1 M.Cr.C.No.6522/2015 (Ashutosh Parmar & Ors. v. State of M.P. & Ano.) 17/02/2017 Shri Pradeep Katare, counsel for the applicants. Shri Girdhari Singh Chauhan, Public Prosecutor for the respondent No.1/State.
Shri D.S. Kushwah, counsel for the respondent No.2.
This petition under Section 482 of CrPC has been filed for quashing the FIR in Crime No.32/2015 registered by Police Station Mihona, District Bhind under Sections 498-A, 294, 506, 34 of IPC as well as all consequential criminal proceedings.
The necessary facts for the disposal of the present application are that on 16.05.2015, the respondent No.2 lodged a FIR against the applicants alleging that she was married to the applicant No.1 on 19.06.2010. At the time of marriage, her father had given Rs.15 lacs in cash, 5 tolas of gold apart from T.V., Fridge, Washing Machine and other household articles costing about Rs.10 lacs. When she came to her matrimonial house, the applicants started making taunts that the father of the complainant has not given adequate dowry in marriage and she should bring a car from her father and only then she can reside in her matrimonial house. The applicants were causing mental and physical torture by passing taunts. When she came back to her parents house, she narrated this conduct of the applicants to her parents and M.Cr.C.No.6522/2015 (Ashutosh Parmar & Ors. v. State of M.P. & Ano.) thereafter her father talked to the applicants. For the next 2-4 days, the complainant was kept properly but again thereafter they started beating the complainant on the allegation that car has not been given in dowry. On 20.05.2014, she came back to her parents house and from thereafter she is residing in her parents house. About a month back, the applicants No.1 to 3 came to the house of the father of the complainant and gave a warning that if they want to improve the future of the complainant then they must give a car otherwise they would get the applicant No.1 remarried. They also used abusive language. The police on the basis of this complaint registered the FIR and recorded the statements of the witnesses.
It is submitted by the counsel for the applicants that the applicant No.1 is the husband of the complainant, whereas, the applicants No.2 & 3 are father-in-law and mother-in-law of the complainant. The applicant No.4 is brother of the applicant No.3, therefore, according to the prosecution, the applicant No.4 is maternal uncle-in- law (efe;k llqj) of the respondent No.2. It is submitted by the applicants that only vague and omnibus allegations have been made against the applicants and they are not sufficient to register the offences punishable under Sections 498-A, 294, 506 Part II of IPC. It was further stated that the allegations that the applicants No.1 to 3 had come M.Cr.C.No.6522/2015 (Ashutosh Parmar & Ors. v. State of M.P. & Ano.) to the house of the father of the respondent No.2 on 20.05.2014 is an afterthought and has been deliberately made with an intention to bring the case within the territorial jurisdiction of Sessions Court, Bhind. It was further stated that even if the entire allegations are accepted then it would be clear that the atrocities or cruelty was committed within the territorial jurisdiction of Police Station Gwalior and, therefore, the FIR registered in Crime No.32/2015 is liable to be quashed.
Per contra, it is submitted by the counsel for the respondents that it is incorrect to say that the allegations which have been made by the complainant are omnibus and vague. The respondent No.2 was harassed and treated with cruelty by the applicants because of non-fulfillment of their demand of four wheeler.
Heard the learned counsel for the parties.
is concerned, it cannot be said that the allegations made against them are omnibus or vague in nature. There are specific allegations that the respondent No.2 was treated with cruelty and she was mentally as well as physically harassed because of non- fulfillment of the demand of car. At this stage, whether the allegations made in the FIR or in the case diary statements are correct or not cannot be judged. Even the defence of the accused persons cannot be considered at this stage. The FIRM.Cr.C.No.6522/2015 (Ashutosh Parmar & Ors. v. State of M.P. & Ano.) discloses commission of cognizable offence. The case diary statements of the witnesses specifically that of the respondent No.2, prima facie shows that she was physically and mentally harassed by the applicants no.1 to 3 because of non-fulfillment of demand of a car.
Whether the allegation made against the applicants No.1 to 3 that they had come to the house of the father of the complainant on 20.05.2014 at Banthri is correct or not, cannot be judged at this stage. At this stage, the veracity and correctness of the allegations cannot be judged. This Court is required to appreciate the fact that even if the entire allegations are accepted as true then whether an offence is made out or not. The defence of the accused persons cannot be taken into consideration.
