IN THE HIGH COURT OF KARNATAKA AT BENGALURU
DATED THIS THE 24TH DAY OF MAY, 2021
THE HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE S.VISHWAJITH SHETTY
AGED ABOUT 38 YEARS,
RESIDING AT SOORAJ DARSHAN
APARTMENTS, FLAT NO.4, I FLOOR,
BULL TEMPLE ROAD, BASAVANAGUDI
2. MRS. VANAJA GANGADHAR,
AGED ABOUT 71 YEARS,
RESIDING AT NO.29/18, OUT HOUSE,
BULL TEMPLE ROAD, BASAVANAGUDI,
BENGALURU -560 004.
3. MR. K.M.GANGADHAR,
AGED ABOUT 74 YEARS,
RESIDING AT NO.4, I FLFOOR,
SOORAJ DARSHAN APARTMENT,
BULL TEMPLE ROAD,
BENGALURU-560 004 …PETITIONERS
(BY SRI HASMATH PASHA SENIOR COUNSEL FOR SMT.NASIR ALI, ADV.)
1. STATE OF KARNATAKA BY
HEBRI POLICE, KARKALA,
(REPRESENTED BY LEARNED STATE PUBLIC PROSECUTOR)
AGED ABOUT 32 YEARS,
NOW RESIDING AT GUNCHI HOUSE,
KABBINALE VILLAGE, HEBRI TALUK,
UDUPI -576112, KARNATAKA. …RESPONDENTS
(BY SRI R.D.RENUKARADHYA, HCGP FOR R-1; SRI CHANDRANATH ARIGA, ADV. FOR R-2)
This Criminal Petition is filed under Section 482 of Cr.PC, praying to quash the FIR registered in Crime No.75/2020 of Hebri Police Station, Karkala, Udupi District, which is pending on the file of II Additional Civil Judge and J.M.F.C., Karkala, Udupi District for the offences under Sections 3 and 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act and under Sections 498-A, 506, 504, 448, 323 r/w Sec.34 of the I.P.C. as an abuse of process of law and etc.,
This petition coming on for admission, this day, the Court made the following:
1. This criminal petition under Section 482 Cr.PC is filed by accused nos.1 to 3 in Crime No.75/2020 registered by Hebri Police Station of Udupi District, for the offences punishable under Sections 498A, 506, 504, 448, 323 & 34 IPC read with Sections 3 & 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, which is pending before the Court of II Addl. Civil Judge & JMFC, Karkala, Udupi District.
2. Brief facts of the case as revealed from the records are, respondent no.2-complainant was married to petitioner no.1 on 11.01.2015. Petitioners 2 & 3 are the parents of petitioner no.1. From the wedlock of petitioner no.1 and respondent no.2, a male child was born to them on 21.07.2019. On 10.10.2020, respondent no.2 has lodged a complaint with Hebri Police alleging that at the time of marriage, as per the demand made by the petitioners, her parents had given dowry and also met all the marriage expenses. Since the complainant did not conceive for a period of three years after the marriage, it is alleged that she was being ill-treated in her matrimonial house. She has stated in the complaint that on several occasions, petitioner no.1 who is her husband had physically assaulted her. It is also alleged that petitioner no.1 used to flirt with his lady colleagues and when this was questioned by the complainant, he had raised unnecessary quarrel and assaulted her. She has also stated that after she delivered a male child, the entire hospital expenses were met by her parents and being unable to bear the constant harassment meted out on her by the petitioners, she had left the matrimonial house on 09.09.2020 and started staying with her parents at Hebri in Udupi District. It is alleged that on 04.10.2020, petitioner no.1 came to her house and abused her and her parents by using filthy language and also threatened that he will come again. Based on these allegations, complaint dated 10.10.2020 was lodged and the Hebri Police have registered a FIR in Crime No.75/2020 against the petitioners for the alleged offences.
3. Learned Senior Counsel Sri Hasmath Pasha appearing for the petitioners submits that initiation of criminal proceedings against the petitioners is a clear case of abuse of process of law and he submits that the complainant is admittedly residing separately and only to wreck vengeance, a police complaint has been lodged. He submits that admittedly, complainant has gone to her parents house voluntarily. He also submits that the complaint lacks any averments as against petitioners 2 &
3. He submits that petitioners 2 & 3 have been unnecessarily implicated in the case and pendency of this criminal case has caused untold hardship to petitioners 2 & 3 who are aged about 71 years and 74 years, respectively.
4. Per contra, learned Counsel Sri Chandranath Ariga appearing for respondent no.2 opposes the petition contending that the complaint averments make out a prima facie case against all the accused persons for the alleged offences. He submits that the case is still at the stage of investigation, and therefore, at this stage, petitioners have no right to question the proceedings, and therefore, he prays to dismiss the petition.
5. I have carefully considered the rival arguments addressed on both sides and also perused the entire materials available on record.
6. The complainant who is admittedly staying with her parents eversince 09.09.2020 has forwarded the complaint dated 10.10.2020 by post to the Station House Officer of Hebri Police Station. On receipt of such a complaint, on 06.11.2020, the police have secured the presence of the complainant and after inquiring her, FIR in Crime No.75/2020 has been registered.
