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dowry prohibition act

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Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973; Ss. 188, 468, 470, 473 & 482/Penal Code, 1860; Ss. 406 and 498A/Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961; Ss. 4 & 6: Matrimonial offences-Court’s power to take cognizance beyond period of limitation-Quashing of proceedings before Magistrate on ground of limitation-Held: In the interest of justice, court could take cognizance of an offence after expiry of limitation period by liberally exercising power u/s.473 Cr.P.C.-High Court should be extremely cautious and slow to interfere with investigation/trial of criminal cases-It could exercise inherent powers u/s.482 Cr.P.C. only when it is satisfied that FIR does not disclose commission of cognizable offence or prosecution is barred by limitation or to prevent abuse of process of the Court or continuation of proceeding of the criminal case would result in failure of justice-Magistrate took cognizance of offence after lapse of three years-A co-ordinate Bench of High Court quashed the proceeding qua the parents of appellants on the ground that Magistrate could not have taken cognizance of offence after three years-Appellants do not appear to have drawn attention of Single Judge of the High Court about quashing of the said proceedings-In such peculiar facts of the case, continuation of the proceedings would amount to abuse of process of the Court-Hence, the proceedings as against accused, pending in the Court of Metropolitan Magistrate, quashed-Limitation-Courts power to relax. Appellant No.1, an engineer working in USA, married the eldest daughter of respondent no. 2. Before marriage, the appellant and their parents demanded certain amount of cash and jewellery as dowry. They also demanded transfer of certain property belonging to the parents of the girl in favour of the parents of appellant No.1. Appellant No.1 and his parents accepted the proposal and performed betrothal. Later, they demanded Zen car and threatened to cancel the engagement unless the car was given. The demand was fulfilled by the parents of the girl by raising loan. After marriage, when she went to USA along with the parents of the appellants, she stayed at New Jersey in U.S.A. from 1.11.1998 to 2.12.1998. During this period, she was allegedly subjected to cruelty and harassment by the appellants and their parents for demand of more and more dowry. She left her matrimonial home and stayed with her relatives. Later, appellant No.1 instituted divorce petition in Superior Court at New Jersey and an ex parte decree was passed in his favour. In the meanwhile, the victim informed to her parents about the ill-treatment meted out to her by her husband and his parents. Thereupon, respondent no. 2-mother of the victim, filed a complaint in the Court of Metropolitan Magistrate. The Magistrate referred the complaint for investigation under Section 156(3) Cr.P.C. After investigation, the Inspector of Police, Women Protection Cell, C.I.D., submitted the final report with the suggestion to close the case. The Investigating Officer also made a reference to the direction given by Additional Director General of Police, CID to close the case due to lack of evidence. The Magistrate rejected the final report and directed the police to make further investigation. The police conducted further investigation and a Notice was also issued to the victim to appear before CID Police. Respondent no. 2 filed a Criminal Petition under Section 482 Cr.P.C. for quashing the notice for appearance of her daughter. The same was disposed of by the Single Judge with liberty to the petitioner to approach the investigating agency/Court and inform it about the efforts being made by her daughter to come to India. Respondent no. 2 also filed a Writ Petition for issuance of a direction to the Regional Passport Officer to impound the passport of appellant no. 1. That petition was allowed by the Single Judge of the High Court. The victim obtained duplicate passport and visa and came to India. She appeared before the Investigating Officer and gave statement under Section 161 Cr.P.C. The police filed a charge-sheet under Sections 498A and 406 IPC read with Sections 3, 4 and 6 of the Dowry Act. The Magistrate took cognizance of the case and issued summons to the appellants and their parents. The parents of the appellants challenged the proceedings in the Criminal Petition filed by the parents of the victim under Section 482 Cr.P.C. The Single Judge quashed the proceedings. The appellant also filed a petition for quashing the proceedings against him. However, the Single Judge of the High Court held that the proceedings in Criminal Petition cannot be quashed against him as the Magistrate had taken cognizance within three years. Hence the present appeal. Appellants contended that the Single Judge of the High Court committed an error by refusing to quash the proceedings in the Criminal Petition filed by the parents of the victim ignoring the fact that the Magistrate had taken cognizance after almost four years of the last act of alleged cruelty committed against the victim; that after dissolution of the marriage, the victim had taken back the Gold and Silver jewellery and then contracted marriage with another person and this fact ought to have been considered by the Single Judge of the High Court while examining the appellants’ pleas that the proceedings of criminal case instituted against them amounts to an abuse of the process of law; and that in exercise of the power under Section 482 Cr.P.C., the High Court is duty bound to quash the proceedings which are barred by time and protect the appellants against unwarranted persecution. Respondent No.2 submitted that Single Judge of the High Court rightly declined to quash the proceedings in the criminal petition filed by her because the offences committed by the appellants were continuing in nature; that even though as on the date of taking cognizance of offences by the Magistrate, a period of more than three years had elapsed, the proceedings in the Criminal Petition cannot be declared as barred by limitation because the appellants were not in India and the period of their absence is liable to be excluded in terms of Section 470(4) Cr.P.C.; that offences of cruelty and criminal breach of trust are continuing offences and prosecution launched against the appellants cannot be treated as barred by time; that the Magistrate could also exercise power under Section 473 Cr.P.C. for extending the period of limitation because the appellants and their