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Deepak Alias Rakesh Mohan Ratnani vs The State Of Madhya Pradesh Thr on 16 January, 2018

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THE HIGH COURT OF MADHYA PRADESH
MCRC 24307/2017
[Deepak alias Rakesh Mohan Ratnani and
Others vs. State of MP and Anr.]
Gwalior, dtd. 16/01/2018
Shri Sushil Goswami, counsel for the applicants.
Shri RS Yadav, Public Prosecutor for the
respondent No.1/ State.

This application under Section 482 of CrPC has
been filed for quashing the FIR in Crime No.612/2017
registered at Police Station Dabra, District Gwalior for
offence under Section 498-A, 34 of IPC and all other
criminal proceedings including the charge sheet.

The necessary facts for the disposal of the
present application in short are that the complainant-
respondent No.2 lodged a FIR on 27/07/2017 on the
allegation that she was married to applicant No.1 on
24/02/2016 as per Hindu rites and rituals. Sufficient
dowry as well as ornaments and household articles
were given at the time of marriage. However,
immediately after the marriage, the applicants started
alleging that her father has not given sufficient dowry
and, therefore, she would bring an amount of
Rs.1,50,000/- and a four wheeler. When it was told by
the respondent No.2 to her father, then her father
replied that he is a poor person and is not in a position
to fulfil the demand of her in-laws and he would try to
pursue the applicants. The father of the respondent
No.2 tried to pursue the applicants and informed that
he is a poor person and has performed the marriage as
per his financial capacity and at present he has no
means to fulfil their demands and thereafter, the
respondent No.2 was sent to her matrimonial house.

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However, the harassment and ill-treatment at the
hands of the applicants continued. They used to beat
her and even food was not provided. They used to say
that until and unless an amount of Rs.1,50,000/- and a
four wheeler is brought, they would not keep her in the
house. The applicants about a year back, has left the
respondent No.2 in her parents’ home and accordingly,
the FIR was lodged. The police after completing the
investigation, filed a charge sheet for offence under
Section 498-A/34 of IPC.

Challenging the charge sheet, it is submitted by
the counsel for the applicants that in fact, the applicant
No.1 has filed an application under Section 9 of Hindu
Marriage Act for restitution of conjugal rights and after
receiving the notice of said proceedings, the FIR has
been lodged by way of counter-blast. No specific
allegations have been made against the applicants. The
respondent No.2 had earlier filed a complaint against
the applicants on the similar allegations but later on
withdrew the same. The fact of pendency of complaint
was not disclosed to the police and it was suppressed
by the respondent No.2. The Dy.SP had conducted an
enquiry on the complaint made by the respondent No.2
in Jan Sunwai Kendra and in that complaint, the DySP,
Mahila Branch, Datia had found that in fact it is the
respondent No.2 who does not want to reside with the
applicants and there is nothing like demand of dowry or
harassment. It is submitted that the Investigating
Officer before filing of the charge sheet did not take
this fact into consideration and the report of DySP
clearly shows that the allegations of demand of dowry
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are false.

Per contra, it is submitted by the State Counsel
that so far as the allegations of demand of dowry or
harassment are concerned,there are specific allegations
against the applicants. So far as filing of the application
under Section 9 of Hindu Marriage Act is concerned, it
is submitted that since findings given by the civil suit
are not binding on the Criminal Court, therefore, the
FIR in the criminal proceedings may not be quashed on
the said ground. From the documents filed along with
the application, it appears that respondent No.2 had
initially filed a complaint and since during pendency of
the complaint, FIR was lodged, therefore, it appears
that the respondent No.2 withdrew the complaint on
12/09/2017. Non- disclosure of the fact of pendency of
the complaint in the FIR, will not have a bearing
because in case where the police is also investigating a
matter with regard to the allegations made in the
complaint, then provisions of Section 210 of CrPC
would come into play and it was for the trial Court to
stay further proceedings in the complaint case.
Therefore, once the FIR was already lodged in respect
of similar allegations, then withdrawal of the complaint
thereafter, will not make any difference in the matter.
Specific allegations have been made in the FIR and it is
well-established principle of law that where the
complaint discloses the commission of cognizable
offence, then the police cannot refuse to register the
FIR in the light of the dictum of the Supreme Court in
the case of Lalita Kumari Vs. State of U.P. reported
in (2014) 2 SCC 1. It is further submitted that
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whether the allegations which have been made against
the applicants are sufficient or not, are yet to be
adjudicated by the trial Court and the legitimate
prosecution may not be stiffled in the mid-way.

