IN THE COURT OF PRAVEEN KUMAR, ADDL. SESSIONS JUDGE (SFTC), DWARKA COURTS, NEW DELHI. Criminal revision No. 114/2017 Magan Bai Meena & Another .........Petitioners Vs. State ..........Respondent
File received on assignment on : 17.03.2017 Arguments heard on : 11.04.2017 Order announced on : 11.04.2017 ORDER:
1. This is a revision petition against the order dated 08.02.2017 passed by Ld. MM, Mahila Courts01, Dwarka Courts, New Delhi whereby the petitioners were charged for committing offence punishable u/s 498A/34 IPC.
2. Briefly stating, the facts relevant for disposal of the present revision petition are that the complainant – Ms. Sneh Lata was married to petitioner no.2 on 02.12.2010 as per Hindu rites and ceremonies. After marriage, she started living with her husband and inlaws at New Delhi. It is alleged that her parents gave sufficient dowry including Santro car at the time of marriage but her husband and inlaws were not satisfied with the same. After the marriage, her inlaws and husband started demanding cash, luxury car and gold and for the said reason the complainant was harassed. It is further alleged that complainant came to her parental house on 10.03.2011. Her inlaws apologized and on 10.4.2011 she returned to her matrimonial house. However, they did not mend their ways and subjected Crl. Revision No.114/17 Page 1 of 7 Magan Bai Meena v. State her to cruelty for more dowry. The complainant, thereafter, returned to her parental house on 15.6.2011 leaving all her istridhan articles with respondent no.1 since she had refused to return the same on the demand. On 12.3.2012 a settlement was arrived at between the parties and on 18.3.2012 complainant with respondent no.2 and their daughter left for Mumbai where respondent no.2 was working. She was subjected to cruelty and, consequently, on 01.08.2012 complainant’s inlaws told her to return to her parental house. It is alleged that the respondent no.2 is alcoholic, arrogant, aggressive and psychic in behaviour. He has illicit relations with other ladies. On these allegations, a case was registered vide FIR No. 131/2013, CWC Nanak Pura u/s 498A/406/34 IPC.
3. After investigation, chargesheet was filed against the respondent no.1 (motherinlaw), respondent no. 2 (husband) and others for commission of offences punishable u/ss.498A/406/34 IPC.
4. I have heard Sh. Augustine Chatterjee, Ld. Counsel for petitioner and Ms. Satwinder Kaur, Ld. APP for State. Ld. Counsel for the petitioner has contended that ingredients of S.498A IPC are not attracted against the petitioner no.1 and, therefore, she is liable to be discharged. He has conceded that prima facie case u/s 498A IPC is made out against the petitioner no.2 (husband). He has not pressed for discharge of petitioners on the ground of proceedings being barred by time. In support of his contention, Ld. Counsel has relied upon judgments – Neelu Chopra v. Bharti, Crl. Appeal No. 949 of 2003, decided by the Apex Court on 7.10.2009; Anil Kumar v. Govt. of NCT of Delhi, Crl. Rev. P. No.66/2015, decided by High Court of Delhi on 9.12.2015; Sandeep Singh Crl. Revision No.114/17 Page 2 of 7Magan Bai Meena v. State Bais v. State of M.P, M.Cr.C. No.3658 of 2016, decided by Madhya Padesh High Court on 9.3.2017 and Vishalbhai Niranjanbhai Adatiya v. State of Gujarat, R/Cr.MA/15536/2015, decided by Gujarat High Court on 9.12.2015. On the other hand, Ld. APP has contended that there are specific allegations against the petitioners of harassing and torturing the complainant for demand of dowry. According to her, there is no infirmity in the order passed by the trial court.
5. The averments made by the complainant in her statement dated 21.9.2013 against the petitioner no.1 which are relevant for the disposal of the present revision petition are as under :
“(a) After marriage while I was residing with my husband in my matrimonial house, all family members of my inlaws including my husband started creating problems for me by demanding of more dowries in the form of cash, big car and gold. They also inflicted serious and grave cruelties on me.
(b) Even during my pregnancy the behaviour of my husband and his family did not change towards me. My parents and my family members tried to advised my husband and his family not to treat me in such a manner but they did not only took it otherwise but also indulged in arguments and abused my parents.
(c) My husband and his all family members (father in law, mother in law and both sisters in law) always demanding such cash money (Rs.5,00,000) as well as luxury car (big car). But when I ignored their above demand they pressurized me to ask my father to fulfill the abovesaid demands otherwise they will not let me live peacefully.”
6. In her statement dated 28.4.2014, the complainant has averred as under :
“(i) My mother in law and husband inflicted serious and grave cruelites on me by beating and pushing to wall to fulfill these demands.
(ii) On 8.3.11 my husband and mother in law insisted me to fulfill their demands i.e cash 05 lakhs rupees, a big car and more jewellery articles.”
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7. What is required to be seen is whether the allegations in the complaint, gist to which is mentioned in para no.6 hereinabove, disclose commission of offence punishable under Section 498A IPC.
