Saturday, 2 January 2016

When prosecution against relative of husband U/S 498 of IPC can be quashed?

Equivalent Citation: 2013ALLMR(Cri)4288, 2014(3)BomCR(Cri)84
Criminal Application Nos. 2286 of 2010 and 4390 of 2012
Decided On: 03.10.2013
Appellants: Milind
Respondent: The State of Maharashtra and Anr.
Hon'ble Judges/Coram:K.U. Chandiwal and A.I.S. Cheema, JJ.

Criminal - Charge Sheet - Legality thereof - Challenged - Section 498A of Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC) - Present application filed to challenge legality of charge-sheet - Whether proceedings against Applicant liable to be quashed - Held, proceedings under Section 498A of I.P.C. were brazenly used to corner Applicant since he was already employed person, enjoying position as Judge - None of statements of witnesses specifically referred any demand by Applicant - No sufficient evidence to show demand of money by Applicant - Therefore, prosecution, qua Applicant was quashed and set aside - Application allowed.

1. Heard Mr. Sagar-Killarikar, Mr. Kadam and Mr. Malte in respective matters. In Criminal Application No. 2286 of 2010, Rule was issued on 15th October 2010, while interim relief was granted on 2nd July 2010, in terms of prayer clause "(C)", which reads as under:-
(C) Pending hearing and final disposal of this application, all the proceedings and inquiries initiated on the basis of complaint filed by respondent No. 2-Alkarani, Dated 30th April 2010, and FIR/Crime No. 107 of 2010 registered at Bhagyanagar Police Station, Nanded, to the extent of applicant, may please be stayed or kept in abeyance.
Criminal Application No. 2286 of 2010 was questioning F.I.R. vide Crime No. 107 of 2010, registered at Bhagyanagar Police Station, Nanded, for offences punishable under Sections 498A, 323, 504 read with 34 of the Indian Penal Code. In fact, before the learned Single Judge on 2nd July 2010, granted interim relief in terms of prayer clause "(C)", there was already a final report/charge-sheet tendered by police.
2. Learned counsel for the Applicant says genuinely and bonafidely, he was unaware of filing of such charge-sheet. Learned counsel has sought permission to withdraw the Criminal Application No. 2286 of 2010, as he has subsequently challenged the charge-sheet No. 79 of 2010, dated 6th June 2010, to the extent of the Applicant.
3. In the ordinary course, there should not be impediment, hassle to entertain such application/request to withdraw, however, Mr. Malte, learned counsel for Respondent No. 2 took us through purshis (written synopsis) tendered by Mr. Killarikar before the learned Single Judge on 16th August 2012, to impress how the Advocate was maligning reputation of the Court, casting allegations against practicing Advocate and creating obstructions in normal process of the Court.
4. Mr. Killarikar now says, indeed issue of said purshis was done away long back, by order dated 16th August 2012.
5. The learned Single Judge, in Paragraph No. 13, observed:-
Such exchange of words is sad and unfortunate. Judges do not claim to be repository of the knowledge and in fact none should claim so. Utterance of such comments in fact is covert way of making insinuations at the Bench. If at all anybody is ignorant, one should try to remove his ignorance by the knowledge one may possess.
The learned Single Judge has further observed:-
As regards the "special treatment" it needs to be reminded that before the Court all are equal. Only the merit of submissions is the one which matters for ultimate decision in any case. If at all anybody feels that back ground of a lawyer i.e. his/her lineage to a judge has any impact on judicial decision, such person should take recourse to adequate legal measures to generally prevent such class of persons from entering into legal profession so that there is no space left for making such grievance any more.
6. The observation of the learned Judge are quite clear, eye-opener to the Advocates. Mr. Killarikar says, he did not mean to malign anybody's reputation and urged not to rack-up the issue. We express our displeasure on the purshis dated 16th August 2012 and allow Mr. Killarikar to withdraw Criminal Application No. 2286 of 2012. Rule discharged.
7. In Criminal Application No. 4390 of 2012, Rule. Rule made returnable forthwith and heard finally, by consent.
8. Criminal Application No. 4390 of 2012 questions legality of charge-sheet No. 79 of 2010, dated 6th June 2010. Dr. Pradnya married to informant Smt. Dr. Alkarani on 2nd November 2009, at Nanded.
9. Applicant Milind, younger brother of Dr. Pradnya, is Judicial Officer at Mahbubnagar in Andhra Pradesh. Mr. Killarikar says, for the purposes of marriage, the Applicant had availed leave for four days and while the marriage party was returning from Nanded to Hyderabad, certain unpleasant things happened, however he could not be branded party to embroilment. His placement is at 80 K.M. away from residence of his brother and has no reason to influence nor did he personally made demand of Rs. 10,00,000/- (Rupees Ten Lakh), as has been stated by Dr. Alkarani.
