korimerla videesha vs state of ap

Excerpt:
Coming to the case of prosecution for the offences under Sections 3 and 4 of Dowry prohibition Act, the alleged payment of dowry of Rs.50.00 lakhs cash and presentation of gold of 200 tulas and registration of property in the name of the second respondent took place at the time of marriage, i.e. on 27.04.2016 and the later act of demanding for Audi Car etc. would constitute an offence under Sections 3 and 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act.
The complaint was lodged before the Magistrate on 13.12.2016, whereas the first incident of payment of dowry would attract the offence punishable under Section 3 of Dowry Prohibition Act, took place on 27.04.2016.
Section 3 of Dowry Prohibition Act deals with punishment for payment of dowry and for receiving of dowry. Such complaint shall be lodged with the police within one year, according to MSM,J And 9774 of 2017 Rule 5 (c) of the rules framed by the High Court under the Act known as A.P. Dowry Prohibition Rules, 1998, every complaint under the rules shall be made by aggrieved party itself or any person on behalf of aggrieved party, the place of trial or enquiry shall be from the place where the complainant is residing. Any complaint shall be made either on the demand of dowry or accepting dowry within a period of one year.
The acceptance of dowry of Rs.50.00 lakhs, gold of 200 tulas etc., was allegedly on 27.04.2016.
As per the allegations made in the complaint and the charge sheet including the statements of witnesses recorded under Section 161(3) Cr.P.C. and when the complainant wants to complain against the petitioner about the commission of offence punishable under Section 3 of Dowry Prohibition Act, such complaint must be lodged within one year in view of Rule 5(c) read with Rule 10, which prescribed the limitation for filing complaint and its finalization. According to Rule 10, any offence under Section 3 and 4 or any dispute under Section 6 of the Act, shall be filed before expiry of one year and the same shall be finalized within two years from the date of filing.
Here, the offence punishable under Section 3 of Dowry Prohibition Act allegedly occurred on 27.04.2016 when the petitioners received dowry as defined under Section 2 of the Act but the complaint was lodged after expiry of more than one year eight months, therefore, the proceedings for the offence punishable under Section 3 of the Act are liable to be quashed, on the ground of violation of Rule 5(c) and Rule 10 of rules framed by the High Court under the Dowry Prohibition Act.
Coming to the offence punishable under Section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, the petitioner conceived in the month of May 2016 and she was allegedly taken to Apollo Hospital and forced her to abort. After she conceived, her husband A1 demanded for Audi Car without specifying the date of alleged demand. Even assuming for a moment, immediately after she conceived such demand was made, the complaint is barred in view of Rule 5(c) read with Rule 10 of A.P.Dowry Prohibition Rules, since the complaint was lodged almost after one year seven months.
The other allegation made against all the petitioners is that she was subjected to cruelty for her failure to meet illegal demand of additional dowry of Rs.20.00 lakhs, both physical and mental with a view to kill her.
But no specific details are mentioned as to the exact date, time and place of occurrence except making a vague allegation against these petitioners for the offence under Section 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act. But in the statements recorded by the police under Section 161(3) Cr.P.C., L.W.1 the victim woman stated that all these petitioners while she was carrying pregnancy, subjected her to cruelty by beating her indiscriminately. Such act may attract an offence punishable under Section 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act, but the allegations are absolutely vague without disclosing the date, time and place of MSM,J And 9774 of 2017 occurrence of commission of such offence.
Therefore, based on such vague allegations, the Court would normally exercise power to quash the proceedings. In Ramsaran Varshey and others Vs. State of U.P. and others13 in Swapnil and others referred supra, the apex Court quashed the proceedings on the ground that the allegations are vague and bereft of details as to the place and time of incident. The principles are directly applicable to the present facts of case as the charge sheet is bereft of details.
Similarly, in Swapnil and others Vs. State of Madhya Pradesh (referred supra) the Apex Court had an occasion to discuss about the procedure to be followed under Section 482 Cr.P.C. to quash the proceedings in the complaint registered MSM,J And 9774 of 2017 for the offences under Sections 498-A and 506 IPC. When the allegations are vague and bereft of the details as to the place and the time of the incident, the proceedings are liable to be quashed.
The principle laid down in Swapnil and others’ case (referred supra) is squarely applies to the present facts of the case since the allegations made in the complaint, the statements of the witnesses recorded under Section 161(3) Cr.P.C. and the report lodged with the police did not disclose the date, time and place of occurrence i.e. demand of payment of dowry and subjecting her cruelty for her failure to meet the demand for payment of additional dowry. In the absence of such details, the Court can exercise the power under Section 482 Cr.P.C. and quash the proceedings.
There are two parallel lines of judgment in the law declared by the Apex Court. One view is that the Court must construe the act of Cruelty liberally so as to achieve the object of the incorporation of Section 498-A IPC. The other view of decision is that the Court must strictly construe the word ‘cruelty’ and in the absence of specific allegations and when the complaint or charge sheet are bereft of details like date, time and place of harassment, the Court can exercise its power and quash the proceedings.

In the present facts of the case, all the petitioners allegedly subjected the second respondent to cruelty without specific details regarding date, time and place of offence but based on vague allegations both in the complaint and in the statements recorded under Section 161 (3) Cr.P.C. proceedings against them is nothing but subjecting the petitioners to harassment using the criminal law as a tool of harassment. Therefore, the allegations made in the complaint and the evidence collected are too vague and on the basis of such vague allegations, the Court cannot proceed against these petitioners and the proceedings cannot be continued by MSM,J And 9774 of 2017 applying the principle laid down in Swapnil and others case(referred supra).

In view of the law declared by the Apex Court, it is clear that in the absence of any details, based on vague allegations both in the complaint and the charge sheet, the proceedings against these petitioners for the offences punishable under Sections 498-A IPC and Sections 3 and 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act shall not be continued and this Court can exercise power under Section 482 Cr.P.C. to avoid unjust harassment of these petitioners by applying the guidelines laid down by the Apex Court in Bhajanlal’s case (referred supra). Accordingly, proceedings against the petitioners in Crl.P.No.9774 of 2017 for the offences punishable under Sections 498-A IPC and 3 and 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act are quashed, as the allegations made in the charge sheet even if accepting on its face value do not constitute offences punishable under Section 498-A IPC and 3 and 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act, and that apart the complaint was filed beyond one year as required under Rule 5(c) read with Rule 10 of A.P. Dowry Prohibition Rules framed under the Act.

Telangana High Court
Korimerla Videesha vs The State Of A.P.,Rep.,Pp And … on 12 October, 2018
Bench: M.Satyanarayana Murthy
THE HON'BLE SRI JUSTICE M.SATYANARAYANA MURTHY

    CRIMINAL PETITION Nos.7652 AND 9774 OF 2017

COMMON ORDER:

     These two petitions are filed by accused Nos.4, 1, 2 3

and 5 respectively under Section 482 Cr.P.C. to quash the

proceedings in P.R.C.No.9 of 2017 on the file of the Judicial

Magistrate of First Class, at Kandukur, registered for the

offences punishable under Sections 498-A, 307 IPC read with

34 IPC and Sections 3 and 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act.


     The second respondent in both the petitions is the de

facto complainant. She lodged report with the police at Kandukur Town Police Station alleging that her marriage was performed on 27.04.2016 at Ongole in PLR Kalyana Mandapam, at the time of marriage her parents gave rupees fifty lakhs in cash, 200 tulas of gold and rupees twenty lakhs worth property as dowry. The property was registered in the name of the de facto complainant. After marriage, she joined with her husband at Kandukur and during their wedlock, she became pregnant and after conceiving, her husband demanded Audi Car. Her father agreed to purchase the car as demanded by her husband A1. On 13.05.2016 her husband and mother-in-law, took her to Apollo Hospital in Nellore for medical examination i.e. confirmation of pregnancy but forced her to get aborted with a threat to see her end. Her husband, mother-in-law, father-in-law and one Metla Ashok Babu made her to believe that her husband is an IRS officer, performed her marriage with him. After the marriage, they informed that he is working as PR Commissioner in Customs Department at Chennai. After marriage, she insisted her husband to set up family at Chennai, but he postponed the same and started harassing her. Her husband, mother-in-law Meena Kumari, sister-in-law Videesha and Metla Ashok Kumar subjected her to harassment both mentally and physically for her failure to meet their illegal demand of amount of rupees twenty lakhs as additional dowry and they also tried to kill the de facto complainant with a view to marry another girl by A1 to get more dowry. They also beat her mercilessly even without expressing any sympathy though she is pregnant during that time.

in Swapnil and others Vs. State of Madhya Pradesh (referred supra) the Apex Court had an occasion to discuss about the procedure to be followed under Section 482 Cr.P.C. to quash the proceedings in the complaint registered MSM,J And 9774 of 2017 for the offences under Sections 498-A and 506 IPC. When the allegations are vague and bereft of the details as to the place and the time of the incident, the proceedings are liable to be quashed. The principle laid down in Swapnil and others’ case (referred supra) is squarely applies to the present facts of the case since the allegations made in the complaint, the statements of the witnesses recorded under Section 161(3) Cr.P.C. and the report lodged with the police did not disclose the date, time and place of occurrence i.e. demand of payment of dowry and subjecting her cruelty for her failure to meet the demand for payment of additional dowry. In the absence of such details, the Court can exercise the power under Section 482 Cr.P.C. and quash the proceedings.

 

 

On 12.12.2016 when she was at her parents house at about 5.00 p.m., her husband, father-in-law, mother-in-law, sister-in-law and Ashok Kumar forcibly entered into their house and her husband A1 tried to stab her with knife, immediately she raised cries and on arrival of their father and mother, he ran away and left the house in a car. Thus, the petitioners subjected her to harassment for payment of dowry and made an attempt to kill her.

On the basis of the written telugu report lodged by the second respondent, the Station House Officer, Kandukur Town Police Station, registered a case in Crime No.178 of MSM,J And 9774 of 2017 2016 for the offences punishable under Sections 498(A), 307 read with 34 IPC and Sections 3 and 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act, and issued FIR.

On the strength of the FIR, the sub-inspector of police took up investigation, recorded the statements of 12 witnesses during investigation under Section 161(3) Cr.P.C., visited the scene of offence, examined and after completion of investigation, having concluded that there is prima facie material to proceed against these petitioners, filed charge sheet before the Judicial Magistrate of First class, Kandukur, for various offences stated supra against all the accused.

The fourth accused filed Criminal Petition No.7652 of 2017, A1, A2, A3 and A5 filed a separate Criminal Petition bearing No.9774 of 2017 raising two different sets of grounds to quash the proceedings by exercising power under Section 482 Cr.P.C.

The main grounds urged in the petition filed by A4 are that the evidence collected during investigation and the allegations made in the charge sheet do not constitute the offences punishable under Sections 498-A, 307 read with 34 IPC and 3 and 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act and more particularly against this petitioner-A4, no case is made out since the allegations are vague, unfounded and apart from that no specific overt acts are attributed to the petitioner except she entered into the house along with her parents and  brother. Therefore, on the basis of these vague allegations against this petitioner-A4, the proceedings cannot be continued.

It is also contended that before registering FIR, the police ought to have verified the allegations, character, conduct of the father of the second respondent and his capacity to give such huge amount of dowry when he indebted to many persons by obtaining loan. The house property said to have been given as dowry was mortgaged by the father of the second respondent to a Nationalised Bank and without discharging the loan amount, created a sham document by way of gift deed in the name of second respondent as Sthri Dhana to deprive the bank from realization of the amount. He has indebted to many persons and several money suits are pending against the father of the second respondent. Therefore, the allegation of demand for payment of additional dowry and agreement for purchase of “Audi Car” by the father of the second respondent, is improbable to the natural circumstances, who is heavily indebted. It is also contended that the allegation of forcing her to abort in the guise of ultra sound scanning test etc., is not based on any material. The second respondent lived for two days after the marriage with her husband and when the first accused went to Chennai to attend his employment, she was taken back to Ongole by her parents, since then she has not turned up either to join at Chennai or Nellore to lead MSM,J And 9774 of 2017 marital life and in such circumstances, no prudent man would accept such an allegation of harassment for her failure to meet the illegal demand of additional dowry. The second respondent with the help of her parents trying to spoil the career of this petitioner – A4 as she secured a seat in engineering in US university and her VISA was also approved. To spoil her bright future both in professional and personal career, she was roped into the false case filed under Sections 498-A, 307 read with 34 IPC and Sections 3 and 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act and it is nothing but abuse of process of Court.

Whereas, accused Nos.1, 2, 3 and 5, who filed a separate petition, raised specific contentions almost identical to the grounds urged by the petitioner-A4, who filed another petition, while drawing the attention of this court to various allegations relating to offence punishable under Sections 498- A and its consequences. Therefore, this Court need not repeat the grounds urged in the petition except a ground that a crime was registered against these petitioners for the offence under Section 307 IPC purposefully with an intent to subject the petitioners to severe harassment, and to see that they do not get bail, by abuse of process of law and thereby such proceedings against the petitioners cannot be continued, prayed to quash the proceedings against these petitioners for the offences punishable under Sections 498-A, 307 read with 34 IPC and Sections 3 and 4 of the  dowry prohibition Act in P.R.C.No.9 of 2017 on the file of the Court of Additional Judicial First Class Magistrate at Kandukur, Prakasam District.

During hearing, learned counsel for the petitioners contended that based on vague allegations in the complaint, the police registered a serious crime against the petitioners, who are highly placed in the society and roping the petitioner in Criminal Petition No.7652, who is an aspirant of engineering (MS) admission in US university, after obtaining VISA is nothing but an abuse of process of Court, since, their intention is to prevent her from leaving the country and therefore the respondent No.2 by abusing the process of law, harassing these petitioners and such harassment cannot be permitted while directing the petitioners to face prolonged trial for the grave offences punishable under Sections 498-A and 307 IPC and 3 and 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act. But lodging of complaint is nothing but harassment and the Court cannot encourage the parties to use the process of Court as a tool of harassment against these petitioners. He further contended that none of the allegations made in the complaint do not constitute an offence punishable under Sections 498- A, 307 read with 34 IPC and 3 and 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act and requested to allow the petition, quashing the proceedings against these petitioners for the alleged offences. He placed reliance on five judgments of the Hon’ble Apex Court reported in Rajesh Sharma and others Vs.State of U.P. and MSM,J And 9774 of 2017 another1, Swapnil and others Vs.State of Madhya Pradesh2, Ram Saran Varshney and others Vs.State of Uttar Pradesh and another3, Arnesh Kumar Vs. State of Bihar and another4, Preeti Gupta and another Vs. State of Jharkhand and another5 and Varala Bharath Kumar and another Vs. State of Telangana and another6. On the strength of the law declared by the Apex Court in the above judgments, he requested this Court to quash the proceedings against these petitioners for various offences referred supra.

Whereas, learned counsel for the 2nd respondent contended that the material allegations made in the Telugu written complaint lodged with the police in Kandukuru Police Station and the statements of witnesses recorded under Section 161(3) Cr.P.C. pointing out the complicity of petitioners for various offences and when the allegations are directly establishing the involvement of these petitioners, prima facie, the Court cannot exercise the power under Section 482 Cr.P.C. to quash the proceedings and such disputed question can be decided only after full fledged trial and at this stage, this Court cannot quash the proceedings against the petitioners and requested to dismiss both the petitions.

2017(2) ALD (Crl.) 568 SC (2014) 13 Supreme Court Cases 567 (2016) 3 Supreme Court Cases 724 (2014) 8 Supreme Court Cases 273 (2010) 7 Supreme Court Cases 667 (2017) 9 Supreme Court Cases 413 MSM,J And 9774 of 2017 Considering the above contentions and perusing the material on record, the point that arises for consideration is:

“Whether the allegations made in the charge sheet if accepted on its face value, would constitute the offences punishable under Sections 498-A, 307 read with 34 IPC and 3 and 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act in P.R.C.No.9 of 2017 on the file of the Court of Additional Judicial First Class Magistrate, Kandukur, Prakasam District, if not whether the proceedings against these petitioners are liable to be quashed by exercising inherent jurisdiction under Section 482 Cr.P.C.?” POINT:

Section 482 of Cr.P.C states the inherent powers of the High Court to make such orders as may be necessary to give effect to any order under the Code or to prevent abuse of the process of any Court or otherwise to secure the ends of justice. It is an obvious proposition that when a Court has authority to make an order, it must have also power to carry that order into effect. If an order can lawfully be made, it must be carried out; otherwise it would be useless to make it. The authority of the Court exists for the advancement of justice, and if any attempt is made to abuse that authority so as to produce injustice, the Court must have power to prevent that abuse. In the absence of such power, the administration of law would fail to serve the purpose for which alone the Court exists, namely to promote justice and to prevent injustice. Section 482 of Cr.P.C confers no new powers but MSM,J And 9774 of 2017 merely safeguards existing powers possessed by the High Court. Such power has to be exercised sparingly in exceptional cases and this power is external in nature to meet the ends of justice.

To give effect to any order under Code means, the first class of order, which the section embraces are orders that may be necessary to give effect to any order under this Court. When a Court has authority to make an order, it must also have the power to carry out the order into effect. The power to enforce obedience to the mandates of the Court necessarily springs from the very existence of the authority to issue the mandates and, if that power is not expressly given by the statute, it must be deemed to be inherent in the Court, vide Emperor v. Sukhdeo7.

To prevent abuse of the process of any Court, the authority of the Court exists for the advancement of justice, and if any attempt is made to abuse that authority, so as to produce injustice, the Court must have power to prevent that abuse. In the absence of such power the administration of law would fail to serve the purpose for which alone the Court exists, namely, to promote justice and to prevent injustice. It would be an abuse in the process of the Court to allow a suitor to litigate over again the same question which has been already decided against him. The High Court would, in the exercise of its inherent jurisdiction, reject an application for 1930 Lah 465 31 Cr LJ 482 MSM,J And 9774 of 2017 the transfer of a criminal case, where such an application based upon the same facts had already been refused. The words “process” is a general word meaning, in effect, anything done by the Court. In exercise of the powers under this section the High Court would be justified to quash the proceedings if it finds that the institution or continuance of criminal proceedings amounts to abuse of the process of the Court or if quashing of those proceedings would otherwise secure the ends of justice. Where there is no material before the Magistrate on the basis of which he can issue process against the accused to stand trial, it will be gross abuse of the process of the Court if the accused is put to trial, hence the proceedings should be quashed at the threshold. Similarly, where it is not shown that there is any abuse of process of the Court, the proceeding will not be quashed. The jurisdiction of the High Court in quashing the complaint or the first information report is very limited. The High Court is justified in quashing the complaint when no offence is made out on the allegations made in the compliant or the documents accompanying it per se.

