Calcutta High Court Sahajan Molla-vs-State And Anr. on 15 March, 2000
Equivalent citations:I (2001) DMC 422
Author: R K Mazumdar
Bench: R K Mazumdar
Ranjan Kumar Mazumdar, J.
1. The instant criminal revision application under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure has been filed by the petitioner with a prayer for quashing the impugned proceeding before G.R. Case No. 1587 of 1997 arising out of the Metiaburuz P.S. Case No. 54(4)97 under Sections 498A/304B/120B of the Indian Penal Code including the charge-sheet filed in the case and also the impugned order dated 19.6.1998 passed in the said case by the learned Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate, Alipore.
2. The case of the petitioner was in brief that on 14.4.1997 one Moksud Ali lodged a written complaint with Metiaburuz P.S., South 24-Parganas, alleging inter alia that the petitioner married the said Moksud Ali’s daughter Rosenara on 5.12.1993 and that enough dowry and Din Mohur were given to him at the time of the said marriage. It was further alleged in the said complaint that after marriage the petitioner and his step-mother and step-sister inflicted torture on his said married daughter. It was further alleged that on 1.4.1997 at mid-night the petitioner, his step-mother and step-sister poured kerosene oil all over the body of the said house-wife Rosenara and set her on fire and as a consequence the victim house-wife suffered 80% burn injuries/The victim was removed to S.S.K.M. Hospital, Calcutta. But unfortunately she died after eight days. The police made investigation into the said case and submitted a charge-sheet on 20.4.1998 under Sections 498A/304B/120B, I.P.C. against the petitioner and three others. According to the petitioner, he was innocent and that all the allegations against him were baseless and that the learned S.D.J.M., Alipore, took cognizance of the offence without application of judicial mind. Again according to the petitioner there was delay in lodging the FIR against the petitioner and that investigation was also carried out by the police in a perfunctory manner and with oblique motive and for collateral purpose. The specific case of the petitioner was that on the fateful night of occurrence his wife sustained burn injuries following the bursting of stove and for saving her life the petitioner jumped upon her for extinguishing the fire. But unfortunately she died at S.S.K.M. Hospital, Calcutta after a few days. Hence the case for quashing the proceeding.
3. I have had the opportunity of hearing learned Counsels for all the parties at length in the matter.
4. The only question requiring consideration was whether the impugned criminal proceeding and the impugned order passed by the learned S.D.J.M., Alipore on 19.6.1998 should be quashed or not.
5. At the time of hearing, learned Counsel for the petitioner vehemently submitted that his client was totally innocent and that he loved his wife and the child born out of the wed-lock like anything and had no hand in committing the crime as alleged. It was further submitted by the learned Counsel for the petitioner that it was actually a case of accidental death as on the fateful night of occurrence at 12.00 midnight when the petitioner’s wife was boiling milk on a kerosene stove for the child, the stove burst accidentally and the petitioner’s wife suffered 45% burn injuries. At the time of occurrence the petitioner was very much present at home and for saving the life of the wife, the petitioner jumped upon her for extinguishing the fire and as a consequence the petitioner also suffered burn injuries and had to be hospitalised. Again his further submission was that the instant case was the outcome of conspiracy of the villagers. It was again a case of improper investigation of the part of the police. It was again a case of total non-application of mind by the learned S.D.J.M., Alipore, who took cognizance of the matter and accepted the charge-sheet filed by the police under Section 173 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and also issued warrant of arrest against the petitioner and others. Learned Counsel for the petitioner, therefore, urged upon this Court for quashing the entire criminal proceeding.
6. Learned Counsel for the opposite party State submitted, on the other hand, that this was never a case of accidental death by bursting of kerosene stove but a case of gruesome nature when the petitioner, his step-mother and step-sister hatched a conspiracy for causing the inopportune death of innocent house-wife. According to him, there was no mala fide on that part of the police in making the investigation and also on the part of the learned S.D.J.M., Alipore in accepting the charge-sheet filed by the police Under-section 173 of the Code and also in taking cognizance and issuing warrant of arrest against the petitioner and others.
7. Learned Counsel for opposite party No. 2 (de facto complainant) also made submissions on similar lines as made by the learned Counsel for the State.
