Punjab-Haryana High Court
Harbans Lal And Ors. vs State Of Punjab on 7 February, 1991
Equivalent citations: II (1991) DMC 17
Author: S Bajaj
Bench: S Bajaj


1. Parveen author of the First Information Report was married to Naresh’ Kumar a hotlier of West Germany at Hotel Shiraz, Queens Road Amritsar, on 23rd November, 1987. Jewellery and cash was given as dowry Accused did not feel, satisfied with it and pressurised Parveen to being Rs 20000/- and a few more electric appliance more from her parents. On her refusing to do so they harassed her mentally and tortured her Physically thereby indulging in cruelty punishable under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code.

2. Bride Parveen went to Germany twice over; initially on 1st June, 1988 and thereafter on 13th August, 1988. On the first visit she was sent back to India on 13th July, 1988 and after the second visit Naresh Kumar-her husband turned her out of her matrimonial home in West Germany on 4th September, 1988. Ever since thereafter she is living in her parents house at Amritsar with effect from 5th September, 1988.

3. In First Information Report No. 10 registered against the petitioners in Police Station D Division, Amritsar on 19th January, 1989 under Sections 420/406/498A494 and 495 of the Indian Penal Code it has been asserted that she was duped into marital ties with Naresh Kumar on the false representation of the accused petitioners that he was still a bachelor, that in the course of her two visits to West Germany she detected that Naresh Kumar was already married to one Mira and was having children from her; that after marriage the accused had perpatuated cruelty to her, both physically and mentally by asking her to bring another Rs. 20,000/- cash and a few electric appliances from her parents, that in the course of her stay in her materimonial home in West Germany she was treated with cruelty and pressurised to work as bonded labour for cleaning utensils in the restaurant and that dowry articles having not been returned to her the accused are guilty of breach of trust in terms of Section 406 of the Indian Penal Code as well.

4. Out of the seven accused four in two married sisters of Naresh Kumar and their husbands have filed Criminal Misc No. 2126-M of 1989 while Criminal Misc. No. 4744-M of 1990 has been filed by bridegroom, his mother and unmarried sister Kavita for quashing the First Information Report on the grounds that the author of the First Information Report has tied all the seven persons arrayed as accused in the First Information Report with one rope without being specific in regard to individual allegations against any one of them. that even in regard to the entrustment of dowry articles she has not asserted as to who amongst them was entrusted with these articles, that no particulars of the maltreatment allegedly meted out to her after marriage have been given, that her matrimonial home being in West Germany, accusations against the husband and his alleged first wife Mira could be made in West Germany and that the demand and refusal in respect of return of dowry articles having not been alleged, the complaint was wholly groundless and an abuse of the process of the court. On point of fact it was asserted that bridegroom Naresh Kumar was not married earlier and did not have any other wife or children through her.

5. I have heard Sarvshri D.S. Jandiala and D.S. Pherunman Advocates, for the petitioners. Mrs. Swaranjit Kohli, Advocate, for the respondent State assisted by Shri M.L. Merchea Advocate, for the complainant and have carefully perused the relevant record.

6. It has repeatedly been held by this Court in Bal Kishan and others v. Poonam Verma, 1987(1) Recent Criminal Reports 657, Dhan Devi v. Deepak and others. 1989 Chandigarh Criminal Cases 23, Shori Lal and others v. Smt. Nisha and another, 1989 Chandigarh Criminal Cases 33, Suresh Kumar and others v State of Haryana, 1989 Chandigarh Criminal Cases 461, Kishan Sharma and others v. State of Haryana and others, 1989 (2) Recent Criminal Reports 13, Anokh Singh and others v. Paramjit Kaur, 1990(1) Recent Criminal Reports 497 and Surjit Singh v. Kulwant Kaur, 1990(1) Recent Criminal Reports 691 that the charge of second marriage could be persued in West Germany, that cheating and criminal breach of trust are mutually exclusive and, therefore, the two cannot co-exist, that in the absence of specific allegations of entrustment to any of the accused, the general all pervasive allegations levelled against them all are vague and cannot be the subject matter of criminal action against any one of them and that the demand for and refusal to return the dowry articles having not been alleged, the charge of criminal breach of trust levelled against them qua those articles was wholly groundless. The relevant observations read :

