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Wrong prosecute in-laws under dowry law if they don’t reside with couple

HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE FOR RAJASTHAN AT JODHPUR

S.B. Criminal Misc(Pet.) No. 1842/2020

Komal Narang S/o Shyamlal Narang, Aged About 29 Years, By
Caste Arora, R/o Plot No. 9-10, Daara Colony Ward No. 14, Near Chandigarh Hospital, Hanumangarh (Raj.).—-Petitioner

Versus

1. State Of Rajasthan, Through P.p.

2. Shefali W/o Komal Narang D/o Pradeep Sachdeva S/o
Madan Lal, By Caste Arora, R/o 85-86, Prem Nagar,
Sri Ganganagar. Presently Residing At 9G Tower Grand Rama 9, 10Th Floor, Rama 9Rd, Huay Kwang, Bankok, Thailand 10310

3. Pradeep Sachdeva S/o Madan Lal, By Caste Arora,
R/o 85-86, Prem Nagar, Sri Ganganagar.—-Respondents

Connected With S.B. Criminal Misc(Pet.) No. 503/2020

1. Manju Bala W/o Shyamlal Narang, Aged About 55 Years,
By Caste Arora, R/o Plot No. 9-10, Daara Colony Ward No. 14 Near Chandigarh Hospital Hanumangarh (Raj.).

2. Shyamlal Narang S/o Kashiram, Aged About 60 Years,
By Caste Arora, R/o Plot No. 9-10, Daara Colony Ward No.14 Near Chandigarh Hospital Hanumangarh (Raj.).—-Petitioners

Versus

1. State, Through P.p.

2. Shefali W/o Komal Narang D/o Pradeep Sachdeva S/o Madan Lal,
By Caste Arora, R/o 85-86, Prem Nagar, Sri Ganganagar.
Presently Residing At 9G Tower Grand Rama 9, 10Th Floor, Rama 9Rd, Huay Kwang, Bankok, Thailand 10310

3. Predeep Sachdeva S/o Madan Lal, By Caste Arora, R/o 85-86, Prem Nagar, Sri Ganganagar.—-Respondents

For Petitioner(s) : Mr. Hardev Singh Sidhu Kharlia,Senior Advocate assisted by
Dr. R.D.S.S. Kharlia
Mr. Deepender Rajpurohit
Ms. Kinjal Purohit
For Respondent(s) : Mr. Mahipal Bishnoi PP
Mr. C.S. Kotwani
Mr. Deepak Kankar

HON’BLE DR. JUSTICE PUSHPENDRA SINGH BHATI

Judgment

Reserved on 16/08/2021
Pronounced on 01/09/2021

1. In wake of second surge in the COVID-19 cases, abundant caution is being maintained, while hearing the matters in Court, for the safety of all concerned.

2. These criminal misc. petitions under Section 482 Cr.P.C. have been preferred seeking quashing of FIR No.117/2019 registered at Police Station Mahila Thana, Sriganganagar, District Sriganganagar and the entire proceedings in furtherance of the same, for the offences under Sections 406, 498-A, 313 & 377 IPC against the present petitioners.

3. S.B. Criminal Misc. Petition No.1842/2020 has been preferred by Komal Narang (hereinafter also referred to as ‘petitioner-husband’), who is husband of complainant/respondent No.2-Shefali (hereinafter also referred to as ‘complainant-wife’).

S.B. Criminal Misc. Petition No.503/2020 has been preferred by Manju Bala – mother-in-law of the complainant – and Shyamlal Narang – father-in-law of the complainant – (hereinafter also referred to as ‘in-laws’).

4. Brief facts of this case, as noticed by this Court, are that the present petitioner-husband and the complainant-wife got married, as per the Hindu rituals, on 13.12.2015 at Hanumangarh. The couple thereafter, moved to Bangkok (Thailand) and stayed there together for some time. However, thereafter, matrimonial conflict arose between them, which led to lodging of the present FIR bearing No.117/2019 dated 01.06.2019 at Police Station Mahila Thana, Sriganganagar, District Srigangangagar for the offences under Sections 406, 498-A, 313 & 377 IPC, quashing whereof has been sought in the present petitions.

