1 BEFORE THE MADURAI BENCH OF MADRAS HIGH COURT DATED: 06.02.2020 CORAM: THE HONOURABLE MR.JUSTICE A.D.JAGADISH CHANDIRA Crl.O.P.(MD)No.15089 of 2018 and Crl.M.P.(MD)No. 6681 of 2018 N. Jagadeeswaran : Petitioner Vs. 1. The Inspector of Police All Women Police Station Srirangam, Trichy 2. Selvaraj : Respondents PRAYER: Criminal Original Petition filed under Section 482 Cr.P.C., to call for the records and quash final report as against the petitioner in S.C.No.102 of 2018 on the file of the Mahila Court at Trichy For Petitioner : Mr.P.Sesubalan Raja For R1 : Mr.S.Chandrasekar Additional Public Prosecutor ORDER
This Criminal Original Petition has been filed to quash the proceedings in S.C.No.102 of 2018 on the file of the Mahila Court at Trichy.
2. The case of the prosecution is that the third daughter of the defacto complainant one petitioner Nithya was married to the accused on 18.01.2016 at Akilandeeswari Temple Mandapam as per hindu rites and customs. At the time of marriage three sovereigns of jewels were given to Nithya and half sovereign of ring was given to the first accused. Apart from that sreedhana articles two wheeler were given. After the marriage the victim Nithya was living with her in-laws in her husband’s house as joint family. Six months after marriage the first accused/husband had left to Singapore and that the first accused/ husband used to send money to the petitioner/ fourth accused who is his friend and he used to hand over the money to the family. Further allegation is that the in-laws had committed cruelty on the victim. Further the second accused mother-in-law had objected her in attending a marriage resulting in her committing suicide on 22.01.2017. Therefore the First Information Report has been registered and the respondent police after completion of investigation filed the final report for the offence under Sections 306 and 498(A)of IPC and the case had been taken up in S.C.No.102 of 2018.
3.The learned counsel appearing for the petitioner would submit that the petitioner is arrayed as A4 in S.C.No.102 of 2018 on the file of the Mahila Court Trichy. He would also submit that the petitioner being friend of A1 does not fall within the category of “relative “ of the husband and further there is absolutely no allegation against the petitioner that he either committed cruelty of abetted the victim to commit suicide. He would submit that this Court finding that there is absolutely no material against the petitioner had stayed all further proceedings in respect of the petitioner alone. Thereafter PW.1 to PW. 10 have been examined before the trial Court. Even in their deposition nothing had been stated about the petitioner. There is absolutely no direct of indirect evidence against the petitioner and thereby the entire proceedings is an abuse of process of law.
4. In support of his contention he relied on the judgement of the Honourable Apex Court in the case of U.Suvetha -Vs- The Inspector of Another, reported in CDJ 2009 SC 996 wherein it is held as follows:
“9. Ingredients of 498A of the Indian Penal Code are :-
a). The woman must be married
b) She must be subjected to cruelty or harassment;
c) Such cruelty or harassment must have been show neither by husband of the woman or by the relative of her husband.”
10. Appellant herein had not been charged for abetment of a crime. Any conspiracy amongst the accused persons has also not been alleged. A woman in terms of the aforementioned provision must be subjected to cruelty by her husband and/or his relative. The word `cruelty’ has also been defined in the explanation appended thereto. It is in two parts. Clause (a) of the said explanation refers to a conduct which is likely to drive the woman to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to her life, limb or health (whether mental or physical); clause (b) provides for 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.It is not the case of the first informant that the appellant had any role to play with regard to demand of dowry.
11. The word `cruelty” having been defined in terms of the aforesaid explanation, no other meaning can be attributed thereto. Living with another woman may be an act of cruelty on the part of the husband for the purpose of judicial separation or dissolution of marriage but the same, in our opinion, would not attract the wrath of Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code.
An offence in terms of the said provision is committed by the persons specified therein. They have to be the `husband’ or his `relative”. Either the husband of the woman or his relative must be subjected to her to cruelty within the aforementioned provision.
If the appellant had not been instigating the husband of the first informant to torture her, as has been noticed by the High Court, the husband would be committing some offence punishable under the other provisions of the Indian Penal Code and appellant may be held guilty for abetment of commission of such an offence but not an offence under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code.
12. In the absence of any statutory definition, the term `relative’ must be assigned a meaning as is commonly understood. Ordinarily it would include father, mother, husband or wife, son, daughter, brother, sister, nephew or niece, grandson or grand-daughter of an individual or the spouse of any person. The meaning of the word `relative’ would depend upon the nature of the statute. It principally includes a person related by blood, marriage or adoption.