parents did not co-operate in the investigation and also prevented the victim from coming to India to give her statement; and that the proceedings of the criminal case cannot be quashed only on the ground of lack of sanction under Section 188 Cr. P.C. Allowing the appeal, the Court HELD: 1. While considering the applicability of Section 468 Cr.P.C. to the complaints made by the victims of matrimonial offences, the court can invoke Section 473 Cr.P.C. and can take cognizance of an offence after expiry of the period of limitation keeping in view the nature of allegations, the time taken by the police in investigation and the fact that the offence of cruelty is a continuing offence and affects the society at large. To put it differently, in cases involving matrimonial offences the court should not adopt a narrow and pedantic approach and should, in the interest of justice, liberally exercise power under Section 473 for extending the period of limitation. [Para 23] [496-F, G; 497-A] State of Punjab v. Sarwan Singh, [1981] 3 SCC 34; Venka Radhamanohari v. Vanka Venkata Reddy, [1993] 3 SCC 4; Arun Vyas v. Anita Vyas, [1999] 4 SCC 690; State of Himachal Pradesh v. Tara Dutt [2000] 1 SCC 230 and Ramesh v. State of Tamil Nadu, [2005] 3 SCC 507, relied on. 2.1. The High Court should be extremely cautious and slow to interfere with the investigation and/or trial of criminal cases and should not stall the investigation and/or prosecution except when it is convinced beyond any manner of doubt that the FIR does not disclose commission of any offence or that the allegations contained in the FIR do not constitute any cognizable offence or that the prosecution is barred by law or the High Court is convinced that it is necessary to interfere to prevent abuse of the process of the court. In dealing with such cases, the High Court has to bear in mind that judicial intervention at the threshold of the legal process initiated against a person accused of committing offence is highly detrimental to the larger public and societal interest. [Para 30] [501-E, F, G] R.P. Kapur v. State of Punjab, AIR (1960) SC 866; State of Haryana v. Bhajanlal, [1992] Supp. 1 SCC 335; State of Bihar v. J.A.C. Saldanha, [1980] 1 SCC 554 and State of West Bengal v. Swapan Kumar Guha, [1982] 1 SCC 561 and M/s Zandu Pharmaceutical Works Ltd. v. Mohd. Sharaful Haque, [2005] 7 SCC 254, referred to. 2.2. The people and the society have a legitimate expectation that those committing offences either against an individual or the society are expeditiously brought to trial and, if found guilty, adequately punished. Therefore, while deciding a petition filed for quashing the FIR or complaint or restraining the competent authority from investigating the allegations contained in the FIR or complaint or for stalling the trial of the case, the High Court should be extremely careful and circumspect. If the allegations contained in the FIR or complaint discloses commission of some crime, then the High Court must keep its hands off and allow the investigating agency to complete the investigation without any fetter and also refrain from passing order which may impede the trial. [Para 30] [501-H; 502-A, B] 2.3. The High Court should not go into the merits and demerits of the allegations simply because the petitioner alleges malus animus against the author of the FIR or the complainant. The High Court must also refrain from making imaginary journey in the realm of possible harassment which may be caused to the petitioner on account of investigation of the FIR or complaint. Such a course will result in miscarriage of justice and would encourage those accused of committing crimes to repeat the same. However, if the High Court is satisfied that the complaint does not disclose commission of any offence or prosecution is barred by limitation or that the proceedings of criminal case would result in failure of justice, then it may exercise inherent power under Section 482 Cr.P.C. [Para 30] [502-C, D, E] 3.1. In the instant case, although the Single Judge of High Court dealt with various points raised by the appellants and negatived the same by recording the detailed order, his attention does not appear to have been drawn to the order dated 24.10.2006 passed by the Co-Ordinate Bench in Criminal Petition No.1302/2003 whereby the proceedings of CC No.240/2002 were quashed qua the parents of the appellants on the ground that the Magistrate could not have taken cognizance after three years. Respondent No.2 is not shown to have challenged the order, therefore, that order will be deemed to have become final. If attention of the Single Judge who decided Criminal Petition filed by the appellants had been drawn to the order passed by another Single Judge in Criminal Petition No.1302/2003, he may have, by taking note of the fact that the Magistrate did not pass an order for condonation of delay or extension of the period of limitation in terms of Section 473 Cr.P.C., quashed the proceedings of CC No.240/2002. [Para 32] [502-F, G; 503-A, B] 3.2. In the peculiar facts of this case, continuation of proceedings of CC No.240/2002 will amount to abuse of the process of the Court. It is not in dispute that after marriage, the victim lived with appellant No.1 for less than one and a half months. It is also not in dispute that their marriage was dissolved by the Superior Court at New Jersey, U.S.A. The victim is not shown to have challenged the decree of divorce. As a matter of fact, she had solemnized second marriage with another person and has two children from the second marriage. She also received all the articles of dowry (including jewellery). Almost nine years has elapsed since the marriage of appellant No.1 with the victim and seven years from her second marriage. Therefore, at this belated stage, there does not appear to be any justification for continuation of the proceedings in CC No.240/2002. Rather, it would amount to sheer harassment to the appellant and the victim who are settled in USA, if they are required to come to India for giving evidence in relation to an offence allegedly committed in 1998-99. It is also extremely doubtful whether the Government of India will, after lapse of such a long time, give sanction in terms of Section 188 Cr.P.C. Hence, the proceedings of CC No.240/2002, pending in the Court of Metropolitan Magistrate, are quashed. [Paras 33 and 34] [503-B, C, D, E, F, G] Bina Madhavan and S. Udaya Kumar Sagar (for M/s. Lawyer’s Knit & Co.) for the Appellants. I.V. Narayana, T.N. Rao, Manjeet Kirpal, Paramjeet Singh and L.D. Rajendar for the Respondents.2008 AIR 787 , 2007(13 )SCR478 , , 2007(14 )SCALE321 ,