The basis for registration of FIR is the telugu written report lodged by the second respondent with Kandukur Town Police Station dated 13.02.2016. The specific allegations made in the telugu written complaint disclose that A1 the first petitioner, Korimerla Meena Kumari/mother-in-law(A2) made an attempt to abort the pregnancy of the de facto  complainant and when she was necked out from the house and stayed with her parents at Ongole, on 12.12.2016 at about 5.00 p.m., her husband, mother-in-law, father-in-law, sister-in-law Videesha – A4(petitioner in Criminal Petition No.7652 of 2017) and the maternal uncle of A1, by name, Metla Ashok Kumar – 4th petitioner in Criminal Petition No.9774 of 2017, highhandedly trespassed into their house and her husband made an attempt to stab her. Immediately, she raised cries and on hearing cries, her parents, who are staying in the adjacent room came there and on their arrival, the petitioners left the house of her parents. The complaint also discloses that they demanded for payment of additional dowry of rupees twenty lakhs besides demand of Audi Car and causing physical and mental harassment, more particularly, causing injuries with ropes by the petitioners prima facie pointing out the complicity of these petitioners for the offences punishable under Sections 498-A, 307 read with 34 IPC and 3 and 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act. Even if the allegations in the complaint though incomplete, it cannot be the sole basis for proceeding against these petitioners but it is only the information to the police about commission of the cognizable offence, to set the criminal law into motion to conduct investigation. Therefore, the allegations made in the FIR alone cannot form the basis for proceeding further in the PRC at present.

 On the basis of FIR, the Sub-Inspector of Police took up investigation, examined as many as 12 witnesses. L.W.1 the second respondent herein is the prime witness in the incident. She being a victim stated to the police about the harassment meted out by her in the hands of the petitioner for her failure to meet the illegal demand of additional dowry and Audi Car besides the dowry given at the time of marriage including presentation of gold etc., and so also the attempt made by the petitioners to kill her on 12.12.2016 at about 5.00 p.m. This statement is supported by the statement of her mother and father Davuluri Ramesh and Latha. But they are not eye witnesses to the incident of subjecting her to harassment both physically and mentally or to the alleged attempt to kill her by these petitioners while she was staying at her in-laws house in Nellore and they received information from L.W.1 the second respondent herein, about the harassment she suffered in the hands of these petitioners for her failure to meet the illegal demand for payment of dowry. The incident that occurred at Kandukur was also not witnessed by them, however, they heard cries of their daughter the second respondent L.W.1 when her husband allegedly made an attempt to kill her by causing stab injury and at the same time, all the petitioners high-handedly entered into the house, her husband alone made an attempt to kill her, then she raised cries, therefore, they are not direct witnesses to the incident either at Nellore or at Kandukur,  but they received information about the harassment, the second respondent suffered in the hands of these petitioners and witnessed the fleeing of these petitioners after the second respondent raised cries when her husband made an attempt to kill her. Similarly, L.Ws.4 and 5 the neighbours of L.Ws.2 and 3 supported the evidence of L.W.1 with regard to the attempt made by A1 husband of the second respondent, the first petitioner in Criminal Petition No.9774 of 2017, and they fled away from the house of L.Ws.2 and 3, therefore, they are not the direct witnesses to the incident. They received information about the harassment suffered by L.W.1 the second respondent for her failure to meet the illegal demand of payment of dowry by her parents as demanded by the petitioners and at the same time, as per the law declared by Apex Court in the Judgments referred supra, the duty of the Court while deciding the petitions under Section 482 Cr.P.C. is to verify the allegations made in the charge sheet and find out whether those allegations are sufficient to constitute any offence and this Court cannot take into consideration of the defence set up by the petitioners in a petition filed under Section 482 Cr.P.C., in view of the law declared by the Hon’ble Apex Court in Mrs. Dhanalakshmi vs. R. Prasanna Kumar & Ors.8; Ganesh Narayan Hegde vs. S. Bangarappa AIR 1990 SC 494 MSM,J And 9774 of 2017 & Ors.9; and M/s Zandu Pharmaceutical Works Ltd. & Ors. vs. Md. Sharaful Haque & Ors.10 In “State of Haryana v. Bhajan Lal11” the Apex Court considered in detail the powers of High Court under Section 482 Cr.P.C. and the power of the High Court to quash criminal proceedings or FIR. The Apex Court summarized the legal position by laying down the following guidelines to be followed by High Courts in exercise of their inherent powers to quash a criminal complaint:

(1) Where the allegations made in the first information report or the complaint, even if they are taken at their face value and accepted in their entirety do not prima facie constitute any offence or make out a case against the accused.

(2) Where the allegations in the first information report and other materials, if any, accompanying the FIR do not disclose a cognizable offence, justifying an investigation by police officers under Section 156(1) of the Code except under an order of a Magistrate within the purview of Section 155(2) of the Code.

(3) Where the allegations made in the FIR or complaint and the evidence collected in support of the same do not disclose the commission of any offence and make out a case against the accused.

(4) Where, the allegations in the FIR do not constitute a cognizable offence but constitute only a non- cognizable offence, no investigation is permitted by a police officer without an order of a Magistrate as contemplated under Section 155(2) of the Code.

(1995) 4 SCC 41 AIR 2005 SC 9 1992 Supp (1) SCC 335 MSM,J And 9774 of 2017 (5) Where the allegations made in the FIR or complaint are so absurd and inherently improbable on the basis of which no prudent person can ever reach a just conclusion that there is sufficient ground for proceeding against the accused.

(6) Where there is an express legal bar engrafted in any of the provisions of the Code or the concerned Act (under which a criminal proceeding is instituted) to the institution and continuance of the proceedings and/or where there is a specific provision in the Code or the concerned Act, providing efficacious redress for the grievance of the aggrieved party.

(7) Where a criminal proceeding is manifestly attended with mala fide and/or where the proceeding is maliciously instituted with an ulterior motive for wreaking vengeance on the accused and with a view to spite him due to private and personal grudge.

If these principles are applied to the present facts of the case, the duty of the Court to verify the allegations made in the charge sheet, which includes the statements recorded by the police during investigation and other material evidence collected during investigation. Since the statements recorded under Section 161(3) Cr.P.C. forms part of the charge sheet in view of the judgment of Apex Court in State of Himachala Pradesh Vs. Priti Chand wherein, held as follows: “the power of the High Court is an exceptional one. Great care should be taken by the High Court before embarking to scrutinize the FIR/charge-Sheet/complaint. In deciding whether the case is rarest of rare cases to scuttle the prosecution in its inception, it first has to get into the grip of the matter and decide whether the allegations constitute the MSM,J And 9774 of 2017 offence. It must be remembered the FIR is only an initiation to move the machinery and to investigate into cognizable offence. After the investigation is conducted and the charge- sheet is laid the prosecution produces the statements of the witnesses recorded under Section 161 Cr.P.C in support of the charge-sheet. At that stage it is not the function of the Court to weigh the pros and cons of the prosecution case or to consider necessity of strict compliance of the provisions which are considered mandatory and its effect of non- compliance. It would be done after the trial is concluded. The Court has to prima facie consider from the averments in the charge-sheet and the statements of witnesses on the record in support thereof whether court could take cognizance of the offence, on that evidence and proceed further with the trial. If it reaches a conclusion that no cognizable offence is made out no further act could be done except to quash the charge sheet. But only in exceptional cases, i.e. in rarest of rare cases of mala fide initiation of the proceedings to wreak private vengeance process of criminal is availed of in laying a complaint or FIR itself does not disclose at all any cognizable offence – the court may embark upon the consideration thereof and exercise the power.”

Thus, in view of the law declared by the Apex Court in “State of H.P. v. Pirthi Chand” (referred supra) unless the Court come to a conclusion that the averments in the charge sheet and the statements of witnesses on the record in MSM,J And 9774 of 2017 support thereof whether Court could take cognizance of the offence on that evidence and proceed further with the trial, if, it reaches a conclusion that no cognizable offence is made out, no further act could be done except to quash the proceedings.

As discussed above, the prime duty of the Court is to verify the allegations made in the charge sheet and the statements of witnesses recorded by the investigating agency during investigation, the statements produced before the Court, more particularly statements recorded under Section 161(3) Cr.P.C. which forms part of the charge-sheet. Though, such statement recorded under Section 161(3) Cr.P.C is not a substantive piece of evidence, it can be used only for limited purpose of contradicting the witness under Indian Evidence Act. However, this Court is competent to deduce its conclusion on the statements recorded under Section 161(3) Cr.P.C during investigation, though not a substantive piece of evidence.

Keeping in mind the principles laid down in the above judgment, it is the duty of the Court to verify the contents of the charge sheet, whether those allegations are sufficient to constitute prima facie offence punishable under Section 498- A IPC and this Court cannot appreciate the evidence at the stage but it can evaluate the material on record and this Court cannot take into consideration of any additional MSM,J And 9774 of 2017 documents filed along with the petition except the documents filed along with the charge sheet filed by the investigating agency. The Apex Court in State of Himachal Pradesh Vs. Priti Chand, ordinarily the High Court will not allow the documents produced by the petitioner under Section 482 Cr.P.C. the Court cannot permit them, which cannot be termed as evidence for being decided and proved. While exercising jurisdiction under Section 482 Cr.P.C., it is impermissible to look into the material produced and the acceptance of which is essentially a matter for consideration for trial. But public documents are materials which are beyond the suspicion and relied on by the accused can be taken into consideration by the High Court while exercising the power under Section 482 Cr.P.C. vide Umesh Kumar Vs. State of A.P.12 Thus, in view of the law declared by the Apex Court and other High Courts, the Court cannot look into the documents filed along with the petition except the public documents which are beyond suspicion can be taken into consideration.

Keeping in mind the principles laid down in the above judgments, I would like to examine the allegations made in the complaint while ignoring the material produced before this Court by the counsel for the petitioners, i.e. charge sheet in C.C.No.887 of 2017, FIR in Crime No.461 of 2016 of Nellore Air 2014 SC 1106 MSM,J And 9774 of 2017 Police Station, FIR and complaint in Crime No.120 of 2008 and other material filed along with USR No.58559 of 2018 dated 10.08.2018.

In the facts of the case as discussed above, the allegations both made in the telugu written complaint lodged with the police and the statements of the witnesses recorded by the police during investigation under Section 161(3) Cr.P.C. directly pointing out the complicity of these petitioners for the offences punishable under Sections 498-A, 307 read with 34 IPC and 3 and 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act but too vague.

Coming to the case of prosecution for the offences under Sections 3 and 4 of Dowry prohibition Act, the alleged payment of dowry of Rs.50.00 lakhs cash and presentation of gold of 200 tulas and registration of property in the name of the second respondent took place at the time of marriage, i.e. on 27.04.2016 and the later act of demanding for Audi Car etc. would constitute an offence under Sections 3 and 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act. The complaint was lodged before the Magistrate on 13.12.2016, whereas the first incident of payment of dowry would attract the offence punishable under Section 3 of Dowry Prohibition Act, took place on 27.04.2016. Section 3 of Dowry Prohibition Act deals with punishment for payment of dowry and for receiving of dowry. Such complaint shall be lodged with the police within one year, according to MSM,J And 9774 of 2017 Rule 5 (c) of the rules framed by the High Court under the Act known as A.P. Dowry Prohibition Rules, 1998, every complaint under the rules shall be made by aggrieved party itself or any person on behalf of aggrieved party, the place of trial or enquiry shall be from the place where the complainant is residing. Any complaint shall be made either on the demand of dowry or accepting dowry within a period of one year. The acceptance of dowry of Rs.50.00 lakhs, gold of 200 tulas etc., was allegedly on 27.04.2016. As per the allegations made in the complaint and the charge sheet including the statements of witnesses recorded under Section 161(3) Cr.P.C. and when the complainant wants to complain against the petitioner about the commission of offence punishable under Section 3 of Dowry Prohibition Act, such complaint must be lodged within one year in view of Rule 5(c) read with Rule 10, which prescribed the limitation for filing complaint and its finalization. According to Rule 10, any offence under Section 3 and 4 or any dispute under Section 6 of the Act, shall be filed before expiry of one year and the same shall be finalized within two years from the date of filing. Here, the offence punishable under Section 3 of Dowry Prohibition Act allegedly occurred on 27.04.2016 when the petitioners received dowry as defined under Section 2 of the Act but the complaint was lodged after expiry of more than one year eight months, therefore, the proceedings for the offence punishable under Section 3 of the Act are liable to be quashed, on the ground of violation of Rule 5(c) and Rule 10 of rules framed by the High Court under the Dowry Prohibition Act.

Coming to the offence punishable under Section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, the petitioner conceived in the month of May 2016 and she was allegedly taken to Apollo Hospital and forced her to abort. After she conceived, her husband A1 demanded for Audi Car without specifying the date of alleged demand. Even assuming for a moment, immediately after she conceived such demand was made, the complaint is barred in view of Rule 5(c) read with Rule 10 of A.P.Dowry Prohibition Rules, since the complaint was lodged almost after one year seven months. The other allegation made against all the petitioners is that she was subjected to cruelty for her failure to meet illegal demand of additional dowry of Rs.20.00 lakhs, both physical and mental with a view to kill her. But no specific details are mentioned as to the exact date, time and place of occurrence except making a vague allegation against these petitioners for the offence under Section 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act. But in the statements recorded by the police under Section 161(3) Cr.P.C., L.W.1 the victim woman stated that all these petitioners while she was carrying pregnancy, subjected her to cruelty by beating her indiscriminately. Such act may attract an offence punishable under Section 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act, but the allegations are absolutely vague without disclosing the date, time and place of MSM,J And 9774 of 2017 occurrence of commission of such offence. Therefore, based on such vague allegations, the Court would normally exercise power to quash the proceedings. In Ramsaran Varshey and others Vs. State of U.P. and others13 in Swapnil and others referred supra, the apex Court quashed the proceedings on the ground that the allegations are vague and bereft of details as to the place and time of incident. The principles are directly applicable to the present facts of case as the charge sheet is bereft of details.

In Preeti Gupta and another Vs. State of Jharkhand and another (referred supra) the Apex Court on an occasion deal with similar circumstances and high lighted the powers of the Court under Section 482 Cr.P.C. The facts of the case are that A1 is a permanent resident of Navasari, Surat, Gujarat and has been living with her husband for more than seven years. Similarly, A2 is a permanent resident of goregaon, Maharashtra. They have never visited the place where the alleged incident had taken place and they never lived with the second respondent and her husband and thereby, their implication in the complaint is meant to harass and humiliate the husband’s relatives. This seems to be the only basis to file the complaint against the appellants. Permitting the complainant to pursue the complaint would be an abuse of process of Court and the Court further observed that when the complaint was filed with an oblique motive and (2016) 3 SCC 724 MSM,J And 9774 of 2017 at the same time, rapid increase in the number of genuine cases of dowry harassment is also a matter of serious concern. When the accused were living at a different place, their implication and consequences are not properly visualized by the complainant that such complaint can lead to insurmountable harassment, agony and pain to the complainant, accused and his close relations.

The Apex Court also highlighted the ultimate object of justice and is to find out the truth and punish the guilty and protect the innocent. To find out the truth is a Herculean task in majority of these complaints. The tendency of implicating the husband and all his immediate relations is also not uncommon. At times, even after the conclusion of the criminal trial, it is difficult to ascertain the real truth. The Courts have to be extremely careful and cautious in dealing with these complaints and must take pragmatic realities into consideration while dealing with matrimonial cases. The allegations of harassment of husband’s close relations who had been living in different cities and never visited or rarely visited the place where the complainant resided would have an entirely different complexion. The allegations of the complainant are required to be scrutinized with great care and circumspection while exercising the power under Section 482 Cr.P.C. The experience reveals that long and protracted criminal trials lead to rancour, acrimony and bitterness in the relationship amongst the parties. It is also a matter of common knowledge that in cases filed by the complainant if the husband or the husband’s relations had to remain in jail even for a few days, it would ruin the chances of an amicable settlement altogether. The process of suffering is extremely long and painful. The tendency of over implication is also reflected in a very large number of cases. The criminal trials lead to immense sufferings for all concerned. Even ultimate acquittal in the trial may also not be able to wipe out the deep scars of suffering of ignominy. Unfortunately a large number of these complaints have not only flooded the courts but also have led to enormous social unrest affecting peace, harmony and happiness of the society. It is high time that the legislature must take into consideration the pragmatic realities and make suitable changes in the existing law. It is imperative for the legislature to take into consideration the informed public opinion and the pragmatic realities in consideration and make necessary changes in the relevant provisions of law. While making such observations, the Court quashed the proceedings against the petitioners but this position is of no sustenance to the present facts of the case, for the reason, the accused 1 and 2 therein are residing at different places with the husband after their marriage and there is no possibility of frequent visit of the scene of offence. The vague allegations made in the complaint are not sufficient to proceed with the trial against these petitioners for the serious offences punishable under MSM,J And 9774 of 2017 Sections 498-A IPC and 3 and 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act. Since the very object of Section 498-A IPC is laudable to punish the husband or his relatives against a wife particularly when such cruelty had potential to result in suicide or murder of a woman as mentioned in the State of Objects and Reasons of the Act 46 of 1983. But the ‘cruelty’ under Section 498-A covers conduct which may drive the women to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to life, limb or health(whether mental or physical) of the woman etc., and in view of pendency of increasing such offences, the Apex Court in Rajesh Sharma and others Vs. State of U.P. and another(stated 1 supra) laid down certain guidelines. Of course, these guidelines to certain extent were reversed by the Apex Court in recent decision in Social Action Forum For Manav Adhikar and others Vs. Union of India14 and this judgment is also not applicable to the present facts of the case relied on by the learned counsel for the petitioners. Whereas, in Varala Bharath Kumar and another Vs. State of Telangana and another (stated 6 supra), the Apex Court had an occasion to deal with an identical issue, where allegations were made in the FIR/the complaint or the outcome of investigation as found in the charge sheet, even if they are taken at their face value and accepted in their entirety do not prima facie constitute any offence or make out the case against the accused; where the allegations do not 2018(30 L.S.31(SC) MSM,J And 9774 of 2017 disclose the ingredients of the offence alleged; where the uncontroverted allegations made in the first information report or complaint and the material collected in support of the same do not disclose the commission of offence alleged and make out a case against the accused; the court can exercise power under Article 226 of the Constitution of India or under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure may be exercised. The records at hand could not disclose any willful conduct which is of such a nature as is likely to drive the complainant to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to life, limb or health (whether mental or physical) of the complainant. So also, there is nothing on record to show that there was a demand of dowry by the appellants or any of their relatives, either prior to the marriage, during the marriage or after the marriage. The record also does not disclose anywhere that the husband of the complainant acted, with a view to coerce her or any person related to her to meet any unlawful demand of any property or valuable security. In the absence of specific allegations, the Court cannot encourage the parties to harass the husband or the relative of the husband of a woman by lodging criminal complaints implicating them into grave criminal offences.

