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Meghna Gill vs State Of Haryana on 25 September, 2018

CRM-M-43589-2016 -1-

IN THE HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB AND HARYANA
AT CHANDIGARH

CRM-M-43589-2016 (OM)
Date of Decision: 25.09.2018

Meghna Gill
….Petitioner

Versus

State of Haryana and another
….Respondents

CORAM: HON’BLE MRS. JUSTICE ANITA CHAUDHRY

Present: Mr. R.N. Lohan, Advocate
for the petitioner(s).

Mr. Arun Kumar, A.A.G., Haryana.

Mr. Bhoop Singh, Advocate
for respondent No.2.

****

ANITA CHAUDHRY, J

Petitioner is seeking quashing of FIR No.736 dated 16.09.2015

registered under Sections 498-A, 406 IPC at Police Station Jind City,

District Jind and all the subsequent proceedings arising thereto.

Notice of motion was issued to the respondents. Reply has been

filed by the State. No reply was filed by respondent No.2.

Learned counsel for the petitioner submits that petitioner is the

married sister-in-law, being the sister of husband of the complainant and

marriage of the complainant took place with the brother of the petitioner in

the year 2010, while the petitioner got married in 2007. Counsel submits

that general and vague allegations have been levelled and Section 498-A is

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not attracted and there are no specific allegations that dowry articles were

entrusted to her. Counsel further submits that trivial allegations have been

levelled and the complainant was living in the petitioner’s house in Delhi

and using all the facilities in her home and only because there was

difference with the husband, she had also been named. Counsel refers to the

FIR and urges that allegations are that the petitioner did not allow the

complainant to give the landline number to her acquaintances, that an

outsider could not come to this house and that she was not allowed to fast

on Thursdays or that she was not allowed to watch TV, would not attract

Section 498-A IPC and the police was not justified in filing the challan

against the sister-in-law and the police has been insensitive in this case.

Per contra, the submissions on behalf of the complainant were

that it is not only physical cruelty but mental cruelty which falls under

Section 498-A IPC and the allegations are serious and the petitioner used to

dominate and did not allow the complainant to use the phone and she was

not allowed to keep fast and was forced to make egg on Tuesdays and

nobody took care of her when her blood pressure became low and it should

be left to the trial Court to go into the allegations based on the evidence that

would be led by them.

The State counsel submits that challan had already been

submitted.

Having heard the learned counsel for the parties at considerable

length and after careful perusal of the lengthy FIR and giving thoughtful

consideration to the contentions raised, I am of the considered opinion that

keeping in view the totality of facts and circumstances of the case, it is a fit

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case to quash the FIR. It is necessary to notice the nature of accusations,

some of which are noted as under:-

1. That the petitioner did not allow the complainant to give the
landline number to her acquaintance and she was asked not to
give the house address to anyone.

2. The complainant was not allowed to keep fast on Thursdays.

3. Taunts were thrown when she lit a dia (Candle) and she
was told that it was polluting air.

4. The complainant was weeping throughout the day after the
husband got angry at her and the petitioner did not console her
and rather she was in another room and was laughing.

It is now necessary to notice Section 498-A IPC. The

provisions of Section 498A IPC read as under :

“498A. Husband or relative of husband of a woman
subjecting her to cruelty. – Whoever, being the husband or the
relative of the husband of a woman, subjects such woman to
cruelty shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which
may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine.
Explanation. – For the purposes of this section `cruelty’ means-

(a) any welful conduct which is of such a nature as is likely to
drive the woman to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or
danger to life, limb or health (whether mental or physical) of
the woman;

(b) harassment of the woman where such harassment is with a
view to coercing her to any person related to her to meet any
unlawful demand for any property or valuable security or is on
account of failure by her or any person related to her to meet
such demand.”

Cruelty has been defined by the explanation added to the
Section itself. The basic ingredients of Section 498A I.P.C. are
cruelty and harassment. In the instant case, as the allegation of
demand of dowry is not there, we are not concerned with
clause (b) of the explanation. The elements of cruelty so far as
clause (a) is concerned, have been classified as follows :

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(i) any `wilful’ conduct which is of such a nature as is likely to
drive the woman to commit suicide; or

(ii) any `wilful’ conduct which is likely to cause grave injury to
the woman; or

(iii) any `wilful’ act which is likely to cause danger to life, limb
or health, whether physical or mental of the woman.

In Girdhar Shankar Tawade v. State of Maharashtra, AIR 2002

SC 2078; it was held that “cruelty” has to be understood having a specific

statutory meaning provided in Section 498A I.P.C. and there should be a

case of continuous state of affairs of torture by one to another.

“Cruelty” for the purpose of Section 498-A I.P.C. is to be

established in the context of S. 498-A IPC as it may be a different from

other statutory provisions. It is to be determined/inferred by considering the

conduct of the person, weighing the gravity or seriousness of the acts and it

is to find out as to whether it is likely to drive the woman to commit suicide

etc. It is to be established that the woman has been subjected to cruelty

continuously/persistently or at least in close proximity of time of lodging

the complaint. Petty quarrels cannot be termed as `cruelty’ to attract the

provisions of Section 498-A IPC. Causing mental torture to the extent that it

becomes unbearable may be termed as cruelty”.

The instant case is required to be examined by taking into

consideration the provisions of Section 498-A IPC and the settled legal

provisions. On going through the allegations some of which have been

noted above, it will be seen that it is a fit case warranting interference at the

hands of this Court, while exercising its inherent jurisdiction under Section

482 Cr.P.C. for more than one reasons.

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It is a matter of record that petitioner was married sister-in-law

of the complainant, married much prior to the marriage of the complainant.

The complainant started living in the petitioner’s house in the official

accommodation allotted to her. The incidents referred to in the FIR are

skirmishes and petty in nature.

The allegations levelled against the petitioner even if taken to

be true on their face value, do not fall under the definition of cruelty. This

case is a glaring example of the unwarranted tendency to implicate

maximum members of the family of the husband at the hands of estranged

wife. In a case under Sections 498-A and 406 IPC, the police arrayed the

petitioner as an accused without going into the allegations, which did not

attract Section 498-A. They were not justified in filing the challan against

the petitioner. They have been insensitive. It is a case of over implication of

the petitioner. The police officials need to be sensitized and they have to

understand that it causes insurmountable harassment, agony and pain when

a party has been wrongly framed. The officials were lacking in their duties

and did not care to find out the truth. The Courts on various occasions have

expressed their displeasure and the officials need to discharge their duties

with utmost care. The Courts have been flooded with number of petitions,

where police has challaned the family members without understanding that

it causes social unrest in the society.

Looking at the allegations, I would unhesitatingly hold that the

continuation of the criminal proceedings against the petitioner would

certainly amount to misuse of the process of the Court and will result in

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miscarriage of justice and the same cannot be permitted to continue any

further.

As such FIR qua the petitioner is quashed. Resultantly, the

present petition is allowed.

September 25, 2018 (ANITA CHAUDHRY)
ps-I JUDGE

Whether speaking/reasoned : Yes/No
Whether reportable : Yes/No

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