The Supreme Court Taramani Parakh v. State of Madhya Pradesh reported in (2015) 11 SCC 260 has held as under:-
“10. The law relating to quashing is well settled. If the allegations are absurd or do not make out any case or if it can be held that there is abuse of process of law, the proceedings can be quashed but if there is a triable case the Court does not go into reliability or otherwise of the version or the counter-version. In matrimonial cases, the Courts have to be cautious when omnibus allegations are made particularly against relatives who are not generally concerned with the affairs of the couple. We may refer to the decisions of this Court dealing M.Cr.C.No.6522/2015 (Ashutosh Parmar & Ors. v. State of M.P. & Ano.) with the issue.
11. Referring to earlier decisions, in Amit Kapoor vs. Ramesh Chander (2012) 9 SCC 460, it was observed (SCC pp. 482- 84, para 27):
“27.1. Though there are no limits of the powers of the Court under Section 482 of the Code but the more the power, the more due care and caution is to be exercised in invoking these powers. The power of quashing criminal proceedings, particularly, the charge framed in terms of Section 228 of the Code should be exercised very sparingly and with circumspection and that too in the rarest of rare cases.
27.2. The Court should apply the test as to whether the uncontroverted allegations as made from the record of the case and the documents submitted therewith prima facie establish the offence or not. If the allegations are so patently absurd and inherently improbable that no prudent person can ever reach such a conclusion and where the basic ingredients of a criminal offence are not satisfied then the Court may interfere.
27.3. The High Court should not unduly interfere. No meticulous examination of the evidence is needed for considering whether the case would end in conviction or not at the stage of framing of charge or quashing of charge.
27.4. Where the exercise of such power is absolutely essential to prevent patent miscarriage of justice and for correcting some grave error that might be committed by the subordinate courts even in such cases, the High Court should be loath to interfere, at the threshold, to throttle the prosecution in exercise of its inherent powers.
M.Cr.C.No.6522/2015 (Ashutosh Parmar & Ors. v. State of M.P. & Ano.) 27.5. Where there is an express legal bar enacted in any of the provisions of the Code or any specific law in force to the very initiation or institution and continuance of such criminal proceedings, such a bar is intended to provide specific protection to an accused.
27.6. The Court has a duty to balance the freedom of a person and the right of the complainant or prosecution to investigate and prosecute the offender. 27.7. The process of the court cannot be permitted to be used for an oblique or ultimate/ulterior purpose.
27.8. Where the allegations made and as they appeared from the record and documents annexed therewith to predominantly give rise and constitute a “civil wrong” with no “element of criminality” and does not satisfy the basic ingredients of a criminal offence, the court may be justified in quashing the charge. Even in such cases, the court would not embark upon the critical analysis of the evidence.
27.9. Another very significant caution that the courts have to observe is that it cannot examine the facts, evidence and materials on record to determine whether there is sufficient material on the basis of which the case would end in a conviction; the court is concerned primarily with the allegations taken as a whole whether they will constitute an offence and, if so, is it an abuse of the process of court leading to injustice. 27.10. It is neither necessary nor is the court called upon to hold a full-fledged enquiry or to appreciate evidence collected by the investigating agencies to find out whether it is a case of acquittal or conviction.
27.11. Where allegations give rise to a M.Cr.C.No.6522/2015 (Ashutosh Parmar & Ors. v. State of M.P. & Ano.) civil claim and also amount to an offence, merely because a civil claim is maintainable, does not mean that a criminal complaint cannot be maintained. 27.12. In exercise of its jurisdiction under Section 228 and/or under Section 482, the Court cannot take into consideration external materials given by an accused for reaching the conclusion that no offence was disclosed or that there was possibility of his acquittal. The Court has to consider the record and documents annexed therewith by the prosecution.
