Court:PUNJAB AND HARYANA HIGH COURT
Bench: JUSTICE Jasbir Singh
AZAD SINGH & ORS. Vs. STATE OF HARYANA On 21 May 2003
Quashing of FIR : Case Registered Under Sections 304-B and 498-A, I.P.C. after Death of Bride after Gap of About 2 Years : May be out of Sheer Frustration and to get Revenge for Death of her Daughter, FIR Recorded Against Petitioners : After Death of Wife, Husband Entitled to Retain her Property : No Offence Under Section 406, I.P.C. Made out Against Petitioner.
1. Petitioners have moved this application under Section 487, Cr.P.C. with a prayer that FIR No. 214 dated 26.6.1992 registered against them under Sections 406, 408, I.P.C. at PS Ganaur and subsequent proceedings taken thereafter be quashed.
2. It has been stated in this application that marriage of petitioner No. 1 was solemnised with Smt. Sushila deceased on 25.6.1989. Petitioner No. 2 is the father-in-law and petitioner No. 3 is the mother-in-law of the deceased. It is further mentioned that Smt. Sushila died in an accidental fire on 3.10.1990. On 4.10.1990, her dying declaration was recorded by a Judicial Magistrate, wherein she had exonerated the petitioners and had specifically stated that she had got fire due to some accident. However, despite dying declaration to that effect, petitioners were booked under Sections 304-B, 498-A, I.P.C. and FIR No. 285 dated 12.10.1990 was registered against them. When they were facing trial in that FIR, father of the deceased, Shri Chand Ram out of sheer frustration and with a view to take revenge from petitioners, got registered present FIR, against them, after a period of two years of death of his daughter. By filing the present petition, it has been prayed that FIR above-mentioned be quashed.
3. Mr. Nalwa appearing on behalf of the petitioners has vehemently contended that no case is made out against the complainant. He has stated that even though, father of the deceased was not entitled to get the articles, which are subject matter of FIR, the petitioners informed him that they are ready to return back those articles. In this regard, he made reference to his reply to the legal notice sent by the complainant, wherein it is so mentioned. He further relied upon a judgment of this Court titled as Mangat Ram v. The State of Haryana & Anr., II (1988) DMC 566=1988 (2) RCR (Cr.) 349, to contend that after the death of a married daughter, her father is not entitled to claim any property and initiate criminal proceedings under Section 406, I.P.C., etc. Mr. Nalwa has prayed that application be allowed and the FIR under challenge be quashed.
4. This prayer has vehemently been opposed by the Counsel appearing for the State, who has stated that FIR was recorded after thorough investigation. He, by referring to the contents of FIR, argued that case for trial, for commission of offences under Sections 406 and 408, I.P.C., is made out against the petitioners.
5. This Court, after hearing Counsels for the parties is of the opinion that this petition deserves to succeed. It is apparent from the records and not controverted by the Counsel opposite that death of Smt. Sushila had occurred on 3.10.1990. Petitioners were booked under Sections 304-B and 498-A, I.P.C. vide FIR No. 285 dated 12.10.1990. Father of the deceased remained mum and after a gap of about two years, present FIR was got registered against the petitioners. It seems that, may be out of sheer frustration and may be with a view to get revenge for the death of her daughter, present FIR was recorded against the petitioners. Contention of Mr. Nalwa that after death of the wife, husband is entitled to retain her property, finds support from the judgment cited by him in case of Mangat Ram (supra). A Single Bench of this Court, after discussing facts of that case, opined as under :
“3. I have heard the learned Counsels for the parties and have gone through the record with their help. Mr. Sarda, learned Counsel for the petitioner has argued that even if the facts as mentioned in the complaint are taken on their face value, no offence under Section 406, I.P.C. will be made out. His contention is that father of the deceased girl cannot claim the estate of his married daughter after her death, and retention of the dowry items by the husband will not amount to commission of offence under Section 406, I.P.C. He has relied upon Ajit Singh & Ors. v. The State of Punjab, 1983 Chandigarh Criminal Cases 116, wherein it has been held as follows :
‘It seems that the attention of the learned trial Magistrate was not drawn towards Section 15 of the Hindu Succession Act which provides for general rules of succession in the case of female Hindus. The said section provides that the property of a female Hindu dying intestate shall devolve according to the rules set out in Section 16, firstly, upon the sons and daughters (including the children of any pre-deceased son or daughter) and the husband. In the absence of the aforesaid category of heirs, the property would thus go to the heirs provided in clauses secondly to lastly of Sub-section (1) of Section 15 of the Hindu Succession Act. The non obstante clauses in Sub-section (2) of Section 15 would, in the instant case, be not applicable, for the dowry gifts received by Satinder Kaur were not in the nature of property inherited by her from her father and thus the succession would confine only within Sub-section (1) of Section 15, according to the rules set out in Section 16. Rule (1) thereof provides that, among the heirs specified in Sub-section (1) of Section 15, those in one entry, shall be preferred to those in any succeeding entry, and those included in the same entry shall be taken simultaneously. Now here, in the absence of the sons and daughters, or the children of any pre-deceased son or daughter of Satinder Kaur, her husband alone was entitled to her estate. This was not a case of searching for heirs of Class I in the Schedule as has been done by the learned trial Magistrate, for that Schedule too has to operate with the aid of Section 8 of the Hindu Succession Act, which provides for general rules of succession in the case of males. The view taken by the learned Magistrate in this regard is obviously faulty and deserves to be set aside’.”
I am in agreement with the view taken by M.M. Punchhi, J. In this situation, no offence under Section 406, I.P.C. is made out against the petitioner.
6. No precedent to the contrary has been shown by the Counsel opposite.
7. Keeping in view facts and circumstances of this case and ratio of judgment in Mangat Ram’s case (supra), this application is allowed, FIR No. 214 dated 26.6.1992 under Sections 406 and 408, I.P.C., PS Ganaur and subsequent proceedings taken thereafter are quashed.