1 IN THE HIGH COURT OF KARNATAKA AT BENGALURU DATED THIS THE 31ST DAY OF JULY 2018 BEFORE THE HON'BLE MR. JUSTICE JOHN MICHAEL CUNHA CRIMINAL PETITION NO.7843 OF 2017 BETWEEN: 1. MR SRINIVASAN RANGANATHAN AGED ABOUT 32 YEARS S/O RAMACHANDRA RANGANATHAN, 2. SRI RAMACHANDRA RANGANATHAN AGED ABOUT 67 YEARS S/O RAMACHANDRA IYER, 3. SMT SHANTHIMATHI RANGANATHAN AGED ABOUT 67 YEARS W/O RAMACHANDRA RANGANATHAN, ALL R/O PLOT NO.43, H.NO.9177, NEW GAYATRI NAGAR, KARMANGHAT, MEERPET, P.O HYDERABAD, ANDHARA PRADESH-500097. ... PETITIONERS (BY SRI: STANLEY SAM, ADVOCATE) AND: 1. STATE OF KARNATAKA BY BASAVANGUDI WOMEN'S POLICE STATION, REPRESENTED BY PUBLIC PROSECUTOR, HIGH COURT BUILDING, BENGALURU-560001. 2 2. SAI SUDHA MURALI D/O H MURALI, R/O NO.57, SAI MAA, R.K.LAYOUT, FIRST STAGE, VIII CROSS, PADBHANABHANAGAR, BANGALORE-560017 ... RESPONDENTS (BY SRI: S.RACHAIAH, HCGP FOR R1; SRI.RAJADITHYA SADASIVAN, ADVOCATE FOR R2) --- THIS CRL.P IS FILED U/S.482 CR.P.C PRAYING TO QUASH THE FIR ON THE FILE OF THE LEARNED II ADDITIONAL CMM COURT, BANGALORE CITY IN CRIME NO.46/2017 AT ANNEXURE "C" BY ALLOWING THIS APPLICATION FILED BY THE PETITIONERS. THIS CRL.P COMING ON FOR ADMISSION THIS DAY, THE COURT MADE THE FOLLOWING:- ORDER
Heard learned counsel for the petitioners, learned counsel for the respondent No.2 and learned HCGP.
2. Petitioners are arrayed as accused Nos.2, 3 and 4 in Crime No.46/2017 registered at the instance of the second respondent for the offences punishable under sections 506, 34 and 498A of Indian Penal Code and section 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act.
3. According to the complainant/respondent No.2, she married accused No.1 on 29.08.2006 at Bengaluru. For a brief period, she stayed in the house of the petitioner Nos.2 and 3 at Hyderabad awaiting her Visa. Thereafter, she joined her husband in USA and lived there for about four months whereafter she returned to Bengaluru and continued residing in her parents house within the limits of Basavanagudi Women Police Station.
4. The only allegation made against the petitioners herein is that while respondent No.2 was staying in her in-law’s house at Hyderabad, the petitioners namely accused Nos.2 to 4 placed a demand for silver and also asked her to pay a sum of Rs.10,00,000/-. The relevant allegations in this regard find place at paras 4 and 5 which read as under:
“4. Accused 3-4 live in Hyderabad. I went to the house of accused 3-4 after marriage for obtaining visa. When she was staying the accused 1-4 demanded silver articles stating that it is customary for the bride to give to the groom’s family lots of silver articles. I pleaded that he should give me some time.
5. The accused 2-4 also stated that the 1st accused is in dire financial constraints due to the alleged fire in his apartment and demanded Rs.10,00,000/- from me. The accused 2-4 also stated that it is customary that the bride and my family pay such amounts to the groom’s family.”
Further in para 19, it is stated that, “The accused No.2 lodged a false complaint against me and my parents with the police in Bengaluru that I and my family members made threats to the life of 1st and 2nd accused.”
5. These allegations even if accepted on its face value, do not make out the ingredients of the offences alleged against the petitioners. First and foremost, respondent No.2, as per her own saying, had stayed with the petitioner Nos.2 and 3 only for a brief period of two weeks. The allegation of demand for silver is too vague and it is not her case that there was any such demand either at the time of marriage or in connection with the marriage. As such, said allegation even if accepted on its face value, does not attract any of the provisions of section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act. Likewise, the allegation made in para 5 of the complaint that accused Nos.2 to 4 demanded Rs.10,00,000/- from the complainant for repair of the apartment also does not fall within the definition of “dowry” under section 2 of Dowry Prohibition Act. The demand made for reconstruction of house, by no stretch of imagination, can be treated as “dowry demand”. Therefore, even this allegation does not make out the offence alleged against the petitioners.
6. Nextly it is alleged that petitioner No.1/accused No.2 had lodged a false complaint against the complainant and her parents. There is nothing illegal in petitioner No.1/accused No.2 taking recourse to criminal action. If the allegations made in the complaint are found to be without any basis, same may furnish an independent cause of action for the second respondent to proceed against accused No.2. Lodging of a criminal complaint by itself cannot constitute an offence either under section 498A or section 506 of Indian Penal Code.
7. Barring the above allegations, there is no material to substantiate these allegations. The allegations appear to have been made against the petitioners solely because they are related to accused No.1 with whom respondent No.2 is having serious matrimonial differences, as is evident from the fact that all other allegations in the complaint are directed solely against accused No.1 namely husband of respondent No.2. Therefore, considering overall facts and circumstances of the case, I am of the view that the proceedings initiated against the present petitioners are wholly an abuse of process of court and are liable to be quashed.
Accordingly, Criminal Petition is allowed. Registration of the complaint in Crime No.46/2017 of Basavanagudi Women Police Station and consequent proceedings pending on the file of the II Addl. CMM Court, Bengaluru so far as petitioners are concerned are hereby quashed.