Similarly, in Swapnil and others Vs. State of Madhya Pradesh (referred supra) the Apex Court had an occasion to discuss about the procedure to be followed under Section 482 Cr.P.C. to quash the proceedings in the complaint registered MSM,J And 9774 of 2017 for the offences under Sections 498-A and 506 IPC. When the allegations are vague and bereft of the details as to the place and the time of the incident, the proceedings are liable to be quashed. The principle laid down in Swapnil and others’ case (referred supra) is squarely applies to the present facts of the case since the allegations made in the complaint, the statements of the witnesses recorded under Section 161(3) Cr.P.C. and the report lodged with the police did not disclose the date, time and place of occurrence i.e. demand of payment of dowry and subjecting her cruelty for her failure to meet the demand for payment of additional dowry. In the absence of such details, the Court can exercise the power under Section 482 Cr.P.C. and quash the proceedings.

Turning to the object and purpose of incorporating section 498-A, in Bhaskar Lal Sharma and another v. Monica and others15 the Apex Court considered what amounts to cruelty and ingredients of Section 498-A in para 29 and proof of an offence punishable under Section 498-A I.P.C. In para 37 of the judgment, the Supreme Court held as follows:

“Ex facie no case has been made out under Section 498A of the IPC so far as the appellants are concerned. The allegations relating to the place where the marriage took place has nothing to do with an offence under Section 498A of the IPC. Allegations that appellant No.2 kicked the respondent with her leg and told her that her mother to be a liar may make out some other offence but not the one punishable under Section 498A. Similarly her allegations (2014) 3 Supreme Court Cases 383 MSM,J And 9774 of 2017 that the appellant No.2 poisoned the ears of her son against the respondent; she gave two used lady suits of her daughter to the complainant and has been given perpetual sermons to the complainant could not be said to be offences punishable under Section 498A. Even threatening that her son may be divorced for the second time could not bring out the offence under Section 498A of the IPC.”

But the facts of the present case though different and in the absence of specific allegations, the cruelty in connection with demand of dowry, the offences punishable under Section 498-A cannot be accepted. More over, the Apex Court in Sushil Kumar Sharma vs. Union of India & Ors16 reiterated the object of Section 498-A holding that the object of which Section 498-A was introduced is ample, reflected in statements and objects and reasons while enacting the criminal law second amendment and in paragraphs 10 & 19 of the said judgment, the Supreme Court held as follows:

“10. The object for which Section 498-A IPC was introduced is amply reflected in the Statement of Objects and Reasons while enacting the Criminal Law (Second Amendment) Act 46 of 1983. As clearly stated therein the increase in the number of dowry deaths is a matter of serious concern. The extent of the evil has been commented upon by the Joint Committee of the Houses to examine the work of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961. In some cases, cruelty of the husband and the relatives of the husband which culminate in suicide by or murder of the helpless woman concerned, constitute only a small fraction involving such cruelty. Therefore, it was proposed to amend IPC, the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (in short “CrPC”) and the Evidence Act suitably to deal effectively not only with cases of dowry deaths but also cases of cruelty to married women by the husband, in-laws and relatives. The avowed object is to combat the menace of dowry death and cruelty.

19. The object of the provision is prevention of the dowry menace. But as has been rightly contended by the petitioner many instances have come to light where the complaints are not bona fide and have been filed with oblique motive. In such cases acquittal of the accused (2005) 6 SCC 281 MSM,J And 9774 of 2017 does not in all cases wipe out the ignominy suffered during and prior to trial. Sometimes adverse media coverage adds to the misery. The question, therefore, is what remedial measures can be taken to prevent abuse of the well-intentioned provision. Merely because the provision is constitutional and intra vires, does not give a licence to unscrupulous persons to wreak personal vendetta or unleash harassment. It may, therefore, become necessary for the legislature to find out ways how the makers of frivolous complaints or allegations can be appropriately dealt with. Till then the courts have to take care of the situation within the existing framework. As noted above the object is to strike at the roots of dowry menace. But by misuse of the provision a new legal terrorism can be unleashed.

In paragraph 40 in Bhaskarlal Sharma’s case, the Supreme Court discussed about quashability of the case by relying on Bhajanlal’s case held as follows:

“The jurisdiction of the High Court to quash an order of summoning and/or a criminal proceeding as also this Court are well known. The parties have relied upon the decisions of this Court in State of Haryana vs. Bhajan Lal [1992 (Supp.) 1 SCC 335]. We may notice the categories 1, 3, 5 and 7 mentioned in Para 102 of the said decision, which are as under:

“(1) Where the allegations made in the first information report or the complaint, even if they are taken at their face value and accepted in their entirety do not prima facie constitute any offence or make out a case against the accused.

(3) Where the uncontroverted allegations made in the FIR or complaint and the evidence collected in support of the same do not disclose the commission of any offence and make out a case against the accused.

(5) Where the allegations made in the FIR or complaint are so absurd and inherently improbable on the basis of which no prudent person can ever reach a just conclusion that there is sufficient ground for proceeding against the accused.

(7) Where a criminal proceeding is manifestly attended with mala fide and/or where the proceeding is maliciously instituted with an ulterior motive for wreaking vengeance on the accused and with a view to spite him due to private and personal grudge.”

In Pashaura Singh v. State of Punjab and another17, the Supreme Court held that subjecting woman to cruelty by husband and his relatives and in the absence of proof of demand of dowry or harassment by accused, High Court found that only allegation made in FIR was the appellant-

(2010) 11 Supreme Court Cases 749 MSM,J And 9774 of 2017 accused and his family members started harassing appellant’s wife for not bringing more dowry. But there was no demand for dowry, nor was there any specific entrustment of dowry articles to accused as alleged in FIR and held that offence under Section 498-A is not made out.

There are two parallel lines of judgment in the law declared by the Apex Court. One view is that the Court must construe the act of Cruelty liberally so as to achieve the object of the incorporation of Section 498-A IPC. The other view of decision is that the Court must strictly construe the word ‘cruelty’ and in the absence of specific allegations and when the complaint or charge sheet are bereft of details like date, time and place of harassment, the Court can exercise its power and quash the proceedings.

In the present facts of the case, all the petitioners allegedly subjected the second respondent to cruelty without specific details regarding date, time and place of offence but based on vague allegations both in the complaint and in the statements recorded under Section 161 (3) Cr.P.C. proceedings against them is nothing but subjecting the petitioners to harassment using the criminal law as a tool of harassment. Therefore, the allegations made in the complaint and the evidence collected are too vague and on the basis of such vague allegations, the Court cannot proceed against these petitioners and the proceedings cannot be continued by MSM,J And 9774 of 2017 applying the principle laid down in Swapnil and others case(referred supra).

In view of the law declared by the Apex Court, it is clear that in the absence of any details, based on vague allegations both in the complaint and the charge sheet, the proceedings against these petitioners for the offences punishable under Sections 498-A IPC and Sections 3 and 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act shall not be continued and this Court can exercise power under Section 482 Cr.P.C. to avoid unjust harassment of these petitioners by applying the guidelines laid down by the Apex Court in Bhajanlal’s case (referred supra). Accordingly, proceedings against the petitioners in Crl.P.No.9774 of 2017 for the offences punishable under Sections 498-A IPC and 3 and 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act are quashed, as the allegations made in the charge sheet even if accepting on its face value do not constitute offences punishable under Section 498-A IPC and 3 and 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act, and that apart the complaint was filed beyond one year as required under Rule 5(c) read with Rule 10 of A.P. Dowry Prohibition Rules framed under the Act.

Coming to the other offence alleged against the petitioner, i.e., punishable under Section 307 IPC. The allegations in the complaint and as well as in the statements of the witnesses recorded by the police during investigation are clear that on 12.12.2016 the first accused, husband of MSM,J And 9774 of 2017 the de facto complainant-second respondent herein, at about 5.00 p.m., along with other accused came to the house of the parents of the second respondent and A1 the first petitioner in Crl.P.No.9774 of 2017 made an attempt to stab her with a view to kill her. If this allegation is accepted as true on its face value, it would constitute an offence punishable under Section 307 IPC since making of an attempt to stab with an intention to kill a person constitute an offence prima facie punishable under Section 307 IPC. Whereas the complaint or charge sheet is bereft of any allegations to constitute an offence under Section 307 IPC against accused 2 to 5, the petitioners 2, 3 and 5 in Criminal Petition No.9774 and A4 the petitioner in Criminal Petition No.7652 of 2017.

It is not the case of the second respondent that the petitioners are jointly and severally liable and they conspired together to commit the murder of the second respondent. When A1 alone made such an attempt in the absence of common intention to invoke Section 34 IPC, and joint and several liability under Section 149 IPC, the proceedings against the other petitioners – A2, A3, A4 and A5 cannot be continued for the offence punishable under Section 307 IPC. Therefore, taking into consideration the facts and circumstances of the case, accepting the allegations made in the complaint and charge sheet including the statements recorded under Section 161(3) Cr.P.C., it is difficult to conclude that there is prima facie material to proceed against MSM,J And 9774 of 2017 A2 to A5 for the offence punishable under Section 307 IPC. But the charge sheet disclosed prima facie case against the first petitioner in Criminal Petition No.9774 of 2017.

Hence, I find that it is a fit case to quash the proceedings against A2, 3 and 5, the petitioners 2, 3 and 5 in Criminal Petition No.9774 of 2017 and sole petitioner A4 in Criminal Petition No.7652 of 2017 by exercising power under Section 482 Cr.P.C. and in view of the principles laid down in the judgments referred supra.

In view of my foregoing discussion, the proceedings against the petitioners in both the petitions – A2, A3, A4, A5 (2nd, 3rd and 4th petitioners in Criminal Petition No.9774 of 2017) and the sole petitioner in Criminal Petition No.7652 of 2017 for the offence punishable under Sections 498(A)307 IPC and Sections 3 and 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act are hereby quashed in P.R.C.No.9 of 2017 pending on the file of the Court of Additional Judicial Magistrate of First Class, Kandukur, Prakasam District, while permitting the magistrate to proceed against A1 the first petitioner in Criminal Petition No.9774 of 2017 for the offence punishable under Section 307 IPC only.

Accordingly, the Criminal Petition No.7652 of 2017 is allowed and Criminal Petition No.9774 of 2017 is partly allowed quashing the proceedings in P.R.C.No.9 of 2017 on the file of the Court of Additional Judicial Magistrate of First MSM,J And 9774 of 2017 Class, Kandukur, Prakasam District, against all the petitioners for the offences punishable under Sections 498-A IPC and 3 and 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act, the proceedings against A2 to 5 for the offence punishable under Section 307 of IPC. The proceedings against the first petitioner (A1) in Criminal Petition No.9774 of 2017 are concerned, the Magistrate is hereby directed to proceed further for the offence punishable under Section 307 IPC only.

As a sequel, miscellaneous petitions, pending if any, shall stand closed.

___________________________________ M. SATYANARAYANA MURTHY, J Date: 12.10.2018 Rns

 

Allahabad High Court
Babloo @ Ranjit vs State Of U.P. on 12 March, 2019
Bench: Pritinker Diwaker, Raj Beer Singh
HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT ALLAHABAD
 
 

							  Reserved on 26.02.2019
 
           Delivered on 12.03.2019
 

 
CRIMINAL APPEAL No. 1881 of 2008
 
Babloo alias Ranjit S/o Shiv Prasad 		  -----		Appellant
 
Vs
 
State of Uttar Pradesh	   	   -----  		          Respondent.
 
WITH
 
CRIMINAL APPEAL No. 405 of 2008
 

 
1.   Shiv Prasad S/o Shiv Ratan
 
2.   Smt. Kallo W/o Shri Shiv Prasad
 
                                                     -----		                       Appellants
 
Vs
 
  State of Uttar Pradesh	             -----	                                 Respondent.
 
____________________________________________________
 
For Appellant			: Sri K.K. Tiwari 
 
					   
 
For Respondent/State		: Sri B.A. Khan, AGA	
 
________________________________________________________
 

 
Hon'ble Pritinker Diwaker, J.

Hon’ble Raj Beer Singh, J.

Per: Pritinker Diwaker, J.

1. As these appeals arise out of a common judgment and order dated 16.01.2008 passed by the learned Additional District and Sessions Judge, Court No. 02, Kanpur Dehat in Sessions Trial No. 386 of 2006, (State Vs. Babloo alias Ranjit and others) convicting accused persons, namely, Babloo alias Ranjit, Shiv Prasad and Smt. Kallo under Sections 498-A and 304-B and sentencing them to undergo imprisonment for life with fine of Rs. 10,000/- each, in default thereof, one year additional simple imprisonment, they are being disposed of by this common order.

2. In the present case, name of the deceased is Nisha, wife of the accused Babloo alias Ranjit. Their marriage was solemnized sometime in the year 2004 and she died unnatural death on 10.05.2006 by hanging herself. Accused Shiv Prasad is the father-in-law of the deceased, whereas accused Smt. Kallo is her mother-in-law. On 10.05.2006, deceased died after hanging herself in her bedroom. The door of the room, after breaking its lach, was opened and the body was pulled down from the ceiling fan, but by the time the deceased was already dead. On 11.05.2006, based on the written report lodged by PW-1 Jaipal, F.I.R. Ex.Ka.12 was registered against the appellants under Sections 498-A and 304-B of IPC. Inquest on the dead body of the deceased was conducted, vide Ex.Ka. 2, on 11.05.2006, and the body was sent for postmortem, which was conducted on 12.05.2006, vide Ex. Ka. 14, by PW-5 Dr. Ravindra Prakash Mishra.

3. As per Autopsy Surgeon, the following injuries were noticed on the body of the deceased:

“Ligature mark around the neck – 3 cm; 6 cm gap around the neck left side width of ligature mark 1/2 cm; 5 cm below chin and and below right ear; 3 cm below left ear

– abraded contusion on chin 3 cm x 2 cm

– abraded contusion 1 1/2 cm x 1 cm

– contusion swelling on the face

– abraded contusion multiple 3 cm x 2 cm on left lower arm

– 2 cm below wrist join, – abraded contusion 5 cm x 1 1/2 cm”

The cause of death was ‘asphyxia’, as a result of hanging.

4. While framing charge, the trial Judge has framed charge against the accused persons under Sections 498-A and 304-B of IPC.

5. So as to hold the accused persons guilty, prosecution has examined five witnesses whereas, four defence witnesses have also been examined. Statements of the accused persons were also recorded under Section 313 of Cr.P.C., in which they pleaded their innocence and false implication.

6. By the impugned judgment, the trial Judge has convicted all the accused under Sections 498-A and 304-B of IPC and sentenced them as mentioned in paragraph 1 of this judgment. Hence this appeal.

7. Counsel for the appellant submits:

(i) that there is no eye witness account to the incident and the appellants have been convicted solely on the basis of weak circumstantial evidence.

(ii) that as accused No. 1 Babloo alias Ranjit husband of the deceased was having illicit relation with the sister of the deceased, deceased was unhappy and out of anger she committed suicide.

(iii) that the statements of PW-1 Jaipal and PW-2 Smt. Rajrani are not trustworthy and from their statements, the basic ingredients of Section 304-B I.P.C. are not attracted.

(iv) that there is sufficient evidence on record that the deceased committed suicide in her bedroom. After breaking the latch of the room, body was pulled down from the ceiling fan. Though certain injuries have been found on the body of the deceased but the Autopsy Surgeon has categorically stated that those injuries could be because of rubbing and scratching.

(v) that even taking the entire prosecution case as it is, at best, appellants can be convicted under Section 498-A and not under Section 304-B of IPC, as has been done by the trial Court. The appellant Babloo alias Ranjit is in Jail since 16.05.2006, whereas remaining two accused persons, namely, Shiv Prasad and Smt. Kallo have already remained in jail for more than one month.

8. On the other hand, supporting the impugned judgment and order of the trial Court, it has been argued by the State Counsel that the conviction of the appellants is in accordance with law and there is no infirmity in the same.

9. Heard learned counsel for the parties and perused the record.

10. PW-1 Jaipal is the father of the deceased. He states that in the year 2004, he performed the marriage of the deceased with accused Babloo @ Ranjit and according to his capacity, sufficient dowry was given. Immediately after the marriage, deceased made a complaint that the accused persons are demanding a motor cycle and Rs. 20,000/- cash and for this, deceased was subjected to cruelty. In the cross examination, he has reiterated his version made in the examination-in-chief and has further elaborated by saying that various articles were given in the marriage. He further states that in the F.I.R. and statement recorded under Section 161 Cr.P.C., he has not mentioned that Rs. 1,00,000/- was also demanded. He further states that accused Babloo @ Ranjit was serving in Rajasthan and used to come from there only, but he never made any demand and used to live with the deceased happily. He further states that once he had a talk with his daughter, who at the relevant time was at Rajasthan, she informed that she was happy. He states that to his memory once there was some dispute between his daughter and accused Babloo alias Ranjit and that accused persons have never given any beating to the deceased. He further states that about 4-5 days prior to the incident, he had gone to the house of the deceased, as there was a marriage.

11. PW-2 Smt. Rajrani, is the mother of the deceased, but for bald allegation of demand of motor cycle and Rs. 20,000/-, she has also not made any allegation against the accused persons. She has nowhere stated that soon before the death of Nisha (deceased), there was any demand from the side of the accused persons or that deceased was subjected to cruelty. She has clarified that even the demand of motor cycle was not made to her, and this was made to her husband.

12. PW-3 Vash Gopal Ahirwar, is the Executive Magistrate, who conducted the inquest. According to him, no injury was noticed on the body of the deceased at the time of inquest.

13. PW-4 R.P. Aruna is the Investigating Officer. He states that before he could reach to the place of occurrence, the body was already taken out by the local police. He further states that at the place of occurrence, latch of the door was found to be broken.

14. PW-5 Dr. R.P. Mishra conducted postmortem on the body of the deceased. He states that no blood was found on any of the injury. Injury no. 1 could be because of hanging whereas remaining injuries could be because of rubbing or marpit.

15. DW-1 Smt. Ramwati, is a relative of the accused persons, has stated that she came to know that accused no. 1 Babloo alias Ranjit was having illicit relation with her sister-in-law which was not liked by the deceased and as the deceased was a woman of short temperament, she committed suicide.

