HIGH COURT OF MADHYA PRADESH : JABALPUR.
S.B : HON’BLE SHRI JUSTICE RAJENDRA KUMAR SRIVASTAVA
Ravikant and others.
Smt. Radhika Kuderiya & another.
Shri Anoop Kumar Saxena, learned counsel for the petitioners.
Shri Sudhir Kumar Sharma, learned counsel for the respondent No.1.
Shri Gulab Singh, Panel Lawyer for the respondent No.2-State.
Accused/petitioners have filed the instant petition under Section 482 of the Cr.P.C. (in short ”the Code”) against the order dated 1.12.2018, passed by I Additional Sessions Judge, Bijawar, District Chhatarpur (MP), in Criminal Revision No.01/2018, whereby learned Judge affirmed the order dated 18.12.2017, passed by Judicial Magistrate First Class, Badamalahra, District Chhatarpur (MP), in Criminal Case No.523/2017, in which learned JMFC took cognizance against the accused/petitioners under Section 498-A of Indian Penal Code (hereinafter referred to as IPC for short).
2. Briefly stated facts of the case, before the trial Court, are that the marriage of complainant/respondent No.1 was solemnized with accused/petitioner No.1 on 26.4.2014. Accused/petitioner No.2 is father-in-law and accused/petitioner No.3 is mother-in-law, accused/ petitioner No.4 is sister-in-law and accused/ petitioner No.5 is brother-in-law of complainant/ respondent No.1. At the time of marriage, accused/petitioners demanded Rs.5 lacs and one Bollero Jeep as dowry. The parents of complainant/respondent No.1 gave Rs.5 lacs and Bollero Jeep as well as other articles of gold and valuable property to the accused/petitioners at the time of marriage. After the marriage, complainant/respondent No.1 went with accused/petitioners at matrimonial home peacefully. Thereafter, accused/petitioners snatched ornaments from her and they tortured and humiliated her. They used to tell her that they want a beautiful wife or daughter-in-law. Complainant/respondent No.1 became pregnant. Accused/ petitioners did not provide proper medical treatment, therefore, she underwent abortion. After some time, accused/ petitioners again pressurised her for pregnancy, but they told her that accused/petitioner No.4 is issueless, so complainant/respondent No.1 delivered a child. Complainant/respondent No.1 was very weak at that time, but she was pressurised for pregnancy by accused/ petitioners. She again became pregnant, but accused/ petitioners did not provide proper medical treatment to her. Thereafter, her father gave her him Rs.1 lakh so that accused/ petitioners may provide proper medical treatment. Thereafter, she delivered a male child on 13.6.2016. Thereafter, accused/ petitioners pressurised to give her child to her sister-in-law, accused/petitioner No.4, but complainant/respondent No.1 refused to accept this proposal, then accused/petitioners humiliated and tortured her. Thereafter, complainant/respondent No.2 left her matrimonial home and she is residing at her father’s home since 1.6.2017, but accused/petitioners went to snatch her child. Accused/petitioner N.1 initiated a proceeding at Parivar Paramarsh Kendra, Chhatarpur. She appeared before Parivar Paramarsh Kendra, Chhatarpur, but accused/petitioners did not sign the proceeding and proceeding was dismissed. Complainant/respondent No.1 lodged a complaint before Superintendent of Police, Tikamgarh, on 29.8.2017 and 25.9.2017, but they did not initiate any proceeding against the accused/petitioners. Thereafter, she filed a complaint before the learned Judicial Magistrate First Class, Badamalahra, District Chhatarpur. Learned JMFC enquired into the matter and took the statements of complainant/respondent No.1 and other witnesses under Sections 200 and 202 of the Code and took cognizance under Section 498-A of IPC against the accused/petitioners. Accused/petitioners filed a Criminal Revision against this order before I Additional Sessions Judge, Bijawar, learned I ASJ Bijawar, dismissed the said revision, then they filed this Misc. Criminal Case.