CASE NO.: Appeal (crl.) 1708 of 2007 PETITIONER: Sanapareddy Maheedhar and Another RESPONDENT: State of Andhra Pradesh and Another DATE OF JUDGMENT: 13/12/2007 BENCH: S.B. Sinha & G.S. Singhvi JUDGMENT: J U D G M E N T (arising out of Special Leave Petition (Crl.) No. 6680 OF 2006) G.S. Singhvi, J. Leave granted. This … Continue reading

no arrest in matrimonial cases during investigation =the petitioners apprehend arrest in the hands of the 1st respondent-Police. In the present case, the question of identity and custodial interrogation is not necessary. Hence, the first respondent-Police are directed to complete the investigation without making arrest of the petitioners.

THE HONOURABLE SRI JUSTICERAJA ELANGO   CRIMINAL PETITION No.161 of 2012   ORDER:     Petitioners approached this Court invoking the provisions under Section 482 Cr.P.C. seeking to quash the proceedings against them in Crime No.108 of 2011 of Darsi Police Station, Prakasam District, whereby they are arrayed as accused for the offence punishable under Sections 498-A of IPC and … Continue reading

As the complaint was taken on the file against 13 accused and the petitioner is one among them and the filing of the present petition, at the time of the disposal of the Sessions Case No.122 of 2008, viewed from any angle, is a speculative one without any just and reasonable cause, much less without any basis to exercise inherent powers under Section 482 of Cr.P.C. Therefore, I see no grounds to quash the proceedings in S.C.No.122 of 2008 on the file of the Court of Assistant Sessions Judge, Tadepalligudem, West Godavari District. Accordingly the Criminal Petition is dismissed.

