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Ashish Jain vs State Of Haryana And Anr on 11 February, 2020

Crl. Misc. M 19064 of 2018 1

IN THE HIGH COURT FOR THE STATES OF PUNJAB AND
HARYANA AT CHANDIGARH

Crl. Misc. M 19064 of 2018 (OM)
Date of decision: 11.2.2020

Ashish Jain
…Petitioner
Versus
State of Haryana and another
…Respondents

CORAM:- HON’BLE MS. JUSTICE JAISHREE THAKUR

Present: Mr. Keshav Pratap Singh, Advocate,
for the petitioner.

Mr. Tanuj Sharma, AAG, Haryana.

None for respondent No.2.

JAISHREE THAKUR, J. (Oral)

1. The petitioner herein, seeks quashing of FIR No. 236 dated

27.3.2015 registered under Sections 323, 498-A, 406, 506, 34 IPC, Police

Station Model Town, Panipat District Panipat, Haryana (Annexure P-1) and

all the consequent proceedings arising out of the same.

2. In brief, the facts are that the marriage of the petitioner was

solemnized with Vashudha Jain, daughter of the complainant on 27.6.2012

at Delhi. Thereafter, the couple left India for USA after 10 days of marriage

on 7.7.2012. While living in USA, matrimonial disputes arose between the

petitioner and Vasudha Jain and on one of the occasions, i.e. on 8.11.2014

the matter was reported to the local police. Both the parties were counselled

vide Annexure P/2 and since then they are living separately. Thereafter on

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12.1.2015, the daughter of the complainant filed a divorce petition before

the Superior Court of Washington, County of King. Notice of divorce

proceedings were received by the petitioner on 21.1.2015 and ultimately on

30.12.2015, the divorce was granted to the petitioner and Vasudha Jain. It is

submitted that after filing of the divorce petition, the father of the

complainant got lodged the present FIR against the petitioner and his

parents, which is nothing but sheer misuse of process of law. The

allegations as levelled are totally false and frivolous. It is pleaded that

Panipat police had no jurisdiction to register the complaint as the marriage

was solemnized at Delhi and the couple left for the U.S.A. soon after their

marriage.

3. None has put in appearance on behalf of respondent No.2–

complainant.

4. Reply has been filed by the State, wherein it has been stated that

the Panipat police was well within its right to register the FIR as the

complainant is the permanent resident of Panipat. It is also stated that FIR

cannot be quashed until the petitioner joins the investigation, because his

innocence will be proved before the court after the trial. Since the petitioner

is trying to avoid the legal procedure, therefore, is not entitled to any relief.

4A. Learned counsel for the petitioner submits that the couple

remained in India for 10 days before going abroad on 7.7.2012. It was urged

that the wife filed a divorce petition in January 2015 and the father of the

wife lodged the FIR on 27.3.2015. It was urged that the complainant’s

daughter had come to India in April 2016 and she did not make any

statement and divorce had been granted in December 2015. It was urged that

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a separation agreement was drawn up and 25,000 dollars was the settlement

amount. It was urged that the girl was a software engineer and was working

in U.S.A. and there was no complaint before the couple left India in July

2012 and all the allegations made by the complainant pertain to the incidents

of alleged cruelty in U.S.A. It was urged that there was no complaint that

any dowry had been demanded before marriage or at the time of marriage

and the FIR came into existence only after the complainant’s daughter had

filed for divorce. It was urged that the FIR is an abuse of the process of law

and the police could not register any FIR and cognizance could not have

been taken as the alleged incident took place in U.S.A. and divorce decree

had been passed by U.S. Courts and therefore, the proceedings are liable to

be quashed. It is urged that the petitioner has approached the Court before

the charge was framed and framing of charge will not take away the

jurisdiction as they have challenged the consequential proceedings that may

have arisen thereafter. Reliance was placed upon Manish Ratan and others

versus State of M.P. and another 2007(1) SCC 262, T. Venkateshwarlu

and others versus State of A.P. and others 1999 CriLJ 39, Priya Vrat

Singh and others versus Shyam Ji Sahai 2008(8) SCC 232, Mangat Ram

versus The State of Haryana and another 1988(2) RCR (Criminal) 349,

Swapnil and others versus State of Madhya Pradesh 2014(13) SCC 567,

Gurdial Singh versus State of Punjab and another 2015(45) R.C.R.

(Criminal) 982, Harmanpreet Singh Ahluwalia versus State of Punjab

and others 2009(7) SCC 712 and the judgments passed by this Court in

CRM-M-26882-2014 titled Pankaj Sharma and another versus State of

Punjab and another decided on 20.9.2016 and CRM-M-35337-2015 titled

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Shalu and another versus State of Haryana and another decided on

14.2.2018.

5. On the other hand, the submission made on behalf of the State

is that the cruelty is a continuing offence and it had started immediately after

marriage when the couple was here and the extraordinary remedy cannot be

invoked by the petitioner.

6. I have heard learned counsel for the parties and with their

assistance have perused the pleadings as well as the documents annexed

with the petition.

7. Few facts which are not disputed are that the parties were

married in Delhi in June 2012. The couple left for U.S. within 10 days of

their marriage. It has not been shown that the wife who had returned to India

in 2016 even got an FIR registered. It is the father who got the FIR lodged

and referred to the acts of cruelty committed by the son-in-law in U.S. He

had also made allegations that there was demand of dowry before and at the

time of marriage which is difficult to accept as the complaint was given after

the daughter had approached the U.S. Courts seeking divorce and no such

complaint was given there. The couple had stayed together for almost three

years and it has not been shown that in the initial years there was any

dispute or complaint.

