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Karnataka High Court Dismiss fake case against mother-in-law, and kin

IN THE HIGH COURT OF KARNATAKA AT BENGALURU

DATED THIS THE 9TH DAY OF NOVEMBER 2018

BEFORE

THE HON’BLE MRS. JUSTICE K.S.MUDAGAL

CRIMINAL PETITION NO.4666 OF 2016

BETWEEN:

SMT.PUTTALAKSHMI
W/O RAMA KRISHANA RAO
AGED ABOUT 57 YEARS
R/AT VADLAMURU, EAST GODAVARI DISTRICT
GODAVARI EAST KAKINADA ANDHRA PRADESH – 533 307

ADDRESS AS PER I.D.CARD
R/AT NO.1-77, NO.1, SCHOOL VEEDHI
KAPILESWARAPURAM MANDALAM
VADLAMURU, ATCHUTAPURAM
EAST GODAVARI,ANDHRA PRADESH – 533 307 … PETITIONER

(BY SRI BHASKAR D., ADV.)

AND

1. STATE OF KARNATAKA
THROUGH WOMEN POLICE STATION
DAVANAGERE – 577 004
REPRESENTED BY ITS STATE PUBLIC PROSECUTOR
HIGH COURT OF KARNATAKA BENGALURU – 560 001

2. SMT.MANJULA
W/O PUTTAVEER VENKATAVARA PRASAD
AGED ABOUT 35 YEARS
DOOR NO-1880, 1ST CROSS
BEHIND LAKSHMI FLOOR MILL DAVANAGERE – 577 004 … RESPONDENTS

(BY SRI NAZRULLA KHAN, HCGP FOR R-1; SMT.HALEEMA AMEEN, ADV., FOR SRI S.VISHWAJITH SHETTY, ADV., FOR R-2)

THIS CRIMINAL PETITION IS FILED UNDER SECTION 482 OF CR.P.C PRAYING TO QUASH THE FIR BEARING NO.63/2014 DATED 19.09.2014 ALONG WITH THE FIRST INFORMATION DATED 19.09.2014 REGISTERED WITH THE RESPONDENT DAVANAGERE WOMEN P.S., (ANNEXED VIDE ANNEXURE-A AND B) AND QUASH THE FINAL REPORT FILED BY THE RESPONDENT POLICE IN THE SAID MATTER BEARING CR.NO.63/2014 CURRENTLY RENUMBERED AS MATTER BEARING C.C.NO.870/2015, PENDING BEFORE THE HON’BLE JMFC III COURT, DAVANAGERE (ANNEXED VIDE ANNEXURE -C) AND QUASH THE ENTIRE PROCEEDINGS IN MATTER BEARING CR.NO.63/2014 CURRENTLY RENUMBERED AS MATTER BEARING C.C.NO.870/2015, PENDING BEFORE THE HON’BLE JMFC III COURT, DAVANAGERE (ANNEXED VIDE ANNEXURE-D).

THIS CRIMINAL PETITION HAVING BEEN HEARD AND RESERVED FOR ORDERS ON 20TH SEPTEMBER 2018, COMING ON FOR PRONOUNCEMENT OF ORDER THIS DAY, THE COURT MADE THE FOLLOWING:

ORDER

Whether the proceedings in C.C.No.870/2015 on the file of the JMFC III Court, Davanagere arising out of Crime No.63/2014 of Women Police Station, Davangere, are abuse of process of the Court causing failure of ends of justice is the question involved in this case.

2. Petitioner is accused No.2 in Crime No.63/2014 of Women Police Station, which is now pending in C.C.No.870/2015 on the file of the JMFC III Court Davanagere. Her son Puttaveera Venkata Varaprasad is the 1st accused in the said case. 2nd respondent is the wife of the 1st accused.