5. Mr. Hardev Singh Sidhu Kharlia, learned Senior Counsel assisted by Dr. R.D.S.S. Kharlia, for the petitioners has made submissions pertaining to both the present petitions filed on behalf of husband, mother-in-law and father-in-law, respectively, of the complainant/respondent No.2.

6. Learned Senior Counsel for the petitioners submitted that on a bare reading of the FIR itself, the offence against the present petitioner-husband is not made out.

7. Learned Senior Counsel for the petitioners further submitted that the offence is also not made out against the old aged and ill parents of the complainant’s husband, and the impugned FIR was lodged only with a view to harass them.

8. Learned Senior Counsel for the petitioners also submitted that the role of the petitioners (in-laws of the complainant) cannot be said to be such, which can suggest that they were the perpetrators of the allegations concerned, as they were residing at Hanumangarh, whereas the complete matrimony in question was admittedly spent at Bangkok (Thailand), except for certain intermittent visits of the complainant-wife to her matrimonial home at Hanumangarh.

9. Learned Senior Counsel for the petitioners also submitted that on a bare reading of the chats and the conversation between the petitioner-husband and the complainant-wife, it is clear that until there was matrimonial harmony, there were no allegations; however, as soon as the colour of such harmony changed, the allegations in question erupted retrospectively.

10. Learned Senior Counsel for the petitioners has, in relation to the case of the present petitioners (in-laws of the complainant), drawn the attention of this Court towards the guidelines as laid down by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in State of Haryana & Ors. Vs. Bhajan Lal, reported in 1992 Supp.(1) SCC 335; GV Rao Vs. LHV Prasad & Ors., reported in (2000) 3 SCC 693; and Rajesh Kumar Sharma Vs. State of U.P., reported in AIR 2017 SC 3869, to contend that as per the precedent law laid down by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the said cases, in matrimonial cases, where there is a quarrel between husband and wife, the innocent parents and family members, who have no role in the concerned incident, should not be arrayed as accused persons, and the proceedings against them ought to be quashed and set aside. Learned Senior Counsel thereafter, has submitted that the case of the present petitioners (in-laws of the complainant) falls in the said category of cases.

11. In support of his submissions, learned Senior Counsel for the petitioners has also placed reliance upon the precedent law laid down by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Geeta Mehrotra & Anr. Vs. State of U.P. & Anr., reported in AIR 2013 SC 181.

Learned Senior Counsel also relied upon the judgment rendered by the Hon’ble Andhra Pradesh High Court in Venkatapathi Naidu & Ors. Vs. State of A.P. & Anr., reported in 2008 CRI.L.J. 179.

Learned Senior Counsel further relied upon the judgment rendered by this Hon’ble Court in Hari Ram Sharma & Ors. Vs. State of Rajasthan & Anr., reported in 2015 CRI.L.J. 2000, relevant portion of which reads as under:

“18. There is no dispute about the principle of law laid down by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in catena of decisions regarding the powers of High Court in quashing the FIR while exercising jurisdiction under section 482 CrPC. It is held that object of section 482 CrPC is to prevent abuse of process of court and to secure ends of justice. The Hon’ble Supreme Court has also held that the High Court needs to be circumspect and exercise power under section 482 CrPC in exceptional circumstances depending upon facts of each case. It is further held that if allegations leading to criminal prosecution prima facie do not disclose, then power under section 482 CrPC can be exercised.

19. The main principles regarding exercise of jurisdiction under Section 482 CrPC to quash complaints and criminal proceedings have been stated and reiterated by Hon’ble Supreme Court in several decisions. To mention a few —

Madhavrao Jiwajirao Scindia v. Sambhajirao Chandrojirao Angre, (1988) 1 SCC 692;
State of Haryana v. Bhajan Lal,1992 Supp (1) SCC 335;
Rupan Deol Bajaj v. Kanwar Pal Singh Gill (1995) 6 SCC 194;
Central Bureau of Investigation v. Duncans Agro Industries Ltd (1996) 5 SCC 591;
State of Bihar v. Rajendra Agrawalla (1996) 8 SCC 164, Rajesh Bajaj v. State NCT of Delhi, (1999) 3 SCC 259;
Medchl Chemicals & Pharma (P) Ltd. v. Biological E. Ltd(2000) 3 SCC 269
Hridaya Ranjan Prasad Verma v. State of Bihar (2000) 4 SCC 168,
M. Krishnan v. Vijay Singh (2001) 8 SCC 645 and
Zandu Pharmaceutical Works Ltd. v. Mohd. Sharaful Haque( 2005) 1 SCC 122.

