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FIR lodged on mere basis of taking revenge against wife’s maintenance petition, liable to be quashed

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 994 OF 2018
(arising out of SLP (Crl.) No. 1823 of 2017)

Anupriya Pal & Others ..Appellants

Versus

State of U.P. & Anr. ..Respondents

ORDER
Leave granted.

2. This appeal is filed by the accused persons, Anupriya Pal and four others against the judgment and final order dated 31.1.2017 passed by the Allahabad High Court in Application under Section 482 No. 11224 of 2013, whereby the High Court dismissed the application of the accused persons seeking quashing of the proceedings and summons dated 3.7.2012 passed by the ACJM, Ghaziabad in Complaint Case No. 6714 of 2011.

3. Appellant No.1, Anupriya Pal is the wife of Respondent No.2, Sandeep Pal and their marriage was solemnized on 6.7.2007 as per Hindu rites and rituals. At the time of marriage, Appellant No.1 was in her final year of MCA and Respondent No.2 had completed his M.B.B.S. On 13.9.2007, Appellant No.1 took admission in the Dr. Kedar Nath Modi Institute of Engineering & Technology, Modi Nagar, to pursue an M.B.A. Thereafter, she moved to her parents’ house at Betul, Madhya Pradesh, since Respondent No.2 allegedly started demanding dowry. In February 2008, Respondent No.2 got a job as an ad-hoc medical officer at the Primary Health Centre, Jhallar, District Betul, Madhya Pradesh. During that time, Respondent No.2 stayed with Appellant No.1 in her parental house till 26.4.2008. Thereafter, he moved to Bagpat, Uttar Pradesh, to join office as a permanent medical officer. On 8.6.2008, Appellant No.1 gave birth to their first child at her parents’ house. Thereafter, she moved to her matrimonial house with her child, but shifted back to her parental home in a few months along with the child due to harassment by Respondent No.2.

On 1.12.2008, on account of harassment by Respondent No.2 and demands for dowry, Appellant No.1 made a complaint before the Family Conciliation Centre, Police Station at Betul, Madhya Pradesh. Respondent No.2 appeared before the Conciliation Centre and assured Appellant No.1 that he would not harass her and hence Appellant No.1 agreed to reside in her matrimonial house. On 11.7.2009, Appellant No.2 came to Bagpat and lodged a written complaint against Respondent No.2 and his family members. On 18.7.2009 and 1.8.2009, Appellant No.1 made complaints to the Conciliation Centre against Respondent No.2 once again for ill- treating and harassing her. However, Appellant No.1 gave birth to their second child during the interregnum. On 5.6.2011, Appellant No.1 moved to her parents’ house and filed a maintenance petition under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure before the First Class Magistrate, Betul, seeking Rs. 35,000/- as monthly maintenance from Respondent No.2. Only thereafter, as a counter blast, Respondent No.2 filed first information against the appellants before Police Station, Murad Nagar for the offence of cheating and intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace, i.e., for offences punishable under Section 420 and 504 of the Indian Penal Code.

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On 2.12.2011, Appellant No.1 lodged an FIR under Section 498A IPC and under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, at Police Station Ganz Chowki, Betul and the proceedings are stated to have been pending. On 3.7.2012, the learned ACJM, Ghaziabad issued summons for trial of the accused (appellants herein) for the offences punishable under Sections 420 and 504, IPC based on the complaint lodged by Respondent No.2 in Complaint Case No.6714 of 2011. The appellants filed a petition under Section 482, Cr.P.C before the High Court seeking quashing of proceedings which came to be dismissed by the impugned order.

4. Respondent No.2, who has been served notice, remained absent. Thus, an amicus curiae was appointed to argue and assist the court on his behalf. Having heard the learned advocate for the appellants and the learned amicus curiae as well as the advocate for the State, we are of the considered opinion that the complaint lodged by Respondent No.2 is a counter blast to a number of proceedings lodged against him by Appellant No.1.

5. Appellant No.1 is the daughter of Appellant Nos.2 and 3, and sister of Appellant No.4. Appellant No.5 is a relative of the other appellants. At the outset, we may mention that the first information report lodged by Respondent No.2 herein does not whisper anything against Appellant Nos. 4 and 5. However, it merely makes a mention of Appellant Nos. 1 to 3. The major allegation of Respondent No.2 is that though Appellant No.1 was not qualified with an M.C.A at the time of marriage, it was wrongly represented by the appellants that she had completed her M.C.A. Except this allegation, no other allegation is found against the appellants in the first information report. Curiously, the Additional CJM issued process based on such contention of Respondent No.2 against all the appellants for the offences punishable under Sections 420 and 504 IPC.

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6. It is not in dispute that the Appellant No.1 was studying M.C.A at the time of her marriage and she completed M.C.A and subsequently started pursuing an M.B.A. after the marriage. She has delivered two children. Appellant No.1 and Respondent No.2 lived together for about eight years, though there were lots of differences of opinion and a number of cases were filed by the Appellant No.1 against Respondent No.2 alleging harassment, etc. Merely on the allegation that Appellant No.1 had not completed her M.C.A qualification at the time of marriage and as she completed M.C.A after the marriage, it cannot be said that the appellants had cheated Respondent No.2 at the time of marriage, more particularly when Respondent No.2 lived with Appellant No.1 as husband and two children were born out of the wedlock.

7. This is a classic case of taking revenge by the husband against the wife since he was aggrieved by the action of the wife moving an application seeking maintenance. Absolutely no allegation which could fit in for the offence under Section 420 IPC is found in the first information lodged by Respondent No.2. Since the first information of Respondent No.2 appears to be a counter blast to the maintenance proceeding initiated by the wife against her husband, these proceedings are liable to be quashed. Accordingly, this petition is allowed and the order dated 31.01.2017 passed by the High Court is set aside. The proceedings in Complaint Case No.6714 of 2011 pending before the Additional CJM Court, Ghaziabad are hereby quashed.

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(N. V. RAMANA)
(MOHAN M. SHANTANAGOUDAR) New Delhi;

August 13, 2018.

ITEM NO.27 COURT NO.7 SECTION II

S U P R E M E C O U R T O F I N D I A

RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS

Petition(s) for Special Leave to Appeal (Crl.) No(s). 1823/2017

(Arising out of impugned final judgment and order dated 31-01-2017 in AN No. 11224/2013 passed by the High Court of Judicature at Allahabad)

ANUPRIYA PAL & ORS. Petitioner(s)
VERSUS
THE STATE OF UTTAR PRADESH & ANR. Respondent(s)

Date : 13-08-2018 This petition was called on for hearing today.

CORAM :HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE N.V. RAMANA HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE MOHAN M. SHANTANAGOUDAR

For Petitioner(s) Mr. Romy Chacko, Adv.
Mr. Varun Mudgal, Adv.
Mr. Ajay Singh, Adv.
Mr. Chandan Kumar Mandal, Adv.
Mr Rahul Jain, AOR For Respondent(s) Mr. Anish Kumar Gupta, Adv.
Mr. Sanjay Kumar Tyagi, AOR Mr. Chandra Shekhar Suman, Adv.
Mr. Puneet Sheoran, Adv.
Mr. Yashasvi Virendra, Adv.
Ms. Nidhi, Adv.

UPON hearing the counsel the Court made the following O R D E R Leave granted.

The appeal is allowed in terms of the signed order.

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