1 The High Court Of Madhya Pradesh MCRC-31666-2018 (SMT. RAMSAKHI SHARMA Vs THE STATE OF MADHYA PRADESH THR) Gwalior, dated :27.08.2018 Shri Lokendra Shrivastava, Advocate for the petitioners. Shri Vivek Jain, Govt. Advocate for the responents/State. 1.
Inherent powers of the Court are invoed to assail the FIR and the consequential prosecution launched pursuant to registration of Criminal Case No. 429/2016 alleging offences punishable u/S 323, 498A, 376, 377, 511 read with Sec 34 IPC.
2. Learned counsel for the rival parties are heard on the question of admission.
3. Learned counsel for the petitioners submits that bare reading of the allegations in the FIR do not disclose any cognizable offence against the petitoners no. 1 and 2 who are mother-in-law and father-in-law of the prosecutrix who lodged the FIR on 19.07.2016 in regard to the incident which took place between 25.03.2016 and 23.06.2016.
4. Learned counsel for the petitoners has drawn the attention of this Court to the allegations and also the statement of prosecutrix recorded u/S 164 Cr.P.C. on 20.07.2016 to contend that no allegations were made by the prosecutrix against the petitioners i.e. the mother-in-law and father-in-law.
5. After having heard the learned counsel for the rival parties and perusing the evidence brought forth by the prosecution on record which is reflected from the chargsheet filed by the petitioner, it is evident that four persons were The High Court Of Madhya Pradesh MCRC-31666-2018 (SMT. RAMSAKHI SHARMA Vs THE STATE OF MADHYA PRADESH THR) made accused in the impugned FIR A-1 namely Avinash Sharma (husband), Ramakhtyar Sharma (Father-in-law), Rinku Sharma (brother-in-law Devar) and Smt Ramsakhi Sharma (mother-in-law).
6. As regards the petitioner no.2, father-in-law Ramakhtyar Sharma is concerned, the FIR and the statement u/S 161 Cr.P.C.of prosecution witnesses which include the parents of the prosecutrix and brother of the prosecutrix clearly discloses allegations of conduct which can prima-facie fall within the definitive para-meters of “cruelty” explained in Sec 498-A IPC. The FIR further discloses that petitioner no.2, father-in-law had visited the parental house of the prosecutrix on 25.03.2016 and demanded dowry. Thus there is strong suspicion against the petitioner no. 2, father-in-law of being involved in the offence punishable u/S 498-A IPC and also of sharing common intention defined in Section 34 IPC of committing the other offence alleged against the other accused i.e. the husband of the prosecutrix. 6.1 Thus, this Court declines intereference so far the challenge relates to the petitioner no. 2- father-in-law . 6.2 As regards petitioner no.1- mother-in-law is concerned, there are omnibus allegations in the FIR as she used to subject the prosecutrix to cruelty for demand of dowry alongwith other three accused i.e. the husband, father-in-law and brother-in-law , but there is no specific allegation as regards the nature and time of cruelty being extended by the petitioner no.1 – mother-in-law. The allegations against the The High Court Of Madhya Pradesh MCRC-31666-2018 (SMT. RAMSAKHI SHARMA Vs THE STATE OF MADHYA PRADESH THR) mother-in-law are too vague and unspecific to constitute the basic ingredients of offence punishable u/S 498-A IPC. 6.3 In regard to the allegations being non-specific, this Court in the case of Raju alias Nagendra Singh Chauhan & Anr. Vs. State of M.P. & Anr and Smt Savita & Anr. Vs. The State of M.P. decided on 24.11.2017 in M.Cr.C. No. 4325/2017 and M.Cr.C. No. 7317/2017 has held thus:
10. After introduction of above said section 498-A of IPC inthe statue books, the wives were protected against thematrimonial cruelty to a considerable extent. However, as timepassed and the social fabric of the society advanced andchanged from a conservative to more individualistic andcommercial character, the instances of misuse of section 498-AofIPC emerged where the said provision also started to be usedan arm twisting tactics against the husband and his relatives bythe wife and her parents. The said change in the social set upbrought to the fore cases of attempts by the disgruntled womento camouflage themselves as prosecutrix and use the provisionof section 498-A IPC as a weapon to wreck vengeance againsther husband and his relatives. This change in the attitude of thevictim was noticed by the Apex Court in one of it’s recentdecisions in the case of Monju Roy Vs. State of West Bengal & Ors. reported in (2016) 2 SCC (Cri) 340. The relevant portion of which is reproduced below:-
