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With Respect to Charge under Section 498-A, Indian Penal Code, the Allegations Made in the Complaint do not make out an Offence


Bench: JUSTICE G.S. Chahal

Richhpal Kaur Vs. The State of Haryana On 23 January 1991

Law Point:
With respect to charge under section 498-A, Indian Penal Code, the allegations made in the complaint do not make out an offence.


1. Smt. Richhpal Kaur and others have come up with a criminal miscellaneous under section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure for quashing of the complaint dated 9.2.87 (Annexure P1) and the summoning order dated 3.1.89 (Annexure P2) passed by the learned Chief Judicial Magistrate, Sirsa and the orders of the learned Addl. Sessions Judge, Sirsa dated 16.1.90. The petitioner have been summoned by the Courts of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Sirsa for offence under section 323 and 498-A read with section 34 of the Indian Penal Code on the basis of a complaint filed by Jaswant Singh, Respondent No. 2 herein. Smt. Gurmit Kaur sister of Jaswant Singh was married to Sukhdev Singh respondent according to Anand Karaj ceremony and out of this wedlock, a daughter named Kulwinder Kaur was born. The complainant alleged that the petitioners and Sukhdev Singh were not satisfied with the dowry articles given at the marriage and the presents given at the time of birth of the child About 13 months earlier, Jaswant Singh had taken his sister to leave her back at her in-laws house and was accompanied by his mother. Harbhajan Singh elder brother of Sukhdev Singh and sister’s son of Harbhajan Singh and Trilochan Singh caused injuries to Jaswant Singh, Gurmit Kaur and his mother. A case under section 326 Indian Penal Code was registered against them. In-laws of Smt. Gurmit were pressurising her to compel her parents to get a compromise effect, to which they did not agree. On 2.12.87 at about 3 p.m. Gurmit Kaur and her daughter, accompanied by Mohinder Singh and Kashmir Singh came to his house. Smt. Gurmit Kaur was crying and on enquiry, she disclosed that today, at about 10 p.m., Sukhdev Singh, her mother in-law Smt. Richhpal Kaur, his brother’s wife Smt. Amrik Kaur and niece Lakhwinder Kaur remarked that, in the first instance, she had brought less dowry and that now she was not getting a compromise effected. Smt. Gurmit Kaur told them that in both these matters, she could not help them. All the aforesaid four persons then attacked her and caused her injuries. She raised a raula attracting Mohinder Singh and Kashmir Singh who rescued her. When Mohinder Singh and Kashmir Singh asked them, they would maltreat her and kill her. Then they turned her out of the house, along with child. Mohinder Singh and Kashmir Singh had confirmed the statement made by Smt. Gurmit Kaur. Jaswant Singh, then accompanied by his father and members of the Panchayat, namely Uttam Chand and Wasawa Ram went to the house of her in-laws and talked to them and the petitioners. Sukhdev Singh affirmed that they had given beatings, as she had brought less dowry and did not get the compromise effected. On the next day, he took Smt. Gurmit Kaur to the hospital and got herself medically examined.

2. After hearing the learned counsel, I am of the view that so far as the offence under section 323, Indian Penal Code is concerned, the complaint carries allegations and material about the commission of the offence. The truthfulness of the allegations made in the complaint is to be gone into by the learned Magistrate and if the petitioners have any defence, they can produce the same before the Court at the proper state. No case for quashing of the complaint under section 323, Indian Penal Code is, however, made out. However, with respect to charge under section 498-A, Indian Penal Code, the allegations made in the complaint do not make out an offence. Section 498-A provides as under :

“498 A. Husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty-

Whoever, being the husband or the relative of the husband of a woman, subjects such woman to cruelty shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine.

Explanation : For the purposes of this section,” Cruelty” means-

a) any wilful conduct which is of such a nature as is likely to drive the woman to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to life, limb or health (whether mental or physical) of the woman; or.

b) harassment of the woman where such harassment is with a view coercing her or any person related to her to meet any unlawful demand for any property or valuable security or is on account of failure by or any person related to her to meet such demand”.

3. In the present case, the motive for causing injuries to Gurmit Kaur is her refusal to help her in-laws and her husband in effecting a compromise in a case under section 326, Indian Penal Code that had been registered against Harbhajan Singh and others which occurrence had taken place about 13 months earlier. This beating and the act of cruelty was not with the intention to force the complainant to bring more dowry and to meet any unlawful demand. If some remarks about insufficient dowry were made in the course of beating given, it was only a reference to the nature of marriage, performed and nothing more. I am thus, of the view that the summoning order for an offence under Section 498-A, Indian Penal Code cannot stand. I hereby quash the same qua the present petitioners. All the petitioners are ladies and I direct that the learned Magistrate will exempt their personal appearance except for the dates when their presence may be required for some specific purpose.