THE HON’BLE SRI JUSTICE K.S.APPA RAO Criminal Petition No.7291 of 2008 23-3-2011 N.Ranga Rao The State of Andhra Pradesh,Rep. by Public Prosecutor,High Court Buildings,Hyderabad and another Counsel for the Petitioner:Sri S.R.Sanku, Advocate. Counsel for the Respondent No.1: Public Prosecutor,High Court of A.P., Hyderabad. Counsel for the Respondent No.2: Sri Y.Vivekananda Swamy, Advocate :ORDER: The present … Continue reading

dowry harassment complaint =There are two elements in the above said section which includes the explanation, which clearly indicates ‘cruelty’ means by way of harassment driving a woman to commit suicide or to suffer with injury, second element of the said section indicates that the harassment should be in connection with demand of dowry. On the entire reading of the complaint, the above said ingredients are totally not attracted, more particularly, the petitioner in Crl.P.No.4921 of 2010 against the mother-in-law of the victim girl. Further the learned counsel for the respondent is not in a position to inform why the wife of the petitioner has not lodged the complaint and what prevented her from lodging a complaint. Even based on the present complaint, which is in the nature of hearsay, this Court is of the view that no offence made out as alleged in the charge sheet. Hence, the proceedings against the petitioners in C.C.No.507 of 2006 on the file of the XIII Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Hyderabad, are hereby quashed.

THE HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE RAJA ELANGO CRIMINAL PETITION Nos.2976 of 2009 and 4921 of 2010 01-03-2011 Crl.P.No.2976 of 2009 Mr.Rajesh Gutta,S/o.late Apparao Gutta,Age 33 years,R/o.12727 Vista Del NorteApt # 508, San Antonio TX 78216, USA 1.State of A.P., Through P.P.,High Court of A.P., Hyderabad AND 2 OTHERS Counsel for the Petitioners: MR. RAJA GOPALLAVAN TAYI, … Continue reading

The courts are receiving a large number of cases emanating from section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code which reads as under:- “498-A. Husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty.–Whoever, being the husband or the relative of the husband of a woman, subjects such woman to cruelty shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine. Explanation.–For the purposes of this section, `cruelty’ means:- (a) any wilful conduct which is of such a nature as is likely to drive the woman to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to life, limb or health (whether mental or physical) of the woman; or (b) 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 or is on account of failure by her or any person related to her to meet such demand.” 30. It is a matter of common experience that most of these complaints under section 498-A IPC are filed in the heat of the

REPORTABLE IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 1512 OF 2010 (Arising out of SLP (Crl.) No.4684 of 2009) Preeti Gupta & Another …Appellants Versus State of Jharkhand & Another ….Respondents J U D G M E N T Dalveer Bhandari, J. 1. Leave granted. 2. This appeal has been … Continue reading

MISUSE OF SEC.498A- There are no specific allegations of any of the petitioners herein subjecting the second respondent to harassment by way of beating or abusing her, much less demanding to bring Rs.1.00 lakh towards additional dowry. If the alleged additional dowry is brought, then none of brothers, sisters and brothers-in-law would be beneficiaries and they would not get any share in that additional dowry. 4. The Supreme Court in Preeti Gupta v. State of Jharkhand1 took note of the fact on some unscrupulous wives putting all family members of the husband to harassment by way of giving report alleging offence under Section 498 (A) IPC. The Supreme Court pointed out role of the courts as follows: “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.” 5. The Supreme Court also pointed out role of advocates and also need for change of legislation on this aspect. If allegations in the report given by the second respondent are scrutinized with pragmatic approach contemplated by the Supreme Court, it is evident that general and omnibus allegations are made against all the petitioners who are residents of different places and different localities including a brother who is no more even by the date of giving report by the second respondent to the police. Such indiscriminate activity on the part of the second respondent, cannot be supported by this Court. Registration of case on report of the second respondent by the police against the petitioners herein is nothing short of abuse of process of criminal law.

THE HON’BLE SRI JUSTIC SAMUDRALA GOVINDARAJULU Criminal Petition No.4277 of 2009 01-10-2010 Shaik Kaleemullah & 9 others. The State AP, rep. by its P.P. High Court of A.P., Hyderabad, Through P.S. Town IV, Nizamabad and another. Counsel for the petitioners: Sri Nazir Ahmed Khan Counsel for respondent No.1: Additional Public Prosecutor Counsel for respondent No.2: … Continue reading

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