[Matrimonial Disputes] Growing trend to rope in all relatives of husband in Section 498A cases: Delhi High Court

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There is a growing tendency among women to rope in all the relatives of her husband including minors as accused in matrimonial cases for the offence of cruelty to wife under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Delhi High Court recently observed [Vikram Ruhal vs Delhi Police].

A division bench of Justices V Kameswar Rao and Anoop Kumar Mendiratta noted that many such complaints are eventually settled by parties out of court.

The Court, therefore, granted relief to a man whose appointment as sub-inspector with Delhi Police was kept in abeyance as he was named in a first information report (FIR) filed for offence under Section 498A.

“There is a growing tendency amongst the women to rope in all the relatives including minors in case an FIR is lodged with reference to matrimonial disputes. Many of such complaints are eventually either settled between the families/spouses and are later on stated to have been filed in the heat of the moment over trivial issues. The abuse of the aforesaid provision has been substantially noticed though the salutary purpose of the enactment cannot be ignored in any manner,” the Court said.

The petitioner had applied for the post of sub-inspector in response to the recruitment notice dated April 22, 2017 issued by the Staff Selection Commission. He successfully cleared all the examinations which were held between May 2017 and September 2018.

The Court noted that the petitioner had cleared all the requisite exams for the post but the Commissioner of Police, Delhi decided to keep his appointment in abeyance since he was named in the FIR filed by his sister-in-law against his brother and the entire family.

The Court noted that in the charge-sheet, the police had mentioned his name in column 12 and there was no evidence of his involvement in any of the offences alleged.

“Considering that the petitioner had been placed in Column 12 of charge-sheet and the fact that evidence did not establish his involvement in the offences after investigation, he should have been logically considered suitable for appointment. Merely being named in the FIR cannot be treated as an impediment for public appointment, unless the involvement is substantiated on investigation, specially in relation to matrimonial offences,” the bench observed.

Further, the bench noted that despite there being no evidence to establish the petitioner’s involvement in the case, the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) did not grant him any relief.

“Merely naming in the FIR does not lead to an inference that the employer can keep in abeyance the employment of an applicant for an indefinite period, even if the applicant has been placed in column 12 of the charge-sheet and has not been summoned,” the Court said,

It further stated that the CAT and the Commissioner of Police were swayed by the fact that the petitioner was named in the FIR.

With these observations, the bench ordered the authorities to appoint the petitioner.

Advocates Aadil Singh Boparai, Srishti Khanna, Sidhant Saraswat and Sachin Kumar appeared for the Petitioners.

Standing Counsel for NCT Avnish Ahlawat along with Tania Ahlawat, Nitesh Kumar Singh, Palak Rohmetra, Laavanya Kaushik and Aliza Alam represented the State.

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