9. Under Explanation (a) to S.498A IPC, the cruelty has to be of such a gravity as is likely to drive a woman to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to life, limb or health.
10. Explanation (b) to Section 498A IPC provides that cruelty means 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.
11. Explanation (b) does not make each and every harassment cruelty. Mere demand for property etc. by itself is not cruelty. It is only where harassment is shown to have been committed for the purpose of coercing a woman to meet the demands is cruelty which is made punishable under the section.
12. Though not referred to or relied upon, in judgment Smt. Sarla Prabhakar Waghmare Vs. State of Maharashtra, 1990 (2) RCR 18, the Bombay High Court has held that it is not every harassment or every type of cruelty that would attract section 498A IPC. It is only when the beating and harassment are caused with a view to force woman to commit suicide or to fulfill illegal demands, Section 498A IPC would be attracted.
13. Similarly, though not referred to or relied upon, in judgment Crl. Revision No.114/17 Page 4 of 7 Magan Bai Meena v. State Richchpal Kaur Vs. State of Haryana, 1991 (2) Recent Criminal Reports 53 it has been held that if beating given to wife by husband was due to domestic disputes and not on account of demand of dowry, Section 498A IPC would not be attracted.
14. Though not referred to or relied upon in State of H.P. Vs. Nikku Ram, 1995 (6) SCC 219, the Supreme Court observed that harassment to constitute cruelty under explanation (b) to Section 498AIPC must have nexus with the demand of dowry and if this is missing the case will fall beyond the scope of Section 498A IPC.
15. Thus, from the reading of Section 498A IPC and the above referred judgments, it is clear that explanation (b) to Section 498A IPCwould be attracted if there is a demand and if the demand is missing and the cruelty is for the sake of giving torture to the woman without any nexus with the demand, then such a cruelty will not be covered under explanation (b) to Section 498A IPC.
16. The allegations made by the complainant do not attract Explanation (a) to Section 498A IPC as cruelty has to be of such a nature as is likely to drive a woman to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to life, limb or health of the complainant. A plain reading of the FIR and the statements recorded u/s 161 Cr.PC reveal that allegations levelled by the complainant are quite vague, general and sweeping, specifying no instances of criminal conduct within the ambit of S.498AIPC. The complainant appears to be more annoyed with her husband. The police seems to have recorded stereo type statements of the witnesses who are none other than the parents and other close relatives of the complainant and has filed a chargesheet. If a person is made to face a criminal trial on Crl. Revision No.114/17 Page 5 of 7 Magan Bai Meena v. State some general and sweeping allegations without bringing on record any specific instances of criminal conduct, it is nothing but abuse of process of court. The court owes a duty to subject the allegations levelled in the complaint to a thorough scrutiny to find out prima facie case whether there is any grain of truth in the allegations or whether they are made only with the sole object of involving certain individuals in a criminal charge. To prevent abuse of process of court and to save the innocent from false prosecutions, if the criminal proceedings appear to be frivolous and false, the accused deserves to be discharged. For taking this view I am supported with the judgment Vishalbhai (supra).
17. I have gone through the statements u/s 161 Cr.PC of prosecution witnesses – Santra Meena, Inder Raj Singh Meena, Ajay Singh Meena, Amit Singh Meena and Neeru Meena. They have made general allegations in their respective statements against petitioner no.1. It appears that prosecution witnesses – Ajay Singh Meena and Amit Singh Meena were supplied with the copy of the complaint as they have mentioned in their respective statements to the effect “the every incident mentioned by my sisterinlaw in her complaint is true and I also verified her statement”. The independent witness – Radhe Shyam in his statement u/s 161 Cr.PC (dated 5.1.2016) has not supported the prosecution case.
18. It is the settled law that at the time of framing of charges the materials placed before the Court must disclose grave suspicion against the accused which has not been properly explained and then only the Court will be fully justified in framing a charge. By and large, however, if two views are equally possible and the Court is satisfied that the evidence produced before it while giving rise to some suspicion but not grave Crl. Revision No.114/17 Page 6 of 7 Magan Bai Meena v. State suspicion against the accused, it will be fully justified in discharging the accused. For taking this view, I am supported with the judgment – Union of India vs. Prafulla Kumar Samal, (1979) 3 SCC 4
19. Considering the facts and circumstances of this case, after sifting and weighing the evidence for the limited purpose of finding out whether or not a prima facie case is made out against the petitioner no.1, I am of the opinion that the materials placed before the Court do not disclose the grave suspicion against the petitioner no.1 for framing a charge against her under Section 498A IPC.
20. In these circumstances and for the above said reasons, the present revision petition is partly accepted. Impugned order passed by the trial court is set aside as regards petitioner no.1. She is discharged. Her personal bond is cancelled and surety is discharged. Trial Court record be sent back with a copy of order and revision file be consigned to record room.
Announced in open (Praveen Kumar) court today i.e on 11.4.2017. Addl. Sessions Judge (SFTC) Dwarka Courts, Delhi.
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