16. DW-2 Sanjai Kumar Vishwakarma, is a blacksmith, who was called for breaking the door.

17. DW-3 Rajesh Kumar Shukla and DW-4 Guru Prasad have not stated anything specific.

18. Before dealing with the facts and evidence of the present case, it would be apposite to consider the legal position in respect of proving the offence under Section 304-B of IPC. Section 304-B of IPC reads as under:-

“304-B. Dowry death.– (1) Where the death of a woman is caused by any burns or bodily injury or occurs otherwise than under normal circumstances within seven years of her marriage and it is shown that soon before her death she was subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or any relative of her husband for, or in connection with, any demand for dowry, such death shall be called “dowry death”, and such husband or relative shall be deemed to have caused her death.

Explanation.–For the purpose of this sub-section, “dowry” shall have the same meaning as in section 2 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 (28 of 1961).

(2) Whoever commits dowry death shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than seven years but which may extend to imprisonment for life.”

19. To attract the provisions of Section 304B of the IPC, the main ingredient of the offence, which is required to be established, is that:-

(a) ‘soon before her death’, the deceased was subjected to cruelty and harassment in connection with the demand of dowry;

(b) the death of the deceased woman was caused by any burn or bodily injury or some other circumstance which was not normal;

(c) such death occurs within seven years from the date of her marriage;

(d) the victim was subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or any relative of her husband;

(e) such cruelty or harassment should be for or in connection with demand of dowry; and

(f) it should be established that such cruelty and harassment was made soon before her death.

Further, the Court has to analyze the facts and circumstances as leading to death of the victim and decide if there is any proximate connection between the demand of dowry and act of cruelty or harassment and the death. ‘Soon before her death’ means interval between cruelty and death should not be much. There must be existence of a proximate and live links between the effect of cruelty based on dowry demand and the concerned death. If the alleged incident of cruelty is remote in time and has become stale enough not to disturb the mental equilibrium of the woman concerned, it would be of no consequence.

The expression ‘soon before her death’ used in the substantive Section 304-B IPC of and Section 113-B of the Evidence Act is present with the idea of proximate test. No definite period has been indicated and the expression ‘soon before her death’ is not defined. The determination of the period which can come within the term ‘soon before’ is left to be determined by the Courts, depending upon facts and circumstances of each case. Suffice, however, to indicate that the expression ‘soon before” would normally imply that the interval should not be much between the cruelty or harassment concerned and the death in question.

20. In K. Prema S. Rao and another vs. Yadla Srinivasa Rao and others1, it has been held by the Apex Court as under:

“16. … … …To attract the provisions of Section 304-B IPC, one of the main ingredients of the offence which is required to be established is that “soon before her death” she was subjected to cruelty and harassment ‘in connection with the demand for dowry’. … … …”

21. In Kaliyaperumal and another v. State of Tamil Nadu2 the Supreme Court held as under:

“5. A conjoint reading of Section 113-B of the Evidence Act and Section 304-B IPC shows that there must be material to show that soon before her death the victim was subjected to cruelty or harassment. Prosecution has to rule out the possibility of a natural or accidental death so as to bring it within the purview of the “death occurring otherwise than in normal circumstances”. The expression “soon before” is very relevant where Section 113-B of the Evidence Act and Section 304-B IPC are pressed into service. The prosecution is obliged to show that soon before the occurrence there was cruelty or harassment and only in that case presumption operates. Evidence in that regard has to be led in by prosecution. “Soon before” is a relative term and it would depend upon the circumstances of each case and no strait-jacket formula can be laid down as to what would constitute a period of soon before the occurrence. It would be hazardous to indicate any fixed period, and that brings in the importance of a proximity test both for the proof of an offence of dowry death as well as for raising a presumption under Section 113-B of the Evidence Act. The expression “soon before her death” used in the substantive Section 304-B IPC and Section 113-B of the Evidence Act is present with the idea of proximity test. No definite period has been indicated and the expression “soon before” is not defined. A reference to the expression “soon before” used in Section 114 Illustration (a) of the Evidence Act is relevant. It lays down that a Court may presume that a man who is in the possession of goods soon after the theft, is either the thief who has received the goods knowing them to be stolen, unless he can account for his possession. The determination of the period which can come within the term “soon before” is left to be determined by the Courts, depending upon facts and circumstances of each case. Suffice, however, to indicate that the expression “soon before” would normally imply that the interval should not be much between the cruelty or harassment concerned and the death in question. There must be existence of a proximate and live-link between the effect of cruelty based on dowry demand and the death concerned. If alleged incident of cruelty is remote in time and has become stale enough not to disturb the mental equilibrium of the woman concerned, it would be of no consequence.”

22. In Devi Lal v. State of Rajasthan3 , it has been held by the Supreme Court as under:-

“20. The question, as to what are the ingredients of the provisions of Section 304-B IPC of the Penal Code is no longer res integra. They are : (1) That the death of the woman was caused by any burns or bodily injury or in some circumstances which were not normal; (2) such death occurs within 7 years from the date of her marriage; (3) that the victim was subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or any relative of her husband; (4) such cruelty or harassment should be for or in connection with the demand of dowry; and (5) it is established that such cruelty and harassment was made soon before her death.”

23. In Ashok Kumar v. State of Haryana4 , it has been held by the Apex Court as under:

“19. We have already referred to the provisions of Section 304-B of the Code and the most significant expression used in the Section is “soon before her death”. In our view, the expressions “soon before her death” cannot be given a restricted or a narrower meaning. They must be understood in their plain language and with reference to their meaning in common parlance. These are the provisions relating to human behaviour and, therefore, cannot be given such a narrower meaning, which would defeat the very purpose of the provisions of the Act. Of course, these are penal provisions and must receive strict construction. But, even the rule of strict construction requires that the provisions have to be read in conjunction with other relevant provisions and scheme of the Act. Further, the interpretation given should be one which would avoid absurd results on the one hand and would further the object and cause of the law so enacted on the other.

20. We are of the considered view that the concept of reasonable time is the best criteria to be applied for appreciation and examination of such cases. This Court in Tarsem Singh v. State of Punjab [AIR 2009 SC 1454], held that the legislative object in providing such a radius of time by employing the words “soon before her death” is to emphasize the idea that her death should, in all probabilities, has been the aftermath of such cruelty or harassment. In other words, there should be a reasonable, if not direct, nexus between her death and the dowry related cruelty or harassment inflicted on her.

21. Similar view was expressed by this Court in the case of Yashoda v. State of Madhya Pradesh [(2004) 3 SCC 98], where this Court stated that determination of the period would depend on the facts and circumstances of a given case. However, the expression would normally imply that there has to be reasonable time gap between the cruelty inflicted and the death in question. If this is so, the legislature in its wisdom would have specified any period which would attract the provisions of this Section. However, there must be existence of proximate link between the acts of cruelty along with the demand of dowry and the death of the victim. For want of any specific period, the concept of reasonable period would be applicable. Thus, the cruelty, harassment and demand of dowry should not be so ancient whereafter, the couple and the family members have lived happily and that it would result in abuse of the said protection. Such demand or harassment may not strictly and squarely fall within the scope of these provisions unless definite evidence was led to show to the contrary. These matters, of course, will have to be examined on the facts and circumstances of a given case.”

24. In the matter of Appasaheb and another v. State of Maharashtra5, it has been held by the Apex Court as under:

“9. Two essential ingredients of Section 304-B IPC, apart from others, are (i) death of women is caused by any burns or bodily injury or occurs otherwise than under normal circumstances, and (ii) women is subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or any relative of her husband for, or in connection with, any demand for “dowry”. The explanation appended to sub-section (1) of Section 304-B IPC says that “dowry” shall have the same meaning as in Section 2 of Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961.

10. Section 2 of Dowry Prohibition Act reads as under :

“2. Definition of ‘dowry’ – In this Act ‘dowry’ means any property or valuable security given or agreed to be given either directly or indirectly –

(a) by one party to a marriage to the other party to the marriage; or

(b) by the parent of either party to a marriage or by any other person, to either party to the marriage or to any other person, at or before or any time after the marriage in connection with the marriage of the said parties, but does not include dower or mahr in the case of persons to whom the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) applies.”

11. In view of the aforesaid definition of the word “dowry” any property or valuable security should be given or agreed to be given either directly or indirectly at or before or any time after the marriage and in connection with the marriage of the said parties. Therefore, the giving or taking of property or valuable security must have some connection with the marriage of the parties and a correlation between the giving or taking of property or valuable security with the marriage of the parties is essential. Being a penal provision it has to be strictly construed. Dowry is a fairly well known social custom or practice in India. It is well settled principle of interpretation of Statute that if the Act is passed with reference to a particular trade, business or transaction and words are used which everybody coversant with that trade, business or transaction knows or understands to have a particular meaning in it, then the words are to be construed as having that particular meaning. (See Union of India v. Garware Nylons Ltd., AIR (1996) SC 3509 and Chemicals and Fibres of India v. Union of India, AIR (1997) SC 558). A demand for money on account of some financial stringency or for meeting some urgent domestic expenses or for purchasing manure cannot be termed as a demand for dowry as the said word is normally understood. The evidence adduced by the prosecution does not, therefore, show that any demand for “dowry” as defined in Section 2 of the Dowry Prohibition Act was made by the appellants as what was allegedly asked for was some money for meeting domestic expenses and for purchasing manure. Since an essential ingredient of Section 304-B IPC viz. demand for dowry is not established, the conviction of the appellants cannot be sustained.”

25. Applying the above principles of law in the present case what emerges is that PW-1 Jaipal and PW-2 Smt. Rajrani in their statements have nowhere stated that ‘soon before death’ there was any demand of dowry or that ‘soon before death’, the deceased was subjected to cruelty by the accused persons. The marriage of the deceased was solemnized with accused Babloo @ Ranjit in the year 2004 and she died in 2006. According to PW-1 Jaipal and PW-2 Smt. Rajrani, Rs. 20,000/- and a motor cycle was demanded by the accused persons immediately after the marriage and they have nowhere stated that the said demand persisted till the death of the deceased.

26. PW-1 Jaipal has stated that accused No. 1 Babloo alias Ranjit was serving at Rajasthan and the deceased was living with him and they used to come directly from Rajasthan to meet him and that when he spoke to his daughter, she was very happy. PW-2 Smt. Rajrani has stated that no demand of motor cycle and cash of Rs. 20,000/- was directly made to her and it was made to PW-1 Jaipal only.

27. Considering the quality of evidence, it appears that only general allegations have been levelled against the appellants for demand of Rs. 20,000/- cash and motor cycle and that too about two years prior to the date of incident. In our considered view, the basic ingredients of Section 304-B of I.P.C. are missing in the present case and thus on the basis of bald allegations, it will not be safe for us to uphold the conviction of the accused persons under Section 304-B of IPC.

28. It is not a case of the prosecution that deceased was first killed and then was hanged by the accused persons. There own case is that the deceased committed suicide in her bedroom after locking the door from inside and on coming to know the incident, the said door was opened after breaking its lach and the body was pulled down from the ceiling fan. The said fact has been admitted by the Investigating Officer and the defence witness has also been examined to this effect. There is some substance in the argument of the defence that the deceased might have committed suicide as her husband was having illicit relation with the sister of the deceased and this has been proved by DW-1 Smt. Ramawati.

29. Considering the cumulative effect of the evidence, we are of the view that the trial Court has erred in law in convicting the accused persons under Section 304-B of I.P.C. Their conviction under this section is set aside.

30. However, further considering the evidence and the statement of PW-1 Jaipal and PW-2 Smt. Rajrani, offence under Section 498-A of I.P.C. is definitely made out against the accused persons and accordingly, they are convicted for the said section. The accused No. 2 Shiv Prasad and accused No. 3 Smt. Kallo had remained in jail for more than one month. Considering the fact that the incident occurred way back in the year 2006, we are of the view that no useful purpose would be served in sending them to jail again. Their sentence is reduced to the period already undergone by them. The accused No. 1 Babloo @ Ranjit has already served the jail sentence of more than 12 years and, therefore, he be set free forthwith, if not requird in any other case. No further order is required in respect of other accused persons. Both the appeals are accordingly disposed of.

 

 
Dated:  12.03.2019
 
nethra/mohit
 

 
                     (Raj Beer Singh, J)            (Pritinker Diwaker, J) 
 



 




 

 
 
    
      
  

 

Allahabad High Court
Gendan Lal Maurya vs The State Of U.P. on 19 August, 2019
Bench: Dinesh Kumar Singh
HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT ALLAHABAD, LUCKNOW BENCH
 
 

Reserved
 

 

 
Case :- CRIMINAL REVISION No. - 148 of 2000
 
Revisionist :- Gendan Lal Maurya
 
Opposite Party :- The State Of U.P.
 
Counsel for Revisionist :- S.K.Tripathi
 
Counsel for Opposite Party :- Govt Advocate, D.C. Tewari, Jayant Kumar Shahi, K.P. Maurya,Manish Bajpai, Neha Dhanwani, Rajesh Kumar, Seema Trivedi,V.K.Sahi
 

 
Hon'ble Dinesh Kumar Singh,J.

1. The present revision has been filed by the complainant against the judgement and order dated 5.2.2000 passed by the Special Judge (E.C. Act)/Additional District & Sessions Judge, Hardoi in Session Trial Nos.108 of 1985 and 695 of 1996, whereby the accused have been acquitted under Sections 498-A, 304-B IOC and Section 3/4 Dowry Prohibition Act.

2. First Information report was registered on 31.3.1994 at Police Station Sandila against five accused on a written compliant by father of the deceased i.e. P.W.-1, Gendan Lal Maurya alleging that the deceased Sunita, who was married to accused, Naresh S/o Shyam Lal two and a half years before the date of incident, was killed by the accused on 30.3.1994 for dowry demand. The deceased had nine months old son at the time of her death. The autopsy was performed on the dead body of the deceased and no ante-mortem injury was found. VISCERA was persevered for examination. However, a six months female fetus was present in the womb of the deceased. On examination of VISCERA, Aluminum Phosphate was found. Thus, the death of the deceased was caused due to consumption of poison, Aluminum Phosphate.

3. The only witness of fact was examined in support of the prosecution case i.e. complainant, father of the deceased. In his examination, he had said that he got the report written by himself and gave it at the police station, on the basis of which the F.I.R. was registered against the accused. It is important to mention here that the complainant did not mention any specific demand in the written report, however, in his statement before the Court, he said that the accused were demanding Rs.25,000/- cash and Rajdoot motorcycle. He had further said that at the time of marriage, sufficient dowry was given including cash and a Moped.

4. Shyam Lal and Smt. Rekhana, who were father-in-law and mother-in-law of the deceased, are no more. Hemraj is elder brother of Naresh and Kamla Devi is wife of Hemraj. Two charge sheets were filed; one against Naresh, husband of the deceased and Shyam Lal, father-in-law and Smt. Rekhana, mother-in-law and another charge sheet was filed against Hemraj and his wife Kamla Devi.

5. On the basis of the evidence adduced in defence of Hemraj and his wife, the trial court had concluded that Hemraj and his wife were not living with Naresh and other co-accused and they were living at Tehsil Headquarter. On 30th and 31st March, 1994, Hemraj was on duty and was not present at the place of incident. The trial court after analysing the evidence, has recorded a finding that the demand of dowry could not be established inasmuch as there was contradiction in the statement of P.W.-1 and in the F.I.R. version. Therefore, the trial court did not believe the prosecution story of the demanding dowry of Rs.25,000/- and motorcycle particularly when the Moped was already given at the time of marriage, which took place two and a half years back. The trial court after scrutinizing the evidence closely, came to the conclusion that once the prosecution had failed to prove the case of dowry demand and there was no ante-mortem injury found on the body of the deceased, the prosecution could neither prove the demand of dowry nor torture by the accused to the deceased for dowry demand and, therefore, it had acquitted the accused.

6. I have heard learned counsel for the parties and perused the record.

7. Section 304-B I.P.C. defines dowry death as under :-

“304B. Dowry death.–(1) Where the death of a woman is caused by any burns or bodily injury or occurs otherwise than under normal circumstances within seven years of her marriage and it is shown that soon before her death she was subjected to cruelty or har­assment by her husband or any relative of her husband for, or in connection with, any demand for dowry, such death shall be called “dowry death”, and such husband or relative shall be deemed to have caused her death.

Explanation.–For the purpose of this sub-section, “dowry” shall have the same meaning as in section 2 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 (28 of 1961).

(2) Whoever commits dowry death shall be punished with imprison­ment for a term which shall not be less than seven years but which may extend to imprisonment for life.]”

8. Section 498-A I.P.C. provides as under :-

“498A. 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 purpose 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 to 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 her or any person related to her to meet such demand.]”

9. The ingredients of dowry death as provided under Section 304-B I.P.C. are; (i) death of the woman concerned is by any burns or bodily injury or by any cause other than in normal/natural circumstances and; (ii) is within seven years of her marriage and; (iii) that soon before her death, she was subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or any relative of the husband for, or in connection with, any demand for dowry.

10. The offence under Section 498-A I.P.C. is attracted against the husband or his relative if she is subjected to cruelty. The explanation to this Section is relevant to gather the meaning and nature of cruelty for which a person can be convicted under Section 498-A I.P.C.

11. The dowry has been defined under Section 2 of the Dowry Prohibition Act. Thus, under Sections 304-B and 498-A I.P.C., cruelty or harassment by the husband or any of his relative for or in connection with any demand of dowry is gravamen of the two offences.

12. Section 113B of the Indian Evidence Act enjoins a statutory presumption as to dowry death in following terms:-

“113B. Presumption as to dowry death.–When the question is whether a person has committed the dowry death of a woman and it is shown that soon before her death such woman has been subjected by such person to cruelty or harassment for, or in connection with, any demand for dowry, the Court shall presume that such person had caused the dowry death.

Explanation.–For the purposes of this section, “dowry death” shall have the same meaning as in section 304B, of the Indian Penal Code, (45 of 1860).]”

13. A conjoint reading of Sections 304-B498-A I.P.C. and Section 113B of the Indian evidence Act makes it clear that there is burden on the prosecution to substantiate the ingredients of the two offences by direct and convincing evidence so as to avail the presumption engrafted in Section 113B of the Evidence Act against the accused. Proof of cruelty or harassment by the husband or her relative is sine qua non to draw the statutory presumption under Section 113B of the evidence Act. If the prosecution fails to prove by cogent and persuasive evidence to prove the ingredients of dowry demand and cruelty therefor, the accused cannot be held guilty for the offences under Sections 304-B and 498-A I.P.C.

