 23.01.2003. As per the allegations, Manoj –

husband, Vinay Kumar, Tej Singh, Beermati and Rajbir arrayed as

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accused harassed and tortured the complainant in connection with

demand of a car but father of the complainant gave Rs.50,000/- when

Manoj and Vinay Kumar came to Hisar. The petitioner filed a divorce

petition wherein he refused to accept the male child born on 07.02.2004

as his own son due to which she suffered mental torture.

On appreciation of evidence adduced by the complainant

both in pre-charge and after charge, the learned trial Court recorded a

finding that allegations of demand of dowry have not been proved but

the petitioner is guilty of offence under Section 498-A IPC as conduct

of the petitioner casting aspersions on character of the complainant

amounts to cruelty. In this regard, the trial Court has recorded its

observations in para 30 of the judgment. Eventually, the petitioner was

convicted and sentenced for offence under Sections 498-A and 323 IPC

vide judgment dated 16.05.2013 by the trial Court.

The appeal preferred by the petitioner did not find favour

with the Additional Sessions Judge, Hisar and the judgment of

conviction and order of sentence were affirmed.

Still feeling dis-satisfied, the matter has been carried in

revision before this Court.

Counsel for the petitioner has put a half-hearted effort to

contend that as the allegations qua demand of dowry raised by the

complainant were not accepted to be correct, the petitioner can not be

held guilty of committing offence punishable under Section 498-A IPC

more particularly in the circumstances that the petitioner has already

filed a petition seeking custody of the child and the same is pending

adjudication. In the alternative, counsel would urge that in case the

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findings recorded by the Courts below with regard to conviction are

affirmed, the petitioner may be released on probation. In addition, it is

argued that the substantive sentence awarded to the petitioner may be

reduced to the period already undergone in case his plea for probation

is not accepted.

Counsel for the respondent, on the contrary, has supported

the judgments passed by the Courts below with the submission that the

Courts below have already taken a very lenient view while awarding

sentence for offence punishable under Section 498-A IPC, therefore, no

intervention, in the given circumstances, is warranted. It is argued that

the petitioner committed grave mental cruelty by assassinating

character of the complainant as he refused to accept male child born out

of the wedlock to be his own and such an allegation was raised by the

petitioner in divorce petition filed by him. According to counsel, the

complainant in the divorce proceedings filed an application for

conducting DNA test for ascertaining paternity of the child on the basis

whereof necessary test was conducted and DNA profile of the child

proved that the child is son of the parties to the divorce petition

(divorce proceedings).

Section 498-A IPC deals with husband or relative of

husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty. A relevant extract

therefrom is reproduced hereunder for ready reference:-

“498A. Husband or relative of husband of a woman
subjecting her to cruelty.–Whoever, being the husband or
the relative of the husband of a woman, subjects such
woman to cruelty shall be punished with imprisonment for
a term which may extend to three years and shall also be

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liable to fine.

Explanation.–For the purpose of this section, “cruelty”
means–

(a) any wilful conduct which is of such a nature as is
likely to drive the woman to commit suicide or to cause
grave injury or danger to life, limb or health (whether
mental or physical) of the woman; or

(b) harassment of the woman where such harassment is
with a view to coercing her or any person related to her to
meet any unlawful demand for any property or valuable
security or is on account of failure by her or any person
related to her to meet such demand.”

Clause (a) of explanation appended to Section 498-A IPC

would evident that any wilful conduct of the husband or a relative of

husband which is likely to derive the woman to commit suicide or to

cause grave injury or danger to life, limb or health (whether mental or

physical) of the woman amounts to cruelty for the purpose of Section

498-A.

In the case at hand, the petitioner refused to own the child

born to the complainant/respondent by raising specific allegations in

the petition for divorce that amounts to cruelty as defined in Clause (a)

of explanation to Section 498-A IPC. In this view of the matter, I do not

find any patent error much less illegality to differ with the consistent

findings in exercise of limited revisional jurisdiction.

This brings the Court to plea of the petitioner on the

question of sentence. The petitioner raised allegations assassinating

character of his wife. By denying the child to be his own, he not only

caused cruelty to his wife but also to the child who would know about

his father only through his mother. This apart, the petitioner is a teacher

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and his pupils would be looking forward to learn many good things

including values and ethics from him. In the given scenario, he is not

entitled to benefit of probation.

The appeal was decided by the First Appellate Court on

12.01.2017 and since then petitioner is in custody for the past about 03

months. The marriage of the parties was performed in the year 2003 and

the criminal proceedings were initiated in the year 2004. The petitioner

along with co-accused appeared before the trial Court and were

released on bail on 16.12.2005. Besides the petitioner, his adopted

parents namely Tej Singh and Beermati and his real brother – Vinay

Kumar faced the agony of trial for about 08 years. The allegations

raised by the complainant with regard to demand of dowry and

harassment in connection thereof at the behest of the petitioner and his

family members were found to be false and consequently other accused

were acquitted of the offence charged against them whereas the

petitioner is the only one convicted and sentenced for offence under

Section 498-A IPC. The appeal preferred by the petitioner in the year

2013 culminated in the judgment passed in January, 2017. The

petitioner has faced pangs of criminal trial for the past more than 11

years.

Examined from another angle, even if the petitioner

remains in custody for completing the remaining sentence of 03

months, it would be of no use for the complainant. On the other hand,

the petitioner can be directed to pay some amount towards

compensation to the complainant.

Taking a cumulative view of the facts and circumstances

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discussed hereinbefore, in my considered opinion, interest of justice

would be served if the substantive sentence awarded to the petitioner is

reduced to the period already undergone subject, however, to the

condition that he deposits an amount of Rs.50,000/- with the Chief

Judicial Magistrate, Hisar within a period of one month. In case the

petitioner deposits the amount within the stipulated period, the same

shall be released to the complainant. Failure of the petitioner to deposit

the amount within the stipulated period would entail dismissal of the

petition.

Disposed of accordingly.

(REKHA MITTAL)
JUDGE
05.04.2017
yakub

Whether speaking/reasoned: Yes/No

Whether reportable: Yes/No

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