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Jay Prakash and Ors. vs. State of M.P. and Ors.

Judgements favoring men

 
Court: MADHYA PRADESH HIGH COURT

Bench: JUSTICE Atul Sreedharan

Jay Prakash and Ors. vs. State of M.P. and Ors. On 21 April 2017

Law Point:
Allegation under section 498a against sister in law are peripheral and appear to have been leveled only to put pressure on husband. Quashed.

 

 

JUDGEMENT

 

1. The petitioners herein are the husband, father-in-law, mother-in-law and the two sisters-in-law of the respondent No. 2. The petition has been filed invoking the powers u/S. 482 of Cr.P.C for quash of FIR, dated 23/12/13 registered at P.S. Mahila Thana, Jabalpur bearing Crime No. 83/2013 and also for all criminal proceedings initiated pursuant thereto. The undisputed facts of the case are that the marriage between the petitioner No. 1 and the respondent No. 2 was solemnised on 05/06/09 at Jabalpur. At the time of marriage, it is alleged that the father of respondent No. 2, as per his capacity and as per his social status has given as Streedhan, an Alto car, household articles, big size Television, Rs. 1.00 lac in cash, gold and silver ornaments. The FIR is filed pursuant to a complaint preferred by respondent No. 2 to the Police, which is at page 20 of the petition. In paragraph 3 of the said complaint, the respondent No. 2 states that after her marriage from July, 2009 itself, her in-laws started committing physical atrocities on her relating to the demand for dowry. Respondent No. 2 has levelled omnibus allegations against the husband, father-in-law, mother-in-law and the sisters-in-law, who she alleges used to beat her every other day on account of not being able to fulfil the dowry demand of bringing a big car, Rs. 1.00 lac and a computer by way of dowry. In paragraph 4, the Respondent No. 2 alleges an incident which is alleged to have taken place between 9th -10th July, 2009 wherein her husband, father-in-law and mother-in-law are stated to have abused her and caught hold of her hair and banged her head against the wall. Similarly, she says that in October, 2009 her father-in-law, mother-in-law and the husband subjected to her extreme cruelty and compelled her to have fish and meat and forced her to do house-hold work like sweeping, mopping and washing clothes. Thereafter, it is alleged that on 25.11.2009 when she was washing clothes of everyone in the house, at that time, her father-in-law is stated to have told her that he is going to the market upon which the respondent No. 2 went to the kitchen and started having her food, but all of a sudden, the father-in-law and the mother-in-law returned from the market and are stated to have abused her. On the second page of her complaint in paragraph 2, the respondent No. 2 refers to an incident, dated 05/05/10 when at around 1 O’clock in the noon, the petitioner No. 4, who is staying along with petitioner Nos. 1 to 3 is stated to have told the respondent No. 2 while she was washing clothes that she should get a big car and cash from her parental home and if she does not get it, the petitioner No. 1 would be got married off elsewhere. It is further alleged that petitioner No. 4 on small trivial things used to hold out the threat of getting the petitioner No. 1 married elsewhere. She further states that on 15/05/10 in the night between 10-11, the petitioners had severely beaten the respondent No. 2 and she was told that the next time she went to her parental home she should ask her father to provide for Rs. 1 lac in cash, 1 T.V. and computer and a big car instead of the small Alto car that was given as Streedhan and upon the respondent No. 2 opposing the said demand, the petitioner Nos. 1 to 4 are stated to have abused and beaten her. In paragraph 3 on page 2 of the complaint, the respondent No. 2 states that not only was she was subjected to cruelty on account of not bringing dowry, but in order to pressurize her, the petitioners are alleged to have forced the six months old daughter of the petitioner No. 1 and respondent No. 2 on 20/06/11 to eat meat and when respondent No. 2 protested against it, thereupon, the petitioner No. 5 is stated to have abused her with regard to the paternity of the child. It is also stated in the same paragraph that the petitioner No. 1 chased the respondent No. 2, who went inside the bathroom to save herself, from where she was allegedly dragged out by the petitioner No. 1 and beaten. Thereafter, she refers to an incident which has taken place in October, 2011 where again the father-in-law, mother-in-law and the husband of respondent No. 2 are stated to have beaten her and the petitioner No. 3 is stated to have dragged the respondent No. 2 by pulling the hair. Likewise, in the remaining part of the complaint filed by her, the respondent No. 2 has levelled omnibus allegations of violence being committed upon her by the petitioners herein and in order to make the same sound realistic, she has attempted to give specific dates and times relating to those incidents. In the said complaint, she also refers to an incident which had taken place on 07/09/13 when in order to arrive at a compromise, the petitioner Nos. 1 and 2 were called over to Jabalpur by respondent No. 2’s parents and the petitioner No. 1 is alleged to give a written undertaking to the respondent No. 2 and her parents that henceforth, he will not carry out any acts of violence against the respondent No. 2. The said undertaking is at page 24 to the petition. On the basis of the said complaint, the FIR has been registered at Jabalpur.