14. The Supreme Court in the case of Vipin Jaiswal (A-1) vs. State of Andhra Pradesh represented by Public Prosecutor, (2013) 3 SCC 684 while dealing with the ingredients of Sections 304B and 498-A I.P.C. held as under :-

“9. We have perused the evidence of PW 1 and PW 4, the father and mother of the deceased respectively. We find that PW 1 has stated that at the time of marriage, gold, silver articles, ornaments, TV, fridge and several other household articles worth more than Rs 2,50,000 were given to the appellant and after the marriage, the deceased joined the appellant in his house at Kagaziguda. He has, thereafter, stated that the appellant used to work in a xerox-cum-typing institute in Nampally and in the sixth month after marriage, the deceased came to their house and told them that the appellant asked her to bring Rs 50,000 from them as he was intending to purchase a computer and set up his own business. Similarly, PW 4 has stated in her evidence that five months after the marriage, the appellant sent her away to their house and when she questioned her, she told that the appellant was demanding Rs 50,000 and that the demand for money is to purchase a computer to start his own business. Thus, the evidence of PW 1 and PW 4 is that the demand of Rs 50,000 by the appellant was made six months after the marriage and that too for purchasing a computer to start his own business. It is only with regard to this demand of Rs 50,000 that the trial court has recorded a finding of guilt against the appellant for the offence under Section 304-B IPC and it is only in relation to this demand of Rs 50,000 for purchase of a computer to start a business made by the appellant six months after the marriage that the High Court has also confirmed the findings of the trial court with regard to guilt of the appellant under Section 304-B IPC. In our view, both the trial court and the High Court failed to appreciate that the demand, if at all made by the appellant on the deceased for purchasing a computer to start a business six months after the marriage, was not in connection with the marriage and was not really a “dowry demand” within the meaning of Section 2 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961.

10. This Court has held in Appasaheb v. State of Maharashtra [(2007) 9 SCC 721 : (2007) 3 SCC (Cri) 468] : (SCC pp. 726-27, para 11) “11. In view of the aforesaid definition of the word ”dowry’ any property or valuable security should be given or agreed to be given either directly or indirectly at or before or any time after the marriage and in connection with the marriage of the said parties. Therefore, the giving or taking of property or valuable security must have some connection with the marriage of the parties and a correlation between the giving or taking of property or valuable security with the marriage of the parties is essential. Being a penal provision it has to be strictly construed. Dowry is a fairly well-known social custom or practice in India. It is well-settled principle of interpretation of statute that if the Act is passed with reference to a particular trade, business or transaction and words are used which everybody conversant with that trade, business or transaction knows or understands to have a particular meaning in it, then the words are to be construed as having that particular meaning. (See Union of India v. Garware Nylons Ltd. [(1996) 10 SCC 413 : AIR 1996 SC 3509] and Chemical and Fibres of India Ltd. v. Union of India [(1997) 2 SCC 664 : AIR 1997 SC 558] .)”

11. In any case, to hold an accused guilty of both the offences under Sections 304-B and 498-A IPC, the prosecution is required to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the deceased was subjected to cruelty or harassment by the accused. From the evidence of the prosecution witnesses, and in particular PW 1 and PW 4, we find that they have made general allegations of harassment by the appellant towards the deceased and have not brought in evidence any specific acts of cruelty or harassment by the appellant on the deceased.”

15. The Supreme Court in the cases of Shindo alias Sawinder Kaur and another v. State of Punjab (2011) 11 SCC 517 and Rajeev Kumar v. State of Haryana (2013) 16 SCC 640 spelt out the ingredients of the offence under Section 304-B and scope of purport of 304-B read with Section 113B of the Evidence Act. It has been held that to draw the presumption under Section 113B of the Evidence Act, the prosecution has to prove the ingredients of offence under Section 304-B I.P.C. It has been further held that one of the essential ingredients of the dowry death under Section 304-B I.P.C. is that the accused must have subjected the woman to cruelty in connection with dowry demand soon before the death. This ingredient is required to be proved by the prosecution beyond reasonable doubt and then only the Court would presume that the accused has committed the offence of the dowry death.

16. From the evidence led by the prosecution, the trial court has held that the prosecution has failed to establish that the deceased was subjected to cruelty for dowry death soon before her death. Further the trial court has held that the accused Hemraj and his wife Kamla Devi were not present when the deceased had committed suicide. Considering the aforesaid evidence, the trial court has acquitted the accused.

17. I have perused the judgement and order passed by the trial court carefully and gone through the evidence.

18. I do not think that the trial court has committed any error for which this Court should exercise its revisional jurisdiction to interfere with the impugned judgement and order dated 5.2.2000.

19. In view thereof, I do not find any substance in this revision, which is hereby dismissed.

( Dinesh Kumar Singh, J.) Order Date :- 19th August, 2019 Rao/-

 

 

Supreme Court of India
State Of Bihar vs Ramesh Singh on 2 August, 1977
Equivalent citations: 1977 AIR 2018, 1978 SCR (1) 257
Author: N Untwalia
Bench: Untwalia, N.L.
           PETITIONER:
STATE OF BIHAR

	Vs.

RESPONDENT:
RAMESH SINGH

DATE OF JUDGMENT02/08/1977

BENCH:
UNTWALIA, N.L.
BENCH:
UNTWALIA, N.L.
SHINGAL, P.N.

CITATION:
 1977 AIR 2018		  1978 SCR  (1) 257
 1977 SCC  (4)	39
 CITATOR INFO :
 R	    1979 SC 366	 (8)
 F	    1980 SC  52	 (18)
 F	    1980 SC1780	 (4)
 RF	    1986 SC2045	 (45)
 RF	    1990 SC 121	 (9)
 RF	    1990 SC1962	 (6)


ACT:
Criminal Procedure Code 1973-Sections 226, 227 and 228.
Tests  for discharging an accused-Presumption of  innocence-
Difference   between  case  for	 conviction  or	  case	 for
proceeding further.



HEADNOTE:
At  3.00 A.M. on the 26th of November 1973 Smt.	 Tara  Devi,
wife  of  respondent, a professor of  Economics,  in  Munshi
Singh College, Motihari in State of Bihar, was found burning
in  the,  Kitchen of their house.  She died as a  result  of
excessive burn injuries on her person.	The brother of	Tara
Devi  rushed to the spot and found that respondent  and	 his
brother were standing near the burning body of Tara Devi but
were not taking any steps to extinguish the fire.  He lodged
the  F.I.R.  at Police Station charging the  respondent	 for
having committed the offences under s. 302 and 201 of  Penal
Code.  Charge sheet was submitted against him by the  police
and  the case was committed to Sessions Court for  trial  of
the respondent u/s. 209 of Cr.	P.C. 1973.
The  Sessions Judge discharged the accused under s.  227  of
Cr.   P.  Code	1973  on  the  ground  that  there  was	 not
sufficient  ground  for proceeding with	 the  trial  against
respondent and he was discharged in accordance with section
227.
The State of Bihar went in revision before Patna High Court,
which was dismissed by the High Court.
Allowing the appeal by special leave,
HELD  :	 (1) Under s. 226 of the Code the  prosecutor  while
opening the case has got to describe the charge against	 the
accused and State by what evidence he proposes to prove	 the
guilt  of  the accused.	 Thereafter, comes  it	the  initial
stage,	the duty of the Court to consider the record of	 the
case  and the documents submitted therewith.  The Judge	 has
then  to pass an order either u/s. 227 or u/s. 228 of  Code.
[259C, D]
If  the Judge considers that there is not sufficient  ground
for  proceeding against the accused, he shall discharge	 the
accused	 and record his reasons for so doing as enjoined  by
s. 227.	 If on the other hand, the Judge is of opinion	that
there is ground for presuming that the accused has committed
an offence
which
(b)is exclusively triable by the court, he shall frame	in
writing a charge against the accused as provided in s. 228.
Reading	 the two provisions together in juxta a position  at
the  initial  stage of the trial, the  truth,  veracity	 and
effect	of  the evidence which the  prosecutor	proposes  to
adduce are not to be meticulously judged.  Nor is any weight
to  be	attached  to the probable defence  of  the  accused.
[259E-F]
The  standard  of test and judgment which is to	 be  finally
applied	 before recording a finding regarding the  guilt  or
otherwise  of accused, is not exactly to be applied  at	 the
stage  of  deciding the matter under s. 227 and 228  of	 the
Code. [259G]
Strong	suspicion against the accused, if it remains in	 the
region of suspicion, cannot' take the place of proof of	 his
guilt at the conclusion of trial.  But at the initial stage,
if  there  is a strong suspicion which leads  the  court  to
think that there is a ground for presuming that the  accused
has committed an offence then it is not open to the court to
say  that  there  is no	 sufficient  ground  for  proceeding
against the accused.  It is only for the purpose of deciding
258
prima facie whether the court should proceed with the  trial
or  no,,.   The evidence which the  Prosecutor	proposes  to
adduce	to  prove  the guilt of the accused  even  if  fully
accepted  before  it is challenged in  cross-examination  or
rebutted  by the defence evidence, if any, cannot show	that
the  accused  committed the offence, then there will  be  no
sufficient  ground  for proceeding with	 the  trial.  [259H,
260A-B]
If  the scales of pan as to the, guilt or innocence  of	 the
accused	 are something like even, at the conclusion  of	 the
trial,	then, on the theory of benefit of doubt the case  is
to end in his acquittal.  But if on the other hand, it is so
at  the initial stage of making an order under s. 227 or  s.
228  then in such a situation ordinarily and  generally	 the
order  which will have to be made will be one under  s.	 228
and not under s. 227. [260C-D]
Nirmal Jeet Singh Hoon v. State of West Bengal (1973) 2	 SCR
66  has followed Chandra Deo Singh v. Prakash  Chandra	Bose
(1964)	3 SCR 639 wherein it was laid down that the test  is
whether there is a sufficient ground for proceeding and not,
whether there is a sufficient ground for conviction.
After  setting aside the orders of High Court  and  Sessions
Court, the Court directed that appropriate charge or charges
be  framed  against the respondent and trial to	 proceed  in
accordance with law. [261H]
The  Court observed that nothing stated in the	judgment  is
meant to prejudice in the least the case of either party  at
the trial. [259C]



JUDGMENT:

CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION : Criminal Appeal No. 51 of 1977.

Appeal by Special Leave from the Judgment and Order dated 18-2-1976 of the Patna High Court in Crl. Rev. No. 699/75. U. P. Singh and S. N. Jha, for the, Appellant. B. P. Singh and A. K. Srivastava, for the Respondent. The following Judgment of the Court was delivered by UNTWALIA, J.-The respondent in this appeal by special leave is a Professor of Economics in Munshi Singh College, Motihari in the State of Bihar. At about 3.00 A.M. on the 26th of November, 1973, Smt. Tara Devi, wife of the respondent, was found burning in the kitchen of his house. A hulla was raised. Chandreshwar Prasad Singh, brother of Tara Devi, who is a Professor of Botany in the said College and lives nearby came to the scene of occurrence. It is said he found the respondent and his brother standing near the burning body of Tara Devi but not taking any steps to extinguish the fire. Tara Devi died apparently as a result of the extensive burn injuries on her person. A First Information Report was lodged by Chandreshwar Prasad Singh at the Police Station charging the respondent for having committed the offences under sections 302 and 201 of the Penal Code. Eventually Charge-Sheet was submitted against him by the police and the case was committed to the Court of Sessions for trail of the respondent under section 209 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973-hereinafter called the Code.

When the case was opened in the Court of the IIIrd Additional Sessions Judge at Motihari in Sessions Trial No. 66/1975 by the Additional Public Prosecutor in accordance with section 226 of the Code, a plea was raised on behalf of the respondent that there was not any sufficient ground for proceeding with the trial against him and he should be discharged in accordance with section 227. The Additional Sessions Judge accepted the plea and discharged the accused by his order dated April 30, 1975. The State of Bihar the appellant in this appeal went in revision before the Patna High Court to assail the order aforesaid of the Sessions Court. The High Court by its order dated the 18th February, 1976 dismissed the revision. Hence this appeal. It is neither necessary nor advisable for us to mention in any great detail the facts of the prosecution case against the respondent or refer to all the materials and the evidence which may be produced by the prosecutor when a trial proceeds in the Sessions Court. Unnecessary details in that regard have got to be avoided so that it may not prejudice either the prosecution case of the appellant or the defence of the respondent. Since for the brief reasons to be stated hereinafter we are going to set aside the orders of the Courts below and direct the trial to proceed against the respondent, we would like to caution that nothing which may have to be said in support of our order in this judgment is meant and should be understood to prejudice in the least the case of either party at the trial. Under section 226 of the Code while opening the case for the prosecution the Prosecutor has got to describe the charge against the accused and state by what evidence he proposes to prove the guilt of the accused. Thereafter comes at the initial stage the duty of the Court to consider the record of the case and the documents submitted therewith and to hear the submissions of the accused and the prosecution in that behalf. ‘The Judge has to pass thereafter an order either under section 227 or section 228 of the Code. If “the Judge consider that there is not. sufficient ground for proceeding against the accused, he shall discharge the accused and record his reasons for so doing”, as enjoined by section 227. If, on the other hand, “the Judge is of opinion that there, is ground for presuming. that the accused has committed an offence which-

(b)is exclusively triable by the Court, he shall frame in writing a charge against the accused’-‘, as provided in section 228. Reading the two provisions together in juxta position, as they have got to be, it would be clear that at the beginning and the initial stage of the trial the truth, veracity and effect of the evidence which the Prosecutor proposes to adduce are not to be meticulously judged. Nor is any weight to be attached to the probable defence of the accused. It is not obligatory for the Judge at that stage of the trial to consider in any detail and weigh in a sensitive balance whether the facts, if proved, would be incompatible with the innocence of the accused or not. The standard of test and judgment which is to be finally applied before recording a finding regarding the guilt or otherwise of the accused is not exactly to be applied at the stage of deciding the matter under section 227 or section 228 of the Code. At that stage the Court is not to ‘see whether there is sufficient ground for conviction of the accused or whether the trial is sure to end in his conviction. Strong suspicion against the accused, if the matter remains in the region of suspicion, cannot take the place of proof of his guilt at the conclusion of the trial. But at the initial stage if there is a strong suspicion which leads the Court to think that there is ground for presuming that the accused has committed an offence then it is not open to the Court to say that there is no sufficient ground for proceeding against the accused. The presumption of the guilt of the accused which is to be drawn at the, initial stage is not in the sense of the law governing the trial of criminal cases in France where the accused is presumed to be guilty unless the contrary is proved. But it is only for the purpose of deciding prima facie whether the Court should proceed with the trial or not. if the evidence which the Prosecutor proposes to adduce to prove the guilt of the accused even if fully accepted before it is challenged in cross-examination or rebutted by the defence evidence, if any, cannot show that the accused committed the offence, then there will be no sufficient ground for proceeding with the trial. An exhaustive list of the circumstances to indicate as to what will lead to one conclusion or the other is neither possible nor advisable. We may just illustrate the difference of the law by one more example. If the scales of pan as to the guilt or innocence of the accused are something like even at the conclusion of the, trial, then, on the theory of benefit of doubt the case is to end in his acquittal. But, if, on the other hand, it is so at the initial stage of making an order under section 227 or section 228, then in such a situation ordinarily and generally the order which will have to be made will be one under section 228 and not under section 227In Nirmaljit Singh Hoon v. The State of West Bengal and an- other(1)-Shelat, J. delivering the judgment on behalf of the majority for the Court referred at page 79 of the report to the earlier decisions of this Court in Chandra Deo Singh v. Prakash Chandra Bose(2) where this Court was held to have laid down with reference to the similar provisions contained in sections 202 and 203 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 “that the test was whether there was sufficient ground for proceeding and not whether there was sufficient ground for conviction, and observed that where there was prima facie evidence, even though the person charged of an offence in the complaint might have a defence, the matter had to be left to be decided by the appropriate forum at the appropriate stage and issue of a process could not be refused.” Illustratively, Shelat J, further added “Unless, therefore, the Magistrate finds that the evidence led before him is self-contradictory, or intrinsically untrustworthy, process cannot be refused if that evidence makes out a prima facie case.”

The fact that Tara Devi died an unnatural death and there were burn injuries on her person does not seem to be in doubt or dispute. The question to be decided at the trial would be whether the respondent, as is the prosecution case, had murdered her and set fire to her body or whether she committed suicide by herself setting fire to , it This undoubtedly is a serious matter for decision at the trial. But at the stage of framing the charge, copious reference to Modi’s Medical Jurisprudence and judging the postmortem report of the Doctor who performed the autopsy over the dead body of the lady meticulously was not quite justified as has been done by the Trial Judge (1) [1973] 2 S.C.R. 66.

2. [1964] 3 S.C.R. 629.

According to the persecution case the respondent was in love with one of his girl students, named, Nupur Ghosh and this led to the serious differences between the respondent and his wife, the unfortunate Tara Devi, inducing the former to clear the path of his misadventure in the manner alleged by the prosecution. On the other hand, the defence seems to suggest that the ‘alleged love-affair of the respondent led Tara Devi to commit suicide. Whether the respondent will be able to prove his defence at the final stage of the trial may not be of much consequence. Surely the prosecution will have to prove its case beyond any reasonable doubt. Although at the time of the alleged occurrence were present in the house of the respondent his brother, his brother’s wife, and children the prosecution does not seem to be in possession of any oscular testimony of an eye witness of the occurrence. The case will largely, rather, wholly, depend upon the circumstantial evidence. A stricter proof will have to be applied for judging the guilt of the accused with reference to the various circumstantial evidence against him. The at this stage the Additional Sessions Judge was not right when he said-“it appears that there is neither direct evidence nor any circumstantial evidence to connect the accused with the alleged murder of Tara Devi”.’ He also ought not to have referred to the varying opinions of the Circle Inspector and the Superintendent of Police, Motihari as to the submission of Charge-Sheet against the respondent. Apart from some other circumstances, as it appears, the prosecution proposes to prove in this case, and whether it will succeed in proving them or not is a different matter, the High Court has enumerated three circumstances in its impugned order. We may just add, and that is only for the purpose of a cursory observation for deciding the matter at this stage, that the story of assault on Tara Devi by the respondent a day prior to the occurrence is perhaps sought to be proved by the evidence of Chandreshwar Singh, the informant, and it seems, he would also try to say, rightly or wrongly, that at the time of the said assault the respondent had given her a threat to kill her. The High Court felt persuaded to take the view that the three circumstantial facts, even if proved, would not be incompatible with the innocence of the accused and then added “There may be strong suspicion against the opposite party, but the three circumstances which I have just mentioned above, cannot be said to be incompatible with the defence of the accused.” The said observation of the High Court is not quite apposite in the background of the law which we have enunciated above with reference to the provisions of sections 227 and 228 of the Code. For the reasons stated above, we set aside the impugned orders of the High Court and the Sessions Court and direct that appropriate charge or charges will be framed against the respondent and the trial shall proceed further in accordance with the law.