3. The marriage of 2nd respondent and Puttaveera Venkata Varaprasad (accused No.1) was solemnized on 13.10.2013 in Annavaram, Andhra Pradesh. At the time of marriage, 2nd respondent was residing with her elder sister (C.W.8) in Davanagere. C.W.7 is the husband of C.W.8. Out of the said wedlock, couple have a daughter.

4. 2nd respondent filed complaint dated 19.09.2014 as per Annexure-B before the Women Police Station, Davangere alleging that two months after the marriage, the 1st accused started harassing her demanding Rs. 30 Lakhs from her parents to start business. She further alleged that when she could not yield to his demand on that ground and suspecting her fidelity he started to harass her physically and mentally. She alleged that in December 2013, 1st accused set up house in Hyderabad and they shifted from Davangere to the said house at Hyderabad. She further alleged that at the instigation of petitioner, the 1st accused demanded Rs.30 Lakhs. At the time of marriage, Rs.7.5 Lakhs of cash and 3 tholas of gold was given to him. She alleged that 1st accused threatened that, if she fails to bring Rs.30 Lakhs, he will divorce her.

5. On the said complaint, 1st respondent Police registered FIR as per Annexure-A in Crime No.63/2014 and conducted investigation and charge sheeted the petitioner and accused No.1 for offences punishable under Sections 498A and 114 of Indian Penal Code & Sections 3 and 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961.

6. The trial Court on receiving such charge sheet took cognizance against the petitioner and 1st accused of the offences punishable under Sections 498A, 114 of Indian Penal Code & Sections 3 and 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961.

7. On receipt of summons, petitioner appeared in the said case and the trial court granted bail to her.

8. Sri.Bhaskar.D., the learned counsel for the petitioner seeks to assail the impugned proceedings on the following grounds:

(i) As per the complaint itself, cash of Rs.7.5 Lakhs and 3 thola gold was given by the complainant’s family and there is no whisper in the complaint of any demand for such cash or gold;
(ii) As per complaint itself, 1st accused and 2nd respondent soon after the marriage lived in the house of C.Ws.7 & 8 and thereafter they were residing in Hyderabad. Petitioner is the resident of Vadlamuru Village, East Godavari District, and she was residing with her husband;

(iii) As per the complaint itself, petitioner was the occasional visitor to the house of 1st accused and 2nd respondent;
(iv) There are no specific allegations in the complaint against the petitioner;

(v) Petitioner is 59 years old lady. She has to travel all the way from her native place in Andhra Pradesh to Davanagere to attend the case which causes her hardship and she is roped in the case to harass in that way;

(vi) 1st accused and 2nd respondent entered into a partnership to run professional Educational Training/Consultancy in the name and style of M/s Gomatha Educational Consultancy;

(vii) The payment of Rs.7.5 Lakhs was made as the share capital to the 2nd respondent in the firm and the petitioner is totally un-connected to that and she is falsely implicated in the case to bring the 1st accused to terms.

9. In support of his contentions, he seeks to rely upon the following judgments of the Hon’ble Supreme Court:

I) PREETHI GUPTA -VS- STATE OF JHARKHAND, (2010) 7 SCC 667;

II) VARALA BHARATH KUMAR -VS- STATE OF TELANGANA, (2017) 9 SCC 413.

10. Per contra, Smt. Haleema Ameen the learned counsel for the 2nd respondent seeks to justify the proceedings on the following grounds:

i) There is complaint and statements of witnesses to speak about the overt acts of the petitioner;
ii) There is statement of account in proof for transfer of Rs.7.5 Lakhs to the account of the 1st accused from the account of C.W.4, younger brother of the 2nd respondent;
iii) Petitioner has abetted 1st accused to demand money and to harass 2nd respondent.
11. This Court in exercise of its inherent power under Section 482 of Cr.P.C. can quash the criminal proceedings to prevent abuse of process of the Court and to secure the ends of justice.

12. The Hon’ble Supreme Court in Preethi Gupta’s case referred to supra, at paragraphs 14 and 35 held as follows:

“14. This Court in a number of cases has laid down the scope and ambit of courts’ powers under Section 482 CrPC. Every High Court has inherent power to act ex debito justitiae to do real and substantial justice, for the administration of which alone it exists, or to prevent the abuse of process of court. Inherent power under Section 482 CrPC can be exercised:
(i) to give effect to an order under the Code;
(ii) to prevent the abuse of process of court; and
(iii) to otherwise secure the ends of justice. ……..
35. 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 the husband and all his immediate relations is also not uncommon. At times, even after the conclusion of the 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 complainant are required to be scrutinized with great care and circumspection.”
(emphasis supplied)

13. In Varala Bharath Kumar’s case referred to supra, the Hon’ble Supreme Court while holding that if the uncontroverted allegations made in the First Information Report/complaint and the material collected in support of the same prima facie do not constitute any offence or make out the case against the accused, such proceedings have to be quashed.
14. Para No. 6 of the judgment in Varala Bharath Kumar’s case read as follows:

“6. It is by now well settled that the extraordinary power under Article 226 or inherent power under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure can be exercised by the High Court, either to prevent abuse of process of the court or otherwise to secure the ends of justice. Where allegations made in the first information report/the complaint or the outcome of investigation as found in the charge- sheet, 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 against the accused; where the allegations do not disclose the ingredients of the offence alleged; where the uncontroverted allegations made in the first information report or complaint and the material collected in support of the same do not disclose the commission of offence alleged and make out a case against the accused; 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, the power under Article 226 of the Constitution of Indian or under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure may be exercised.”

15. Having regard to the aforesaid judgments, this Court has to see whether there is prima facie material against the petitioner to constitute the offence punishable under Sections 498A, 114 of I.P.C. and Section 3 & 4 of D.P. Act.

16. First of all, as per the complaint the petitioner was not residing with the couple, viz., 2nd respondent and 1st accused. After the marriage admittedly respondent No.2 and her husband lived in the house of C.Ws.7 & 8 at Davanagere. As already pointed out, petitioner is/was resident of Vadlamuru Village, East Godavari District, Andhra Pradesh. As per complaint allegations themselves, in December 2013, 1st accused set up a house in Hyderabad and 2nd respondent and 1st accused shifted to the house at Hyderabad. As per complaint averments during that time also petitioner was residing in her native Vadlamuru.

17. So far as the payment of Rs.7.5 Lakhs cash and 3 thola gold, in the complaint there is no allegation that the said cash and gold were paid on demand of 1st accused, much less the present petitioner. It is simply said in the complaint that they gave said amount and gold at the time of the marriage.

18. So far as the demand of Rs.30 Lakhs, the allegation against the petitioner is that she abetted the 1st accused to demand that. No where it is said that she demanded that amount. Even this allegation of abetment is too bald. It is not said when she visited the house of the couple at Hyderabad and when the demand was made. Not even the further statement of the complainant is forthcoming in the charge sheet to clarify that. 2nd respondent is the alleged direct victim of the petitioner. She is not specific in her allegations in terms of date and time. Statements of other witnesses regarding the said abetment are all hearsay. They say they learnt about such abetment through the 2nd respondent.

19. In this context, choosing of forum is also significant. The alleged harassment took place at Hyderabad. Petitioner is aged about 59 years residing in remote place in Andhra Pradesh and the case is filed in Davanagere Women Police Station. Under these circumstances, the judgments of the Hon’ble Supreme Court relied upon by the learned counsel for the petitioner fully cover this case. The proceedings against the petitioner are nothing but the abuse of the process of the Court and their continuation against the petitioner amounts to failure of ends of justice.

Therefore, the petition is allowed. FIR in Crime No.63/2014 of Women Police Station, Davanagere and consequent proceedings in C.C.No.870/2015 on the file of the JMFC III Court Davanagere, so far they relate to the petitioner are hereby quashed.

Sd/-

JUDGE

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