2. The undisputed facts pertaining to this case are that after the marriage that had taken place in the year 2009. Till 2012, when the respondent No. 2 went away to her parental home and thereafter has never returned to her matrimonial home, all the acts of cruelty relating to Section 498-A of IPC are between the period 2009 to 2012 and they all have been committed at Indore. Learned counsel for respondent No. 2 has drawn the attention of this Court to the fact that a petition under the provisions of Domestic Violence Act was preferred by respondent No. 2 on 12/09/13 before the Court of Judicial Magistrate First Class, Jabalpur, which is pending. Learned counsel for respondent No. 2 states that notice in the aforesaid case was received by the petitioner No. 1 on 05/09/13. Thereafter, the petitioner No. 1 is stated to have issued a legal notice to the respondent No. 2 on 12/09/13. Learned counsel for respondent No. 2 has submitted that the said notice was issued by way of legal advice received by the petitioner No. 1 in order to defeat the application in the Domestic Violence Act filed by the respondent No. 2 at Jabalpur. Thereafter, in response to the said notice, the respondent No. 2 through her counsel gave a reply on 23/09/13 wherein she has refused to join the society of the petitioner No. 1 allegedly on account of the continuous cruelty being perpetrated by the petitioners upon the respondent No. 2.

3. Learned counsel for respondent No. 2 has submitted that the jurisdiction of Police Station to register the FIR at Jabalpur has taken place on account of petitioner Nos. 1 and 2 having come to Jabalpur on 07/09/13 and are alleged to have threatened the respondent No. 2 and her family members and demanded dowry at Jabalpur. What is undisputed is that all the allegations pertaining to the offence u/S. 498-A of IPC and u/S. 3/4 of Dowry Prohibition Act between the period 2009 to 2012 had taken place at Indore. Thereafter, the respondent No. 2 had shifted to Jabalpur and the act alleged to have been attributed to petitioner Nos. 1 and 2 has taken place in the year 2013, which is a fresh transaction by itself which is committed at Jabalpur for which the petitioner Nos. 3 to 5 cannot be held liable for. It is undisputed that there is no FIR has been registered by the respondent No. 2 in relation to the offence that was freshly committed by the petitioner Nos. 1 and 2 at Jabalpur. Under the circumstances, it cannot be said that the offence u/S. 498-A of I.P.C. and u/S. 3/4 of Dowry Prohibition Act which was committed at Indore between 2009 and 2012 had matured and which had completed, continued till Jabalpur and the act alleged to have been attributable to petitioner Nos. 1 and 2 at Jabalpur in the year 2013 is a fresh transaction by itself. Under the circumstances, the jurisdiction of the Police to have registered the offence at Jabalpur in the facts and circumstances which reveal the offences u/S. 498-A of IPC and u/S. 3/4 of Dowry Prohibition Act between the period 2009 and 2012 are stated to have been committed at Indore. Learned counsel for respondent No. 2 has submitted that the application u/S. 9 filed by the petitioner No. 1 for restitution of conjugal rights at Indore on 30/09/13 has been filed as a counter-blast to the application under the Domestic Violence Act filed by respondent No. 2.