 

 

Telangana High Court
Mohd. Abdul Quadeer, Another, vs The State Of Ap Rep By Its Pp Hyd., … on 14 August, 2018
Bench: T. Rajani
                         SMT JUSTICE T. RAJANI

     CRIMINAL PETITION Nos.7352 of 2011 and 13 of 2012

COMMON ORDER:


        These petitions are filed, seeking for quash of the

proceedings against the petitioners, who are A1 & A2 and A3 &

A4 respectively in these petitions, in C.C.No.51 of 2011 on the

file   of   the   XIII    Additional    Chief    metropolitan        Magistrate,

City Criminal Courts, Red Hills, Hyderabad. The offences alleged

are under Sections 498A and 406 r/w 34 IPC.


2.      Heard the counsel for the petitioners and the Public

Prosecutor, appearing for the 1st respondent. None appears for

the 2nd respondent in spite of notice.

3. A perusal of the complaint would show that no allegations are made against the husband of the complainant. The allegations are only against the petitioners, who are the brothers-in-law and the wife of the brother-in-law. Even according to the complaint, A2 resides in USA, A3 and A4 reside in Jeddah, Middle East Countries, whereas A1 resides in Hyderabad. The complainant resides separately at Maqta Madarsab, Raj Bhavan Road, Hyderabad. The allegations are that A2 instigates A3 and A4 over phone from USA and they harassed the complainant, saying that she did not bring dowry, though it is a second marriage for her.

4. The counsel for the petitioners submits that in order to some how wreck out her vengeance with regard to the property disputes between the parties, the complainant filed this false complaint. Learned counsel also submits that there are civil cases pending between the parties.

5. The allegations, as can be seen from the complaint, do not inspire confidence. Admittedly, none of the petitioners in these petitions are staying together with the complainant and the alleged harassment seems to be far fetched. The complainant, at one place, states that it is A2, who instigated the other accused, and, at other place, she states that A3 and A4 used to instigate A1. On the face of it, it appears that the allegations are false. Hence, continuing the proceedings against the petitioners in the above CC would only result in abuse of process of law.

6. In view of the above, this court opines that it is a fit case for quashing the proceedings.

8. With the above observations, the Criminal Petition is allowed and the proceedings against the petitioners, who are A1 & A2 and A3 & A4 respectively in these petitions, in C.C.No.51 of 2011 on the file of the XIII Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, City Criminal Courts, Red Hills, Hyderabad, are hereby quashed.

As a sequel, the miscellaneous applications, if any pending, shall stand closed.

__________ T. RAJANI, J August 14, 2018 LMV

 

Telangana High Court
Eerothu Veerababu And 5 Others vs State Of Ap., Rep By Its P.P … on 12 November, 2018
Bench: U.Durga Prasad Rao
        HON'BLE SRI JUSTICE U.DURGA PRASAD RAO

                  Criminal Petition No.15141 of 2013

ORDER:

In this petition filed under Section 482 Cr.P.C., the petitioners/A2 to A6 seek to quash the proceedings against them in C.C.No.66 of 2013 on the file of IV Additional Judicial First Class Magistrate, Kakinada. This petition was filed also on behalf of A1 but later the same was dismissed as withdrawn against him by order dated 19.12.2013.

2) The defacto complainant is the wife of A1; A2 and A3 are parents and A4 and A6 are the sister and brother of A1 and A5 is the husband of A4.

a) The complaint allegations are that the marriage between defacto complainant and A1 was performed on 14.08.2010 at Kakinada as per Hindu customs and rites; during the marriage, her parents gave Rs.4 lakhs towards dowry as against the demand of Rs.10 lakhs; apart from that her father agreed to give two storied building situated at Gold Market Centre at Kakinada and to that extent he executed a Will also; after marriage, she joined the matrimonial home at Samalkota; from the first day onwards all the accused demanded for the additional dowry of Rs.6 lakhs and harassed her both mentally and physically and on one occasion they tried to kill her by pouring petrol; while so, A1 shifted the family to Hyderabad where he demanded to sell the house which was gifted by her father and bring the money to purchase a house in Hyderabad; twelve months before the complaint, A1 left the complainant in her parents’ house and gave a warning that unless and until they pay the additional dowry of Rs.6 lakhs, complainant will not be permitted to enter the house.

b) Basing on the said complaint, the police of III Town (Law and Order) PS, Kakinada registered a case in Cr.No.109 of 2012 and after investigation filed charge sheet which was taken cognizance by learned IV Additional Judicial First Class Magistrate, Kakinada and registered as C.C.No.66 of 2013 for the offence under Section 498A IPC and Sections 3 and 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961.

Hence, the instant quash petition.

3) Heard arguments of Sri Ashok Talla, learned counsel for petitioners/A2 to A6, Sri A.Hari Prasad Reddy, learned counsel for respondent No.2/complainant and learned Additional Public Prosecutor (AP) for respondent No.1.

4a) Severely fulminating the charge sheet allegations, learned counsel for petitioners/A2 to A6 would argue that all the allegations in the complaint and charge sheet are false to the core only to rope the petitioners without their fault. He would submit petitioners have never demanded complainant for additional dowry or harassed her and such allegations are only myth and concoction. Learned counsel would submit, for few days after marriage the complainant and A1 resided with other accused at Samalkota and later they left to Hyderabad where A1 was doing job. At Hyderabad, the complainant behaved in a mad and eccentric manner without cooperating with A1 in the conjugal life and other household activities and due to her mental abrasion and abnormal behaviour, A1 suffered a lot and then A1 and other accused came to know that the parents of complainant performed her marriage concealing her mental illness. He would submit that other accused never telephoned nor goaded A1 to harass her for additional dowry of Rs.6 lakhs and other paraphernalia. On the other hand, the parents of complainant used to pester A1 to leave his job at Hyderabad as Development Officer in LIC and come back to Kakinada as illatum son- in-law which was refused by A1 on that, the father of complainant bore grudge against him and took back his daughter to Kakinada. The efforts made by A1 and other accused to bring back the complainant to the matrimonial home did not fructify and ultimately unable to bear the mental cruelty meted out by the complainant, A1 filed divorce application DOP No.217 of 2015 on the file of III Additional Senior Civil Judge, Kakinada and after a hot contest, the said Court having held that complainant herein treated her husband with cruelty and deserted him for more than 3 years, allowed divorce petition and granted decree of divorce on 18.01.2018. Learned counsel thus submitted that the above order is a clear manifestation of how the complainant lodged police report with all false and untenable allegations besides causing unbearable cruelty to her husband.

b) Sofaras petitioners/A2 to A6 are concerned, learned counsel would argue the allegations against them are two fold. Firstly, that while the complainant stayed at Samalkota for a short stint, they harassed her for dowry of Rs.6 lakhs and secondly that on the grouse she did not meet their demand, once they attempted to kill her by pouring petrol and setting fire. However, neither the complainant nor her parents gave any report to the police against the alleged atrocious act. Surprisingly, in the lawyer’s notice dated 04.11.2011 got issued by the complainant to A1, she did not make even whisper of alleged attempt to kill her by the petitioners. In the chief affidavit of complainant filed in O.P.No.217 of 2015 also she did not make any averment with regard to alleged attempt made by petitioners on her life. All this would show that she intentionally tried to rope all the petitioners including the married sister and her husband in the criminal case to bring them down to her dictates. Learned counsel thus argued that the allegation that the petitioners tried to kill by pouring petrol on the ground that she did not meet the demand for additional dowry of Rs.6 lakhs is an utter falsehood and on the other hand, the facts would show that she lived in her matrimonial home at Samalkota for few days and later the complainant went along with A1 to Hyderabad to lead conjugal life where none of the petitioners/A2 to A6 went and resided with them and they had absolutely no concern with complainant and A1. From Hyderabad the complainant was taken away by her father to Kakinada where at present she is residing. Hence, he argued, the facts would unmistakenly show the petitioners/A2 to A6 have never had any occasion to meet her with cruelty. Though they lived apart from her during the relevant period, she purposefully roped them in criminal case. Learned counsel placed reliance on the judgment of the Apex Court in Preeti Gupta and others vs. State of Jharkhand and others1.

5) In oppugnation, learned counsel for 2nd respondent/complainant would argue that at the time of marriage, all the accused demanded dowry of Rs.10 lakhs apart from gold and other paraphernalia, but the father of the complainant could give only Rs.4 lakhs as dowry and therefore, since after marriage when the complainant stepped into her in-laws house at Samalkota, they started harassing her intensely for the balance dowry amount of Rs.6 lakhs and when she failed to bring the said amount from her parents, they even tried to kill her by pouring petrol. She informed this fact to her parents but no action was taken considering her future marital life. Learned counsel further argued that even though the complainant went to Hyderabad with A1 to lead conjugal life, petitioners/A2 to A6 used to prompt A1 to demand her for the balance amount of Rs.6 lakhs and harassed her on that count and made her life a hell and finally unable to bear his torture, her father took her back to Kakinada. The cruelty meted out by all the accused is writ large in the statements of witnesses in this case. He thus prayed to dismiss the petition.

AIR 2010 SC 3363 = (2010) 7 SCC 667

6) The point for determination is:

“Whether there are merits in this petition to allow?”

7) POINT: It should be noted that in this petition we are concerned with the allegations and evidence relating to petitioners/A2 to A6 alone as the petition in respect of A1 was already withdrawn. Admittedly, the marriage between A1 and complainant was held on 14.08.2010. The complainant and her parents are residents of Kakinada, whereas the parents of A1 are residents of Samalkota. Even some time prior to marriage A1 has been residing at Hyderabad on account of his job where he is working as Development Officer in LIC. The complaint and charge sheet allegations sofaras petitioners/A2 to A6 are concerned, when after marriage, the complainant resided in her in-laws house at Samalkota for short duration, petitioners/A2 to A6 demanded her to bring the remaining dowry amount of Rs.6 lakhs and in that regard they caused her mental and physical cruelty. Further, once they tried to kill her by pouring petrol on her and she bore the torture to preserve her marital relationship with A1. The other accusation against petitioners/A2 to A6 is that some time thereafter when she went to Hyderabad along with A1 for leading conjugal life, petitioners/A2 to A6 used to telephone and abuse her and they used to goad A1 to demand the balance dowry amount and beat her. Listening their words A1 used to beat her and did not provide food and raiment. These are the main allegations against petitioners/A2 to A6 as we find in complaint and charge sheet.

8) However, when we peruse 161 Cr.P.C. statements of witnesses and also the other material, we will find a different picture. LWs.1 to 3 are the complainant and her parents. They no doubt, stated in their 161 Cr.P.C. statements in tune with complaint. However, the version of independent witnesses as depicted in their statements is quite different. For instance, LW7–Elisetty Narasimha Murthy stated that after marriage complainant and A1 stayed at Samalkota for few days and went away and thereafter some disputes arose between them at Hyderabad. He further stated that while staying at Samalkota both complainant and A1 were living amicably. LW8–A.Veera Babu who is the neighbour of accused at Samalkota, also gave a statement in similar lines stating that while residing at Samalkota, A1 and complainant lived happily without any disputes. LW9–A.Laxminarayana, LW10– B.Harikrishna and LW11–N.Suryanarana gave statements in same manner. Their statements would prima facie show that while staying at Samalkota A1 and complainant lived happily. Therefore, the allegation that while complainant stayed at Samalkota, petitioners/A2 toA6 harassed her for dowry and tried to kill her appears to be highly doubtful. This doubt further intensifies due to subsequent events. The complainant got issued legal notice dated 04.11.2011 through her counsel at Kakinada to A1 demanding him to take her back from her parents and live with her by setting up family. In the said notice, she narrated about the harassment allegedly meted out by the accused. However, surprisingly she did not make a whisper about the attempt allegedly made by petitioners/A2 to A6 on her life at Samalkota. Surely she would not miss this ghastly incident if it were true. Not only that, in her chief affidavit in O.P.No.217 of 2015 also she did not make any mention about such attempt made by accused to kill her. In the cross- examination in O.P.No.217 of 2015 she stated as if she informed about the said incident to her parents immediately and they lodged a report in II Town PS (Mahila Police Station), Kakinada. She went to the extent of saying that she filed the report into the Court. However, she did not file the said report as can be seen from the judgment in O.P.No.217 of 2015 a copy of which is filed along with material papers.

9) All these facts and circumstances create a genuine doubt about the veracity of allegations levelled by the complainant against petitioners/A2 to A6 in the complaint and charge sheet. It is not out of place to mention here that in the judgment in O.P.No.217 of 2015, the III Senior Civil Judge, Kakinada made an observation that the complainant herein has mentioned false allegations in C.C.No.66 of 2013 which were not mentioned in her notice (Ex.A4). The learned Judge found her guilty of desertion and cruelty towards A1 and granted decree of divorce. So, the allegations of cruelty said to be meted out at Samalkota have no intrinsic truth. Sofaras the harassment at Hyderabad is concerned, it is nobody’s case that petitioners/A2 to A6 physically went to Hyderabad to harass her. As already stated supra, we are not concerned with A1 in this petition. The allegation that petitioners/A2 to A6 made phone calls and incited A1 to harass her also do not stand to scrutiny as no material is placed along with charge sheet to that effect.

10) So, on a conspectus of entire material on record, one can only come to a logical conclusion that the complaint tried to rope the petitioners/A2 to A6 without any tangible cause.

11) In Preeti Gupta’s case (1 supra), the Apex Court observed that:

“To find out truth in matrimonial cases it becomes a herculean task and the tendency of implicating husband and all his immediate relations is also not uncommon. At times, even after the conclusion of criminal trial, it is difficult to ascertain the real truth and the Courts have to be extremely careful and cautious in dealing with these complaints and must take pragmatic realities into consideration while dealing with matrimonial cases. The Court further observed that the allegations of harassment of husband’s close relations who had been living in different cities and never visited or rarely visited the place where the complainant resided would have an entirely different complexion. The said allegations of the complaint are required to be scrutinized with great care and circumspection. Present case appears to be one of such instance. Though in a quash petition the High Court is not expected to make a roaming enquiry about the facts and evidence sought to be adduced during trial, still the Court cannot shut its eyes against those facts where criminal proceedings were manifestly attended with mala fide and with an ulterior motive as observed by Apex Court in State of Haryana and others vs. Bhajan Lal and others2.

The case on hand appears to be similar.

1992 Supp. (1) SCC 335

12) In the light of above discussion, this Criminal Petition is allowed and proceedings in C.C.No.66 of 2013 on the file of IV Additional Judicial First Class Magistrate, Kakinada are quashed against the petitioners/A2 to A6.

As a sequel, miscellaneous applications pending, if any, shall stand closed.

__________________________ U. DURGA PRASAD RAO, J Date: 12.11.2018 Murthy

K.Raghuveer 3 Others vs State Of A.P., Rep By P.P Another on 12 October, 2018
Bench: M.Satyanarayana Murthy
THE HON'BLE SRI JUSTICE M.SATYANARAYANA MURTHY

    CRIMINAL PETITION Nos.7652 AND 9774 OF 2017

COMMON ORDER:

     These two petitions are filed by accused Nos.4, 1, 2 3

and 5 respectively under Section 482 Cr.P.C. to quash the

proceedings in P.R.C.No.9 of 2017 on the file of the Judicial

Magistrate of First Class, at Kandukur, registered for the

offences punishable under Sections 498-A, 307 IPC read with

34 IPC and Sections 3 and 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act.


     The second respondent in both the petitions is the de

facto complainant. She lodged report with the police at Kandukur Town Police Station alleging that her marriage was performed on 27.04.2016 at Ongole in PLR Kalyana Mandapam, at the time of marriage her parents gave rupees fifty lakhs in cash, 200 tulas of gold and rupees twenty lakhs worth property as dowry. The property was registered in the name of the de facto complainant. After marriage, she joined with her husband at Kandukur and during their wedlock, she became pregnant and after conceiving, her husband demanded Audi Car. Her father agreed to purchase the car as demanded by her husband A1. On 13.05.2016 her husband and mother-in-law, took her to Apollo Hospital in Nellore for medical examination i.e. confirmation of pregnancy but forced her to get aborted with a threat to see her end. Her husband, mother-in-law, father-in-law and one Metla Ashok Babu made her to believe that her husband is an IRS MSM,J And 9774 of 2017 officer, performed her marriage with him. After the marriage, they informed that he is working as PR Commissioner in Customs Department at Chennai. After marriage, she insisted her husband to set up family at Chennai, but he postponed the same and started harassing her. Her husband, mother-in-law Meena Kumari, sister-in-law Videesha and Metla Ashok Kumar subjected her to harassment both mentally and physically for her failure to meet their illegal demand of amount of rupees twenty lakhs as additional dowry and they also tried to kill the de facto complainant with a view to marry another girl by A1 to get more dowry. They also beat her mercilessly even without expressing any sympathy though she is pregnant during that time.

On 12.12.2016 when she was at her parents house at about 5.00 p.m., her husband, father-in-law, mother-in-law, sister-in-law and Ashok Kumar forcibly entered into their house and her husband A1 tried to stab her with knife, immediately she raised cries and on arrival of their father and mother, he ran away and left the house in a car. Thus, the petitioners subjected her to harassment for payment of dowry and made an attempt to kill her.

On the basis of the written telugu report lodged by the second respondent, the Station House Officer, Kandukur Town Police Station, registered a case in Crime No.178 of MSM,J And 9774 of 2017 2016 for the offences punishable under Sections 498(A)307 read with 34 IPC and Sections 3 and 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act, and issued FIR.

On the strength of the FIR, the sub-inspector of police took up investigation, recorded the statements of 12 witnesses during investigation under Section 161(3) Cr.P.C., visited the scene of offence, examined and after completion of investigation, having concluded that there is prima facie material to proceed against these petitioners, filed charge sheet before the Judicial Magistrate of First class, Kandukur, for various offences stated supra against all the accused.

The fourth accused filed Criminal Petition No.7652 of 2017, A1, A2, A3 and A5 filed a separate Criminal Petition bearing No.9774 of 2017 raising two different sets of grounds to quash the proceedings by exercising power under Section 482 Cr.P.C.

The main grounds urged in the petition filed by A4 are that the evidence collected during investigation and the allegations made in the charge sheet do not constitute the offences punishable under Sections 498-A307 read with 34 IPC and 3 and 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act and more particularly against this petitioner-A4, no case is made out since the allegations are vague, unfounded and apart from that no specific overt acts are attributed to the petitioner except she entered into the house along with her parents and MSM,J And 9774 of 2017 brother. Therefore, on the basis of these vague allegations against this petitioner-A4, the proceedings cannot be continued.

