On Saturday, Justice Jaishree Thakur of Punjab and Haryana High Court in the case of Amarjit Kaur & ors. Versus Jaswinder Kaur & ors stated that “it has become a common practice to use the provisions of Section 498- A IPC as a weapon rather than shield by disgruntled wives”. and quashed the proceedings qua petitioners.
In brief, a criminal complaint was filed against the husband Jaswant Singh, Amarjit Kaur alleged to be second wife of Jaswant Singh, father-in-law Dilbagh Singh, mother-in-law Charan Kaur, brother-in-law Ranjit Singh and the sister-in-law Amarjit Kaur alleging that marriage was solemnized lavishly and a sum of 4 lakhs was spent thereon, apart from giving dowry articles, gold ornaments and other luxurious items.
It was further alleged that soon after the marriage, the accused persons started harassing the complainant on account of not bringing enough dowry and they raised a demand of Maruti 800 car along with an amount of Rs 50,000/-. In the month of March, 1990, husband of the complainant at the instance of other accused gave her beatings and stated that she would have no place in the house if the demands are not fulfilled. Accused No.4 in the complaint i.e. mother-in-law of the complainant also raised a demand of gold ornament. It was alleged that after the birth of girl child, the mother-in-law raised a demand of Rs 5 lakhs. In the year 2002, the complainant was turned out of the matrimonial home and at that point of time, her mother-in-law took all gold ornaments and other articles belonged to the complainant.
The Judicial Magistrate 1st Class, Jalandhar on appreciation of material placed before it, vide order dated 25.03.2013 summoned the husband to face trial under Sections 406, 498-A, 506 and 494 IPC and the mother-in-law under Sections 406, 498-A and 506 IPC whereas the other accused persons were discharged including the petitioners herein.
Revision Filed In Session Court
The aforementioned order was challenged by the complainant in revision before the Additional Sessions Judge, Jalandhar who vide order dated 02.02.2015 while noting the fact that there are specific allegations against accused No.3, 5 and 6 i.e. petitioners herein set aside the order passed by the Judicial Magistrate 1st Class, Jalandhar and directed to pass appropriate summoning order after re-considering the evidence placed before him.
The trial Court on reconsideration of the evidence before it passed order dated 06.12.2016 whereby accused Nos.3, 5 and 6 i.e. petitioners herein have also been ordered to be summoned to face trial under Sections 498-A, 506 and 120-B IPC.
Petition in Punjab & Haryana High Court
Being Aggrieved, a petition under Section 482 Cr.P.C. was filed in High Court seeking to quash Criminal Complaint dated 06.09.2012 and the summoning order dated 06.12.2016 whereby petitioners herein have been summoned to face trial under Sections 498-A, 506, 120-B IPC and order dated 04.08.2017 declaring the petitioners as proclaimed offenders. Petitioners herein are the father-in-law, brother-in-law and sister-in-law of the complainant.
The High Court while referring the allegations against petitioners has noted that:
“Petitioner No.1 is the sister-in-law of the complainant, who got married on 04.02.1989 and has been residing in her matrimonial home since then and therefore, there is not even a remotest possibility that husband of the complainant was used to give beatings to her at the instance of petitioner No.1. Petitioner No.2 was born on 12.07.1979 and was 11 years of age in March, 1990 when the complainant alleged that she was given beatings by her husband at the instance of petitioner No.2. Moreover, he had left for Canada in March, 1996 and is residing there since then. Similarly, petitioner No.3 aged 74 years had left for Canada in 1996 and is residing there since then with petitioner No.2.”
In such an eventuality, it is hard to believe that petitioners had harassed the complainant as alleged in the complaint.
The High Court Held that:
It has become a common practice to use the provisions of Section 498- A IPC as a weapon rather than shield by disgruntled wives. The simplest way to harass is to get the relatives of the husband roped in under this provision, no matter they are bed ridden grand parents of the husband or the relatives living abroad for decades. The case in hand is also of similar nature. The complainant has failed to make out a prima facie case against the petitioners regarding allegation of inflicting physical and mental torture to the complainant or demanding dowry from her. The complaint does not disclose specific allegation against the petitioners except casual reference of their names that husband of the complainant gave her beatings at the instance of petitioners. The Hon’ble Supreme Court in Geeta Mehrotra Vs. State of U.P. (2012) 10 SCC 741 quashed the FIR registered against the unmarried sister of the husband on the ground that prima facie case was not attracted against her in the absence of specific allegations.
It Further held that the case in hand is a sheer abuse of process of law and therefore, is a fit case to exercise the jurisdiction of this Court under Section 482 Cr.P.C. Consequently, the complaint No.31861/13 dated 06.12.2016 and all subsequent proceedings arising therefrom including the orders dated 06.12.2016 and 04.08.2017 qua petitioners are quashed.
Read Judgement here: