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Nanaji Nathu More And Ors vs The State Of Maharashtra And Anr on 17 September, 2018

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IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT BOMBAY
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
WRIT PETITION NO. 3841 of 2015

Nanaji Nathu More and ors .. Petitioners
Versus
The State of Maharashtra Anr .. Respondents


Mr.Tushar Sonawane for the petitioners.
Mr.Rohan R. Sonawane for respondent no.2.
Mr.S.R.Shinde, APP for the State.

CORAM: SHRI RANJIT MORE
SMT. BHARATI H.DANGRE, JJ.
DATED : 17th SEPTEMBER 2018

JUDGMENT (Per Bharati H. Dangre, J)

1 Rule. Rule made returnable forthwith. Heard By

consent of the parties.

At the outset, the learned counsel for the petitioner

Shri Tushar Sonawane seeks leave of this Court to delete the

petitioner nos.1 to 3 from the array of the petitioners and title

and seek permission of this Court to treat the present petition

as being filed by the petitioner no.4 Rupali Nathaji More

(original petitioner no.4) as the sole petitioner.

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2 By the present petition, the petitioner has sought a

relief of quashment of the FIR bearing C.R.No. I-196/2011

registered at Satana Police Station, Taluka Baglan, District

Nashik at the instance of the respondent no.2 on 29 th December

2011, alleging offences punishable under Section 498A, 323,

504, 506 of the IPC. Relief is also sought for quashment of the

proceedings which are pending before the Court of Judicial

Magistrate, First Class, Satana, pursuant to the charge-sheet

filed by the police.

3 The petitioner no.4 – Rupali is the sister-in-law of

the respondent no.2. The respondent no.2 had filed a

complaint vide private Criminal Case No.177 of 2011 in the

Court of Judicial Magistrate First Class, Satana and who made

it over to the Police Inspector, Satana for investigation under

Section 156(3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure. As per the

allegation in the complaint, the respondent no.2 is legally

wedded to Shri Manoj Nanaji More who is the brother of the

petitioner no.4 in the year 2010. The complaint preferred on

1st October 2011 proceeds to state that after marriage, the

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complainant started residing at Shramik Nagar, Nashik, in a

joint family and from the very inception, she was harassed by

all the accused persons by abusing and torturing her physically

and mentally. It is also alleged in the complaint that all the

accused persons used to ask the complainant to bring Mahindra

Logan car from her parental house and that was the cause of

harassment meted out to her. It is also alleged that the

mother-in-law used to assault her by chappal and the husband

used to assault her and father-in-law, brother-in-law and sister-

in-law i.e. present petitioner no.4 also used to abuse her and

assault her. The complaint therefore, alleges that she was

subjected to physical and mental cruelty and therefore, she

requested the Magistrate to take cognizance of her complaint

under Section 156(3) of the Cr.P.C.

As already observed above, based on the said

complaint, the FIR came to be registered and the allegations

were investigated by the police resulting into filing of a charge-

sheet against all the accused persons and being aggrieved, the

petitioner no.4 has approached this Court for quashing of the

proceedings initiated against her.

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4 The substratum of the argument of the learned

counsel for the petitioner is that the perusal of the complaint

would reveal that the allegations levelled against the petitioner

no.4 are vague and do not disclose prima facie offence. The

submission of the learned counsel is that the allegations are not

specific and categorical and even reading of the complaint as it

is, prima facie, would lead to an irresistible conclusion that the

ingredients of Section 498A of the IPC are not made out from

the said complaint, qua the present petitioner no.4.

Learned counsel for the petitioner would also

submit that the petitioner was from the very beginning staying

at Pune for preparing for the competitive examination and she

has been dragged by the complainant falsely in order to

damage her career. It is also specifically stated in the petition

and also argued by the learned counsel for the petitioner that

the petitioner is selected for the post of PSI in the office of

Finger Print Bureau in Crime Investigation Department, but for

the offence being registered against her and she facing a trial,

there is a likelihood that she may not be considered for

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appointment on her selection to the said post. In such

circumstances, he would submit that in view of the vague and

bald allegations made against the petitioner, the petitioner

should not be made to undergo the rigmarole of trial and then,

seek an acquittal but when a prima facie case is made out by

her that the allegations levelled against her are not

substantiated by citing any specific incident, but they being

vague in nature, the learned counsel for the petitioner prays

that the FIR should be quashed.

5 We have heard learned counsel for the respondent

as well as the learned APP and with the assistance of the

parties. We have carefully perused the charge-sheet filed by the

Satana Police Station.

Perusal of the complaint would reveal that the

allegations that have been made in the complaint dated 1 st

December 2011 preferred by the complainant do not give any

specific instance of harassment, either physical or mental, at the

instance of the petitioner no.4. There are omnibus allegations

levelled against all the in-laws i.e. father-in-law, mother-in-law,

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brother-in-law and sister-in-law i.e. the present petitioner and

the husband. It is vaguely alleged that she was subjected to

physical and mental harassment for the purpose of demand of a

vehicle and it is alleged that from the very beginning i.e. after

solemnization of the marriage in the year 2010, she was

subjected to such harassment. It is pertinent to note that the

complainant was married on 14th June 2010 and thereafter,

from 21st July 2011, according to her own complaint, she left

for her parental home and lodged a complaint on 1 st December

2011. There is no specific allegation levelled against the

present petitioner no.4 and the allegation that is levelled, is

unspecific.