It is also contended that before registering FIR, the police ought to have verified the allegations, character, conduct of the father of the second respondent and his capacity to give such huge amount of dowry when he indebted to many persons by obtaining loan. The house property said to have been given as dowry was mortgaged by the father of the second respondent to a Nationalised Bank and without discharging the loan amount, created a sham document by way of gift deed in the name of second respondent as Sthri Dhana to deprive the bank from realization of the amount. He has indebted to many persons and several money suits are pending against the father of the second respondent. Therefore, the allegation of demand for payment of additional dowry and agreement for purchase of “Audi Car” by the father of the second respondent, is improbable to the natural circumstances, who is heavily indebted. It is also contended that the allegation of forcing her to abort in the guise of ultra sound scanning test etc., is not based on any material. The second respondent lived for two days after the marriage with her husband and when the first accused went to Chennai to attend his employment, she was taken back to Ongole by her parents, since then she has not turned up either to join at Chennai or Nellore to lead MSM,J And 9774 of 2017 marital life and in such circumstances, no prudent man would accept such an allegation of harassment for her failure to meet the illegal demand of additional dowry. The second respondent with the help of her parents trying to spoil the career of this petitioner – A4 as she secured a seat in engineering in US university and her VISA was also approved. To spoil her bright future both in professional and personal career, she was roped into the false case filed under Sections 498-A307 read with 34 IPC and Sections 3 and 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act and it is nothing but abuse of process of Court.

Whereas, accused Nos.1, 2, 3 and 5, who filed a separate petition, raised specific contentions almost identical to the grounds urged by the petitioner-A4, who filed another petition, while drawing the attention of this court to various allegations relating to offence punishable under Sections 498- A and its consequences. Therefore, this Court need not repeat the grounds urged in the petition except a ground that a crime was registered against these petitioners for the offence under Section 307 IPC purposefully with an intent to subject the petitioners to severe harassment, and to see that they do not get bail, by abuse of process of law and thereby such proceedings against the petitioners cannot be continued, prayed to quash the proceedings against these petitioners for the offences punishable under Sections 498-A307 read with 34 IPC and Sections 3 and 4 of the Dowry MSM,J And 9774 of 2017 Prohibition Act in P.R.C.No.9 of 2017 on the file of the Court of Additional Judicial First Class Magistrate at Kandukur, Prakasam District.

During hearing, learned counsel for the petitioners contended that based on vague allegations in the complaint, the police registered a serious crime against the petitioners, who are highly placed in the society and roping the petitioner in Criminal Petition No.7652, who is an aspirant of engineering (MS) admission in US university, after obtaining VISA is nothing but an abuse of process of Court, since, their intention is to prevent her from leaving the country and therefore the respondent No.2 by abusing the process of law, harassing these petitioners and such harassment cannot be permitted while directing the petitioners to face prolonged trial for the grave offences punishable under Sections 498-A and 307 IPC and 3 and 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act. But lodging of complaint is nothing but harassment and the Court cannot encourage the parties to use the process of Court as a tool of harassment against these petitioners. He further contended that none of the allegations made in the complaint do not constitute an offence punishable under Sections 498- A, 307 read with 34 IPC and 3 and 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act and requested to allow the petition, quashing the proceedings against these petitioners for the alleged offences. He placed reliance on five judgments of the Hon’ble Apex Court reported in Rajesh Sharma and others Vs.State of U.P. and MSM,J And 9774 of 2017 another1, Swapnil and others Vs.State of Madhya Pradesh2, Ram Saran Varshney and others Vs.State of Uttar Pradesh and another3, Arnesh Kumar Vs. State of Bihar and another4, Preeti Gupta and another Vs. State of Jharkhand and another5 and Varala Bharath Kumar and another Vs. State of Telangana and another6. On the strength of the law declared by the Apex Court in the above judgments, he requested this Court to quash the proceedings against these petitioners for various offences referred supra.

Whereas, learned counsel for the 2nd respondent contended that the material allegations made in the Telugu written complaint lodged with the police in Kandukuru Police Station and the statements of witnesses recorded under Section 161(3) Cr.P.C. pointing out the complicity of petitioners for various offences and when the allegations are directly establishing the involvement of these petitioners, prima facie, the Court cannot exercise the power under Section 482 Cr.P.C. to quash the proceedings and such disputed question can be decided only after full fledged trial and at this stage, this Court cannot quash the proceedings against the petitioners and requested to dismiss both the petitions.

2017(2) ALD (Crl.) 568 SC (2014) 13 Supreme Court Cases 567 (2016) 3 Supreme Court Cases 724 (2014) 8 Supreme Court Cases 273 (2010) 7 Supreme Court Cases 667 (2017) 9 Supreme Court Cases 413 MSM,J And 9774 of 2017 Considering the above contentions and perusing the material on record, the point that arises for consideration is:

“Whether the allegations made in the charge sheet if accepted on its face value, would constitute the offences punishable under Sections 498-A307 read with 34 IPC and 3 and 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act in P.R.C.No.9 of 2017 on the file of the Court of Additional Judicial First Class Magistrate, Kandukur, Prakasam District, if not whether the proceedings against these petitioners are liable to be quashed by exercising inherent jurisdiction under Section 482 Cr.P.C.?” POINT:

Section 482 of Cr.P.C states the inherent powers of the High Court to make such orders as may be necessary to give effect to any order under the Code or to prevent abuse of the process of any Court or otherwise to secure the ends of justice. It is an obvious proposition that when a Court has authority to make an order, it must have also power to carry that order into effect. If an order can lawfully be made, it must be carried out; otherwise it would be useless to make it. The authority of the Court exists for the advancement of justice, and if any attempt is made to abuse that authority so as to produce injustice, the Court must have power to prevent that abuse. In the absence of such power, the administration of law would fail to serve the purpose for which alone the Court exists, namely to promote justice and to prevent injustice. Section 482 of Cr.P.C confers no new powers but MSM,J And 9774 of 2017 merely safeguards existing powers possessed by the High Court. Such power has to be exercised sparingly in exceptional cases and this power is external in nature to meet the ends of justice.

To give effect to any order under Code means, the first class of order, which the section embraces are orders that may be necessary to give effect to any order under this Court. When a Court has authority to make an order, it must also have the power to carry out the order into effect. The power to enforce obedience to the mandates of the Court necessarily springs from the very existence of the authority to issue the mandates and, if that power is not expressly given by the statute, it must be deemed to be inherent in the Court, vide Emperor v. Sukhdeo7.

To prevent abuse of the process of any Court, the authority of the Court exists for the advancement of justice, and if any attempt is made to abuse that authority, so as to produce injustice, the Court must have power to prevent that abuse. In the absence of such power the administration of law would fail to serve the purpose for which alone the Court exists, namely, to promote justice and to prevent injustice. It would be an abuse in the process of the Court to allow a suitor to litigate over again the same question which has been already decided against him. The High Court would, in the exercise of its inherent jurisdiction, reject an application for 1930 Lah 465 31 Cr LJ 482 MSM,J And 9774 of 2017 the transfer of a criminal case, where such an application based upon the same facts had already been refused. The words “process” is a general word meaning, in effect, anything done by the Court. In exercise of the powers under this section the High Court would be justified to quash the proceedings if it finds that the institution or continuance of criminal proceedings amounts to abuse of the process of the Court or if quashing of those proceedings would otherwise secure the ends of justice. Where there is no material before the Magistrate on the basis of which he can issue process against the accused to stand trial, it will be gross abuse of the process of the Court if the accused is put to trial, hence the proceedings should be quashed at the threshold. Similarly, where it is not shown that there is any abuse of process of the Court, the proceeding will not be quashed. The jurisdiction of the High Court in quashing the complaint or the first information report is very limited. The High Court is justified in quashing the complaint when no offence is made out on the allegations made in the compliant or the documents accompanying it per se.

The basis for registration of FIR is the telugu written report lodged by the second respondent with Kandukur Town Police Station dated 13.02.2016. The specific allegations made in the telugu written complaint disclose that A1 the first petitioner, Korimerla Meena Kumari/mother-in-law(A2) made an attempt to abort the pregnancy of the de facto MSM,J And 9774 of 2017 complainant and when she was necked out from the house and stayed with her parents at Ongole, on 12.12.2016 at about 5.00 p.m., her husband, mother-in-law, father-in-law, sister-in-law Videesha – A4(petitioner in Criminal Petition No.7652 of 2017) and the maternal uncle of A1, by name, Metla Ashok Kumar – 4th petitioner in Criminal Petition No.9774 of 2017, highhandedly trespassed into their house and her husband made an attempt to stab her. Immediately, she raised cries and on hearing cries, her parents, who are staying in the adjacent room came there and on their arrival, the petitioners left the house of her parents. The complaint also discloses that they demanded for payment of additional dowry of rupees twenty lakhs besides demand of Audi Car and causing physical and mental harassment, more particularly, causing injuries with ropes by the petitioners prima facie pointing out the complicity of these petitioners for the offences punishable under Sections 498-A307 read with 34 IPC and 3 and 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act. Even if the allegations in the complaint though incomplete, it cannot be the sole basis for proceeding against these petitioners but it is only the information to the police about commission of the cognizable offence, to set the criminal law into motion to conduct investigation. Therefore, the allegations made in the FIR alone cannot form the basis for proceeding further in the PRC at present.

MSM,J And 9774 of 2017 On the basis of FIR, the Sub-Inspector of Police took up investigation, examined as many as 12 witnesses. L.W.1 the second respondent herein is the prime witness in the incident. She being a victim stated to the police about the harassment meted out by her in the hands of the petitioner for her failure to meet the illegal demand of additional dowry and Audi Car besides the dowry given at the time of marriage including presentation of gold etc., and so also the attempt made by the petitioners to kill her on 12.12.2016 at about 5.00 p.m. This statement is supported by the statement of her mother and father Davuluri Ramesh and Latha. But they are not eye witnesses to the incident of subjecting her to harassment both physically and mentally or to the alleged attempt to kill her by these petitioners while she was staying at her in-laws house in Nellore and they received information from L.W.1 the second respondent herein, about the harassment she suffered in the hands of these petitioners for her failure to meet the illegal demand for payment of dowry. The incident that occurred at Kandukur was also not witnessed by them, however, they heard cries of their daughter the second respondent L.W.1 when her husband allegedly made an attempt to kill her by causing stab injury and at the same time, all the petitioners high-handedly entered into the house, her husband alone made an attempt to kill her, then she raised cries, therefore, they are not direct witnesses to the incident either at Nellore or at Kandukur, MSM,J And 9774 of 2017 but they received information about the harassment, the second respondent suffered in the hands of these petitioners and witnessed the fleeing of these petitioners after the second respondent raised cries when her husband made an attempt to kill her. Similarly, L.Ws.4 and 5 the neighbours of L.Ws.2 and 3 supported the evidence of L.W.1 with regard to the attempt made by A1 husband of the second respondent, the first petitioner in Criminal Petition No.9774 of 2017, and they fled away from the house of L.Ws.2 and 3, therefore, they are not the direct witnesses to the incident. They received information about the harassment suffered by L.W.1 the second respondent for her failure to meet the illegal demand of payment of dowry by her parents as demanded by the petitioners and at the same time, as per the law declared by Apex Court in the Judgments referred supra, the duty of the Court while deciding the petitions under Section 482 Cr.P.C. is to verify the allegations made in the charge sheet and find out whether those allegations are sufficient to constitute any offence and this Court cannot take into consideration of the defence set up by the petitioners in a petition filed under Section 482 Cr.P.C., in view of the law declared by the Hon’ble Apex Court in Mrs. Dhanalakshmi vs. R. Prasanna Kumar & Ors.8; Ganesh Narayan Hegde vs. S. Bangarappa AIR 1990 SC 494 MSM,J And 9774 of 2017 & Ors.9; and M/s Zandu Pharmaceutical Works Ltd. & Ors. vs. Md. Sharaful Haque & Ors.10 In “State of Haryana v. Bhajan Lal11” the Apex Court considered in detail the powers of High Court under Section 482 Cr.P.C. and the power of the High Court to quash criminal proceedings or FIR. The Apex Court summarized the legal position by laying down the following guidelines to be followed by High Courts in exercise of their inherent powers to quash a criminal complaint:

(1) Where the allegations made in the first information report or the complaint, even if they are taken at their face value and accepted in their entirety do not prima facie constitute any offence or make out a case against the accused.

(2) Where the allegations in the first information report and other materials, if any, accompanying the FIR do not disclose a cognizable offence, justifying an investigation by police officers under Section 156(1) of the Code except under an order of a Magistrate within the purview of Section 155(2) of the Code.

(3) Where the allegations made in the FIR or complaint and the evidence collected in support of the same do not disclose the commission of any offence and make out a case against the accused.

(4) Where, the allegations in the FIR do not constitute a cognizable offence but constitute only a non- cognizable offence, no investigation is permitted by a police officer without an order of a Magistrate as contemplated under Section 155(2) of the Code.

(1995) 4 SCC 41 AIR 2005 SC 9 1992 Supp (1) SCC 335 MSM,J And 9774 of 2017 (5) Where the allegations made in the FIR or complaint are so absurd and inherently improbable on the basis of which no prudent person can ever reach a just conclusion that there is sufficient ground for proceeding against the accused.

(6) Where there is an express legal bar engrafted in any of the provisions of the Code or the concerned Act (under which a criminal proceeding is instituted) to the institution and continuance of the proceedings and/or where there is a specific provision in the Code or the concerned Act, providing efficacious redress for the grievance of the aggrieved party.

(7) Where a criminal proceeding is manifestly attended with mala fide and/or where the proceeding is maliciously instituted with an ulterior motive for wreaking vengeance on the accused and with a view to spite him due to private and personal grudge.

If these principles are applied to the present facts of the case, the duty of the Court to verify the allegations made in the charge sheet, which includes the statements recorded by the police during investigation and other material evidence collected during investigation. Since the statements recorded under Section 161(3) Cr.P.C. forms part of the charge sheet in view of the judgment of Apex Court in State of Himachala Pradesh Vs. Priti Chand wherein, held as follows: “the power of the High Court is an exceptional one. Great care should be taken by the High Court before embarking to scrutinize the FIR/charge-Sheet/complaint. In deciding whether the case is rarest of rare cases to scuttle the prosecution in its inception, it first has to get into the grip of the matter and decide whether the allegations constitute the MSM,J And 9774 of 2017 offence. It must be remembered the FIR is only an initiation to move the machinery and to investigate into cognizable offence. After the investigation is conducted and the charge- sheet is laid the prosecution produces the statements of the witnesses recorded under Section 161 Cr.P.C in support of the charge-sheet. At that stage it is not the function of the Court to weigh the pros and cons of the prosecution case or to consider necessity of strict compliance of the provisions which are considered mandatory and its effect of non- compliance. It would be done after the trial is concluded. The Court has to prima facie consider from the averments in the charge-sheet and the statements of witnesses on the record in support thereof whether court could take cognizance of the offence, on that evidence and proceed further with the trial. If it reaches a conclusion that no cognizable offence is made out no further act could be done except to quash the charge sheet. But only in exceptional cases, i.e. in rarest of rare cases of mala fide initiation of the proceedings to wreak private vengeance process of criminal is availed of in laying a complaint or FIR itself does not disclose at all any cognizable offence – the court may embark upon the consideration thereof and exercise the power.”

Thus, in view of the law declared by the Apex Court in “State of H.P. v. Pirthi Chand” (referred supra) unless the Court come to a conclusion that the averments in the charge sheet and the statements of witnesses on the record in MSM,J And 9774 of 2017 support thereof whether Court could take cognizance of the offence on that evidence and proceed further with the trial, if, it reaches a conclusion that no cognizable offence is made out, no further act could be done except to quash the proceedings.

As discussed above, the prime duty of the Court is to verify the allegations made in the charge sheet and the statements of witnesses recorded by the investigating agency during investigation, the statements produced before the Court, more particularly statements recorded under Section 161(3) Cr.P.C. which forms part of the charge-sheet. Though, such statement recorded under Section 161(3) Cr.P.C is not a substantive piece of evidence, it can be used only for limited purpose of contradicting the witness under Indian Evidence Act. However, this Court is competent to deduce its conclusion on the statements recorded under Section 161(3) Cr.P.C during investigation, though not a substantive piece of evidence.

Keeping in mind the principles laid down in the above judgment, it is the duty of the Court to verify the contents of the charge sheet, whether those allegations are sufficient to constitute prima facie offence punishable under Section 498- A IPC and this Court cannot appreciate the evidence at the stage but it can evaluate the material on record and this Court cannot take into consideration of any additional MSM,J And 9774 of 2017 documents filed along with the petition except the documents filed along with the charge sheet filed by the investigating agency. The Apex Court in State of Himachal Pradesh Vs. Priti Chand, ordinarily the High Court will not allow the documents produced by the petitioner under Section 482 Cr.P.C. the Court cannot permit them, which cannot be termed as evidence for being decided and proved. While exercising jurisdiction under Section 482 Cr.P.C., it is impermissible to look into the material produced and the acceptance of which is essentially a matter for consideration for trial. But public documents are materials which are beyond the suspicion and relied on by the accused can be taken into consideration by the High Court while exercising the power under Section 482 Cr.P.C. vide Umesh Kumar Vs. State of A.P.12 Thus, in view of the law declared by the Apex Court and other High Courts, the Court cannot look into the documents filed along with the petition except the public documents which are beyond suspicion can be taken into consideration.

Keeping in mind the principles laid down in the above judgments, I would like to examine the allegations made in the complaint while ignoring the material produced before this Court by the counsel for the petitioners, i.e. charge sheet in C.C.No.887 of 2017, FIR in Crime No.461 of 2016 of Nellore Air 2014 SC 1106 MSM,J And 9774 of 2017 Police Station, FIR and complaint in Crime No.120 of 2008 and other material filed along with USR No.58559 of 2018 dated 10.08.2018.

In the facts of the case as discussed above, the allegations both made in the telugu written complaint lodged with the police and the statements of the witnesses recorded by the police during investigation under Section 161(3) Cr.P.C. directly pointing out the complicity of these petitioners for the offences punishable under Sections 498-A307 read with 34 IPC and 3 and 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act but too vague.