27.13. Quashing of a charge is an exception to the rule of continuous prosecution. Where the offence is even broadly satisfied, the Court should be more inclined to permit continuation of prosecution rather than its quashing at that initial stage. The Court is not expected to marshal the records with a view to decide admissibility and reliability of the documents or records but is an opinion formed prima facie. 27.14. Where the charge-sheet, report under Section 173(2) of the Code, suffers from fundamental legal defects, the Court may be well within its jurisdiction to frame a charge. 27.15. Coupled with any or all of the above, where the Court finds that it would amount to abuse of process of the Code or that the interest of justice favours, otherwise it may quash the charge. The power is to be exercised ex debito justitiae i.e. to do real and substantial justice for administration of which alone, the courts exist. (Ref. State of W.B. v. Swapan Kumar Guha [(1982) 1 SCC 561 : 1982 SCC (Cri) 283 : AIR 1982 SC 949]; Madhavrao Jiwajirao Scindia v. Sambhajirao M.Cr.C.No.6522/2015 (Ashutosh Parmar & Ors. v. State of M.P. & Ano.) Chandrojirao Angre [(1988) 1 SCC 692 : 1988 SCC (Cri) 234]; Janata Dal v. H.S. Chowdhary [(1992) 4 SCC 305 : 1993 SCC (Cri) 36 : AIR 1993 SC 892]; Rupan Deol Bajaj v. Kanwar Pal Singh Gill [(1995) 6 SCC 194 : 1995 SCC (Cri) 1059]; G. Sagar Suri v. State of U.P. [(2000) 2 SCC 636 : 2000 SCC (Cri) 513]; Ajay Mitra v. State of M.P. [(2003) 3 SCC 11 : 2003 SCC (Cri) 703]; Pepsi Foods Ltd. v. Special Judicial Magistrate [(1998) 5 SCC 749 : 1998 SCC (Cri) 1400 : AIR 1998 SC 128]; State of U.P. v. O.P. Sharma [(1996) 7 SCC 705 : 1996 SCC (Cri) 497]; Ganesh Narayan Hegde v. S. Bangarappa [(1995) 4 SCC 41 : 1995 SCC (Cri) 634]; Zandu Pharmaceutical Works Ltd. v. Mohd. Sharaful Haque [(2005) 1 SCC 122 : 2005 SCC (Cri) 283]; Medchl Chemicals & Pharma (P) Ltd. v. Biological E. Ltd. [(2000) 3 SCC 269 : 2000 SCC (Cri) 615 : AIR 2000 SC 1869]; Shakson Belthissor v. State of Kerala [(2009) 14 SCC 466 : (2010) 1 SCC (Cri) 1412]; V.V.S. Rama Sharma v. State of U.P. [(2009) 7 SCC 234 : (2009) 3 SCC (Cri) 356]; Chunduru Siva Ram Krishna v. Peddi Ravindra Babu [(2009) 11 SCC 203 : (2009) 3 SCC (Cri) 1297];
Sheonandan Paswan v. State of Bihar [(1987) 1 SCC 288 : 1987 SCC (Cri) 82]; State of Bihar v. P.P. Sharma [1992 Supp (1) SCC 222 : 1992 SCC (Cri) 192 : AIR 1991 SC 1260]; Lalmuni Devi v. State of Bihar [(2001) 2 SCC 17 : 2001 SCC (Cri) 275]; M. Krishnan v. Vijay Singh [(2001) 8 SCC 645 : 2002 SCC (Cri) 19]; Savita v. State of Rajasthan [(2005) 12 SCC 338 : (2006) 1 SCC (Cri) 571] and S.M. Datta v. State of Gujarat [(2001) 7 SCC 659 : 2001 SCC (Cri) 1361 : 2001 SCC (L&S) 1201]).
27.16. These are the principles which individually and preferably cumulatively M.Cr.C.No.6522/2015 (Ashutosh Parmar & Ors. v. State of M.P. & Ano.) (one or more) be taken into consideration as precepts to exercise of extraordinary and wide plenitude and jurisdiction under Section 482 of the Code by the High Court. Where the factual foundation for an offence has been laid down, the courts should be reluctant and should not hasten to quash the proceedings even on the premise that one or two ingredients have not been stated or do not appear to be satisfied if there is substantial compliance with the requirements of the offence.”
12. In Kailash Chandra Agrawal & Anr. vs. State of U.P. (2014) 16 SCC 51, it was observed: (SCC p. 553, paras 8-9): “8. We have gone through the FIR and the criminal complaint. In the FIR, the appellants have not been named and in the criminal complaint they have been named without attributing any specific role to them. The relationship of the appellants with the husband of the complainant is distant. In Kans Raj vs. State of Punjab [(2000) 5 SCC 207], it was observed:- (SCC p.217, para 5) “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 M.Cr.C.No.6522/2015 (Ashutosh Parmar & Ors. v. State of M.P. & Ano.) 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.
