Court:DELHI HIGH COURT
Bench: JUSTICE S.C. Jain
V. CHANDRASEKHARAN Vs. VASANTHA & ANR. Decided on 26 August 1993
Plea of Entrustment of Jewelry and Refusal to Return Demand for the First Time — Other Litigation Pending — Whether Proceedings Liable to be Quashed ? (Yes).
Shri V. Chandrasekharan, the petitioner herein has filed this petition under Section 482 Cr. P.C. for quashing the proceedings under Sec. 406 IPC pending against him before the Metropolitan Magistrate, Delhi in case No. 41/1/1989.
2. In brief the facts of the case are that Smt. Vasantha, petitioner’s wife, respondent herein filed a criminal complaint in the Court of Metropolitan Magistrate, Delhi under Section 406 IPC and Section 4 of Dowry Prohibition (Amendment) Act, 1984 alleging therein that at the time of her marriage parents, relatives and family friends of the complainant gave valuable gifts/jewellery to the complainant which exclusively belong to her and constitute her Stridhan. That at the time of her marriage the complainant was working in the office of Regional Provident Fund Commissioner, Nehru Place, New Delhi and after marriage she went to Madras to live with her husband after taking leave. She returned to Delhi on 6.4.1986 to join her duty and while leaving Madras she left all valuable gifts/articles at Madras except jewellery and ornaments, la May, 1986 she again went to Madras and stayed with the accused till 19.7.1986. That the accused came to Delhi in the early days of October, 1986 and started living and cohabiting with the complainant as husband and wife at Delhi in the house of parents of the complainant and one day the accused told the complainant that it was not safe for her to keep her jewellery at home and further asked her to give her jewellery to him so that he could keep it safe in some locker in the bank. The complainant thus entrusted her entire jewellery with the accused in good faith. Thereafter, the accused wanted the parents of the complainant to help him to the extent of Rs. 60,000 in his business, which they could not arrange and, therefore, the dispute started between the parties and that the complainant demanded the return of her jewellery from the accused, but he refused. On this basis the complaint under Sec. 406 Indian Penal Code was filed.
3. The petitioner has challenged the proceedings under Section 406 and Section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition (Amendment) Act, 1984 pending before the Metropolitan Magistrate, Delhi on various grounds. According to the petitioner the allegations made in the complaint are themselves contradictory. According to the statement of the complainant she had entrusted the jewellery with the husband only at New Delhi. But in her own statement in other legal proceedings she has contradicted herself. The entrustment of the jewellery is not apparent from the record. The complaint also does not disclose the date on which the entrastment of jewellery was made. The details of the jewellery have also not been mentioned in the complaint. There was no inventory of the gold jewellery in the complaint. The alleged entrustment of gold jewellery with the accused and the demand by the complainant to return the same are doubtful.
4. It is settled principle of law, as has been laid down by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Madhavrao Jiwaji Rao Scindia & Another v. Sambhajirao Chandrojirao Angre & Others, AIR 1988 SC 709, that when a prosecution at the initial stage is asked to be quashed, the test to be applied by the Court is as to whether the uncontroverted allegations as made prima facie establish the offence. It is also for the Court to take into consideration any special features which appear in a particular case to consider whether it is expedient and in the interest of justice to permit a prosecution to continue. This is so on the basis that the Court cannot be utilised for any oblique purpose and where in the opinion of the Court chances of an ultimate conviction are bleak and therefore, no useful purpose is likely to be served by allowing a criminal prosecution to continue, the Court may while taking into consideration the special facts of a case also quash the proceeding even though it may be at a preliminary stage.
5. In this case a perusal of the record shows that the parties were married on 20.1.1986 at Madras. The complainant-wife was in service at Delhi, whereas the husband was settled at Mardras. The marriage did not prove to be a successful one and quarrel started between the parties which led to the filing of various petitions by the complainant-wife against the husband. On 21.8.1987 a petition under Section 125 Cr. P.C. for maintenance was filed by the wife against the husband. On 2.5.1988 the wife filed a petition for restitution of conjugal rights under Section 9 of Hindu Marriage Act against her husband, the present petitioner. On 24.2.1989 the wife filed an application for the maintenance for self and her minor child under Sees. 25 and 26 of the Hindu Marriage Act and then this complaint under Section 406 IPC was filed on 6.6.1989. In all the earlier petitions which have been admittedly filed by the wife, copies of which are available on the record of this file, nowhere the wife took up the plea that her husband. Shri V. Chandrasekharan, the petitioner herein, came to Delhi in the early days of October, 1986 and started living and cohabiting with her and he asked her not to keep the jewelry with her and asked her to give her jewelry to him so that he could keep it safe in some locker in the bank and on that plea she entrusted her entire jewelry with the accused in good faith and thereafter he did not return the jewelry. It is for the first time that this plea has been taken in this complaint under Section 406 Indian Penal Code and Section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition (Amendment) Act, 1984.
6. In such type of cases whether the proceedings should be quashed at the initial stage is a question which has to be answered in view of the latest Supreme Court decision in the casa of State of Haryana & Others v. Ch. Bhajan Lal & Others, AIR 1992 SC 604. Their Lordships of the Supreme Court have laid down seven categories wherein the High Court may in exercise of powers under Article 226 or under Section 482 Cr. P.C. may interfere in proceedings relating to cognizable offences to prevent abuse of the process of any Court or otherwise to secure the ends of justice. However, as r. word of caution. it has been observed that the power should be exercised sparingly and that too in the rarest of rare cases. In category (5) their Lordships have mentioned that where the allegations made in the FIR or complaint are so absurd and inherently improbable on the basis of which no prudent person can ever reach a just conclusion that there is sufficient ground for proceeding against the accused.
7. Keeping in view the legal proposition laid down by the Hon’ble Judges in various decisions, from the facts which are apparent on record in this case, the plea of entrustment of gold jewelry and refusal to return them on demand, as mentioned in the complaint, is so absurd and inherently improbable on the basis of which no prudent person can ever reach a just conclusion that there is sufficient ground for proceeding against the accused, i. e. the petitioner herein.
8. In view of the facts in the present case I am of the view that the chances of an ultimate conviction are bleak and therefore, no useful purpose is likely to be served by allowing this criminal prosecution to continue. The Court cannot be utilised for any oblique purpose and taking into consideration the special facts of the case, I quash the proceedings against the present petitioner even though these are at the preliminary stage. This petition is allowed. Ordered accordingly.