8. Though, the divorce proceedings were initiated by the wife but

ultimately those were not contested and a divorce decree was passed in

December 2015. A separate settlement agreement was drawn up and 25,000

dollars was paid by the husband. A query was made to the State counsel

with respect to any statement given by the girl. It was stated that there was

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no statement and their file did not have her statement though it was stated

that the girl had been cited as a witness.

9. Learned counsel for the State is unable to show any averment

that the petitioner had committed any maltreatment or had made any demand

of dowry in India during those ten days. It appears that the FIR was lodged

by the father of the girl to harass the petitioner as well as his parents as the

marriage was not going well. The wife did not come back to lodge the FIR.

It is her father who got the FIR registered at a time when the parties were

admittedly staying abroad. The daughter of the complainant had persuaded

her father to file the litigation and is pursuing a proxy litigation.

10. On perusal of all the above said factual background, it is found

that the story put-forth in the impugned FIR is based on concoctions and

these baseless allegations amount to a blatant misuse of process of law. The

complainant had concocted a story that there was a demand of dowry before

marriage and at the time of the marriage, however, there is no complaint

made then or soon after the couple had left. Had the maltreatment or

harassment taken place in U.S., the daughter would have made a complaint

to the authorities in U.S. The allegations of cruelty, harassment and torture,

if any, took place in United States and cognizance of it could not have been

taken by the police in India. The parties had invoked the jurisdiction of U.S.

Court for their matrimonial dispute and all disputes stand settled. Chapter

XIII of the Code of Criminal Procedure deals with the jurisdiction of the

criminal courts in inquiries and trials. Section 177 Cr.P.C. states that every

offence shall ordinarily be inquired into and tried by a Court within whose

local jurisdiction it was committed. Section 178 of Cr.P.C. reads as under:-

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“178. Place of inquiry or trial. (a) When it is uncertain in
which of several local areas an offence was committed, or

(b) where an offence is committed, partly in one local area and
partly in another, or

c) where an offence, is a continuing one, and continues to be
committed in more local areas than one, or

(d) where it consists of several acts done in different local
areas, it may be inquired into or tried by a Court having
jurisdiction over any of such local areas.”

11. For the purpose of constituting offence, the territorial

jurisdiction has to be looked at. In the instant case, all the offences itself

complained of arose in U.S.A. and hence the FIR at Panipat would not be

sustainable qua the petitioner.

12. In a case reported as 2003 (2) RCR (Crl.) 888 B.S. Joshi

Versus State of Haryana, it was observed that the object of introducing

Section 498-A in the Indian Penal Code was to prevent the torture of a

woman at the hands of her husband or relatives. The Hon’ble Apex Court

went on to hold that if the FIR, as it stands, does not disclose specific

allegations against the accused, more so against the co-accused, specially in

a matter arising out of the matrimonial bickering, it would be a clear abuse

of process of law and judicial process to mechanically send the named

accused in the FIR to undergo trial. It was further held that it is well settled

principles laid down that in case an FIR does not disclose the commission of

offence, the Court would be justified in quashing the proceedings.

13. In Madhu Limaye v. The State of Maharashtra [1977] 4

SCC 551 a three-Judge Bench of Hon’ble the Apex Court held as under:

“… In case the impugned order clearly brings out a situation

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which is an abuse of the process of the Court, or for the
purpose of securing the ends of justice interference by the High
Court is absolutely necessary, then nothing contained in
Section 397(2) can limit or affect the exercise of the inherent
power by the High Court. Such cases would necessarily be few
and far between. One such case would be the desirability of the
quashing of a criminal proceeding initiated illegally,
vexatiously or as being without jurisdiction. The present case
would undoubtedly fall for exercise of the power of the High
Court in accordance with Section 482 of the 1973 Code, even
assuming, that the invoking of the revisional power of the High
Court is impermissible.”

14. In Madhavrao Jiwajirao Scindia and Ors. v. Sambhajirao

Chandrojirao Angre and Ors. 1988 (1) R.C.R. 565 the Hon’ble Apex

Court observed in para No. 7 as under:

“7. The legal position is well settled that when a prosecution at
the initial stage is asked to be quashed, the test to be applied by
the Court is as to whether the uncontroverted allegations as
made prima facie establish the offence. It is also for the Court
to take into consideration any special features which appear in
a particular case to consider whether it is expedient and in the
interest of justice to permit a prosecution to continue. This is so
on the basis that the Court cannot be utilized for any oblique
purpose and where in the opinion of the Court, chances of an
ultimate conviction is bleak and, therefore, no useful purpose is
likely to be served by allowing a criminal prosecution to
continue, the Court may while taking into consideration the
special facts of a case also quash the proceeding even though it
may be at a preliminary stage.”

15. In State of Haryana and Ors. v. Bhajan Lal and Ors. 1991

(1) R.C.R.383 Hon’ble the Apex Court, in the backdrop of interpretation of

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various relevant provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure under

Chapter XIV and of the principles of law enunciated by the Supreme Court

in a series of decisions relating to the exercise of the extraordinary power

under Article 226 of the Constitution of India or the inherent powers under

Section 482 Cr.P.C., gave the following categories of cases by way of

illustration wherein such power could be exercised either to prevent abuse

of the process of the Court or otherwise to secure the ends of justice.

(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 made in the first information report
and other materials, if any, accompanying the FIR 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

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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”

16. Resultantly, this petition is allowed and the FIR No. 236 dated

27.3.2015 registered under Sections 323, 498-A, 406, 506, 34 IPC, Police

Station Model Town, Panipat District Panipat, Haryana (Annexure P-1 and

all subsequent proceedings arising are quashed qua the petitioner.

11.2.2020 (JAISHREE THAKUR)
prem JUDGE

Whether speaking/reasoned Yes
Whether reportable No

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