Heard the counsel for the parties.

So far as the submission with regard to pendency
of the application filed under Section 9 of Hindu
Marriage Act is concerned, the question is no more res
integra.

The Supreme Court in the case of Pratibha vs.
Rameshwari Devi and Others, reported in (2017)
12 SCC 369, has held as under:-

”16.It is pertinent to note that the
complaint was filed only when all efforts to
return to the matrimonial home had failed
and the respondent No.2-husband had filed
a divorce petition under Section 13 of the
Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. That apart, in
our view, filing of a divorce petition in a
Civil Court cannot be a ground to quash
criminal proceedings under Section 482 of
the Code as it is well settled that criminal
and civil proceedings are separate and
independent and the pendency of a civil
proceeding cannot bring to an end a
criminal proceeding even if they arise out of
the same set of facts. Such being the
position, we are, therefore, of the view that
the High Court while exercising its powers
under Section 482 of the Code has gone
beyond the allegations made in the FIR and
has acted in excess of its jurisdiction and,
therefore, the High Court was not justified
in quashing the FIR by going beyond the
allegations made in the FIR or by relying on
extraneous considerations. ”

Since the findings given by the Civil Suit are not
binding on the Criminal Court, then merely because an
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application under Section 9 of the Hindu Marriage Act is
pending between the parties, would not be a good
ground for quashing the FIR. So far as withdrawal of
the complaint is concerned,it is clear that the complaint
was filed by the respondent No.2 on 20/02/2017. In
the complaint, similar allegations were made. The FIR
was registered on 27/07/2017 and the complaint was
withdrawn on 12/09/2017. Thus, it is clear that after
the FIR was registered, the complainant decided not to
proceed further with the complaint. Even otherwise, as
per Section 210 of CrPC, where it is brought to the
knowledge of the Magistrate that the police is already
conducting an investigation in respect of the allegations
made in the complaint pending before it, then the
Court below has to stay the proceedings awaiting the
outcome of the investigation. In view of the provisions
of Section 210 of CrPC, it is clear that the FIR cannot
be quashed merely on the ground that the factum of
pendency of the complaint on similar allegations was
not brought to the knowledge of the police as the trial
Court also could not have proceeded further after
coming to know about the registration of offence and
the fact that the police is conducting the investigation
in respect of similar allegations made in the complaint.

So far as the allegations of demand of dowry and
harassment are concerned, specific allegations have
been made against the applicants with regard to
harassment and ill-treatment on the question of non-
fulfillment of their demand of dowry. This Court is
conscious of the fact that in order to implicate near and
dear relatives of the husband of the wife, there has to
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be a specific allegation against the near relative of the
husband of the complainant.

In the present case, the applicant No.1 is the
husband of the respondent No.2- complainant, whereas
the applicant No.2 is the brother of the applicant No.1
and the applicant No.3 is the mother of the applicant
No.1.

So far as the allegations against the applicant
No.3 are concerned, the Supreme Court in the case of
Taramani Parakh v. State of M.P. and anr.
reported in (2015)11 SCC 260, has held that where
taunts have been passed by the parents-in-laws of the
complainant, then the allegations of passing taunts by
the parents-in-laws against the complainant are
sufficient to prosecute them under Section 498-A of
IPC.

