Court:PUNJAB AND HARYANA HIGH COURT
Bench: JUSTICE MEHINDER SINGH SULLAR
Pooja vs Nidhi @ Sarika on 1 October, 2012
Not a Single Cogent Allegation nor any Specific role Attributed to Married Sister In Law by the Wife. Allegation are Vague and General in Nature. FIR Under Section 498A Quashed.
1. Tersely, the facts & material, culminating in the commencement, relevant for deciding the instant petition and emanating from the record, are that the initially, complainant Nidhi alias Sarika respondent (for brevity “the complainant”) filed a private criminal complaint (Annexure P1) against Rajiv Sharma (husband), Shashi Pal Sharma (father-in-law), Bali, aunt (Chachi) of husband and her daughter Deepika & son Bunty, for the commission of offences punishable under sections 405, 406 and 498-A read with section 420 IPC in the Court of JMIC Amritsar. The indicated complaint was dismissed in default for want of prosecution, by virtue of order dated 12.8.2005 (Annexure P2). The application for its restoration was dismissed as withdrawn as well, on the statement of the complainant, by means of order dated 17.11.2005 CRM No. M-26509 of 2011 (O&M) -2-
2. Not only that, the petitioner again filed a private criminal complaint (Annexure P4), in which, the accused were summoned to face the trial under sections 406 and 498-A IPC by the trial Magistrate, vide impugned summoning order dated 2.8.2006 (Annexure P5).
3. Aggrieved thereby, petitioner Pooja, married sister-in-law of complainant, has preferred the present petition to quash the impugned complaint (Annexure P4) and summoning order (Annexure P5), invoking the provisions of section 482 Cr.PC, inter-alia pleading that the 2nd complaint filed by the complainant was not maintainable, in which, she was wrongly summoned without any cogent reasons. She has been falsely implicated. The very vague and general allegations are alleged against her. It was claimed that Smt.Bali aunt (Chachi) of husband of complainant and her children, who were also summoned along with the petitioner under similar circumstances, filed a petition for quashing the impugned complaint, which was accepted by this Court, by virtue of order dated 19.8.2008 (Annexure P6) passed in CRM No. M-77271-M 2006 titled as “Archana Sharma @ Bali & Ors. Vs. Nidhi alias Sarika”. In all, the petitioner claimed that since she has been falsely implicated, so, the impugned complaint and summoning order qua her are also liable to be quashed in this relevant connection. On the strength of aforesaid grounds, the petitioner sought to quash the impugned complaint and summoning order in the manner depicted here-in-above.
4. The complainant-respondent did not contest the prayer of petitioner despite service.
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5. After hearing the learned counsel for the petitioner, going through the record with his valuable assistance and after considering the entire matter deeply, to my mind, the instant petition deserves to be accepted in this context.
6. As is evident from the record that first complaint (Annexure P1) was dismissed for non-prosecution by the trial Court, by way of order (Annexure P2). The application for its restoration was also dismissed as withdrawn, vide order (Annexure P3). Again, the complainant filed a complaint (Annexure P4) involving the distant relatives of her husband. The very very vague and general allegations, with regard to cruelty and demand of dowry, are assigned to petitioner, who is married sister-in-law of the complainant. There is neither single cogent allegation nor any specific role is attributed to her by the complainant. Above-all, it is highly impossible to believe that the petitioner, who is sister-in-law of complainant and residing with her in-laws’ family and minor child at Bareilly (UP), would come to treat her (complainant) with cruelty or demand the dowry articles from her. All the main allegations with respect to cruelty and demand of dowry, are assigned to the husband of complainant and his parents, who are facing the trial.