3: Learned counsel for the accused/petitioners submits that accused/petitioners have been falsely implicated in this case. Accused/petitioners No.2 to 5 are residing separately from accused/petitioner No.1 and they have no nexus with day-to-day family affairs of accused/petitioner No.1. Learned Court below without appreciating the above fact took cognizance against the accused/petitioners No. 2 to 5. There is general allegation against the accused/ petitioners, so no case is made out against the accused/ petitioners under Section 498-A of IPC. Complainant/ respondent No.1 committed cruelty with accused/petitioner No.1 and other accused/petitioners. Complainant/respondent No.1 did not want to reside with accused/petitioner No.1 without any reasonable cause. Complainant/respondent No.1 refused to live with accused/ petitioner No.1 on 30.6.2017. Thereafter, she had gone to her parents house. Thereafter, on 7.3.2018, accused/ petitioners filed a petition under Section 9 of the Hindu Marriage Act for restitution of conjugal rights before the learned Addl. Sessions Judge Bijawar. Apart from this, accused/petitioner No.1 initiated a proceeding before the Incharge Parivar Paramarsh Kendra, Chhatarpur, on 10.7.2017. Complainant/respondent No.1 appeared before the said Addl. Sessions Judge Bijawar and Parivar Paramarsh Kendra, but she refused to reside with accused/ petitioner No.1 and thereafter submitted a false complaint before JMFC Badamalahra. So, it is evident that complainant/respondent No.1 did not want to reside with accused/petitioner No.1 without any reasonable cause and she falsely initiated a criminal proceeding against the accused/ petitioner No.1. Accused/ petitioner No.1 is deprived of love and affection towards his son. He is ready to keep complainant/respondent No.1 with him, so this proceeding is misuse of process of law. Therefore, learned counsel for accused/petitioners prays for setting aside the order of Courts below and quashing the entire proceeding under Complaint Case No.423/2017, pending in the Court of JMFC Badamalahra, under Section 498-A of IPC.
4: Learned counsel for the complainant/respondent No.1 and respondent No.2-State submit that there is prima-facie material which is available on record, therefore, this is not a proper case in which inherent jurisdiction can be invoked and the petition is liable to be dismissed.
5: Heard both the parties and perused the record.
6: This is a case of matrimonial dispute, therefore, it has to be seen as to how to deal with a petition under Section 482 of Cr.P.C. for quashing the FIR and subsequent criminal proceedings.
7: It has been held by the Hon’ble Apex Court in the case of Harshendra Kumar D. Vs. Rehatilata Koley AIR 2011 SC 1090 that controverted documents or material of unimpeachable or sterling character may be considered while exercising jurisdiction under Section 482 of Cr.P.C. It is also clear that this is a case of matrimonial dispute.
8: The Apex Court in the case of Rakhi Mishra Vs. State of Bihar and others reported in AIR 2017 S.C. 4019 has held as under:- “This Court in Sonu Gupta Vs. Deepak Gupak Gupta and ors. (2015) 3 SCC 424, 426: (AIR 2015 SC (Supp) 684) held as follows: “At the stage of cognizance and summoning the Magistrate is required to apply his judicial mind only with a view to take cognizance of the offence to find out whether a prima facie case is made out for summoning the accused persons. At this stage, the Magistrate is not required to consider the defence version or materials or arguments nor he is required to evaluate the merits of the materials or evidence of the complainant, because the Magistrate must not undertake the exercise to find out at this stage whether the materials would lead to conviction or not.”
9: The Apex Court in the case of Kans Raj Vs. State of Punjab and others reported in (2000) 5 SCC 207 has held as under:- “In the light of the evidence in the case we find substance in the submission of the learned counsel for the defence that respondents 3 to 5 were roped in the case only on the ground of being close relations of respondent No.2, the husband of the deceased. For the fault of the husband, the in-laws or the other relations cannot, in all cases, be held to be involved in the demand of dowry. In cases where such accusations are made, the overt acts attributed to persons other than husband are required to be proved beyond reasonable doubt. By mere conjectures and implicationssuch relations cannot be held guilty for the offence relating to dowry deaths. A tendency has, however, developed for roping in all relations of the in-laws of the deceased wives in the matters of dowry deaths which, if not discouraged, is likely to affect the case of the prosecution even against the real culprits. In their over enthusiasm and anxiety to seek conviction for maximum people, the parents of the deceased have been found to be making efforts for involving other relations which ultimately weaken the case of the prosecution even against the real accused as appears to have happened in the instant case.”