The Supreme Court in the case of Taramani
Parakh (supra) has held as under:-

“14. From a reading of the complaint, it
cannot be held that even if the allegations are
taken as proved no case is made out. There
are allegations against Respondent No.2 and
his parents for harassing the complainant
which forced her to leave the matrimonial
home. Even now she continues to be
separated from the matrimonial home as she
apprehends lack of security and safety and
proper environment in the matrimonial home.
The question whether the appellant has infact
been harassed and treated with cruelty is a
matter of trial but at this stage, it cannot be
said that no case is made out. Thus, quashing
of proceedings before the trial is not
permissible.

15.The decisions referred to in the judgment
of the High Court are distinguishable. In
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Neelu Chopra [(2009) 10 SCC 184], the
parents of the husband were too old. The
husband Rajesh had died and main allegations
were only against him. This Court found no
cogent material against the other accused. In
Manoj Mahavir [(2010) 10 SCC 673], the
appellant before this Court was the brother of
the daughter-in-law of the accused who
lodged the case against the accused for theft
of jewellery during pendency of earlier
Section 498-A IPC case. This Court found the
said case to be absurd. In Geeta Mehrotra
[(2012) 10 SCC 741], case was against
brother and sister of the husband. Divorce
had taken place between the parties. The said
cases neither purport to nor can be read as
laying down an inflexible rule beyond the
principles of quashing which have been
mentioned above and applied to the facts of
the cases therein which are distinguishable.
In the present case the factual matrix is
different from the said cases. Applying the
settled principles, it cannot be held that there
is no triable case against the accused.”

Since there is specific allegation against the
applicant No.3 that she was harassing the complainant
physically as well as mentally because of non-
fulfillment of demand of dowry, therefore, this Court is
of the view that there is sufficient material available on
record against the applicant No.3 requiring her
prosecution under Section 498-A/34 of IPC.

So far as applicant No.2 is concerned, he is the
brother of the applicant No.1. The marriage was
performed on 24/02/2016 and the FIR was lodged on
27/07/2017 and the statement of the complainant was
recorded under Section 161 of CrPC. It is clearly
mentioned that the the marriage was performed on
24/02/2016. The complainant came back to her
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parents’ house for the first time on 21/03/2016.
Thereafter, she went back to her matrimonial house on
13/04/2016 and she has been ousted from her
matrimonial house on 19/04/2016. Thus, it is clear that
the respondent No.2 had resided in her matrimonial
house for about 45 days. During this period, it is
alleged that the applicant No.2 had also harassed the
complainant for fulfillment of their demand of
Rs.1,50,000/-and a four wheeler. It is not a case of the
applicant No.2 that he is residing separately from other
applicants. Thus, this Court is of the considered opinion
that at this stage, it cannot be said that there is no
sufficient material against the applicant No.2 requiring
his prosecution under Section 498-A/34 of IPC.

So far as the applicant No.1 is concerned, he is
the husband of the respondent No.2. The basic
allegations are against him. The allegations of demand
of dowry and harassment have been specifically
mentioned.

Considering the facts and circumstances of the
case, this Court is of the considered opinion that there
is sufficient material against the applicants warranting
their prosecution under Section 498-A/34 of IPC. It is
well established principle of law that the prosecution
should not be stiffled in the mid-way. Thus, this Court
is of the opinion that the FIR as well as the criminal
proceedings initiated against the applicants in Crime
No.612/2017registered at Police Station Dabra, District
Gwalior for the offence under Section 498-A/34 of IPC
cannot be quashed.

Before parting with this order, this Court feels it
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appropriate to mention that the averments made by
the applicants have been considered in the light of the
limited scope of interference at the stage of quashment
of FIR and investigation. The trial Court must decide
the trial strictly in accordance with the evidence which
would ultimately come on record and tested on the
anvil of the cross-examination.

With the aforesaid observation, this application
fails and is hereby dismissed.

(G.S. Ahluwalia)
Judge

MKB

MAHENDRA KUMAR BARIK
2018.01.21 14:13:26 +05’30’

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