“In the present case, the allegations of entrustment of Istri Dhan or mal-treatment against Dhan Devi, mother-in-law of the complainant are vague a it is alleged in the complaint that the articles mentioned in the list were entrusted , to all the accused. Similarly, the complainant had levelled vague allegations about all the accused having mal-treated and harassed her. Admittedly, according to the complaint, the major part of the mal-treatment to the complainant at the hands of husband took place at Varanasi, whereas the mother-in-law of the. complainant resides at Patiala. The perusal of Annexure P.1 reveals that the marriage between the parties was dissolved through a decree of divorce per se by the learned District Judge, Patiala, on the ground of mental and physical cruelty as the husband had contracted second marriage. I.S. Tiwana, J. of this Court in Bal Kishan and others v. Poonam Verma, 1987(1) Recent C.R. 657 had quashed the proceedings under Sections 405 and 406Criminal Procedure Code by holding that the allegations regarding entrustment of property against the ace used other than the husband being too vague.

This High Court has taken a consistent view in such matters that no case under Section 405or Section 406, Indian Penal Code, is made out against the parents-in-law or the sister-in-law of the petitioner where the allegations regarding entrustment of articles are vague.

According to her complaint she was mal-treated by her husband and by the other accused at Delhi and that the demands for bringing more dowry was also made at Delhi. Thus, there is no escape but to conclude that the Courts at Jind, a District of Haryana State had no jurisdiction to try these offences.

The counsel for the parties were heard. A careful perusal of the complaint, which, formed the basis of the first information report in this case, clearly shows that no specific allegation about entrustment of any specific article of dowry to any particular petitioner has been made therein. Rather, a bald assertion has been made in the complaint that articles of ornaments and furniture, fully detailed in the annexure, were entrusted to the accused at the time of the marriage, for use of the complainant in the matrimonial home. There is no specific allegation that the said articles at a later stage were misappropriated by any of the petitioners. The said articles, rather, were recovered from the house of Madhukar Sharma, husband of respondent No. 2, and, that too, after he changed his religion and entered into remarriage with Sonia alias Sabnam. In these circumstances, no cognizable offence under Section 406, Indian Penal Code, is made out against any of the petitioners.

The Apex Court incase State of Bihar v. Murad Ali Khan and others, A.I.R. 1989 S.C. 1, held that when the High Court is called upon to exercise this jurisdiction to quash a proceeding at the stage of the Magistrate taking cognizance of an offence, the High Court is guided by the allegations whether those allegations set out in the complaint or the charge-sheet, do not in law constitute or spell-out any offence and that resort to criminal proceeding, would in the circumstances, amount to as abuse of the process of the Court or not.

Perusal of the complaint filed by Paramjit Kaur clearly shows that there are no specific allegations that any particular articles of dowry was entrusted to any particular accused. The general and vague allegations made therein concerning entrustment of articles of dowry to all the accused, including the petitioners, would not be sufficient for taking cognizance of offence punishable under Section 406 of the Indian Penal Code. Nor general allegations that subsequently the complainant asked the father-in-law Anokh Singh or other accused to return the articles of dowry would be sufficient to constitute an offence punishable under Section 406 of the IPC. I am supported in my view in case Dhan Devi v. Deepak 1989(1) Recent Criminal Reports 278.

As far as the allegations concerning commission of offence under Section 408 IPC are concerned, the same against the petitioners are quite vague. The allegations against Kuldip Kaur are that she and her brother Kartar Singh demanded Rs. 5000/- from the complainant at Aurangabad when the complainant and her husband went there after birth of their son. In view of the authority of Dhan Devi’s case (supra) these allegations cannot be taken into consideration by the Court at Faridkot for taking congnizance of offence under Section 498AIPC against Kuldip Kaur petitioner. Besides, general allegations against Anokh Singh and Surjit Kaur accused that they too demanded amount of Rs. 5000/- from the complainant or acted with cruelty with her or tried to coerce her to bring money in the absence of specific details concerning date, time or the manner in which the respondent was subjected to cruelty would not be sufficient to make out a prima facie case under Section 498 IPC.”

For the reasons given above, complaint filed by Parveen against all the seven petitioners in two quashing petitions aforesaid culminating in First Information Report No. 10 dated 10th January, 1989 is only an abuse of the process of the court and is, therefore, quashed. In result both the quashing petitions succeed and are allowed.

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