Karnataka High Court Fakeerappa F Kabannure vs State By Davanagere Women P.S on 23 June, 2017

Excerpt:  For the various reason observed during above case following judgment was ordered by court. During this case court stated that “This clearly demonstrates discontent and unrest in the family life of a large number of people of the society.”

  1. Criminal Petition is hereby allowed in part.
  2. Proceedings pending in C.C.No.2196/2012 on the file of the I JMFC Court, Davanagere (Crime No.12/12), dated 27.12.2012 in so far as petitioner No.3/accused No.4 is hereby quashed.
  3. Trial court shall make all endeavour to expeditiously dispose of above said proceedings.

All pending applications stand consigned to records.

LIST OF JUDGEMENT cited

  1. Geeta Meharotra v. State of U.P, AIR 2013 SC 181
  2. Preeti Gupta and another v. State of Jarkhand and another, 2010(7) SCC 667
  3. Madhu Bhandari v. State by Kadugodi Police Station, Bengaluru and another, 2014 (5) KLJ 146
  4. Judgment of Apex Court in the case of RAMESH AND OTHERS V. STATE OF TAMIL NADU , AIR 2005 SUPREME COURT 1989
Karnataka High Court
Fakeerappa F Kabannure vs State By Davanagere Women P.S on 23 June, 2017
Author: Aravind Kumar
                          1

IN THE HIGH COURT OF KARNATAKA AT BENGALURU

       DATED THIS THE 23RD DAY OF JUNE, 2017

                       BEFORE

     THE HON'BLE MR. JUSTICE ARAVIND KUMAR

          CRIMINAL PETITION NO. 1566/2014


BETWEEN:

1.     FAKEERAPPA F KABANNURE
       SON OF KABANURE,
       AGED ABOUT 78 YEARS,
       R/AT DOOR NO.220, DEVRAJ,
       URS LAYOUT A BLOCK,
       12TH CROSS,
       DAVANAGERE - 577 002.

2.     RAVI F KABANURE,
       SON OF FAKEERAPPA F KABANNURE,
       AGED ABOUT 41 YEARS,
       R/AT NO.677/C/37A
       DANGE PARK,
       DAVANAGERE - 577 002.

3.     RANJANA
       W/O SRINIVAS
       AGED ABOUT 30 YEARS,
       R/A PANDURANGA NILAYA,
       GADANG STREET, COWL BAZAAR,
       BELLARY - 583 102.

       AS PER FIR, PETITIONER NO.2 & 3
       R/A R/A DOOR NO.220,
       DEVRAJ URS LAYOUT A BLOCK
                           2




       12TH CROSS, DAVANAGERE - 577 002.

                                  ...PETITIONERS

(BY SRI. SRIHARSH NEELOPANT, ADVOCATE)

AND:

1.     STATE BY DAVANAGERE WOMEN P.S
       REPRESENTED BY S.P.P
       HIGH COURT-COMPLEX,
       BENGALURU - 560 001.

2.     SMT. B.P. SUDHA,
       WIFE OF RAJESH
       AGED ABOUT 30 YEARS,
       R/AT NO.2532, 3RD MAIN,
       SS LAYOUT, B BLOCK,
       DAVANAGERE - 577 002.
                                  ...RESPONDENTS

(BY SRI. R. NAGESHWRAPPA HCGP FOR R1
SMT. GEETHADEVI M.P. FOR R2)


     THIS CRIMINAL PETITION IS FILED UNDER
SECTION 482 OF CR.P.C. PRAYING TO SET ASIDE THE
ORDER     DATED:27.12.12    AND    QUASH    THE
PROCEEDINGS AGAINST THE PETITIONERS IN
C.C.NO.2196/12 PENDING ON THE FILE OF THE I
JMFC COURT, DAVANAGERE (CRIME NO.12/12 OF
DAVANAGERE P.S. FOR THE OFFENCE P/U/S 498A,
506 OF IPC AND 3 AND 4 OF D.P.ACT)
                                  3

      THIS PETITION COMING ON FOR HEARING THIS
DAY, THE COURT MADE THE FOLLOWING:-


                               ORDER

Heard Sri.Sriharsh Neelopant, learned counsel appearing for petitioner No.3, learned HCGP appearing for respondent No.1 and Smt. Geetadevi M.P for respondent No.2. Perused the records.

2. Petitioners have been arrayed as accused Nos. 2, 3 and 4 in C.C.No.2196/2012 pending on the file of Judicial Magistrate First Class, Davanagere, for which they have been charge sheeted for the offence punishable under Sections.498-A, 506 of the IPC and Sections 3 and 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act (‘D.P. Act’ for short).