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The principles relevant are as under:

(i) A complaint can be quashed where the allegations made in 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 the case alleged against the accused.

For this purpose, the complaint has to be examined as a whole, but without examining the merits of the allegations. Neither a detailed inquiry nor a meticulous analysis of the material nor an assessment of the reliability or genuineness of the allegations in the complaint, is warranted while examining prayer for quashing of a complaint.

(ii) A complaint may also be quashed where it is a clear abuse of the process of the court, as when the criminal proceeding is found to have been initiated with mala fides/malice for wreaking vengeance or to cause harm, or where the allegations are absurd and inherently improbable.

(iii) The power to quash shall not, however, be used to stifle or scuttle a legitimate prosecution. The power should be used sparingly and with abundant caution.

(iv) The complaint is not required to verbatim reproduce the legal ingredients of the offence alleged. If the necessary factual foundation is laid in the complaint, merely on the ground that a few ingredients have not been stated in detail, the proceedings should not be quashed. Quashing of the complaint is warranted only where the complaint is so bereft of even the basic facts which are absolutely necessary for making out the offence.

(v) A given set of facts may make out: (a) purely a civil wrong; or (b) purely a criminal offence; or (c) a civil wrong as also a criminal offence. A commercial transaction or a contractual dispute, apart from furnishing a cause of action for seeking remedy in civil law, may also involve a criminal offence. As the nature and scope of a civil proceeding are different from a criminal proceeding, the mere fact that the complaint relates to a commercial transaction or breach of contract, for which a civil remedy is available or has been availed, is not by itself a ground to quash the criminal proceedings. The test is whether the allegations in the complaint disclose a criminal offence or not.

20. Now the question comes whether any prima facie case for commission of any cognizable offence is made out against the petitioners or not.

21. From bare reading of the FIR, it is clear that after her marriage in May, 2004, the respondent No.2 lived in Delhi with her in- laws up to June, 2005. Thereafter, she joined her husband in America and remained there up to January, 2011. There is no allegation to the effect that the petitioners have ever visited America during the period when the respondent No.2 was residing in America with her husband. Respondent No.2 had returned to India on 19.01.2011 and straightway went to Udaipur at her father’s house, though, it is alleged that when she contacted her in-laws on telephone on 19.01.2011, all the accused-persons had asked her to bring Rs.1 crore as dowry. It has nowhere been contended in the FIR that which of the accused had asked her on telephone to give the dowry. It is not possible that all the accused- persons together asked the respondent No.2 on telephone to give the dowry.

22. In para No.12 of the FIR, the respondent No.2 has alleged that in the first month of year 2011, all the accused persons with common intention have kept her ornaments, dowry items and demanded dowry and when she refused for the same, she was thrown out of house after giving a beating. It is noticed that in para No.9 of the FIR, it is alleged that after reaching Delhi Airport from America, respondent No.2 made a phone call to her in-laws but they demanded dowry and refused to keep her with them, then she went to Udaipur. This Court is of the opinion that when the respondent No.2 had not visited the petitioners’ house after returning from America on 19.01.2011, how the allegations levelled in para No.12 of the FIR regarding demand of dowry, assault and misappropriation of ornaments and dowry articles can be believed or taken as true.

23. In the whole complaint, the respondent No.2 has simply alleged that all the accused-persons have demanded the dowry from her and her father on telephone, however, no specific role of any of the accused persons has been mentioned. As such, from the bare reading of the FIR, no offence punishable under sections 498A and 406 IPC is made out against the petitioners.

24. However, from bare reading of the complaint, it is clear that specific allegations of cruelty and harassment are levelled against the accused No.1 and for that respondent No.2 had to approach a local court in America seeking protection from her husband regarding her ill-treatment. This fact itself shows that prima facie case may be made out against the accused No.1, however, this Court is of the opinion that other accused-persons have been implicated by the respondent No.2 only for the reason that they are immediate relatives of accused No.1.

