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'She wanted to wreak vengeance,' SC quashes dowry harassment charges against judicial officer, brother, mother [Read Judgment]

By LAWSTREET NEWS NETWORK      04 September, 2023 05:11 PM      0 Comments
'She wanted to wreak vengeance,' SC quashes dowry harassment charges against judicial officer, brother, mother [Read Judgment]

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has allowed a plea by a judicial officer, his architect brother and mother and quashed the criminal proceedings initiated against them on a complaint by the wife of his other brother, after noting "she clearly wanted to wreak vengeance against her in-laws".

A bench of Justices Aniruddha Bose, Sanjay Kumar and S V N Bhatti rejected a contention against the appellants' plea to quash the FIR on the ground that a charge sheet has already been filed in the matter. 

"It is well settled that the High Court would continue to have the power to entertain and act upon a petition filed under Section 482 Cr.P.C. to quash the FIR even when a chargesheet is filed by the police during the pendency of such petition," the bench said.

The court also noted instances of a husband’s family members filing a petition to quash criminal proceedings launched against them by his wife in the midst of
matrimonial disputes are neither a rarity nor of recent origin and precedents aplenty abound on this score.

The bench also found "glaring inconsistencies and discrepancies" on the complainant's version, and held her allegations are, wholly insufficient and, prima facie, do not make out a case against the appellants.

"Further, they are so farfetched and improbable that no prudent person can conclude that there are sufficient grounds to proceed against them. Permitting the criminal process to go on against the appellants in such a situation would, therefore, result in clear and patent injustice," the bench said.

The bench allowed an appeal filed by Abhishek and others against the Madhya Pradesh HC's order and quashed the FIR lodged by his sister-in-law, Bhawna against them in 2013, though she left her matrimonial home four years before.

The bench said complainant's interactions with the in-laws were only three four times during the festival, while Sourabh, an architect was stationed in Delhi since 2007. Other appellant Abhishek became judicial officer six to seven months after her marriage in 2007.

"Surprisingly, Bhawna alleges that at the time of his own marriage, Abhishek demanded that Bhawna and her parents should provide him with a car and Rs 2 lakhs in cash. Why he would make such a demand for dowry, even if he was inclined to commit such an illegality, from his sister-in-law at the time of his own marriage is rather incongruous and difficult to comprehend," the bench said.

The woman filed a "vicious" complaint against him in the High Court, showing "she clearly wanted to wreak vengeance against her in-laws", it said.

The bench also noted her allegations are mostly general and omnibus in nature, without any specific details as to how and when her brothers-in-law and mother-in-law, who lived in different cities altogether, subjected her to harassment for dowry.

"Most damaging to Bhawna’s case is the fact that she did nothing whatsoever after leaving her matrimonial home in February, 2009, and filed a complaint in the year 2013 alleging dowry harassment, just before her husband instituted divorce proceedings," it said.

[Read Judgment] 



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