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Bharat Batra & Ors. vs State (Govt Of Nct Of Delhi) & Anr on 26 April, 2019

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IN THE HIGH COURT OF DELHI AT NEW DELHI
Decided on:- 26th April, 2019

+ CRL.M.C. 3037/2016

BHARAT BATRA ORS. ….. Petitioners
Through: Mr. Viveck Agarwal, Advocate

versus

STATE (GOVT OF NCT OF DELHI) ANR …. Respondents
Through: Mr. Kewal Singh Ahuja, APP for
the State with Insp. Asha, PS CWC Nanak
Pura
Mr. Sanjeev Sahay and Ms.Jhun Jhun Sarkar,
Advocates for R-2
CORAM:
HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE R.K.GAUBA

ORDER (ORAL)

1. The second respondent was married to the first petitioner as per
Hindu rites and ceremonies on 08.02.2011 in New Delhi. No child took
birth out of the said wedlock. On account statedly of temperamental
differences, the parties separated from each other in January 2012. The
second respondent lodging first information report (FIR) no.149/2012
with police station CAW Cell, Nanak Pura, New Delhi on 22.10.2012,
alleging offences punishable under Section 498A, Section406, Section34 of Indian
Penal Code, 1860 (SectionIPC) against her husband (first petitioner), his father
(second petitioner) and his mother (third petitioner). On conclusion of
the investigation, police filed report under Section 173 of the Code of

Crl. M.C. No.3037/2016 Page 1 of 8
Criminal Procedure, 1973 (Cr. PC) on which cognizance was taken, the
said matter being pending on the file of the Metropolitan Magistrate.

2. On 12.11.2014, the parties entered into a Memorandum of
Understanding (MOU) through the process of mediation at the instance
of Delhi High Court Legal Services Committee in terms of which they
were to approach, as per the timelines indicated, the appropriate forum
for obtaining a decree of divorce, they also having agreed inter alia for
the criminal case arising out of the aforementioned FIR to be sought to
be quashed.

3. The petition, thus, has been moved before this court invoking
Section 482 Cr. PC seeking quashing of the FIR no.149/2012 under
Sections 498A, Section406, Section34 IPC of Police Station CAW Cell, Nanak Pura,
New Delhi.

4. The second respondent on being served with the notice has
appeared with counsel. She initially objected to the prayer in the
petition primarily on the ground that the timelines had not been adhered
to and, therefore, she had been deprived of the money which she was to
receive under the said MOU. The matter was deferred on the request of
the parties so that they could iron out the differences. The parties have
since re-negotiated the terms of the said MOU and have submitted fresh
affidavits, the second respondent having earlier filed affidavit sworn on
24.04.2019, this being followed by another affidavit filed today in the
Registry. The petitioners through their special attorney Chander
Parkash have also placed on record his affidavit dated 26.04.2019.

Crl. M.C. No.3037/2016 Page 2 of 8

5. As per the MOU dated 12.11.2014 and the aforementioned
affidavits modifying the earlier terms partially, the parties had agreed
that they would approach the appropriate forum for dissolution of their
marriage by decree of divorce by mutual consent, and also to seek
quashing of the criminal case arising out of the aforementioned FIR, the
first petitioner having agreed to pay and the second respondent having
agreed to receive as full and final settlement of her claims, a total
amount of Rs.62 Lakhs.

6. The second respondent has acknowledged having already
received Rs.45 Lakhs in two instalments, first of Rs.30 Lakhs at the
time of first motion petition for divorce by mutual consent which was
granted on 16.05.2015 (HMA no.464/2015) and the second, in the sum
of Rs.15 Lakhs at the time of second motion petition leading to grant of
decree of divorce by mutual consent on 12.01.2016 (HMA 1225/2015).
Though as per the terms initially settled by the aforementioned MOU,
the balance amount to be paid was only Rs.15 Lakhs, since there has
been some delay on the part of the first petitioner, on the insistence of
the second respondent, the first petitioner has agreed to pay an amount
of Rs.17 Lakhs, this inclusive of the balance Rs.15 Lakhs alongwith
element of interest and in terms of order dated 10.04.2015 of the court
of the Metropolitan Magistrate.

7. The petitioners have handed over today to the second respondent
and the second respondent has received against acknowledgement the
demand draft bearing no.930772 dated 25.04.2019, drawn on Indian

Crl. M.C. No.3037/2016 Page 3 of 8
Bank, in the sum of Rs.17 Lakhs in her favour. The second respondent
now submits no objection to the prayer in the petition.

8. Pertinent to note here that offence under Section 498A IPC is not
compoundable. The parties are constrained to move this court for
quashing on the basis of amicable resolution arrived at by them in the
facts and circumstances noted above.

9. The scope and ambit of the power conferred on this court by
Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (Cr. PC) read
with Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India, in the particular
context of prayer for quashing criminal proceedings, was examined by
the Supreme Court in B.S. Joshi and Ors. Vs. State of Haryana and
Anr., (2003) 4 SCC 675, against the backdrop of a catena of earlier
decisions. Noting, with reference to the decision in State of Karnakata
Vs. L Muniswamy, (1977) 2 SCC 699, that in exercise of this “inherent”
and “wholesome power”, the touchstone is as to whether “the ends of
justice so require”, and it was observed thus :

“10. … that in a criminal case, the veiled object behind
a lame prosecution, the very nature of the material on
which the structure of the prosecution rests and the like
would justify the High Court in quashing the
proceeding in the interest of justice and that the ends of
justice are higher than the ends of mere law though
justice had got to be administered according to laws
made by the legislature. …that the compelling
necessity for making these observations is that without
a proper realization of the object and purpose of the
provision which seeks to save the inherent powers of
the High Court to do justice between the State and its

Crl. M.C. No.3037/2016 Page 4 of 8
subjects, it would be impossible to appreciate the width
and contours of that salient jurisdiction.”

