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Bakhtawar Singh vs State Of Punjab on 13 July, 2018

Crl. Misc. M 18962 of 2016 1

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

Crl. Misc. M 18962 of 2016 (OM)
Date of decision: 13.7.2018

Bakhtawar Singh
…Petitioner
Versus
State of Punjab
…Respondent

CORAM:- HON’BLE MS. JUSTICE JAISHREE THAKUR

Present: Mr. APS Deol, Senior Advocate with
Mr. Himmat Singh, Advocate,
for the petitioner.

Mr. V.G. Jauhar, Sr. DAG, Punjab.

Mr. M.L.Saggar, Senior Advocate with
Mr J.S. Dhaliwal, Advocate,
for the complainant.

JAISHREE THAKUR, J.

1. The petitioner herein seeks anticipatory bail under Sections 438

of the Code of Criminal Procedure in FIR No. 42 dated 29.4.2016 under

Sections 498A, 406, 506, 342, 323, 354, 34 IPC registered at Police Station

Sirhind District Fatehgarh Sahib.

2. In brief, the facts are that petitioner and complainant Hargeet

Kaur solemnized their marriage in the year 2002 when she was only 19

years of age at that time. It is alleged in the F.I.R that the marriage was

solemnized at Ludhiana with the consent of both the parties, according to

Hindu Sikh ceremony and thereafter they left for Amritsar, out of which

wedlock one child namely, Udaiveer Singh was born on 18.8.2006. It was

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submitted that at the time of wedding, expensive meals were provided by the

parents of the complainant to approximately 900 persons and approximately

an amount of `6,26,1200/- was spent on the marriage. Initially, the

relationship remained cordial between them. However, this did not last very

long and there was a gradual change in the behaviour of the husband and his

parents towards the complainant. She was taunted for not bringing adequate

dowry items and also taunted for not bringing a car in the dowry. It was also

alleged that false information had been given about the character of her

husband and it had been concealed that he had been convicted for 15 days in

jail, while also misrepresenting that he was earning `5 lakhs per month from

a business of Gym. The complainant also alleged that there was a demand

for dowry from her parents, while also alleging that there was physical abuse

in the relationship. An effort was made by the family members to resolve the

dispute that had arisen between the complainant and her husband, and the

complainant was shifted to a separate house, however, there was no such

reconciliation that took place. Ultimately, the dispute escalated to such an

extent that the complainant started suffering from depression and eventually

was thrown out of her matrimonial home. A FIR came to be registered on

29.4.2016. It is in these proceedings that the petitioner has filed for grant of

anticipatory bail after his application was rejected by Additional Sessions

Judge, Fatehgarh Sahib, which has led to the filing of the instant petition.

3. Mr. A.P.S. Deol, Senior Counsel, assisted by Mr. Himmat

Singh, Advocate, appearing on behalf of the petitioner–husband, submits

that after the marriage was solemnized in the year 2002, it is the petitioner

and his family members who encouraged the complainant to complete her

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education and provided all facilities for her to do so. She graduated in the

year 2006 from Punjab University. She was given all opportunities by the

petitioner to be financially independent and invested a huge sum of money

by opening a gym in the name of Femina fitness in the city of Amritsar . It

is argued that in this regard, a newspaper item dated 08.03.2011 was carried

in Hindustan Times on Women’s Day projecting the complainant as owner

of a girls gym. Learned Senior Counsel also submits that the petitioner

herein has taken his family abroad for holidays that is to Singapore, Hong

Kong, USA. It is thereafter that the complainant started insisting for change

in residence either to relocate to a foreign country or Chandigarh. However,

since the petitioner was the eldest son of his parents and his younger brother

was physically handicapped, he was not in a position to shift out. It is also

submitted that the complainant left the matrimonial home in November 2011

and shifted to her parental home at Sirhind, leaving her minor child behind

in the custody of the petitioner. The complainant returned to her matrimonial

home and, thereafter, the petitioner in order to save his married life shifted

to a new residence after constructing a new house. It is only on 20th of

August 2015 that the complainant left her matrimonial home, after 13 years

of marriage life, after celebrating the birthday of the minor child, along with

all jewellery articles. The petitioner herein was constrained to file a petition

under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act for dissolution of marriage. It is

thereafter that a complaint was instituted by the complainant before SSP

Fatehgarh Sahib through her mother–GPA/Special Power of Attorney

holder, on 29.10.2015. This complaint was forwarded to Women Cell

Fatehgarh Sahib which was investigated and no action were taken thereon.