25. Hon’ble Supreme Court in Preeti Gupta & Anr. vs. State of Jharkhand & Anr. (supra) has observed 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.ÿExplanation.–For the purposes of this section, `cruelty’ means:-ÿ(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.”

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.

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At the same time, rapid increase in the number of genuine cases of dowry harassment are also a matter of serious concern.

31. The learned members of the Bar have enormous social responsibility and obligation to ensure that the social fiber of family life is not ruined or demolished. They must ensure that exaggerated versions of small incidents should not be reflected in the criminal complaints. Majority of the complaints are filed either on their advice or with their concurrence. The learned members of the Bar who belong to a noble profession must maintain its noble traditions and should treat every complaint under section 498-A as a basic human problem and must make serious endeavour to help the parties in arriving at an amicable resolution of that human problem. They must discharge their duties to the best of their abilities to ensure that social fiber, peace and tranquility of the society remains intact. The members of the Bar should also ensure that one complaint should not lead to multiple cases.

32. Unfortunately, at the time of filing of the complaint the implications and consequences are not properly visualized by the complainant that such complaint can lead to insurmountable harassment, agony and pain to the complainant, accused and his close relations.

33. The ultimate object of justice is to find out the truth and punish the guilty and protect the innocent. To find out the truth is a herculean task in majority of these complaints. The tendency of implicating husband and all his immediate relations is also not uncommon. At times, even after the conclusion of criminal trial, it is difficult to ascertain the real truth. The courts have to be extremely careful and cautious in dealing with these complaints and must take pragmatic realities into consideration while dealing with matrimonial cases. The allegations of harassment of husband’s close relations who had been living in different cities and never visited or rarely visited the place where the complainant resided would have an entirely different complexion. The allegations of the complaint are required to be scrutinized with great care and circumspection.

Experience reveals that long and protracted criminal trials lead to rancour, acrimony and bitterness in the relationship amongst the parties.

It is also a matter of common knowledge that in cases filed by the complainant if the husband or the husband’s relations had to remain in jail even for a few days, it would ruin the chances of amicable settlement altogether. The process of suffering is extremely long and painful.

34. Before parting with this case, we would like to observe that a serious relook of the entire provision is warranted by the legislation. It is also a matter of common knowledge that exaggerated versions of the incident are reflected in a large number of complaints. The tendency of over implication is also reflected in a very large number of cases.” (Emphasis supplied)

26. In Rishipal Singh vs. State of Uttar Pradesh (supra), the Hon’ble Supreme Court has observed as under:

“we should not allow a litigant to file vexatious complaints to otherwise settle their scores by setting the criminal law into motion, which is a pure abuse of process of law and it has to be interdicted at the threshold.”

27. In view of the above discussions, this Court is convinced that in the case in hand, there is over implication of the petitioners in the complaint. The petitioners cannot be said to be involved in commission of any crime as per the contents of the FIR. Hence, it is a fit case wherein this Court can exercise inherent powers to quash the impugned FIR qua the petitioners.

28. Resultantly, this criminal misc. petition is allowed.

The impugned FIR No.123 dated 12.11.2011 lodged at Women Police Station, Udaipur qua the petitioners (1) Hari Ram Sharma, (2) Smt. Maya Devi, (3) Anil Kumar and (4) Smt. Meenu and all other ancillary proceedings are hereby quashed. The police may continue the investigation against remaining accused.”

12. On the other hand, learned Public Prosecutor as well as learned counsels for the private respondents, including the complainant-wife, while vehemently opposing the petitions, submitted that since the nature of allegations levelled in the present FIR are very serious, therefore, at this stage, no interference of this Court under the inherent jurisdiction of Section 482 Cr.P.C. is warranted.

13. Learned counsels for the private respondents however, reiterated the story, as narrated in the impugned FIR, and the documents, pertaining to the investigation made into the present FIR, were also shown by the learned Public Prosecutor to this Court.

