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Bhaskar Lal Sharma & Anr vs Monica And Ors on 18 February, 2014

Supreme Court of India Bhaskar Lal Sharma & Anr vs Monica And Ors on 18 February, 2014Bench: P Sathasivam, Ranjan Gogoi, Shiva Kirti Singh

REPORTABLE

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CRIMINAL APPEAL NOS.435-436 OF 2014

Special Leave Petition (Crl) Nos.4125-4126 OF 2008

BHASKAR LAL SHARMA & ANR. … APPELLANT (S)

VERSUS

MONICA AND ORS. … RESPONDENT (S)

With

WRIT PETITION (CRL.) No. 101 OF 2013

J U D G M E N T

RANJAN GOGOI, J.

1. As ordered earlier, both the cases were heard together and are being disposed of by this common Order.

SLP (Crl.) No. 4125-4126/2008

2. Leave granted.

3. The essential facts may be noticed at the outset.

The respondent, herein, Monica, had filed a complaint under Sections 498A, 406 read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code (hereinafter referred to as the “Penal Code�) against the appellants and one Vikas Sharma (respondent No.2). The appellants are the father and mother-in-law of the respondent-Monica whereas the subsequently impleaded respondent No. 2 is her husband.

On 21.3.2005 the learned Metropolitan Magistrate, Patiala House, New Delhi took cognizance of the offences alleged by the respondent in the complaint petition which was numbered as 287/1A and issued summons to the appellants and the second respondent herein. Aggrieved, the appellants moved the High Court of Delhi under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (hereinafter referred to as the “Code�) for quashing the complaint. By judgment and order dated 21.1.2008 the High Court dismissed the application filed by the appellants. Against the said order the appellants moved this Court by means of two special leave petitions. By order dated 27.07.2009 leave was granted and the appeals registered as Criminal Appeal Nos. 1325-1326 of 2009 were disposed of by this Court holding that while no offence under Section 498A of the Penal Code was made out against either of the appellants, the offence under Section 406, as alleged, was prima facie made out against the appellant No. 2 alone.

4. Aggrieved by the said judgment and order dated 27.07.2009 of this Court, the respondent filed Review Petition Nos. 384-385 of 2009 which were dismissed by this Court by order dated 01.09.2009. Thereafter, the National Commission for Women as well as respondent herself filed Curative Petition (Crl.) Nos. 24-25 of 2010 and Curative Petition (Crl.) No. D 10575 of 2010 respectively which were allowed by this Court by order dated 14.03.2013. It is pursuant to the aforesaid order dated 14.03.2013 passed in the Curative Petitions that the present appeals were re-heard by us.

5. In the order dated 14.03.2013 passed in the Curative Petitions it has been observed that,

“As far as the question regarding making out of a case under Section 498A I.P.C. is concerned, it has to be kept in mind that the appeals were against the initial order summoning the accused to stand trial. Accordingly, it was too early a stage, in our view, to take a stand as to whether any of the allegations had been established or not.�

6. However, as in the very same order dated 14.03.2013 it was made clear that “the observations made in this order is for the purposes of the hearing of the curative petitions and should not, in any way, prejudice the outcome of the appeals, when they are heard afresh�, we have proceeded to re-hear the appeals on its own merit.

We would also like to observe, at this stage, that in the present appeals the only question that would require to be decided is whether on the allegations made in the complaint petition filed by the respondent a prima facie case of commission of offences under Sections 498A and 406 of the Penal Code is made out against the appellants. We will not be concerned with such allegations made against the second respondent who, though named as accused No. 1 in the complaint, had chosen not to question the same. In fact, the said accused has been brought on the record of the present proceedings as respondent No. 2 on the basis of an application filed by the respondent Monica claiming that the addition of her husband as a respondent is necessary for the purposes of facilitating a reconciliation which, however, did not materialise though was attempted.

7. We have read and considered the statements made by the complainant (respondent herein) in the complaint petition, particularly those in paragraphs 16, 17, 18, 19, 24 and 29 thereof. The said paragraphs have also been noticed by the High Court in its order dated 21.01.2008. A detailed recital of the manner in which the present appellants and the respondent No. 2 had allegedly ill-treated the respondent-complainant after her marriage and had withheld different items of her stridhan property has been set out by the respondent-complainant in the aforesaid paragraphs of her complaint.

8. Shri Amarendra Sharan, learned senior counsel for the appellants has urged that the statements/averments made in the complaint petition, even if taken to be correct, do not make out any offence against any of the accused appellants either under Sections 498A or 406 of the Penal Code, as alleged. Shri Sharan has laid stress on the fact that there is no averment in the

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