Punjab-Haryana High Court
State Of Haryana on 20 January, 2005
Criminal Misc. No. 51525-M of 2003
Equivalent citations: II (2005) DMC 852
Bench: B Singh
JUDGMENT Baldev Singh, J.
JUDGMENT Baldev Singh, J.
1. This petition has been filed under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure for quashing First Information Report No. 68 dated February 10, 2003, under Sections 498-A and 406 of the Indian Penal Code registered at Police Station Sector 29, D.L.F., Gurgaon, qua petitioner Anisha Bhandari.
2. The First Information Report was lodged by Nairn Sabharwal, father of Ruchika Sabharwal, against Anurag Bhandari, Anil Bhandari, Anita Bhandari and Anisha Bhandari, husband, father-in-law, mother-in-law and sister-in-law, respectively, of Ruchika Sabharwal. Ruchika Sabharwal was married with Anurag Bhandari on July, 2 2002 at Gurgaon. It is claimed that the complainant spent about rupees twenty lacs on her marriage and also gave costly gifts. On August, 22, 2002, Ruchika then left for London with the petitioner and her (petitioner’s) mother. She (Ruchika) used to tell the complainant regarding the alleged ill-treatment meted out to her by her in-laws. It is alleged that on February 3, 2003, Ruchika was turned out of the house by her husband and father-in-law. They were demanding from her rupees fifty lacs. She then went to the house of her relative.
3. It is pleaded in this petition that Anisha Bhandari (petitioner) is unmarried sister of Anurag Bhandari. She is holding a British passport. She attended the marriage of her brother on July 2, 2002 and stayed back till August 22, 2002. Anurag Bhandari then went to London on July 27, 2002 as he is in a Government job there. The petitioner never demanded dowry from Ruchika. Only sweeping remarks were made that rupees fifty lacs were demanded from the father of Ruchika. Ruchika came back to India and her father then got lodged the First Information Report after due deliberations. There are no specific allegations against the petitioner. For most of the time, she used to remain away from the house to study to become a Solicitor. The petitioner stayed with Ruchika for one month and twenty days in India and for rest of the period of England. The total period of stay is four months. It is pleaded in the end that the registration of a criminal case against the petitioner is nothing but misuse of the process of law and, therefore, the First Information Report is liable to be quashed qua her.
4. Arguments of the learned Counsel for the petitioner, the Assistant Advocate General, Haryana, appearing for the respondent-State and learned Counsel for respondent No. 2, have been heard and the record of the case has been perused.
5. The learned Counsel for Ruchika (respondent No. 2) argued that there are specific allegations against the petitioner. She also demanded dowry from Ruchika and her father and harassed her in league with her brother Anurag Bhandari, father Anil Bhandari and mother Anita Bhandari. The First Information Report should not be quashed against her.
6. A few cases are referred here in which the First Information Reports were quashed against the relatives of the husband. In Harjinder Kaur and Ors. v. Stale of Punjab, 2004 (4) RCR (Criminal) 332, criminal complaint was filed under Sections 498 and 406, Indian Penal Code against the husband, his parents and five sisters (one minor and one already married). The proceedings were quashed qua sisters. It was observed that the allegations against the sisters were vague. There is growing tendency to come out with inflated and exaggerated allegations, roping in each and every relation of the husband. Things have now taken a reverse trend and the women are abusing beneficial provisions of Section 498-A, Indian Penal Code. In the case of Kans Raj v. State of Punjab and Ors., 11 (2000) CCR 156 (SC) : 2000 (2) RCR (Crim.) 695 (SC); the Apex Court observed that a tendency has developed for roping in all the relations in dowry cases and if it is not discouraged, it is likely to affect case of the prosecution even against the real culprits. The efforts for involving the other relations ultimately weaken the case of the prosecution even against the real accused. In the case of Anita and Ors. v. State of Punjab, 2003 (4) RCR (Criminal) 313, the First Information Report was lodged by the wife under Sections 498-A and 406, Indian Penal Code against the entire members of family of the husband. First Information Report against four unmarried sisters and brother was quashed, exercising the powers under Section 492 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. It was observed that it is not believable that the unmarried sisters or unmarried brother of the husband would be entrusted with any article of dowry separately. There is a tendency to involve all the relatives of the husband when the relations between the husband and the wife become strained.
7. Omnibus allegations have been made against the petitioner in respect of demand of dowry, harassment and torture given to Ruchika during the period she stayed in the matrimonial home. It is unbelievable that the petitioner, who is an unmarried sister of Anurag Bhandari, the husband, was entrusted with dowry articles separately and she harassed Ruchika in connection with the demand of dowry. So, this petition is allowed and First Information Report No. 68 dated February 10,2003 under Sections 498-A and 406 of the Indian Penal Code registered at Police Station Sector 29, D.L.F., Gurgaon, is quashed qua petitioner Anisha Bhandari, in the exercise of jurisdiction under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.