7. It is now well settled proposition of law that, in order to attract the penal provisions of the offences punishable under Sections 406 and 498-A IPC, there must be specific allegations/overt acts and prima facie material against the petitioner to indicate that the dowry articles were actually entrusted to her and she misappropriated the same. For the fault of the husband, the in-laws and other relations cannot, in all cases, CRM No. M-26509 of 2011 (O&M) -4-
be held to be involved in the demand of dowry. In cases, where such accusation is made, the overt acts attributed to such persons, other than husband, are required to be prima facie established. By mere conjectures and implications, such relations cannot be held to be involved for the offences relating to the demand of dowry, which are totally lacking in the present case. As all the essential ingredients to constitute the offences and element of the complicity of petitioner, are totally missing, therefore, to me, no criminal prosecution can legally be permitted to continue against her, in view of ratio of law laid by the Hon’ble Apex Court in case Preeti Gupta & Another v. State of Jharkhand & Another 2010(7) SCC 667.
8. Sequelly, this Court has also considered this aspect of the matter in cases Harjinder Kaur and others v. State of Punjab 2004(4) RCR(Criminal) 332; Labh Singh and others v. State of Haryana 2006(2) RCR (Criminal) 296; Rakesh Kumar and others v. State of Punjab and others 2009(2) RCR (Criminal) 565; Mohinder Kaur & Others v. State of Punjab & Another 2010 (2) RCR(Criminal) 597, Paramjit Kaur v. State of Punjab 2011(5) RCR (Criminal) 686 and Ritu Khurana and another v. Brij Lal Chopra 2012(2) RCR (Criminal) 117; wherein it was held that “the allegations against the relatives of the husband were vague and there is growing tendency to come out with inflated and exaggerated allegations roping in each and every relation of the husband, things have now taken a reverse trend and the women are abusing beneficial provisions of section 498-A IPC.”
9. There is another aspect of the matter, which can be viewed from altogether a different angle. What cannot possibly be disputed here CRM No. M-26509 of 2011 (O&M) -5-
is that the complainant in her complaint (Annexure P4) has levelled similar, general and vague allegations against the other relatives Archana Sharma alias Bali, aunt (Chachi) of her husband and her daughter Deepika & son Bunty alias Nitin Sharma. The impugned complaint and summoning order qua them were quashed on the similar grounds by a Coordinate Bench of this Court (Rajesh Bindal, J.), vide order (Annexure P6), the operative part of which is as under:-
“If the case in hand is considered in view of the judgments referred to above, a perusal of the complaint shows that the allegations are vague and general in nature against the accused. It is mentioned that at the time of marriage, the dowry articles were entrusted to all the accused. The effort in the complaint is to spread the net wide by leveling vague allegations against all the accused but without any specific date, etc. The allegation regarding demand of gas cylinder has been made with no details and so is the case of demand of cash of Rs.50,000/- and motorcycle. If the gas cylinder as alleged in the complaint had been given, the same was certainly for the benefit of the complainant herself. Similar is the position with regard to vague allegations of demand of cash and the motorcycle. Had the motorcycle been given, the same was for the benefit of the husband of the complainant and not for the petitioners who are Chachi of the husband of the complainant and her unmarried daughter and son.
For the reasons mentioned above, I find that the continuation of the proceedings against the petitioners would certainly amount to misuse of process of law and they are being unnecessary harassed. Accordingly, the impugned complaint and all subsequent proceedings thereto qua the petitioners are quashed.”
10. The ratio of law laid down in the aforesaid judgments “mutatis mutandis” is applicable to the facts of this case and is the complete answer to the problem in hand. Therefore, the impugned complaint (Annexure P4), summoning order (Annexure P5) and all other CRM No. M-26509 of 2011 (O&M) -6-
consequent proceedings arising thereto, qua petitioner only, deserve to be and are hereby quashed in the obtaining circumstances of the case.
11. In the light of aforesaid reasons and without commenting further anything on merits, lest it may prejudice the case of either side during the course of trial against the remaining accused, the instant petition is accepted. Consequently, the impugned complaint (Annexure P4), summoning order (Annexure P5) and all other subsequent proceedings arising therefrom, with regard and relatable to the petitioner only, are hereby quashed. She is accordingly, discharged from the indicated criminal complaint registered against her.
12. Needless to mention that, nothing observed hereinabove, would reflect, in any manner, on the merits of the main complaint case, as the same has been so recorded for a limited purpose of deciding the present petition only.