The word `relative’ has been defined in P. Ramanatha Aiyar Advanced Law Lexicon – Volume 4, 3rd Edition as under :-
http://www.judis.nic.in “Relative, “RELATIVE” includes any person related by blood, marriage or adoption. [Lunacy Act ].The expression “REALTIVE” means a husband wife, ancestor, lineal descendant, brother or sister. [Estate Duty Act].”RELATIVE” means in relation to the deceased,
a) the wife or husband of the deceased;
b) the father, mother, children, uncles and aunts of the deceased, and
c) any issue of any person falling, within either of the preceding sub-clauses and the other party to a marriage with any such person or issue [Estate Duty Act]. A person shall be deemed to be a relative of another if, and only if, –
a) they are the members of a Hindu undivided family, or
b) they are husband and wife; or
c) the one is related to the other in the manner indicated in Schedule I-A [Companies Act, 1956].
“RELATIVE” in relation to an individual means –
a) The mother, father, husband or wife of the individual, or
b) a son, daughter, brother, sister, nephew or niece of the individual, or
c) a grandson or grand-daughter of the individual, or
d) the spouse of any person referred to in sub- clause (b) [Income tax Act].
“REALTIVE” means –
1) spouse of the person ;
2) brother or sister of the person ;
3) brother or sister of the spouse of the person;
4) any lineal ascendant or descendant of the person;
5) any lineal ascendant or descendant of the spouse of the person;
5. He further relied on the judgment of the Hon’ble Apex Court in the case of Vijeta Gajra -Vs- State of NCT of Delhi, reported in CDJ 2010 SC 564 wherein it is held as follows:
“7. Shri U.U. Lalit, Learned Senior Counsel, appearing on behalf of the appellant argued that in U. Suvetha v. State By Inspector of Police & Anr. [(2009) 6 SCC 757], it was specifically held that in order to be covered under Section 498A, IPC one has to be a `relative’ of the husband by blood, marriage or adoption. He pointed out that the present appellant was not in any manner a `relative’ as referred to in Section 498A, IPC and, therefore, there is no question of any allegation against her in respect of the ill- treatment of the complainant. The Court in this case examined the ingredients of Section 498A, IPC and noting the specific language of the Section and the Explanation thereof came to the conclusion that the word `relative’ would not include a paramour or concubine or so. Relying on the dictionary meaning of the word `relative’ and further relying on R. Ramanatha Aiyar’s Advance Law Lexicon, Volume 4, 3rd Edition, the Court went on to hold that Section 498A, IPC being a penal provision would deserve strict construction and unless a contextual meaning is required to be given to the statute, the said statute has to be construed strictly. On that behalf the Court relied on the judgment in T. Ashok Pai v. CIT [(2007) 7 SCC 162]. A reference was made to the decision in Shivcharan Lal Verma & Anr. v. State of M.P. [(2007) 15 SCC 369]. After quoting from various decisions of this Court, it was held that reference to the word `relative’ in Section 498A, IPC would be limited only to the blood relations or the relations by marriage.
8. Relying heavily on this, Shri Lalit contended that there is no question of any trial of the appellant for the offence under Section 498A, IPC. The argument is undoubtedly correct, though opposed by the Learned Counsel appearing for the State. We are of the opinion that there will be no question of her prosecution under Section 498A, IPC. Learned Senior Counsel appearing on behalf of the complainant, Shri Soli J. Sorabjee, also did not seriously dispute this proposition. Therefore, we hold that the FIR insofar as it concerned Section 498A, IPC, would be of no consequence and the appellant shall not be tried for the offence under Section 498A, IPC.
6. This Court directed the second respondent/ defacto complainant to be present before the Court and the second respondent http://www.judis.nic.in also present before the Court. This Court enquired the defacto complainant and he submitted that he has no grievance against the petitioner and that neither himself nor his relative have deposed anything against the petitioner.
7. The learned Additional Public Prosecutor would submit that sofar 10 witnesses have been examined and none of the witnesses have spoken anything either directly or indirectly about the involvement of the petitioner. He would also submit that they have not deposed anything against the petitioner before the trial Court and there is no other material available against the petitioner for implicating him. He would also submit that due to the pendency of this quash petition the trial court is unable to proceed with the trial against the other accused. Hence, he would pray that a direction may be issued to the trial court to complete the proceedings in respect of other accused as expeditiously as possible.
8. This Court is of the opinion that no useful purpose will be served in keeping the proceedings pending against the petitioner. http://www.judis.nic.in
9. Accordingly, this Criminal Original Petition stands allowed and as a sequel, the proceedings in S.C.No.102 of 2018 on the file of the Mahila Court at Trichy , is quashed insofar as the petitioner alone. Consequently, connected Miscellaneous Petition is also closed. Further the trial court is directed to complete the trial proceedings in respect of other accused persons within a period of four months from the date of receipt of a copy of this order.
06.02.2020 Index: Yes/No Internet: Yes/No aav To
1. The Mahila Court at Trichy
2. The Inspector of Police All Women Police Station Srirangam, Trichy
3. The Additional Public Prosecutor, Madurai Bench of Madras High Court, Madurai http://www.judis.nic.in A.D.JAGADISH CHANDIRA, J., aav Crl.O.P.(MD)No.15089 of 2018 and Crl.M.P.(MD)No. 6681 of 2018 06.02.2020 http://www.judis.nic.in