9. The parameters for quashing proceedings in a criminal complaint are well known. If there are triable issues, the Court is not expected to go into the veracity of the rival versions but where on the face of it, the criminal proceedings are abuse of Court’s process, quashing jurisdiction can be exercised. Reference may be made to K. Ramakrsihna and Ors. vs. State of Bihar [(2000) 8 SCC 547], Pepsi Foods Ltd. v. Judicial Magistrate [(1998) 5 SCC 749], State of Haryana v. Ch. Bhajan Lal [(1992) Supp (1) SCC 335] and Asmathunnisa v. State of A.P.[(2011) 11 SCC 259].”
13. In the present case, the complaint is as follows:
“Sir, it is submitted that I was married on 18.11.09 with Sidharath Parakh s/o Manak Chand Parak, r/o Sarafa Bazar in front of Radha Krishna Market, Gwalior according to the Hindu rites and customs. In the marriage my father had given gold and silver ornaments, cash amount and household goods according to his capacity. After the marriage when I went to my matrimonial home, I was treated nicely by the members of the family. When on the second occasion I went to my matrimonial, my husband, father-in-law and mother-in-law started harassing me for not bringing the dowry and started saying that I should bring from my father 25-30 tolas of gold and Rs.2,00,000/- in cash and only then they M.Cr.C.No.6522/2015 (Ashutosh Parmar & Ors. v. State of M.P. & Ano.) would keep me in the house otherwise not. On account of this my husband also used to beat me and my father-in-law and my mother-in-law used to torture me by giving the taunts. In this connection I used to tell my father Kundanmal Oswal, my mother Smt. Prem Lata Oswal, uncle Ashok Rai Sharma and uncle Ved Prakash Mishra from time to time. On 2.4.2010 the members of the family of my matrimonial home forcibly sent me to the house of my parents in Ganj Basoda along with my brother Deepak. They snatched my clothes and ornaments and kept with them. Since then till today my husband has been harassing me on the telephone and has not come to take me back. Being compelled, I have been moving this application before you. Sir, it is prayed that action be taken against husband Sidharath Parakh, my father-in- law Manak Chand Parakh and my mother-in-law Smt. Indira Parakh for torturing me on account of demanding the dowry.”
14. From a reading of the complaint, it cannot be held that even if the allegations are taken as proved no case is made out. There are allegations against Respondent No.2 and his parents for harassing the complainant which forced her to leave the matrimonial home. Even now she continues to be separated from the matrimonial home as she apprehends lack of security and safety and proper environment in the matrimonial home. The question whether the appellant has in fact been harassed and treated with cruelty is a matter of trial but at this stage, it cannot be said that no case is made out. Thus, quashing of proceedings before the trial is not permissible.”
M.Cr.C.No.6522/2015 (Ashutosh Parmar & Ors. v. State of M.P. & Ano.) Thus, if the allegations as contained in the FIR as well as the case diary statements are considered in the light of the judgment passed by the Supreme Court in the case of Taramani Parakh (supra), then it would be clear that there are sufficient allegations against the applicants No.1 to 3 for their prosecution and accordingly their application is dismissed.
So far as the case of the applicant No.4 is concerned, he stand on a different footing. The respondent No.2 has alleged that after the marriage when she went to her matrimonial house and at that time, the applicant No.4 along with the applicants No.1 to 3 had passed taunts with regard to insufficiency of dowry and that her father has not given a car.
Another allegation is that when she again went to her matrimonial house, the applicant no.4 along with the other co-accused persons had beaten her and had demanded a car. However, there is no allegation that on 20.05.2014, the applicant No.4 had also gone with the applicants No.1 to 3 to the house of the father of the respondent No.2.
From the record, it appears that the applicant No.4 is the permanent resident of Bhind, whereas, the applicants No.1 to 3 are the residents of Gwalior. Further more, from the bail order of the applicant No.4 which is annexed with the police case diary, it appears that the applicant No.4 is workingM.Cr.C.No.6522/2015 (Ashutosh Parmar & Ors. v. State of M.P. & Ano.) as Sub-Inspector and he was posted in DRP Line, Sheopur, District Sheopur. District Bhind and District Gwalior are situated at a distance of near about more than 80 Kms. and District Sheopur and District Gwalior are situated at a distance of near about more than 250 Kms.