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The complainant, who had gone abroad, returned from USA and filed an

application under Section 156 (3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure on

09.12.2015 with similar allegations and an inquiry was conducted by SHO,

Police Station Sirhind, who came to the conclusion that it was a simple

marriage by exchange of garlands and there was no evidence with regard to

demand or giving of any dowry articles nor any evidence in the form of bills

could be produced by the girls side in support of the allegations. The

Magistrate on going through the inquiry report and ignoring the conclusion,

ordered registration of the aforesaid FIR. Learned Senior Counsel for the

petitioner prays for grant of anticipatory bail contending that there was no

complaint made either by the complainant or her parents about any ill-

treatment meted out to her before 2015 when a complaint was made to the

Magistrate under section 156 (3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

4. Per contra, Mr. M.L. Saggar, learned Senior Counsel, assisted

by Mr. J.S. Dhaliwal, Advocate, appearing on behalf of the complainant

argues that the allegations as set out in the F.I.R are sufficient to deny the

anticipatory bail to the petitioner herein. Custodial interrogation is required

in the instant case, so that recoveries of the dowry and gold items, which are

still in the possession of the husband, could be recovered. It is contended

that a vast amount of money was spent on the marriage in the year 2002 and

despite the said lavish wedding, the complainant was harassed and subjected

to physical abuse on account of inadequate dowry. Learned counsel for the

complainant also relies upon photographs to establish the fact that adequate

jewellery had been given at the time of marriage.

5. I have heard the counsel for the parties and have also perused

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the pleadings of the case.

6. At the very outset, it is noted that the petitioner herein had been

allowed anticipatory bail by this Court on 27.05.2016 and he was asked to

join investigation. Subsequent to the said order passed, the parties were

referred to the Mediation and Conciliation Centre of this court to explore the

possibility of an amicable settlement between them. The parties were

referred by order dated 17.4.2017 to appear before the Mediator, however,

the mediation process failed. In court, the petitioner herein made an offer of

giving two plots to the complainant as full and final settlement. It was

contended that the properties are highly valuable and certainly valued at

more than 70 lakhs. This offer came to be rejected on the ground that out of

the 2 plots that were being offered, one plot already stood registered in her

name, whereas in the 2nd plot she is a shareholder along with the mother-in-

law. To this submission, it was submitted that plots were purchased by the

petitioner in the name of the complainant wife during the subsistence of the

marriage. It was further submitted that the complainant did not have any

independent source of funds to have purchased the plots.

7. Admittedly, the marriage solemnized between the parties in the

year 2002 has soured which led to the registration of a FIR. Allegations

have been made in the F.I.R regarding demand of dowry and ill-treatment at

the hands of the petitioner herein and learned Senior Counsel for the

complainant by affidavit dated 13th of July 2018, which has been taken on

the record, seeks to rely upon certain photographs to establish that dowry

articles had been given at the time of the marriage, that the locker had been

operated by the husband in the absence of the wife and that she had to

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undergo medical treatment on account of the behaviour of the husband.

Reliance is also being sought to be placed on photographs showing the

husband enjoying his life and spending lavishly.

8. The mediation as tried by the court has also failed and,

therefore, it is now a question whether the petitioner herein is entitled to

grant of anticipatory bail or whether his custodial interrogation is required.

9. Allegations and counter allegations have been made in the

pleadings before this court and reliance has been placed on photographs as

well as other documents. There is also an inquiry report available on the

record which is to the effect that there is no demand of dowry. The question

raised is, whether custodial interrogation is required, since there is no return

of the gold articles/dowry articles, (which is stated to be in the possession of

the petitioner herein) which fact is denied by stating that the complainant

had come to the matrimonial home and had taken away her entire Istridhan.

At this juncture, it is difficult for this court to go into the veracity of the

pleadings and it is a matter of evidence which is yet to be led. In similar

circumstances, in the case reported as Anil Rajput and others Versus State

of Haryana 2010 (6) R.C.R. (Criminal) 1126, it has been held “The

recoveries that may be due, are in the facts and circumstances liable to be

inquired into. However, that would not now disentitle the petitioners to the

concession of anticipatory bail. This is more so for the reason that if at

some stage the parties agree to reconcile their differences then the fact that

they had spent some time in custody would be a circumstance which may

come in the way of amicably settling the matter.” The this Court in a catena

of judgments has held that bail cannot be denied only on the ground that

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certain recoveries are yet to be made. In this regard reference can be made to

the judgments rendered in Prit Pal Singh Versus State of Punjab and another

2014 (5) R.C.R. (Criminal) 771 and Ekta Versus State of Punjab and others

2016 (4) R.C.R. (Criminal) 426.

10. There is also another consideration before this court for

confirming the anticipatory bail in favour of the petitioner. The minor child

is in the custody of the petitioner and is now 8 years old and studying in a

school in Amritsar. In case the petitioner herein is denied bail and taken into

custody, it would have a devastating effect upon the minor child. Moreover,

the complainant has already instituted a petition under section 125 of the

Code of Criminal Procedure seeking maintenance, which petition has been

allowed and it has been directed that a sum of `25, 000/- per month by order

dated 31st of March 2018.

11. In the afore-noticed circumstances, the criminal miscellaneous

petition is allowed and the interim bail granted on 27.5.2016 is made

absolute. Needless to say any observations made herein are entirely for the

purposes of deciding this criminal miscellaneous petition and not any

opinion on the merits of the case which is to be decided on the basis of the

evidence led in the trial court.

13.7.2018 (JAISHREE THAKUR)
prem JUDGE

Whether speaking/reasoned Yes
Whether reportable No

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