In order to satisfy the ingredients of Section 498A of

the IPC, the complaint must reveal that the woman was

subjected to cruelty and cruelty would encompass such willful

conduct which is of such 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, or

subjected to such harassment with a view to coerce her or any

person related to her to meet an unlawful demand for any

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property or valuable security or is on account of failure by her

or any person related to her to such a demand. Perusal of

Section 498A would reveal that the harassment or torture

inflicted on the woman should be of grave nature and which is

expected to be something more than a normal wear and tear of

a marital life. The gravity of the accusation must be clearly

reflected in the complaint and whenever allegations are made

against the relatives of the husband, then the complaint must

specify the harassment or cruelty inflicted at the instance of

such a relative. The allegations in the complaint should make

out a specific case against the relatives and mere naming such a

relative without attributing any specific role is not sufficient.

The Hon’ble Apex Court in Kailash Chandra Agrawal

and anr Vs. State of Uttar Pradesh ors, 1 has made the

following observations:

“We have gone through the FIR and the criminal
complaint. In the FIR, the appellants have not been
named and in the criminal complaint they have been
named without attributing any specific role to them. The
relationship of the appellants with the husband of the

1 (2014) 16 SCC 551

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complainant is distant. In Kans Raj Vs. State of

Punjab, (2000) 5 SCC 207, it was observed :

“5 A tendency has, however, developed for roping
in all relations of the in-laws of the deceased wives in
the matters of dowry deaths which, if not discouraged,
is likely to affect the case of the prosecution even
against the real culprits. In their over enthusiasm and
anxiety to seek conviction for maximum people, the
parents of the deceased hae been found to be making
efforts for involving other relations which ultimately
weaken the case of the prosecution even against the real
accused as appears to have happened in the instant
case”

Further, in a latest judgment of the Hon’ble Apex

Court in case of K. Subba Rao Ors Vs. State of Telangana

through its Secretary, Home Department ors2, Their

Lordships while dealing with the allegations about physical and

mental torture being inflicted observed thus :

“A perusal of the charge-sheet and the supplementary
charge-sheet discloses the fact that the Appellants are
not the immediate family members of the third
respondent/husband. They are the maternal uncles of
the third respondent. Except the bald statement that
they supported the third respondent who was
harassing the second respondent for dowry and that
they conspired with the third respondent for taking
away his child to the U.S.A, nothing else indicating
their involvement in the crime was mentioned. The
appellants approached the High Court when the
investigation was pending. The charge sheet and the
supplementary charge-sheet were filed after disposal
of the case by the High Court.

2 Cr.Appeal 1045/18 decided on 21/8/2018

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Criminal proceedings are not normally interdicted by
us at the interlocutory stage unless there is an abuse
of process of a Court. This Court, at the same time,
does not hesitate to interfere to secure the ends of
justice. See State of Haryana V. Bhajan Lal 1992
Supp.(1) 335. The Courts should be careful in
proceeding against the distant relatives in crimes
pertaining to matrimonial disputes and dowry deaths.
The relatives of the husband should not be roped in
on the basis of omnibus allegations unless specific
instances of their involvement in the crime are made
out. See Kans Raj Vs State of Punjab ors
(2000) 5 SCC 207 and Kailash Chandra Agrawal
and Anr Vs.State of Uttar Pradesh Ors. (2014)
16 SCC 551.

6 When the facts of the present case are construed in

light of the aforesaid authoritative pronouncements, it is clear

that the allegations made in the complaint against the

petitioner no.4 falls short of the case being made out under

Section 498A and the implication of the present petitioner in

the criminal case, according to us, is highly unwarranted and

amounts to an abuse of process of the Court. In such

circumstances, the present petitioner who is a young girl of 31

years and who has a bright future, cannot be made a scapegoat

and she should not be made to lead her life of being an

‘accused’ till she undergoes the said lengthy journey of

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procedure and seek an acquittal on going through the whole

process, when the allegatins against her cannot be proved at all

on culmination of a trial. This Court is competent enough to

invoke its power under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal

Procedure to quash the proceedings initiated against her, which

according to us, do not satisfy the ingredients of the sections of

which she is charged with, and therefore, in our considered

view, in order to secure the ends of justice, it would be

appropriate to quash the said proceedings initiated against the

petitioner no.4.

7 In the result, we quash and set aside the Criminal

Case No.100 of 2012 pending before the Court of Learned

Judicial Magistrate First class, Satana arising out of the charge-

sheet no.23 of 2012 filed by the Satana Police Station against

the present petitioner.

Rule is made absolute in terms of prayer clause (bb)

as against the petitioner no.4.

(SMT. BHARATI H. DANGRE, J.) (RANJIT MORE, J.)

Tilak

Digitally signed
Manali by Manali
Prasanna Tilak
Prasanna Date:
Tilak 2018.09.24
14:55:50 +0530

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