It is not expected that a person who is distant relative to the applicant No.1 being the maternal uncle would come down to Gwalior in order to harass the complainant for demand of a car. It appears that since the applicant No.4 is the maternal uncle of the applicant No.1 therefore with an intention to pressurize the applicant No.1, he has been over implicated.
The Supreme Court in the case of Kans Raj v. State of Punjab, (2000) 5 SCC 207, the Supreme Court has held as under:
“5………..In the light of the evidence in the case we find substance in the submission of the learned counsel for the defence that Respondents 3 to 5 were roped in the case only on the ground of being close relations of Respondent 2, the husband of the deceased. For the fault of the husband, the in-laws or the other relations cannot, in all cases, be held to be involved in the demand of dowry. In cases where such accusations are made, the overt acts attributed to persons other than the husband are required to be proved beyond reasonable doubt. By mere conjectures and implications such relations cannot be held guilty for the offence relating to dowry deaths. 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, isM.Cr.C.No.6522/2015 (Ashutosh Parmar & Ors. v. State of M.P. & Ano.) 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.” In the case of Monju Roy and Others Vs. State of West Bengal reported in (2015) 13 SCC 693, the Supreme Court has held as under:
“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 family members by way of exaggeration is not ruled out. In Kans Raj v. State of Punjab, (2000) 5 SCC 207, this Court observed : (SCC p. 215, para 5) “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, M.Cr.C.No.6522/2015 (Ashutosh Parmar & Ors. v. State of M.P. & Ano.) 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.
9. In Raja Lal Singh vs. State of Jharkhand, (2007) 15 SCC 415, it was observed : (SCC p. 419, para 14) “14. No doubt, some of the witnesses e.g. PW 5 Dashrath Singh, who is the father of the deceased Gayatri, and PW 3 Santosh Kr. Singh, brother of the deceased, have stated that the deceased Gayatri told them that dowry was demanded by not only Raja Lal Singh, but also the appellants Pradip Singh and his wife Sanjana Devi, but we are of the opinion that it is possible that the names of Pradip Singh and Sanjana Devi have been introduced only to spread the net wide as often happens in cases like under Sections 498-A and 394 IPC, as has been observed in several decisions of this Court e.g. in Kamesh Panjiyar v. State of Bihar [(2005) 2 SCC 388], etc. Hence, we allow the appeal of Pradip Singh and Sanjana Devi and set aside the impugned judgments of the High Court and the trial court insofar as it relates to them and we direct that they be released forthwith unless required in connection with some other case.”
11. The Court has to adopt pragmatic view and when a girl dies an unnatural death, allegation of demand of dowry or harassment which follows cannot be weighed in golden scales. At the sameM.Cr.C.No.6522/2015 (Ashutosh Parmar & Ors. v. State of M.P. & Ano.) time, omnibus allegation against all family members particularly against brothers and sisters and other relatives do not stand on same footing as husband and parents. In such case, apart from general allegation of demand of dowry, the court has to be satisfied that harassment was also caused by all the named members.”
Thus, it is well established principle of law that the allegations against the husband and the parents in law of the complainant stand on a different footing than that of a case of the other relatives. In order to implicate the other relatives, there has to be a specific allegation against them. A person should not be over implicated merely because he happens to be the distant relative of the husband of the complainant.
Considering the allegations as made in the FIR as well as in the case diary statement of the complainant as well as of other witnesses, it is clear that only vague and omnibus allegations have been made against the applicant No.4 that he too had demanded a car along with other co-accused persons.
Under the facts and circumstances of the case, this Court is of the view that the allegations made against the applicant No.4 are not sufficient to prima facie make out a case against him for offences punishable under Sections 498A, 294, 506 Part II, 34 of IPC.
Accordingly, the application filed under Section M.Cr.C.No.6522/2015 (Ashutosh Parmar & Ors. v. State of M.P. & Ano.) 482 of CrPC by the applicant No.4 is hereby allowed. The FIR registered in Crime No.32/2015 by Police Station Mihona, District Bhind qua the applicant No.4 is hereby quashed and subsequent criminal proceedings qua the applicant No.4 Harendra Singh Bhadoriya are also quashed. Consequently, this application is partially allowed.
The application filed by the applicants No.1 to 3 is hereby dismissed and the application filed by the applicant No.4 is hereby allowed.
(G.S.Ahluwalia) (ra) Judge