3. A complaint came to be lodged on 07.04.2012 by the complainant/second respondent herein stating that she married accused No.1- Rajesh F. Kabanur on 6.5.2006 and prior to marriage, talks came to be held between two families and a cash of Rs.5,00,000/- and 7 Tolas of gold ornaments were given to accused No.1 as there was demand for dowry and marriage came to be performed by her father and even at the time of marriage, a sum of Rs.3,00,000/- was given by her father to accused No.1. It is further stated that when she came to her husband’s house, she was abused by her husband, father- in-law, mother-in-law and sister-in-law and she was mentally and physically tortured in order to extract further sum of Rs.2,00,000/- which was said to have been promised by her father to be given to accused No.1 prior to the marriage. She has also alleged that for celebration of Deepavali festival, they came back to Davanagere and at that point of time, her husband and other members of the family started putting restrictions on her. She has also alleged that her mother-in-law and sister-in-law over phone used to instigate her husband to physically abuse her. She has also alleged that every now and then they were demanding the balance amount payable towards dowry. She further states that on account of she having delivered a baby girl, her husband stopped talking to her and in spite of advice by the elders, her husband did not change his attitude. She further states after the birth of daughter namely, after one year four months, efforts were made to reconcile the dispute and during September, 2010 her mother-in-law expired and as such, she was sent out of her matrimonial home. In sum and substance, her allegation in the complaint is towards her husband, mother-in-law and brother-in-law. On these lines, she lodged a complaint, which came to be registered in Crime No.12/2012 for the offence punishable under Sections. 498-A and 506 of the IPC read with 3 and 4 of the D. P. Act. On conclusion of investigation charge sheet has been filed. Petitioner Nos.1 to 3 namely, father-in-law, brother- in-law and sister-in-law of the complainant have filed this petition seeking quashing of the proceedings initiated against them.

4. It is the contention of Sri.Sriharsh Neelopant, learned counsel appearing for the petitioners that a bare reading of the complaint does not disclose about any demand for dowry having raised and the statement of C.W.2, father of the complainant and C.W.5, brother of the complainant would not disclose involvement of these petitioners nor disclose that the complainant having been subjected to harassment by the petitioners and as such, he seeks for quashing of the proceedings against the petitioners. He would also submit that complaint does not state that there has been intimidation for dowry and mere accusations made by the petitioners even if any against the complainant, that by itself would not amount to dowry harassment. Hence, he seeks quashing of the proceedings. In support of the submissions, he has relied upon following judgments;

1) Geeta Meharotra v. State of U.P, AIR 2013 SC 181

2) Preeti Gupta and another v. State of Jarkhand and another, 2010(7) SCC 667

3) Madhu Bhandari v. State by Kadugodi Police Station, Bengaluru and another, 2014 (5) KLJ 146 .

5. Per contra, Smt. Geetadevi M.P., learned counsel appearing for the complainant-respondent No.2 has vehemently opposed the prayer of petitioners by contending that allegations made in the complaint cannot be read in isolation by picking up one or two sentences here and there and a reading of the complaint as a whole would clearly disclose, active participation of all the petitioners including accused No.1 in harassing the second respondent by making a demand for dowry. Hence, she contends that jurisdictional police have rightly filed the charge sheet on conclusion of investigation and on being satisfied that there is material against the accused persons to be proceeded with. Hence, she prays for dismissal of the petition.

6. While considering the prayer for quashing of FIR or charge sheet or complaint, merits of the case and complicated question of fact would not be examined at that stage. From the reading of the complaint as a whole, what is required to be considered is whether the allegations made therein make out a prima facie case or not. Court is not required to scrutinize the allegations for the purpose of deciding whether such allegations are likely to be upheld on conclusion of trial. In the absence ofallegations in the complaint as to the involvement of each of the accused, would be one of the grounds which can be considered at the time of examining the prayer for quashing of the proceedings. Mere mentioning of the names of the accused persons in the FIR or charge sheet would not be sufficient to take cognizance or mere casual references to the names of the relatives of the husband and their presence at the time of the alleged threat posed by the husband by itself would not be a ground to take cognizance of the offence.

7. The Hon’ble Apex court in the case of GEETA MEHROTRA AND ANR. V. STATE OF U.P. AND ANR. reported in AIR 2013 SC 181, has held mere casual references to the names of the accused persons in the FIR would not be sufficient to take cognizance. It is further held:

” 9. Hence, the appellants who are sister and brother of the complainant’s husband filed petition under Section 482 Cr.P.C., for quashing of the charge-sheet and the entire proceedings pending in the court of learned Judicial Magistrate, the Court No.IV, Allahabad, inter alia, on the ground that FIR has been lodged with mala fide intentions to harass the appellants and that no case was made out against the appellants as well as other family members. But the principal ground of challenge to the FIR was that the incident although was alleged to have taken place at Faridabad and the investigation should have been done there only, the complainant with mala fide intention in connivance with the father of the complainant, got the investigating officer to record the statements by visiting Ghaziabad which was beyond his territorial jurisdiction and cannot be construed as legal and proper investigation. It was also alleged that the father of the complainant got the arrest warrant issued through George Town Police Station, Allahabad, in spite of the cause of action having arisen at Faridabad.”

