Madhya Pradesh High Court
Smt. Meena Bhargav vs The State Of Madhya Pradesh Thr on 13 August, 2018

                  Misc. Cri. Case No. 24959/17
 Smt. Meena Bhargav & others Vs. State of M.P. & others
Gwalior Dt. 13/8/2018
      Shri S.S.Kushwah, Advocate for the petitioners.
      Shri RVS Ghuraiya, Public Prosecutor for the respondents

No. 1 to 3/State.

Shri Naval Kishore Gupta, Advocate for the respondent No.4.

1. Inherent jurisdiction of this court u/S. 482 Cr.P.C. is invoked to seek quashment of the FIR and consequential proceedings registered as Criminal Case No. 6895/16 pending before JMFC, Gwalior arising out of Crime No. 18/2016 registered at Police Station Mahila Padav, Gwalior, alleging offence punishable u/Ss. 498-A/34 IPC & Sec. 3/4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act against the petitioners No. 1, 2, 3 & 4 who are mother-in-law, father-in-law, sister-in-law (Nanad) and brother-in-law (Dever), respectively of the prosecutrix.

2. As per allegations made in the FIR, marriage was solemnized between co-accused Vishal Bhargava and the respondent No.4/prosecutrix on 21/5/2013 soon whereafter prosecutrix was subjected to mental and physical cruelty. Demand of dowry was also made by the petitioners who are named in the written complaint dated 2/2/16 made by the prosecutrix on the basis of which impugned FIR was lodged. All the four petitioners are named in the complaint and as well as the FIR with allegation of inflicting mental as well as physical cruelty to the prosecutrix to pressurize her to bring Rs. 10 lakh from her father. The prosecutrix has further alleged that father-in-law and the husband made her sign certain documents including a suicide note so as to prepare their defence in advance. The prosecutrix also alleges that for about an year till 20/6/2014 the co-accused/husband and the prosecutrix stayed together in a house at London where the husband used to confine prosecutrix in a room before going to work. It is further alleged that prosecutrix was asked to leave matrimonial home and come back only after she satisfied the dowry demand.

3. The revelations made in the FIR and 161 statements alongwith the charge-sheet reveal that specific allegation of extension of cruelty towards the prosecutrix are made against the husband and father-in-law who are alleged to have made prosecutrix to sign certain documents and a suicide-note to prepare their defence in advance in the event of any subsequent prosecution launched by prosecutrix or her parents. No such allegation is made against the other three petitioners, i.e. petitioner No.1-Smt. Meena Bhargava (mother-in-law), petitioner No.3-Ku. Vibha Bhargav [sister-in-law (Nanad)] and petitioner no.4-Vikas Bhargav, [brother-in-law(Devar)]. These three petitioners No. 1,3 and 4 are merely alleged with omnibus allegations which are un-specific and vague in nature and there is total absence of description of time, place or nature of cruelty inflicted. There are no specific instances of cruelty (mental and/or physical) alleged against the petitioners No. 1,3 and 4 by the prosecutrix. Thus, the element of over/false implication qua petitioners No. 1,3 & 4 comes to the fore bringing with it the bright possibility of malicious prosecution.

4. The Apex Court in the case of Neelu Chopra and Another Vs. Bharti reported in (2009) 10 SCC 184 has held that where impugned prosecution is tainted with vice of malafide it deserves to be truncated at the earlier stage to avoid the ordeal of long drawn trial. The relevant portion of the said decision is reproduced below:-

“9. In order to lodge a proper compliant, mere mention of the sections and the language of those sections is not be all and end of the matter. What is required to be brought to the notice of the court is the particulars of the offence committed by each and every accused and the role played by each and every accused in committing of that offence.

10. When we see the complaint, the complaint is sadly vague. It does not show as to which accused has committed what offence and what is the exact role played by these appellants in the commission of offence. There could be said something against Rajesh, as the allegations are made against him more precisely but he is no more and has already expired. Under such circumstances, it would be an abuse of process of law to allow the prosecution to continue against the aged parents of Rajesh, the present appellants herein on the basis of vague and general complaint which is silent about the precise acts of the appellants.

11. The High Court has merely mentioned that the allegation in the complaint are of retaining jewellery articles in possession of the husband and the petitioners. Now if the articles were in the possession of the husband, there is no question of the present appellants being in possession of the jewellery. This is apart from the fact that it has already been expressed by us that there is no mention of the date on which the said ornaments, if any, were entrusted to the appellants or even the date when they were demanded back and were refused to be given back by the appellants or any one of them. Insofar as the offence under Section 498A IPC is concerned, we do not find any material or allegation worth the name against the present appellants. All the allegations appear to be against the Rajesh.

12. This is apart from the fact that despite service of notice, the complainant neither appeared before this court nor engaged any counsel to represent her. Under the circumstances we are of the opinion that the judgment of the High Court deserves to be set aside. It is, accordingly, set aside and the order of the learned Magistrate taking cognizance is quashed. The complaint is quashed under Section 482 Cr.P.C.”

5. The said is further bolstered by the law laid down in the celebrated case of State Of Haryana And Ors vs Ch. Bhajan Lal And Ors reported in AIR 1992 604.

6. From the above discussions it is evident that as regards petitioner No.2-Ashok Bhargav, father-in-law this court deems it appropriate in the face of available evidence of prima facie nature constituting offence punishable u/S. 498-A/34 IPC & Sec. 3/4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, to decline interference.

7. As regards petitioner No.1-Smt. Meena Bhargava, mother-in- law, petitioner No.3-Ku. Vibha Bhargav, [sister-in-law (Nanad)] and petitioner no.4-Vikas Bhargav, [brother-in-law (Devar)] the present Mcrc is allowed and the FIR and consequential proceedings registered in shape of Criminal Case No. 6895/16 pending before JMFC, Gwalior arising out of Crime No. 18/2016 alleging offence punishable u/Ss. 498-A/34 IPC & Sec. 3/4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act are hereby quashed.

8. This court hastens to add that the trial against the petitioner No.2-Ashok Bhargav, father-in-law and the husband shall proceed in accordance with law.

(Sheel Nagu) Judge 13/8/2018 (Bu) DHANANJAYA BUCHAKE 2018.08.14 14:40:55 +05’30’

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