14. Learned counsel for the respondents relied upon the precedent law laid down by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Kaptan Singh Vs. The State of Uttar Pradesh & Ors. (Criminal Appeal No.787 of 2021, decided on 13.08.2021).

15. After giving a thoughtful consideration to the rival contentions made by learned counsels on both sides as well as carefully perusing the record of the case, alongwith the case diary and the factual report of the case, as furnished by the learned Public Prosecutor, this Court is convinced that the petition (S.B. Criminal Misc. Petition No.1842/2020) preferred by the husband of the complainant/respondent No.2, at this stage, requires no interference by this Court under the inherent jurisdiction of Section 482 Cr.P.C., as the allegations against him are there in the FIR, and also, the record of the case suggests that such allegations are prima facie correct, which clearly shows that the offence against the present petitioner-husband is made out.

16. However, as far as the limited contention made on behalf of present petitioners (in-laws of the complainant) in S.B. Criminal Misc. Petition No. 503/2020 is concerned, this Court has taken note of the judgment rendered by this Hon’ble Court in Hari Ram Sharma (supra), as cited by learned Senior Counsel for the petitioners, in which this Hon’ble Court, after dealing with, at length, the precedent laws referred to in that case, had concluded that if the couple was not residing with the inlaws and the focus of the allegations was upon the husband only, then it would not be proper to prosecute such family members, like the in-laws.

17. This Court has also taken note of the fact that the present petitioners (in-laws of the complainant) are not only old aged, but are also ill, as per the submissions made by learned Senior Counsel for the petitioners and the averments made in the petition (S.B. Criminal Misc. Petition No. 503/2020) preferred by them.

18. In the opinion of this Court, certain list of dates and events, as furnished by learned Senior Counsel for the petitioners for perusal of this Court, is also of much significance for the present adjudication.

The said list shows that marriage of the petitioner-husband and the complainant-wife took place on 13.12.2015, and soon thereafter, they went together to Bangkok on 01.01.2016, as the petitioner-husband was in continuous employment there.

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The list further shows that the complainant-wife came back to India on 01.11.2016, and thereafter, stayed with the parents (petitioners/in-laws) of her husband only uptill 15.11.2016 at Hanumangarh, whereafter she again went to Bangkok.

As per the aforementioned list, the complainant-wife again came back to India on 27.05.2017 and stayed at her matrimonial home at Hanumangarh for another about 15 days uptill 10.06.2017, and thereafter, she went to Bangkok; she again came back to India on 07.11.2018 and stayed with her in-laws only upto 09.12.2018.

19. This Court thereafter, has also taken note of certain documents, which are Visa papers, sent by the complainant-wife on 22.02.2019, recommending visit of her in-laws to Bangkok, which was soon before lodging of the impugned FIR dated 01.06.2019 by the complainant-wife.

20. This Court also finds that the conversation between the petitioner-husband and the complainant-wife, on WhatsApp, shows matrimonial intimacy between them, but at the same time, it also shows slow deviation from the matrimonial harmony in the year 2018, and thereafter, cropping up of the retrospective allegations.

21. The facts mentioned in the FIR are the prime allegations against the husband, who is alleged to have ill-treated the complainant-wife. The only allegation against the in-laws is that they induced her into the marriage on wrongful facts, and thereafter, kept on making the demands of dowry.

22. However, the allegation is that the in-laws turned the complainant out of their house on 18.05.2019, when she reached Hanumangarh. These sporadic allegations are very vague, as no specific incident of the complainant with her in-laws has been mentioned in the FIR. The allegations are of Bangkok and the involvement of the husband has been alleged.

23. While adjudicating the present case, this Court has also kept into consideration the main principles for quashing of the FIR/criminal proceedings, as laid down in the judgments, which were dealt with at length by this Hon’ble Court in the judgment rendered in Hari Ram Sharma (supra), as quoted hereinabove.

24. In view of this Court, the present complaint, even if is taken on the face of it, indicates that the complainant-wife was never residing with her in-laws at Hanumangarh, except for her visits, that too, for a few short stints. Further, as per the list of dates and events, as noticed hereinabove by this Court, uptill 2019 (soon before lodging of the impugned FIR), the complainant-wife, was willing to happily recommend Visa of the present petitioners (in-laws) to Bangkok, where the couple was residing at the relevant point of time even in the year 2019.