8. The complaint when read as a whole discloses, there are certain instances which have occurred and in the process there has been exchange of words. However, that by itself would not constitute dowry harassment. Until and unless the allegations made in the complaint would clearly indicate that it is a genuine case of dowry harassment. It may not fall within four corners of “dowry demand”. The presence of the relatives of the husband when there is verbal exchange between husband and wife and in the event of the relatives of the husband, even if they were to take sides of the husband also do not give rise for taking cognizance for the alleged offence of dowry harassment. In fact, the Apex court in the case of PREETI GUPTA AND ANOTHER V. STATE OF JHARKHAND AND ANOTHERreported in (2010) 7 SCC 667, has held that exaggerated version of small incidents should not be reflected in the criminal complaints filed under Section 498-A of the IPC. In paragraph 30 and 31, the Apex Court has held as under:

” 30. It is a matter of common knowledge that unfortunately matrimonial litigation is rapidly increasing in our country. All the courts in our country including this Court are flooded with matrimonial cases. This clearly demonstrates discontent and unrest in the family life of a large number of people of the society.

31. The courts are receiving a large number of cases emanating from Section 498-A of the Penal Code which reads as under:

“498-A. Husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty – Whoever, being the husband or the relative of the husband of a woman, subjects such woman to cruelty shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine.

Explanation – For the purposes of this section, ‘cruelty’ means-

a) any willful 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.”

There might be instances where the brother-in-law or sister-in-law of the complainant (wife) may take the side of husband or in other words support him, but they may also indulge in taunting or intimidating the complainant i.e. wife and in the course they may make some imputations against her. If the allegations made in the complaint do not disclose that in the said process there was no demand for dowry or such allegations or imputations does not constitute a demand for dowry or it does not amount to harassment. For this proposition the judgment of Apex Court in the case of RAMESH AND OTHERS V. STATE OF TAMIL NADU reported in, AIR 2005 SUPREME COURT 1989, can be looked up.

9. Keeping these principles in mind when the facts on hand are examined, it would disclose that petitioner No.3/ accused No. 4 namely, Smt.Ranjana (sister-in-law of the complainant) had also accompanied her family members at the time of receiving the alleged dowry. However, complainant has not stated that third petitioner namely, accused No.4 had made any demand for dowry or had coerced the complainant or her father to pay any dowry. Complainant has also further stated that accused No.4- Smt. Ranjana had taunted her that gifts received at the time of marriage is still retained at the parental home of complainant and accused No.4 had created a ruckus or scene in that regard. She also stated that accused No.4 had put restrictions against the complainant with regard to the complainant and her husband living together. In fact, complainant herself admitted that in the year 2010 accused No.4-Smt. Ranjana had proceeded to Gulbarga for her studies. At this juncture, it could be noticed that third petitioner namely, accused No.4 is an engineering graduate and she has studied her bachelor of engineering at B.D.T. College of Engineering in Davanagere in the year 2008-09 and she joined for her post- graduation at Poojya Doddappa Appa College of Engineering, Gulbarga, during the academic year 2009 and continued her studies till 2012. Complaint which has been lodged would also fortify this fact inasmuch as the complainant herself admits that in the year 2010 on the death of her mother-in-law, her sister-in- law namely, accused No.4 had proceeded to Gulbarga which would clearly indicate that accused No.4 at that point of time was staying at Gulbarga.

10. In the light of these facts emanating from the very complaint itself and there being no specific allegation with regard to demand for dowry from accused No.4 for and on behalf of accused No.1 or at the behest of other accused persons, this court is of the considered view that the proceedings against accused No.4 cannot be continued, as it would be an abuse of process of the Court.

11. It is contended by learned counsel appearing for the petitioners that allegations made by the complainant against petitioner Nos.1 and 2 as No.3 are vague and they stand on same footing as that of accused No.4, this court is not inclined to accept the same inasmuch as there are specific allegations made against them with regard to demand for dowry and their active participation or connivance. These are all disputed facts and matter of evidence which can be examined by the jurisdictional court only after full-fledged trial. As such, without expressing any opinion, the contention of the learned counsel appearing for petitioner Nos.1 and 2 is rejected.

12. For the reasons aforesaid, I proceed to pass the following:

ORDER

i) Criminal Petition is hereby allowed in part.

ii) Proceedings pending in C.C.No.2196/2012 on the file of the I JMFC Court, Davanagere (Crime No.12/12), dated 27.12.2012 in so far as petitioner No.3/accused No.4 is hereby quashed.

iii) Trial court shall make all endeavour to expeditiously dispose of above said proceedings.

All pending applications stand consigned to records.

SD/-

JUDGE Msu

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