10. Mr. Kadam, learned counsel for Respondent No. 2 original complainant says, influence of the Judicial Officer is owing to his legal knowledge made to harass the Respondent No. 2. There was repeated demand of Rs. 10,00,000/- (Rupees Ten Lakh), which has even been indicated by witnesses. He took through the statements of Smt. Savitribai, Vivek Hatkar, Smt. Anandibai (mother) and Dr. Sudam Muneshwar (father).
11. In fact statement of Savitribai relates to events while on the way, after the marriage, in a Jeep, wherein allegedly 8/10 persons boarded a Jeep. It will be difficult to indicate that Applicant Milind was sitting at which place, to make such demand of Rs. 10,00,000/- (Rupees Ten Lakh), while moving or husband of Alkarani pinching her in the travel. If Dr. Pradnya desisted Savitribai to accompany as "Karawali", it will be between Dr. Pradnya and Savitribai and/or Alkarani or other family members, as it does not invite any cruelty, mis-behavior on the part of the Applicant Milind.
12. Statement of Vivek Hatkar illustrates, he received communication from Alkarani about so-called demand collectively made by relatives of Dr. Pradnya. Statements of Dr. Sudam or Anandibai are in tune what complainant Dr. Alkarani says. In fact all the statements are stereotype. Even the mistake occurred in statement, is continued in another statement, including the nomenclatures. Sister of Dr. Alkarani is also Dr. Pradnya and there is mistake even on the part of the investigator to refer either sister of the complainant or Dr. Pradnya, husband of complainant Alkarani. Leaving aside these anomalies, fact remains, sweeping allegations are made against Applicant Milind in respect of so-called demand of Rs. 10,00,000/- (Rupees Ten Lakh).
13. Mr. Kadam made several accusations of influence exerted by Applicant Milind, however since Dr. Pradnya himself is competent to take his own decisions, it cannot be said that Milind was a spike in process to put obstacles in married life of Dr. Pradnya and Alkarani.
14. None of the statements specifically refers any demand by the Applicant Milind. All are general statements, which, in a settled legal position, have been deprecated time and again.
15. In the matter of Geeta Mehrotra and another vs. State of U.P. and another, of October 17, 2012 : [Criminal Appeal No. 1674 of 2012 : MANU/SC/0895/2012 : 2012 ALL MR (Cri) 4059 (S.C.)], having gone through the effects and impacts of misuse of Section 498A rampantly by disgruntled elements in the society, the Apex Court made observations as to how the proceedings are misused. In Paragraph 24 of the Judgment, it is stated as under:-
24. However, we deem it appropriate to add by way of caution that we may not be misunderstood so as to infer that even if there are allegation of overt act indicating the complicity of the members of the family named in the FIR in a given case, cognizance would be unjustified but what we wish to emphasize by highlighting is that, if the FIR as it stands does not disclose specific allegation against accused more so against the co-accused specially in a matter arising out of matrimonial bickering, it would be clear abuse of the legal and judicial process to mechanically send the named accused in the FIR to undergo the trial unless of course the FIR discloses specific allegations which would persuade the court to take cognizance of the offence alleged against the relatives of the main accused who are prima facie not found to have indulged in physical and mental torture of the complainant-wife. It is the well settled principle laid down in cases too numerous to mention that if the FIR did not disclose the commission of an offence, the court would be justified in quashing the proceedings preventing the abuse of the process of law. Simultaneously, the courts are expected to adopt a cautious approach in matters of quashing specially in cases of matrimonial dispute whether the FIR in fact discloses commission of an offence by the relatives of the principal accused or the FIR prima facie discloses a case of over implication by involving the entire family of the accused at the instance of the complainant, who is out to settle her scores arising out of the teething problem or skirmish of domestic bickering while settling down in her new matrimonial surrounding.
16. This is one of such classical case, where we find that the proceedings under Section 498A of I.P.C. are brazenly used to corner the Applicant Milind, since he is already a employed person, enjoying position as a Judge and if someone is maligns him, naturally serious recourse would be taken by his superiors/appointing authorities.
17. During the course of submissions, Mr. Kadam highlighted, prosecution of Milind would ensure settling the controversy between the couple or the in-laws. In fact this was the basic reason to prosecute him. One should avoid cock a snook policy and hectoring. In the situation, prosecution, qua the Applicant Milind, is quashed and set aside. Criminal Application No. 4390 of 2012 allowed. Rule made absolute to the extent as above.
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