Coming to the case of prosecution for the offences under Sections 3 and 4 of Dowry prohibition Act, the alleged payment of dowry of Rs.50.00 lakhs cash and presentation of gold of 200 tulas and registration of property in the name of the second respondent took place at the time of marriage, i.e. on 27.04.2016 and the later act of demanding for Audi Car etc. would constitute an offence under Sections 3 and 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act. The complaint was lodged before the Magistrate on 13.12.2016, whereas the first incident of payment of dowry would attract the offence punishable under Section 3 of Dowry Prohibition Act, took place on 27.04.2016. Section 3 of Dowry Prohibition Act deals with punishment for payment of dowry and for receiving of dowry. Such complaint shall be lodged with the police within one year, according to MSM,J And 9774 of 2017 Rule 5 (c) of the rules framed by the High Court under the Act known as A.P. Dowry Prohibition Rules, 1998, every complaint under the rules shall be made by aggrieved party itself or any person on behalf of aggrieved party, the place of trial or enquiry shall be from the place where the complainant is residing. Any complaint shall be made either on the demand of dowry or accepting dowry within a period of one year. The acceptance of dowry of Rs.50.00 lakhs, gold of 200 tulas etc., was allegedly on 27.04.2016. As per the allegations made in the complaint and the charge sheet including the statements of witnesses recorded under Section 161(3) Cr.P.C. and when the complainant wants to complain against the petitioner about the commission of offence punishable under Section 3 of Dowry Prohibition Act, such complaint must be lodged within one year in view of Rule 5(c) read with Rule 10, which prescribed the limitation for filing complaint and its finalization. According to Rule 10, any offence under Section 3 and 4 or any dispute under Section 6 of the Act, shall be filed before expiry of one year and the same shall be finalized within two years from the date of filing. Here, the offence punishable under Section 3 of Dowry Prohibition Act allegedly occurred on 27.04.2016 when the petitioners received dowry as defined under Section 2 of the Act but the complaint was lodged after expiry of more than one year eight months, therefore, the proceedings for the offence punishable under Section 3 of the Act are liable to be MSM,J And 9774 of 2017 quashed, on the ground of violation of Rule 5(c) and Rule 10 of rules framed by the High Court under the Dowry Prohibition Act.

Coming to the offence punishable under Section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, the petitioner conceived in the month of May 2016 and she was allegedly taken to Apollo Hospital and forced her to abort. After she conceived, her husband A1 demanded for Audi Car without specifying the date of alleged demand. Even assuming for a moment, immediately after she conceived such demand was made, the complaint is barred in view of Rule 5(c) read with Rule 10 of A.P.Dowry Prohibition Rules, since the complaint was lodged almost after one year seven months. The other allegation made against all the petitioners is that she was subjected to cruelty for her failure to meet illegal demand of additional dowry of Rs.20.00 lakhs, both physical and mental with a view to kill her. But no specific details are mentioned as to the exact date, time and place of occurrence except making a vague allegation against these petitioners for the offence under Section 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act. But in the statements recorded by the police under Section 161(3) Cr.P.C., L.W.1 the victim woman stated that all these petitioners while she was carrying pregnancy, subjected her to cruelty by beating her indiscriminately. Such act may attract an offence punishable under Section 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act, but the allegations are absolutely vague without disclosing the date, time and place of MSM,J And 9774 of 2017 occurrence of commission of such offence. Therefore, based on such vague allegations, the Court would normally exercise power to quash the proceedings. In Ramsaran Varshey and others Vs. State of U.P. and others13 in Swapnil and others referred supra, the apex Court quashed the proceedings on the ground that the allegations are vague and bereft of details as to the place and time of incident. The principles are directly applicable to the present facts of case as the charge sheet is bereft of details.

In Preeti Gupta and another Vs. State of Jharkhand and another (referred supra) the Apex Court on an occasion deal with similar circumstances and high lighted the powers of the Court under Section 482 Cr.P.C. The facts of the case are that A1 is a permanent resident of Navasari, Surat, Gujarat and has been living with her husband for more than seven years. Similarly, A2 is a permanent resident of goregaon, Maharashtra. They have never visited the place where the alleged incident had taken place and they never lived with the second respondent and her husband and thereby, their implication in the complaint is meant to harass and humiliate the husband’s relatives. This seems to be the only basis to file the complaint against the appellants. Permitting the complainant to pursue the complaint would be an abuse of process of Court and the Court further observed that when the complaint was filed with an oblique motive and (2016) 3 SCC 724 MSM,J And 9774 of 2017 at the same time, rapid increase in the number of genuine cases of dowry harassment is also a matter of serious concern. When the accused were living at a different place, their implication and consequences are not properly visualized by the complainant that such complaint can lead to insurmountable harassment, agony and pain to the complainant, accused and his close relations.

The Apex Court also highlighted the ultimate object of justice and is to find out the truth and punish the guilty and protect the innocent. To find out the truth is a Herculean task in majority of these complaints. The tendency of implicating the husband and all his immediate relations is also not uncommon. At times, even after the conclusion of the criminal trial, it is difficult to ascertain the real truth. The Courts have to be extremely careful and cautious in dealing with these complaints and must take pragmatic realities into consideration while dealing with matrimonial cases. The allegations of harassment of husband’s close relations who had been living in different cities and never visited or rarely visited the place where the complainant resided would have an entirely different complexion. The allegations of the complainant are required to be scrutinized with great care and circumspection while exercising the power under Section 482 Cr.P.C. The experience reveals that long and protracted criminal trials lead to rancour, acrimony and bitterness in the relationship amongst the parties. It is also a MSM,J And 9774 of 2017 matter of common knowledge that in cases filed by the complainant if the husband or the husband’s relations had to remain in jail even for a few days, it would ruin the chances of an amicable settlement altogether. The process of suffering is extremely long and painful. The tendency of over implication is also reflected in a very large number of cases. The criminal trials lead to immense sufferings for all concerned. Even ultimate acquittal in the trial may also not be able to wipe out the deep scars of suffering of ignominy. Unfortunately a large number of these complaints have not only flooded the courts but also have led to enormous social unrest affecting peace, harmony and happiness of the society. It is high time that the legislature must take into consideration the pragmatic realities and make suitable changes in the existing law. It is imperative for the legislature to take into consideration the informed public opinion and the pragmatic realities in consideration and make necessary changes in the relevant provisions of law. While making such observations, the Court quashed the proceedings against the petitioners but this position is of no sustenance to the present facts of the case, for the reason, the accused 1 and 2 therein are residing at different places with the husband after their marriage and there is no possibility of frequent visit of the scene of offence. The vague allegations made in the complaint are not sufficient to proceed with the trial against these petitioners for the serious offences punishable under MSM,J And 9774 of 2017 Sections 498-A IPC and 3 and 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act. Since the very object of Section 498-A IPC is laudable to punish the husband or his relatives against a wife particularly when such cruelty had potential to result in suicide or murder of a woman as mentioned in the State of Objects and Reasons of the Act 46 of 1983. But the ‘cruelty’ under Section 498-A covers conduct which may drive the women to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to life, limb or health(whether mental or physical) of the woman etc., and in view of pendency of increasing such offences, the Apex Court in Rajesh Sharma and others Vs. State of U.P. and another(stated 1 supra) laid down certain guidelines. Of course, these guidelines to certain extent were reversed by the Apex Court in recent decision in Social Action Forum For Manav Adhikar and others Vs. Union of India14 and this judgment is also not applicable to the present facts of the case relied on by the learned counsel for the petitioners. Whereas, in Varala Bharath Kumar and another Vs. State of Telangana and another (stated 6 supra), the Apex Court had an occasion to deal with an identical issue, where allegations were made in the FIR/the complaint or the outcome of investigation as found in the charge sheet, even if they are taken at their face value and accepted in their entirety do not prima facie constitute any offence or make out the case against the accused; where the allegations do not 2018(30 L.S.31(SC) MSM,J And 9774 of 2017 disclose the ingredients of the offence alleged; where the uncontroverted allegations made in the first information report or complaint and the material collected in support of the same do not disclose the commission of offence alleged and make out a case against the accused; the court can exercise power under Article 226 of the Constitution of India or under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure may be exercised. The records at hand could not disclose any willful conduct which is of such a nature as is likely to drive the complainant to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to life, limb or health (whether mental or physical) of the complainant. So also, there is nothing on record to show that there was a demand of dowry by the appellants or any of their relatives, either prior to the marriage, during the marriage or after the marriage. The record also does not disclose anywhere that the husband of the complainant acted, with a view to coerce her or any person related to her to meet any unlawful demand of any property or valuable security. In the absence of specific allegations, the Court cannot encourage the parties to harass the husband or the relative of the husband of a woman by lodging criminal complaints implicating them into grave criminal offences.

Similarly, in Swapnil and others Vs. State of Madhya Pradesh (referred supra) the Apex Court had an occasion to discuss about the procedure to be followed under Section 482 Cr.P.C. to quash the proceedings in the complaint registered MSM,J And 9774 of 2017 for the offences under Sections 498-A and 506 IPC. When the allegations are vague and bereft of the details as to the place and the time of the incident, the proceedings are liable to be quashed. The principle laid down in Swapnil and others’ case (referred supra) is squarely applies to the present facts of the case since the allegations made in the complaint, the statements of the witnesses recorded under Section 161(3) Cr.P.C. and the report lodged with the police did not disclose the date, time and place of occurrence i.e. demand of payment of dowry and subjecting her cruelty for her failure to meet the demand for payment of additional dowry. In the absence of such details, the Court can exercise the power under Section 482 Cr.P.C. and quash the proceedings.

Turning to the object and purpose of incorporating section 498-A, in Bhaskar Lal Sharma and another v. Monica and others15 the Apex Court considered what amounts to cruelty and ingredients of Section 498-A in para 29 and proof of an offence punishable under Section 498-A I.P.C. In para 37 of the judgment, the Supreme Court held as follows:

“Ex facie no case has been made out under Section 498A of the IPC so far as the appellants are concerned. The allegations relating to the place where the marriage took place has nothing to do with an offence under Section 498A of the IPC. Allegations that appellant No.2 kicked the respondent with her leg and told her that her mother to be a liar may make out some other offence but not the one punishable under Section 498A. Similarly her allegations (2014) 3 Supreme Court Cases 383 MSM,J And 9774 of 2017 that the appellant No.2 poisoned the ears of her son against the respondent; she gave two used lady suits of her daughter to the complainant and has been given perpetual sermons to the complainant could not be said to be offences punishable under Section 498A. Even threatening that her son may be divorced for the second time could not bring out the offence under Section 498A of the IPC.”

But the facts of the present case though different and in the absence of specific allegations, the cruelty in connection with demand of dowry, the offences punishable under Section 498-A cannot be accepted. More over, the Apex Court in Sushil Kumar Sharma vs. Union of India & Ors16 reiterated the object of Section 498-A holding that the object of which Section 498-A was introduced is ample, reflected in statements and objects and reasons while enacting the criminal law second amendment and in paragraphs 10 & 19 of the said judgment, the Supreme Court held as follows:

“10. The object for which Section 498-A IPC was introduced is amply reflected in the Statement of Objects and Reasons while enacting the Criminal Law (Second Amendment) Act 46 of 1983. As clearly stated therein the increase in the number of dowry deaths is a matter of serious concern. The extent of the evil has been commented upon by the Joint Committee of the Houses to examine the work of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961. In some cases, cruelty of the husband and the relatives of the husband which culminate in suicide by or murder of the helpless woman concerned, constitute only a small fraction involving such cruelty. Therefore, it was proposed to amend IPC, the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (in short “CrPC“) and the Evidence Act suitably to deal effectively not only with cases of dowry deaths but also cases of cruelty to married women by the husband, in-laws and relatives. The avowed object is to combat the menace of dowry death and cruelty.

19. The object of the provision is prevention of the dowry menace. But as has been rightly contended by the petitioner many instances have come to light where the complaints are not bona fide and have been filed with oblique motive. In such cases acquittal of the accused (2005) 6 SCC 281 MSM,J And 9774 of 2017 does not in all cases wipe out the ignominy suffered during and prior to trial. Sometimes adverse media coverage adds to the misery. The question, therefore, is what remedial measures can be taken to prevent abuse of the well-intentioned provision. Merely because the provision is constitutional and intra vires, does not give a licence to unscrupulous persons to wreak personal vendetta or unleash harassment. It may, therefore, become necessary for the legislature to find out ways how the makers of frivolous complaints or allegations can be appropriately dealt with. Till then the courts have to take care of the situation within the existing framework. As noted above the object is to strike at the roots of dowry menace. But by misuse of the provision a new legal terrorism can be unleashed.

In paragraph 40 in Bhaskarlal Sharma’s case, the Supreme Court discussed about quashability of the case by relying on Bhajanlal’s case held as follows:

“The jurisdiction of the High Court to quash an order of summoning and/or a criminal proceeding as also this Court are well known. The parties have relied upon the decisions of this Court in State of Haryana vs. Bhajan Lal [1992 (Supp.) 1 SCC 335]. We may notice the categories 1, 3, 5 and 7 mentioned in Para 102 of the said decision, which are as under:

“(1) Where the allegations made in the first information report or the complaint, even if they are taken at their face value and accepted in their entirety do not prima facie constitute any offence or make out a case against the accused.

(3) Where the uncontroverted allegations made in the FIR or complaint and the evidence collected in support of the same do not disclose the commission of any offence and make out a case against the accused.

(5) Where the allegations made in the FIR or complaint are so absurd and inherently improbable on the basis of which no prudent person can ever reach a just conclusion that there is sufficient ground for proceeding against the accused.

(7) Where a criminal proceeding is manifestly attended with mala fide and/or where the proceeding is maliciously instituted with an ulterior motive for wreaking vengeance on the accused and with a view to spite him due to private and personal grudge.”

In Pashaura Singh v. State of Punjab and another17, the Supreme Court held that subjecting woman to cruelty by husband and his relatives and in the absence of proof of demand of dowry or harassment by accused, High Court found that only allegation made in FIR was the appellant-

(2010) 11 Supreme Court Cases 749 MSM,J And 9774 of 2017 accused and his family members started harassing appellant’s wife for not bringing more dowry. But there was no demand for dowry, nor was there any specific entrustment of dowry articles to accused as alleged in FIR and held that offence under Section 498-A is not made out.

There are two parallel lines of judgment in the law declared by the Apex Court. One view is that the Court must construe the act of Cruelty liberally so as to achieve the object of the incorporation of Section 498-A IPC. The other view of decision is that the Court must strictly construe the word ‘cruelty’ and in the absence of specific allegations and when the complaint or charge sheet are bereft of details like date, time and place of harassment, the Court can exercise its power and quash the proceedings.

In the present facts of the case, all the petitioners allegedly subjected the second respondent to cruelty without specific details regarding date, time and place of offence but based on vague allegations both in the complaint and in the statements recorded under Section 161 (3) Cr.P.C. proceedings against them is nothing but subjecting the petitioners to harassment using the criminal law as a tool of harassment. Therefore, the allegations made in the complaint and the evidence collected are too vague and on the basis of such vague allegations, the Court cannot proceed against these petitioners and the proceedings cannot be continued by MSM,J And 9774 of 2017 applying the principle laid down in Swapnil and others case(referred supra).

In view of the law declared by the Apex Court, it is clear that in the absence of any details, based on vague allegations both in the complaint and the charge sheet, the proceedings against these petitioners for the offences punishable under Sections 498-A IPC and Sections 3 and 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act shall not be continued and this Court can exercise power under Section 482 Cr.P.C. to avoid unjust harassment of these petitioners by applying the guidelines laid down by the Apex Court in Bhajanlal’s case (referred supra). Accordingly, proceedings against the petitioners in Crl.P.No.9774 of 2017 for the offences punishable under Sections 498-A IPC and 3 and 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act are quashed, as the allegations made in the charge sheet even if accepting on its face value do not constitute offences punishable under Section 498-A IPC and 3 and 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act, and that apart the complaint was filed beyond one year as required under Rule 5(c) read with Rule 10 of A.P. Dowry Prohibition Rules framed under the Act.

Coming to the other offence alleged against the petitioner, i.e., punishable under Section 307 IPC. The allegations in the complaint and as well as in the statements of the witnesses recorded by the police during investigation are clear that on 12.12.2016 the first accused, husband of MSM,J And 9774 of 2017 the de facto complainant-second respondent herein, at about 5.00 p.m., along with other accused came to the house of the parents of the second respondent and A1 the first petitioner in Crl.P.No.9774 of 2017 made an attempt to stab her with a view to kill her. If this allegation is accepted as true on its face value, it would constitute an offence punishable under Section 307 IPC since making of an attempt to stab with an intention to kill a person constitute an offence prima facie punishable under Section 307 IPC. Whereas the complaint or charge sheet is bereft of any allegations to constitute an offence under Section 307 IPC against accused 2 to 5, the petitioners 2, 3 and 5 in Criminal Petition No.9774 and A4 the petitioner in Criminal Petition No.7652 of 2017.

It is not the case of the second respondent that the petitioners are jointly and severally liable and they conspired together to commit the murder of the second respondent. When A1 alone made such an attempt in the absence of common intention to invoke Section 34 IPC, and joint and several liability under Section 149 IPC, the proceedings against the other petitioners – A2, A3, A4 and A5 cannot be continued for the offence punishable under Section 307 IPC. Therefore, taking into consideration the facts and circumstances of the case, accepting the allegations made in the complaint and charge sheet including the statements recorded under Section 161(3) Cr.P.C., it is difficult to conclude that there is prima facie material to proceed against MSM,J And 9774 of 2017 A2 to A5 for the offence punishable under Section 307 IPC. But the charge sheet disclosed prima facie case against the first petitioner in Criminal Petition No.9774 of 2017.

Hence, I find that it is a fit case to quash the proceedings against A2, 3 and 5, the petitioners 2, 3 and 5 in Criminal Petition No.9774 of 2017 and sole petitioner A4 in Criminal Petition No.7652 of 2017 by exercising power under Section 482 Cr.P.C. and in view of the principles laid down in the judgments referred supra.

In view of my foregoing discussion, the proceedings against the petitioners in both the petitions – A2, A3, A4, A5 (2nd, 3rd and 4th petitioners in Criminal Petition No.9774 of 2017) and the sole petitioner in Criminal Petition No.7652 of 2017 for the offence punishable under Sections 498(A)307 IPC and Sections 3 and 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act are hereby quashed in P.R.C.No.9 of 2017 pending on the file of the Court of Additional Judicial Magistrate of First Class, Kandukur, Prakasam District, while permitting the magistrate to proceed against A1 the first petitioner in Criminal Petition No.9774 of 2017 for the offence punishable under Section 307 IPC only.

Accordingly, the Criminal Petition No.7652 of 2017 is allowed and Criminal Petition No.9774 of 2017 is partly allowed quashing the proceedings in P.R.C.No.9 of 2017 on the file of the Court of Additional Judicial Magistrate of First MSM,J And 9774 of 2017 Class, Kandukur, Prakasam District, against all the petitioners for the offences punishable under Sections 498-A IPC and 3 and 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act, the proceedings against A2 to 5 for the offence punishable under Section 307 of IPC. The proceedings against the first petitioner (A1) in Criminal Petition No.9774 of 2017 are concerned, the Magistrate is hereby directed to proceed further for the offence punishable under Section 307 IPC only.

As a sequel, miscellaneous petitions, pending if any, shall stand closed.

___________________________________ M. SATYANARAYANA MURTHY, J Date: 12.10.2018 Rns