7. From the reading of the complaint, it is very clear that the entire allegations of mental and physical harassment including assault, is against petitioner no.1. There are no specific averments with regard to the overt acts of petitioners 2 & 3 who are the parents of petitioner no.1. Except for some bald allegations, there are absolutely no specific allegations against petitioners 2 & 3 which would attract the alleged offences against them. In the absence of such specific overt acts connecting the accused persons to the crime, initiation of criminal proceedings against them would definitely amount to abuse of process of law.
8. The Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of PREETI GUPTA & ANOTHER VS STATE OF JHARKHAND & ANOTHER – (2010)7 SCC 667, has held in paragraphs 32 to 35 as under:
“32. It is a matter of common experience that most of these complaints under Section 498A IPC are filed in the heat of the moment over trivial issues without proper deliberations. We come across a large number of such complaints which are not even bona fide and are filed with oblique motive. At the same time, rapid increase in the number of genuine cases of dowry harassment are also a matter of serious concern.
33. The learned members of the Bar have enormous social responsibility and obligation to ensure that the social fiber of family life is not ruined or demolished. They must ensure that exaggerated versions of small incidents should not be reflected in the criminal complaints. Majority of the complaints are filed either on their advice or with their concurrence. The learned members of the Bar who belong to a noble profession must maintain its noble traditions and should treat every complaint under Section 498A as a basic human problem and must make serious endeavour to help the parties in arriving at an amicable resolution of that human problem. They must discharge their duties to the best of their abilities to ensure that social fiber, peace and tranquility of the society remains intact. The members of the Bar should also ensure that one complaint should not lead to multiple cases.
34. Unfortunately, at the time of filing of the complaint the implications and consequences are not properly visualized by the complainant that such complaint can lead to insurmountable harassment, agony and pain to the complainant, accused and his close relations.
35. The ultimate object of justice is to find out the truth and punish the guilty and protect the innocent. To find out the truth is a Herculean task in majority of these complaints. The tendency of implicating husband and all his immediate relations is also not uncommon. At times, even after the conclusion of criminal trial, it is difficult to ascertain the real truth. The courts have to be extremely careful and cautious in dealing with these complaints and must take pragmatic realities into consideration while dealing with matrimonial cases. The allegations of harassment of husband’s close relations who had been living in different cities and never visited or rarely visited the place where the complainant resided would have an entirely different complexion. The allegations of the complaint are required to be scrutinized with great care and circumspection.”
9. Further, the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of TARBEZ KHAN ALIAS GUDDU & OTHERS VS STATE OF UTTAR PRADESH & ANOTHER – (2019)4 SCC 615 and in the case of SEENIVASAN VS THE STATE BY INSPECTOR OF POLICE – (2019)8 SCC 642, having regard to the fact that there were no specific allegations of overt acts, has quashed the proceedings as against the family members.
10. This Court in the case of ASMA KHANUM @ NOOR ASMA & OTHERS VS STATE OF KARNATAKA & ANOTHER – 2020(6) Kar.L.J. 90, has held in paragraphs 15 & 17 as under:
“15. In the case on hand, a careful reading of the complaint averments and the charge sheet materials clearly go to show that an attempt is made to implicate all the immediate relatives of the husband with an oblique motive. No specific averments are made as against the petitioners with regard to their role played in respect of the alleged acts. No reference is given with regard to any specific incidents wherein the petitioners have actively participated. The complainant has only made sweeping allegations against petitioners. xxx xxx
16. xxx xxx
17. The learned Magistrates while taking cognizance of the criminal offences arising out of marriage dispute are required to be cautious especially when an attempt is made to falsely implicate the relatives of the husband without even there being any specific allegation as against them in the complaint only with an intention to coerce and harass the husband and his relatives. The provisions of law introduced by the legislature for protecting the weaker section should be used as a shield and not as a weapon. The judiciary in cases of misuse of such provisions of law, is required to intervene, otherwise, it may have an adverse effect in a longer run.”
11. Having regard to the aforesaid judicial pronouncements, I am of the considered view that initiation of criminal proceedings against petitioners 2 & 3 who are accused nos.2 & 3 before the court below would clearly amount to abuse of process of law and for the purpose of securing the ends of justice, it is just and necessary to quash the impugned proceedings as against petitioners 2 & 3. However, since there are allegations of overt acts alleged against petitioner no.1 in the complaint, the prayer made by petitioner no.1 for quashing the impugned proceedings cannot be granted. Accordingly, I proceed to pass the following order:
12. This criminal petition is allowed in part. The criminal petition as against petitioner no.1 is dismissed. The criminal petition as against petitioners 2 & 3 is allowed. The entire proceedings before the II Addl. Civil Judge & JMFC, Karkala, Udupi District, in Crime No.75/2020 registered by Hebri Police Station for the offences punishable under Sections 498A, 506, 504, 448, 323 & 34 IPC read with Sections 3 & 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, in so far as it relates to petitioners 2 & 3/accused nos.2 & 3 are hereby quashed, and it shall continue in accordance with law as against petitioner no.1/accused no.1.