4. Refuting the same, learned counsel for the petitioners has stated that the FIR which has been registered on 07/12/13 has actually been a counter-blast to the Section 9 application filed by the petitioner No. 1 for restitution of conjugal rights. Learned counsel for the respondent No. 2 opposing the said submission of the learned counsel for the petitioner has stated that respondent No. 2 has not received any notice with regard to the application u/S. 9 on the date of the FIR and the same cannot be deemed to be a counter-blast.

5. Be that as it may, after having gone through the elaborate complaint filed by respondent No. 2, no prima-facie case is made out at all against the petitioner Nos. 4 and 5 in this case who are the sisters in law of the Respondent No. 2. The petitioner No. 4 is staying with petitioner Nos. 1 to 3, but the allegation against her are peripheral, half-hearted and appear to have been levelled in order to rope her in order to bring pressure to bear upon the petitioner No. 1. As regards petitioner No. 5, it is admitted position in the complaint itself that the petitioner No. 5 would occasionally come there and commit cruelty with respondent No. 2 and that the petitioner No. 5 is a married lady staying with her husband in the State of Gujarat. As regards the petitioner Nos. 4 and 5, the complaint seems to be ex facie malicious and the same is quashed on merits. As regards the petitioner No. 1, the Ld. Counsel for the Respondent No. 2 has submitted that looking at the alleged admission made by the Petitioner No. 1 in the letter, dated 07/09/13 in which it is alleged that the petitioner No. 1 has given an undertaking that he shall not beat respondent No. 2 in the future, which according to the learned counsel for respondent No. 2 is an admission of fact that he used to indeed beat her in the past, it cannot be said that the allegations against the Petitioner No. 1 is completely devoid of merit. Without dwelling upon the same or passing an order on merits, as regards the petitioner Nos. 1 to 3, the case against them is quashed on account of lack of jurisdiction for the Police at Jabalpur to have investigated the said case and the Court at Jabalpur to try the same, as undisputedly, all the acts of matrimonial violence have been committed by the petitioner Nos. 1 to 3 at Indore and so is the demand for dowry.

6. In Manoj Kumar Sharma v. State of Chhattisgarh MANU/SC/0933/2016 : (2016) 9 SCC 1: (AIR 2016 SC 3930), the Supreme Court was pleased to quash the case registered against the Petitioner in that case at Durg in Chhattisgarh. U/S. 306, IPC on the ground that the police at Chhattisgarh lacked the jurisdiction to investigate the case as the suicide by the wife of the Petitioner in that case had taken place in Ambala in Haryana and the police there had investigated the case and closed the same on lack of evidence of any abetment. Likewise, in Amarendu Jyoti v. State of Chhattisgarh MANU/SC/0680/2014 : (2014) 12 SCC 362, the Supreme Court was pleased to quash a case u/S. 498-A lodged against the Petitioner on the ground that the acts of cruelty constituting the offence u/S. 498-A have all taken place in Delhi and not in Ambikapur in Chhattisgarh and so the courts in Chhattisgarh had jurisdiction to take cognizance and try the case. Therefore, as the admitted position here also is that all the acts constituting an offences u/Ss. 498-A and 3 and 5 of the Dowry Prohibition Act have all taken place at Indore, thus on the ground of lack of territorial jurisdiction, the FIR against the petitioner Nos. 1 to 3 are quashed and all consequent proceedings against all the petitioners pending in the Court of learned JMFC, Jabalpur in Criminal Case No. 7381/2014, are quashed. However, liberty is granted to the respondent No. 2 to pursue the remedy as may be available to her under the law against petitioner Nos. 1 to 3 before the appropriate forum. For the aforementioned reasons, the instant petition succeeds and is hereby allowed.

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