(emphasis supplied)

10. The Supreme Court in B.S. Joshi (supra) further noted as
under :-

“What would happen to the trial of the case where
the wife does not support the imputations made in
the FIR of the type in question. As earlier noticed,
now she has filed an affidavit that the FIR was
registered at her instance due to temperamental
differences and implied imputations. There may be
many reasons for not supporting the imputations. It
may be either for the reason that she has resolved
disputes with her husband and his other family
members and as a result thereof she has again
started living with her husband with whom she
earlier had differences or she has willingly parted
company and is living happily on her own or has
married someone else on the earlier marriage
having been dissolved by divorce on consent of
parties or fails to support the prosecution on some
other similar grounds. In such eventuality, there
would almost be no chance of conviction. Would it
then be proper to decline to exercise power of
quashing on the ground that it would be permitting
the parties to compound non-compoundable
offences? The answer clearly has to be in the
“negative”. It would, however, be a different matter
if the High Court on facts declines the prayer for
quashing for any valid reasons including lack of
bona fides.”

(emphasis supplied)

11. Holding that “special features in …matrimonial matters are
evident” and that it is “the duty of the court to encourage genuine
settlements of matrimonial disputes”, referring to Madhavrao Jiwajirao

Crl. M.C. No.3037/2016 Page 5 of 8
Scindia Vs. Sambhajirao Chandrojiroo Angre, (1988) 1 SCC 692, it
was further observed that :

“11. … Where, in the opinion of the court, chances
of an ultimate conviction are 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 proceedings.”

(emphasis supplied)

12. In Gian Singh Vs. State of Punjab and Anr. (2012) 10 SCC 303,
the Supreme Court contrasted the request for quashing of criminal
proceedings on the basis of settlement with the possibility of
compounding of an offence and observed thus :-

“57. Quashing of offence or criminal proceedings on
the ground of settlement between an offender and
victim is not the same thing as compounding of
offence. They are different and not interchangeable.
Strictly speaking, the power of compounding of
offences given to a court under Section 320 is
materially different from the quashing of criminal
proceedings by the High Court in exercise of its
inherent jurisdiction. In compounding of offences,
power of a criminal court is circumscribed by the
provisions contained in Section 320 and the court is
guided solely and squarely thereby while, on the
other hand, the formation of opinion by the High
Court for quashing a criminal offence or criminal
proceeding or criminal complaint is guided by the
material on record as to whether the ends of justice
would justify such exercise of power although the
ultimate consequence may be acquittal or dismissal
of indictment.”

(emphasis supplied)

Crl. M.C. No.3037/2016 Page 6 of 8

13. The above views in the context of matrimonial disputes resulting
in criminal proceedings have been consistently followed over the years,
as may be further illustrated by the decision of a bench of three Hon’ble
Judges of the Supreme Court in Jitendra Raghuvanshi and Ors. Vs.
Babita Raghuvanshi and Anr., (2013) 4 SCC 58, the following
observations summarising the philosophy succinctly :-

“15. In our view, it is the duty of the courts to
encourage genuine settlements of matrimonial disputes,
particularly, when the same are on considerable
increase. Even if the offences are non-compoundable, if
they relate to matrimonial disputes and the Court is
satisfied that the parties have settled the same amicably
and without any pressure, we hold that for the purpose
of securing ends of justice, Section 320 of the Code
would not be a bar to the exercise of power of quashing
of FIR, complaint or the subsequent criminal
proceedings.

16. There has been an outburst of matrimonial
disputes in recent times. The institution of marriage
occupies an important place and it has an important
role to play in the society. Therefore, every effort
should be made in the interest of the individuals in
order to enable them to settle down in life and live
peacefully. If the parties ponder over their defaults
and terminate their disputes amicably by mutual
agreement instead of fighting it out in a court of law, in
order to do complete justice in the matrimonial matters,
the courts should be less hesitant in exercising their
extraordinary jurisdiction. It is trite to state that the
power under Section 482 should be exercised sparingly
and with circumspection only when the Court is
convinced, on the basis of material on record, that
allowing the proceedings to continue would be an
abuse of process of court or that the ends of justice

Crl. M.C. No.3037/2016 Page 7 of 8
require that the proceedings ought to be quashed…”

(emphasis supplied)

14. In a case where criminal proceedings arise essentially out of
matrimonial dispute and the parties have decided to bury the hatchet,
the court must examine if there is any likelihood of the criminal
prosecution resulting in conviction. In fact-situation wherein the
matrimonial relation has been brought to an end by mutual consent and
the parties are eager to move on with their respective lives seeking
closure and if there is nothing to indicate lack of bonafide on the part of
any side, denial of the prayer for quashing the criminal case would
restore acrimony rather than bring about peace. Allowing continuance
of the criminal action would be fruitless and clearly an abuse of judicial
process.

15. The case at hand passes the muster of the above-noted tests.

16. In the above facts and circumstances, the petition is allowed. The
crime registered by the police vide FIR no.149/2012, under Sections
498A, Section406, Section34 IPC of Police Station CAW Cell, Nanak Pura, New
Delhi and the proceedings emanating therefrom are hereby quashed.

17. The petition is disposed of accordingly.

Dasti to both sides.

R.K.GAUBA, J.

APRIL 26, 2019
yg

Crl. M.C. No.3037/2016 Page 8 of 8

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