10 : The Apex Court in the case of Preeti Gupta & anothers Vs. State of Jharkhand & another reported in AIR 2010 SC 3363 has held as under:- “28. It is a matter of common knowledge that unfortunately matrimonial litigation is rapidly increasing in our country. All the courts in our country including this court are flooded with matrimonial cases. This clearly demonstrates discontent and unrest in the family life of a large number of people of the society. 29. The courts are receiving a large number of cases emanating from Section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code which reads as under:- “498-A. 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 liable to fine. Explanation.–For the purposes of this section,`cruelty’ means:- (a) any willful 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.” 30. It is a matter of common experience that most of these complaints under Section 498-A IPC are filed in the heat of the moment over trivial issues without proper deliberations. We come across a large number of such complaints which are not even bona fide and are filed with oblique motive. At the same time, rapid increase in the number of genuine cases of dowry harassment are also a matter of serious concern.
11 : The Apex Court in the case of Arnesh Kumar Vs. State of Bihar reported in 2014(8) SCC 273 has held as under:- “4. There is phenomenal increase in matrimonial disputes in recent years. The institution of marriage is greatly revered in this country. Section 498-A of the IPC was introduced with avowed object to combat the menace of harassment to a woman at the hands of her husband and his relatives. The fact that Section 498-A IPC is a cognizable and non-bailable offence has lent it a dubious place of pride amongst the provisions that are used as weapons rather than shield by disgruntled wives. The simplest way to harass is to get the husband and his relatives arrested under this provision. In a quite number of cases, bed-ridden grand-fathers and grand- mothers of the husbands, their sisters living abroad for decades are arrested. “Crime in India 2012 Statistics” published by National Crime Records Bureau, Ministry of Home Affairs shows arrest of 1,97,762 persons all over India during the year 2012 for offence under Section 498-A of the IPC, 9.4% more than the year 2011. Nearly a quarter of those arrested under this provision in 2012 were women i.e. 47,951 which depicts that mothers and sisters of the husbands were liberally included in their arrest net. Its share is 6% out of the total persons arrested under the crimes committed under Indian Penal Code. It accounts for 4.5% of total crimes committed under different sections of penal code, more than any other crimes excepting theft and hurt. The rate of charge-sheeting in cases under Section 498-A, IPC is as high as 93.6%, while the conviction rate is only 15%, which is lowest across all heads. As many as 3,72,706 cases are pending trial of which on current estimate, nearly 3,17,000 are likely to result in acquittal. 5. Arrest brings humiliation, curtails freedom and cast scars forever. Law makers know it so also the police. There is a battle between the lawmakers and the police and it seems that police has not learnt its lesson; the lesson implicit and embodied in the Cr.P.C. It has not come out of its colonial image despite six decades of independence, it is largely considered as a tool of harassment, oppression and surely not considered a friend of public. The need for caution in exercising the drastic power of arrest has been emphasized time and again by Courts but has not yielded desired result. Power to arrest greatly contributes to its arrogance so also the failure of the Magistracy to check it. Not only this, the power of arrest is one of the lucrative sources of police corruption. The attitude to arrest first and then proceed with the rest is despicable. It has become a handy tool to the police officers who lack sensitivity or act with oblique motive.”
12 : The Hon’ble Apex Court in the case of Geeta Mehrotra and another v. State of Uttar Pradesh and another reported in (2012) 10 SCC 741 has held as under:- “20. Coming to the facts of this case, when the contents of the FIR are perused, it is apparent that there are no allegations against Kumari Geeta Mehrotra and Ramji Mehrotra except casual reference of their names which have been included in the FIR but mere casual reference of the names of the family members in a matrimonial dispute without allegation of active involvement in the matter would not justify taking cognizance against them overlooking the fact borne out of experience that there is a tendency to involve the entire family members of the household in the domestic quarrel taking place in a matrimonial dispute specially if it happens soon after the wedding.