8. It is pertinent to mention that at the time of hearing, learned Counsels for all the parties dealt elaborately with the crucial question of the powers of the High Court to quash FIR or complaint under Section 482 of the Code and hence the ratio and principles of law laid down by the Hon’ble Supreme Court on the subject of the following cased must be borne in mind while dealing with the instant revisional case: (i) Rajesh Bajaj v. State and Ors., 1999 Cr. LJ 1833=III (1999) CCR 74 (SC); (ii) Pepsi Foods Ltd. v. Special Judicial Magistrate and Ors., 1998 Supreme Court Cases 749=IV (1997) CCR 108 (SC)=VI (1998) SLT 102; (iii) Mustaq Ahmed v. Md. Habibur Rahaman Faizi and Ors., 1996 Cr. LJ 1877 SC=I (1996) CCR 154 (SC); (iv) State of U.P. v. O.P. Sharma, 1996 Cr. LJ 1878 SC=I (1996) CCR 171 (SC); (v) State of Haryana and Ors. v. Bhajanlal and Ors., AIR 1992 SC
; (vii) Madhavrao Scindia and Ors. v. S.C. Angre and Ors., ; (viii) H.P. Chamaria v. B.K. Sureka and Ors.,
9. It is now well settled that the High Court is invested with plenary powers to quash criminal proceedings pending before any subordinate Court, where it appears that the allegations incorporated in the FIR or petition of complaint, even when they are taken on their face value and accepted in their entirety do not constitute a cognizable offence. It is again well settled that while exercising the discretionary powers to quash a criminal proceeding pending before a subordinate Court, the High Court shall not embark on an enquiry as to whether the evidence or allegations are reliable or not. In other words, while exercising power under Section 482, Cr.P.C. the High Court is not required to probe into any question as to whether the materials or allegations constituting the offence were trustworthy or not at the very initial stage of investigation. It is again not necessary that a complainant should reproduce in the body of the complaint all the ingredients of an offence verbatim. Again, it is well settled that when the petition of complaint and its annexed documents made out a prima facie case, the High Court cannot enter into a debatable area as to which of the two versions of the parties is true. It is again not necessary to make a meticulous study of a case before trial to find out whether the said case would end in conviction or acquittal. It is again well settled that the inherent power to quash a criminal proceeding should be exercised very sparingly and in the rarest of rare cases to prevent abuse of the process of the Court or otherwise to secure the ends of justice. Such power cannot be exercised to stifle a legitimate prosecution. But where the FIR or the petition of complaint does not disclose prima facie any offence or is otherwise frivolous, vexatious or oppressive, it is open to the High Court to interfere under Section 482, Cr.P.C. and to quash a criminal proceeding pending before a subordinate Court.
10. The petition of complaint lodged by the de facto complainant-informant (opposite party No. 2) Moksud Ali on 14.4.1997 with Metiaburuz P.S. is on record and this gave rise to Metiaburuz P.S. Case No. 54(4) 97 under Sections 498A/304B/120B, I.P.C. This petition of complaint prima facie revealed that at the time of marriage of the deceased house-wife with the petitioner the de facto complainant-opposite party No. 2 paid sufficient dowry including cash to the petitioner. But unfortunately even after getting such sufficient amount of dowry, the petitioner, his step-mother and step-sister inflicted torture on the deceased house-wife and this went on unabated. It is also divulged prima facie that on the night of occurrence at about 12.00 mid-night that petitioner, his step-mother and step-sister poured kerosene oil all of a sudden on the body of the house-wife and set her on fire. After the incident, the house-wife Rosenara was removed to S.S.K.M. Hospital, Calcutta and she struggled for life for long eight days and ultimately on 9.4.1997 she breathed her last. It also appears from the record that after investigation of the case the police submitted charge-sheet under Section 173 of the Code against the petitioner and some others for committing offences under Sections 498A/304B/120B, I.P.C. It also appears prima facie from record that learned S.D.J.M., Alipore duly accepted the said charge-sheet, took cognizance and issued warrant of arrest against the petitioner and other accused persons. It also appears from record that the petitioner and the other accused persons were still absconding.
11. As already stated the law is well-settled that when the petition of complaint and other documents made out a prima facie case against a person, the High Court could not enter into a debatable area as to which of the two versions of the parties is true. It was, therefore, not necessary to make a meticulous and thorough study of a case before trial for finding out whether the petitioner was innocent or not. Upon a consideration of the entire materials on record including the petition of complaint, the statements of the witnesses recorded by the police under Section 161 of the Code, etc. I am of the view that a strong prima facie case has been made out against the petitioner for committing offences punishable under Sections 498A/304B/120B, I.P.C. There was, therefore, no question of quashing the instant criminal proceeding started against the petitioner and others. Similarly there was no question of quashing the impugned order passed by the learned S.D.J.M., Alipore whereby he accepted the charge-sheet submitted by the police under Section 173 of the Code and took cognizance and issued warrant of arrest against the petitioner and others. In the facts and circumstances of the case I am of the view that the instant criminal revisional application is liable to be dismissed and hence the same is hereby dismissed.
12. Let a copy of this order be sent to learned S.D.J.M., Alipore expeditiously.