25. Moreover, the allegations are prima facie against the petitioner-husband only, and rather the petitioners/in-laws have hardly been attributed with any direct allegation or specific role, in relation to the offences alleged.

26. The facts of the case, when considered alongwith the record of the case, clearly indicates that the prima facie case is made out against the accused petitioner-husband only, and not against the in-laws of the complainant.

27. This Court is thus, of the opinion that the implication of the old aged and ill in-laws by the present complainant-wife is nothing but an expansion of the matrimonial dispute with an ulterior motive to exert unnecessary pressure upon them.

28. The precedent law laid down by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Preeti Gupta & Anr. Vs. State of Jharkhand & Anr., reported in AIR 2010 SC 3363, as referred to in the judgment of Hari Ram Sharma (supra), read with Section 498-A of IPC, strengthens the belief of this Court that the case of the present petitioners (in-laws) is a fit case for intervention of this Court under the inherent jurisdiction of Section 482 Cr.P.C.

29. This Court is also of the opinion that the long distance relationships, on the face of it, cannot cover the allegations leveled in the FIR in question against the in-laws. Thus, though the allegations leveled in the FIR against the accused petitioner husband may be genuine, but the same, as levelled against the petitioners/in-laws, at the threshold itself, are nothing but a pure abuse of the process of law.

30. Thus, the precedent laws cited by learned Senior Counsel for the petitioners have provided guidance to adjudicate the present case, to a limited extent of convincing this Court for quashing the impugned FIR along with all the consequential proceedings, only qua the petitioners (in-laws of the complainant).

31. This Court finds that the marriage, which took place in the year 2015 and which resulted into the present conflict in the year 2019, was mainly subsisting at Bangkok, where the husband and wife resided.

32. The matrimonial home of the complainant-wife was at Bangkok with her husband, without any substantial interference or meeting with the in-laws. The act of the complainant recommending the parents (in-laws) coming to Bangkok on 22.02.2019 speaks for itself. The dates being not disputed and the fact that an independent matrimony was existing at Bangkok, at all times, except for some short ceremonial stints, clearly absolve the present petitioners (in-laws) of the charges levelled against them.

33. The couple were financially independent and had their own lifestyle, which existed much far from Hanumangarh, where the in-laws resided. The nature of influence of in-laws on a financially, socially and emotionally independent, son and daughter-in-law, who were residing in a foreign country, clearly reflects that their inclusion in the present case is an over implication in the charges levelled at the instance of the complainant.

34. Since the present petitioners (in-laws) have been able to demonstrate beyond doubt that the connection between them and their daughter-in-law was very limited, due to long distance, therefore, deriving of a conclusion that their involvement is not there, is not difficult. On the face of the record, the rigour and rancour of a criminal trial need not be faced by the present petitioners (in-laws).

35. In view of the above discussion, this Court is of the firm opinion that it is a clear case of over implication of charges upon the in-laws by the complainant. The long distance relationships explained by the list of dates and events, referred to hereinabove, in the opinion of this Court, cannot culminate into the allegations as levelled in the impugned FIR, as far as the petitioners (in-laws of the complainant) are concerned.

36. Resultantly, S.B. Criminal Misc. Petition No.503/2020 preferred by Manju Bala (mother-in-law of the complainant) and Shyamlal Narang (father-in-law of the complainant) is allowed, and accordingly, the impugned FIR No.117/2019 registered at Police Station Mahila Thana, Sriganganagar, District Sriganganagar for the offences under Sections 406, 498-A, 313 & 377 IPC, alongwith entire proceedings pursuant thereto, qua the petitioners/in-laws, are hereby quashed. However, as indicated above, S.B. Criminal Misc.

Petition No. 1842/2020 preferred by petitioner-Komal Narang (husband of the complainant) is dismissed, and accordingly, the investigating authority is directed to continue with the investigation against the petitioner-husband in relation to the impugned FIR, and take all necessary consequential action, strictly in accordance with law. All pending applications stand disposed of accordingly.

(DR.PUSHPENDRA SINGH BHATI),J.

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