21. It would be relevant at this stage to take note of an apt observation of this Court recorded G.V. Rao vs. L.H.V. Prasad (2000) 3 SCC 693 wherein also in a matrimonial dispute, this Court had held that the High Court should have quashed the complaint arising out of a matrimonial dispute wherein all family members had been roped into the matrimonial litigation which was quashed and set aside. Their Lordships observed therein with which we entirely agree that: “
12.There has been an outburst of matrimonial dispute in recent times. Marriage is a sacred ceremony, the main purpose of which is to enable the young couple to settle down in life and live peacefully. But little matrimonial skirmishes suddenly erupt which often assume serious proportions resulting in commission of heinous crimes in which elders of the family are also involved with the result that those who could have counselled and brought about rapprochement are rendered helpless on their being arrayed as accused in the criminal case. There are many other reasons which need not be mentioned here for not encouraging matrimonial litigation so that the parties may ponder over their defaults and terminate their disputes amicably by mutual agreement instead of fighting it out in a court of law where it takes years and years to conclude and in that process the parties lose their “young” days in chasing their cases in different courts.”
The view taken by the judges in this matter was that the Courts would not encourage such disputes.”
13 : The Apex Court in the case of State of Haryana and others Vs. Bhajan Lal and others reported in 1992 Supp (1) SCC 335 as held as under:- “102. In the backdrop of the interpretation of the various relevant provisions of the Code under Chapter XIV and of the principles of law enunciated by this Court in a series of decisions relating to the exercise of the extraordinary power under Article 226 or the inherent powers under Section 482 of the Code which we have extracted and reporduced above, we give the following categories of cases by way of illustration wherein such power could be exercised either to prevent abuse of the process of any Court or otherwise to secure the ends of justice, though it may not be possible to lay down any precise, clearly defined and sufficiently channelised and inflexible guidelines or rigid formulae and to give an exhaustive list of myriad kinds of cases wherein such power should be exercised: (1) Where the allegations made in the First Information Report or the complaint, even if they are taken at their face value and accepted in their entirety do not prima facie constitute any offence or make out a case against the accused; (2) Where the allegations in the First Information Report and other materials, if any, accompanying the F.I.R. do not disclose a cognizable offence, justifying an investigation by police officers under Section 156(1) of the Code except under an order of a Magistrate within the purview of Section 155(2) of the Code; (3) Where the uncontroverted allegations made in the FIR or ‘complaint and the evidence collected in support of the same do not disclose the commission of any offence and make out a case against the accused; (4) where the allegations in the FIR do not constitute a cognizable offence but constitute only a non-cognizable offence, no investigation is permitted by a police officer without an order of a Magistrate as contemplated under Section 155(2) of the Code; (5) Where the allegations made in the FIR or complaint are so absurd and inherently improbable on the basis of which no prudent person can ever reach a just conclusion that there is sufficient ground for proceeding against the accused. (6) Where there is an express legal bar engrafted in any of the provisions of the Code or the concerned Act (under which a criminal proceeding is instituted) to the institution and continuance of the proceedings and/or where there is a specific provision in the Code or the concerned Act, providing efficacious redress for the grievance of the aggrieved party. (7) Where a criminal proceeding is manifestly attended with mala fide and/or where the proceeding is maliciously instituted with an ulterior motive for wreaking vengeance on the accused and with a view to spite him due to private and personal grudge.“
14 : In the light of aforesaid legal position. I would proceed to decide this petition.
