Court: ORISSA HIGH COURT
Bench: JUSTICE R M.M. Das
SURENDRA HOTA & ORS. Vs. STATE OF ORISSA Decided on 2 September 2010
Complaint Petition Itself does not Disclose Commission of any Offence Committed by Petitioners — Rather it reflects anguish of complainant for having been impleaded as OP in case filed for award of compensation due to death of her husband in vehicular accident and non-return of articles alleged to have been given at the time of her marriage to deceased husband — Continuance of criminal proceeding would be abuse of process of law and result in failure of justice — Proceedings quashed.
In this application under Section 482, Cr.PC, the Petitioners, who are accused persons in G.R. Case No. 644 of 2007 corresponding to Kesinga P.S. Case No. 140 of 2007 pending on the file of learned S.D.J.M., Bhawanipatna, have called in question the order of taking cognizance of the offences under Sections 498-A/406/34, I.P.C. r/w Section 4 of the D.P. Act.
2. Facts reveal that one Sasmita Hota got married to Sujit Hota, son of Petitioner Nos. 1, 2 and brother of Petitioner No. 3 on 16.4.2006. The said Sujit Hota expired in a road accident on 17.1.2007. Admittedly thereafter Sasmita Hota was taken back by her father to his village at Utkalapada. On 29.10.2007, the said Sasmita Hota as complainant filed I.C.C. No. 53 of 2007 before the Learned S.D.J.M., Bhawanipatna, Kalahandi, Inter alia, making allegation of commission of offence under Sections 406/468/498-A/509/34, I.P.C. r/w Section 4 of the D.P. Act against the Petitioners. The learned S.D.J.M., Bhawanipatna sent the complaint petition to the concerned P.S. for investigation by treating the complaint petition as an F.I.R. The police upon completion of the investigation filed charge-sheet against the Petitioners upon which the learned S.D.J.M., Bhawanipatna passed the impugned order on 2.1.2008 on the charge-sheet dated 30.12.2007 taking cognizance of the offence under Sections 498-A/406/34, I.P.C. r/w Section 4 of the D.P. Act against the Petitioners and directing issuance of process to the Petitioners.
3. The main thrust of the allegation made in the complaint petition filed by the complainant is that during the time of marriage as per the demand made by the Petitioner No. 1, 7 tolas of gold ornaments and other household articles along with a Hero Honda Pass on Motor Cycle were given as dowry Subsequently, a further demand of Rs. 50,000 was made by the Petitioner No. 1, which was also paid by the father of the complainant. After death of the husband of the complainant, she was tortured by the accused persons for which she was brought back by her father to her paternal house. Thereafter, the Petitioner No. 1 went to the village Nursing where the complainant was staying with her uncle and asked her uncle to send her back to their house to which her uncle replied that after she gets over the trauma and shock due to the untimely death of the husband, she would go back. It is alleged that one day thereafter the complainant was abused by the Petitioner Nos. 2, 3 over telephone. The complainant has further alleged that she received a notice in MAC No. 37 of 2007, which was a case filed for compensation on account of death of the husband of the complainant in a vehicular accident where the complainant Was arrayed as an opposite party. Again on telephonic discussion between the Petitioner No. 1 and the father of the complainant, the Petitioner No. 1 abused him and flatly denied to return the articles given during marriage. The further allegation made in the complaint, petition is that the ownership of the motor-cycle given to the deceased husband of the complainant at the time of marriage, has been changed by the Petitioner No. 1.
4. Mr. Mishra learned Counsel for the Petitioners submits that a bare reading of the complaint petition would go to show that it does not disclose any offence whatsoever to have been committed by the Petitioners & the learned Magistrate without due application of mind has passed the impugned order taking cognizance of the offences against the Petitioners.
5. It is well settled in law that while deciding a petition filed for quashing the F.I.R. or a complaint or the order of taking cognizance of the offences, the Court should be extremely careful and circumspect, if the allegations contained in the FIR or complaint disclose commission of some crime and if the same discloses any short of offence to have been committed, the Court should keep Its hands off and also refrain from passing any order which may impede the trial. The Court should not go into the merits and demerits of the allegations simply because the accused persons allege malus animus against the author of the F.I.R. or the complaint and the Court should not take an imaginary journey in the realm of possible harassment which may be caused to the Petitioners on account of continuance of the proceeding. Only when the Court is satisfied that the complaint does not disclose commission of any offence or prosecution is barred by limitation or that the proceedings of criminal case, if allowed to continue, would result in failure of justice, then it may exercise inherent power under Section 482, Cr.PC. In the case of R.P. Kapur v. State of Punjab, AIR 1960 SC 866, the Supreme Court considering the question whether in exercise of its power under Section 561A of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 (Section 482, Cr.PC is pari materia to Section 561A of the 1898 Code) laid down the following proposition:
“The inherent power of High Court under Section 561A, Criminal P.C. cannot be exercised in regard to matters specifically covered by the other provisions of the Code. The inherent jurisdiction of the High Court can be exercised to quash proceedings in a proper case either to prevent the abuse of the process of any Court or otherwise to secure the ends of justice. Ordinarily criminal proceedings instituted against an accused person must be tried under the provisions of the Code and the High Court would be reluctant to interfere with the said proceedings at an interlocutory stage. It is not possible, desirable or expedient to lay down any inflexible rule which would govern the exercise of this inherent jurisdiction.”
6. Again in the case of State of Haryana v. Bhajanlal, I (2006) CCR 209 (SC)=1992 (1) SCC (Suppl.) 335, the Supreme Court while considering the scope and the power of the High Courts under Section 482, Cr.PC and Article 226 of the Constitution, to quash the F.I.R. registered against the Respondent therein, referring to several judicial precedents identified the cases where the F.I.R. or the complaint can be quashed, which are mentioned in paragraph-108 of the said decision. The decision in the case of State of Haryana v. Bhajanlal (supra), has been thereafter followed in various subsequent Judgments of the Apex Court.
7. Applying the above ratio to the facts and circumstances of the present case and going through the complaint petition, it appears that the complaint petition itself does not disclose commission of any offence to have been committed by the Petitioners, rather it reflects the anguish of the complainant for having been impleaded as an opposite party in the case filed for an award of compensation due to death of her husband in a vehicular accident and non-return of the articles which were alleged to have been given at the time of her marriage to the deceased husband. Since the complaint petition does not disclose commission of any offence to have been committed by the Petitioners, this Court introspecting the facts with care and caution comes to the conclusion that continuance of the criminal proceeding would be an abuse of the process of law and result in failure of justice.
8. In view of the above conclusion, the Order dated 2.1.2008 passed by the learned S.D.J.M., Bhawanipatna, Kalahandi in G.R. Case No. 644 of 2007 stands quashed and G.R. Case No. 644 of 2007 corresponding to Kesinga PS. Case No. 140 of 2007 is also quashed in its entirety. The CRL MC is accordingly allowed.
CRL MC allowed.