“8. While we do not find any ground to interfere with the view taken by the courts below that the deceased was subjected to harassment on account of non-fulfillment of dowry demand, we do find merit in the submission that possibility of naming all the The High Court Of Madhya Pradesh MCRC-31666-2018 (SMT. RAMSAKHI SHARMA Vs THE STATE OF MADHYA PRADESH THR) family members by way of exaggeration is not ruled out. In Kans Raj, thisCourt observed :
“5………A tendency has, however, developed for roping in all relations of the in-laws of the deceased wives in the matters of dowry deaths which, if not discouraged, is likely to affect the case of the prosecution even against the real culprits. In their over enthusiasm and anxiety to seek conviction for maximum people, the parents of the deceased have been found to be making efforts for involving other relations which ultimately weaken the case of the prosecution even against the real accused as appears to have happened in the instant case.” The Court has, thus, to be careful in summoning distant relatives without there being specific material. Only the husband, his parents or at best close family members may be expected to demand dowry or to harass the wife but not distant relations, unless there is tangible material to support allegations made against such distant relations. Mere naming of distant relations is not enough to summon them in absence of any specific role and material to support such role.
13. Accordingly, we allow this appeal, set aside the conviction and sentence of the appellants under Section 304B IPC without interfering with conviction and sentence under other heads. Since the appellants are said to have already undergone the sentence awarded for other charges which may be verified, they may be released from custody forthwith unless required in any other case. “
11. The least that is required for constitution of an offence to enable the court to take cognizance and frame charge is that the basic ingredients prescribed under the relevant statue defining the said offences are satisfied by the allegations made in the FIR and the supportive material in the charge-sheet.
12. Testing the factual matrix in the present two cases on the anvil of discussion made above, it is seen from the FIR dated 6/4/16 Annexure A-1 that the allegation of The High Court Of Madhya Pradesh MCRC-31666-2018 (SMT. RAMSAKHI SHARMA Vs THE STATE OF MADHYA PRADESH THR) cruelty is made in a very vague and non-specific manner which is evident from use of the following expressions in the complaint of the prosecutrix:-
1- cgqr tqYe <k,A 2- ejs h dbZ ckj csjgeh ls ekjihV dhA 3- ge’s kk rkus nsrs FksA 4- uun csch rFkk uUnksbZ jktw tc Hkh Xokfy;j vkrs Fks esjs lkl&llqj ,oa vU; llqjkytuksa dks esjs fo:) HkM+dkrs FksA In the above said allegations, there is total absence of description of the kind of cruelty inflicted, specific instances of cruelty (mental and/or physical) and whether any complaint in that regard was made in the last about 3-4 years.
13. Another relevant factor in both these cases, which weighs in the mind of the court, is that both the petitioners in M.Cr.C. No. 7317/17 were not residing in the matrimonial home as both being posted as constables in the police since 2009 while petitioners in M.Cr.C. No. 4325/17 were residing at Indore since last more than 6 years. The factum of residence has been established by the petitioners by filing relevant documents i.e. voter I.D. Card issued by election commission Indore, ration card and Adhar card.
14. The Apex Court in various of it’s pronouncements has held that the criminal prosecution can not be sustained if the same is based on non-specific and vague allegations which do not constitute the offence of cruelty.
7. In view of the above, the present petition is disposed of with the following directions:
1.As regards the petitioner no.2 – Ramakhtyar Sharma, the father- in-law, this petition stands dismissed.
2. As regards the petitioner no.1 – Smt Ramsakhi, mother-in-law , the present petition stands allowed. The FIR bearing Crime No. 429/2016 dated 19.07.2016 lodged at Police Station Gole Ka Mandir, Gwalior and the consequential proceedings so far as it relates to the petitioner no.1 – mother-in-law stands quashed.
(Sheel Nagu) sh/- Judge SEHAR HASEEN 2018.08.30 16:55:19 +05'30'