15 : Accused/petitioners produced the copy of complaint which has been submitted by him before the Parivar Paramarsh Kendra, Chhatarpur, on 10.7.2017. He alleged in this complaint that complainant/respondent No.1 is living separately without any reasonable cause and also he suspected about her character, thereafter proceeding was registered. Complainant/respondent No.1 appeared before the Parivar Paramarsh Kendra, Chhatarpur. She deposed before the Parivar Paramarsh Kendra, Chhatarpur, that accused/petitioner No.1 has relation with another girl. Accused/petitioner No.1 committed cruelty with her. Accused/petitioners did not provide proper medical treatment at the time of her pregnancy and accused/ petitioner No.3 also committed cruelty with her, so she left her matrimonial home. Her father provided medical treatment. Thereafter, her brother-in-law came at her parental house and she had come with him. Then she lived with accused/petitioner No.1. All other family members had gone to Village. Thereafter, accused/petitioner No.1 committed cruelty with her. Accused/petitioner No.1 did not maintain her properly. She wanted that her mother-in- law, sister-in-law and brother-in-law may appear before the Parivar Paramarsh Kendra. They should take responsibility that complainant/respondent No.1 would be safe in matrimonial home. Thereafter, learned Member of Parivar Paramarsh Kendra found that both the parties are not living with each other, so they may solve the matter through the Court. These documents are uncontroverted documents, so these documents can be considered in this proceedings.
16 : It is evident that complainant/respondent No.1 alleged general allegation about demand of dowry, cruelty and humiliation against all accused/petitioners. Accused/ petitioner No.1 is the husband of complainant/respondent No.1. Complainant/respondent No.1 alleged the act of cruelty against accused/petitioner No.1. She alleged the act of cruelty against the accused/petitioner No.1 before Parivar Paramarsh Kendra Chhatarpur, so act of cruelty will be investigated during the trial. Although, learned counsel for accused/petitioners submits that complainant/ respondent No.1 is residing separately without any reasonable cause, complainant/respondent No.1 has deprived the accused/petitioner No.1 of love and affection of a child. Accused/petitioner No.1 is ready to keep complainant/respondent No.1 with him, so he filed a petition under Section 9 of the Hindu Marriage Act and also initiated a proceeding before Parivar Paramarsh Kendra, Chhatarpur, but complainant/respondent No.1 refused to life with accused/petitioner No.1 without any reasonable cause and lodged a false complaint, but all these facts will be investigated during the trial. So, it is not a proper case in which inherent jurisdiction can be invoked with regard to accused/petitioner No.1. Accused/petitioner No.1 is the husband of complainant/respondent No.1. Complainant/ respondent No.1 alleged various acts of cruelty against accused/petitioner No.1, so the petition is liable to be dismissed with regard to accused/petitioner No.1.
17 : So far as accused/petitioner Nos. 2 to 5 are concerned, accused/petitioner No.2 is father-in-law, accused/ petitioner No.3 is mother-in-law, accused/ petitioner No.4 is sister-in-law and accused/petitioner No.5 is brother-in-law of complainant/respondent No.1. Complainant/respondent No.1 also stated before the Parivar Paramarsh Kendra, Chhatarpur, that lastly, accused/ petitioner No.5 came to her parents house and he brought her at matrimonial home and she lived with accused/petitioner No.1 and all other family members had gone in another house of village. So, it is evident that lastly respondent No.1 lived with accused/petitioner No.1. During this period, some dispute arose against the accused/petitioner No.1 and complainant/respondent No.1. Thereafter, complainant/respondent No.1 left her matrimonial house and she had gone to her parents house. Complainant/respondent No.1 did not allege any specific incident and act of cruelty against accused/petitioners No. 2 to 5. There are general allegations against accused/ petitioners No. 2 to 5. She did not allege any act of demand of dowry against accused/petitioner Nos. 2 to 5 before the Parivar Paramarsh kendra, Chhatarpur. So, it appears that accused/petitioners No. 2 to 5 have been implicated in malafide manner in this case on account of being family members of accused/petitioner No.1. Therefore, proceeding initiated against accused/petitioners No. 2 to 5 is abuse of process of law, so this is a proper case in which inherent jurisdiction can be invoked with regard to accused/petitioners No. 2 to 5.
18: Accordingly, the M.Cr.C. stands partly allowed. The present petition filed by accused/petitioner No.1 stands dismissed and so far as it relates to accused/petitioners No. 2 & 5, order dated 1.12.2018, passed by I Additional Sessions Judge, Bijawar, District Chhatarpur (MP), in Criminal Revision No.01/2018 and proceeding of Complaint Case No.523/2017, pending in the Court of JMFC for offence under Section under Sections 498-A of IPC, stands quashed.
(RAJENDRA KUMAR SRIVASTAVA) JUDGE