Case BriefsHigh Courts

Karnataka High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Budihal R.B., J., decided a criminal petition filed under Section 438 of CrPC, wherein the petitioner was granted anticipatory bail holding that the offence under SC/ST Act as alleged against the petitioner were not constituted.

The petitioner was an accused in criminal case registered under Sections 324, 504 and 506 of IPC along with Section 3(1)(ix) of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. Petitioner submitted that the FIR in the case was not regard to the offence under SC/ST Act but only to those under IPC. He submitted that it was only after a gap of few days that the Police in collusion with the complainant created another complaint in respect of the very same crime wherein the allegations regarding the offence under SC/ST Act were made. The petitioner prayed that he may be allowed an anticipatory bail by imposing reasonable conditions.

The Court perused the evidence on record and found that two complaints were field by the complainant in the case. Both related to the same incident. In the first complaint, no allegations against the petitioner regarding the offence under SC/ST Act were made. It was only in the second complaint which was filed after three days, that such allegations were made. The Court was of the opinion that there can not be two complaints by the same person regarding the same incident; if anything is left out while mentioning in the first complaint, the complainant could have made further statement under Section 161 of CrPC. Further, the Court held that, at the time of granting bail, even under Section 18 of the SC/ST Act, Court has to examine the material on record to see whether the offence under provisions of the said Act is made out. The Court perused the material and held that it was not sufficient to make out a case under the alleged section of the Act.

In view of the above, the High Court was of the opinion that it was a fit case to exercise discretion in favor of the petitioner; and hence, the petitioner was granted anticipatory bail. [Maladri Reddy v. State of Karnataka, Crl. Petition No. 766 of 2018, dated February 21, 2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Karnataka High Court: While deciding a criminal petition filed under Section 439 of CrPC, a Single Judge Bench of Budihal R.B., J. held that even if the specific overt act is not alleged against the accused in the complaint itself, a prima facie case can be made out against him considering all other prima facie material along with the complaint.

The background of the case was set in the dispute relating to construction of a house. In connection with the same dispute the petitioner is alleged to have assaulted the daughter of the complainant that resulted in her death.

Learned counsel for the petitioner submitted that the complaint averments only go to show that the petitioner assaulted the deceased on her cheek/neck and she fell down unconscious. He submitted that there was no prima facie case against the petitioner that he was the main cause for the death of the deceased. Hence, he prayed that the petitioner be enlarged on bail.

The High Court perused the petition, the FIR, the complaint, and the charge-sheet produced. The Court was of the opinion that it was no doubt true that there was no mention in the complaint about the petitioner assaulting the deceased with a stone, however, a complaint is not an encyclopedia. The eyewitness in her statement had categorically stated that the petitioner assaulted the deceased with a stone. The Court also perused the medical opinion given by the doctor as to the cause of death of the deceased; and held that the material on record goes on to make out a prima facie case against the accused. Accordingly, the Court declined to exercise discretion in favor of the petitioner and the petition was rejected. [Balaraj v. State, 2017 SCC OnLine Kar 2451, order dated 9.10.2017]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

High Court of Rajasthan: While deciding the validity and legality of the criminal miscellaneous petition filed under Section 482 CrPc, by the petitioners, the Bench comprising of P.K.Lohra, J., while exercising its power under Section 482 Cr PC, held that the criminal complaint filed against the petitioner, under Sections 498-A, 323, 406 & 504  IPC and Section 12 of the Domestic Violence Act, 2005 if allowed to be continued before the trail court, would obviously result in abuse of the process of the court since the complaint lacks mentioning of specific instances of domestic violence directed towards the complainant.

The complainant is the respondent/wife of the deceased husband, who died while the proceedings were taking place in the trial court on account of complaint lodged by the her under DV Act and IPC against the deceased husband, his parents and her sister-in-law. The learned counsel for the petitioner submitted that since the acrimony started between the deceased husband and respondent wife since then the latter is not living with the former hence there is no iota of evidence to indicate that she has been subjected to domestic violence by the petitioners therefore, the complaint has been designed to harass the petitioners, which is a glaring example of abuse of the process of the Court.

The Court allowing the instant petition held that the bare reading of the complaint makes it abundantly clear that it does not disclose any specific instance of domestic violence against the petitioners hence in the absence of concrete proof relating to the instance of domestic violence a casual reference of the name of the family members i.e. petitioners in the complaint without there being any allegation of their active involvement in the matter is sufficient to conclude that complaint is in fact designed to harass the petitioners and if the criminal complaint is allowed to be proceeded in the trial court it would obviously result in abuse of the process of the Court. [Sudama Dutt Sharma v. State Of Rajasthan, Criminal Misc. (Pet.)  No. 1524 of 2011, decided on 8th November, 2016]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Punjab and Haryana High Court: While deciding upon the issue that whether a complaint under the Domestic Violence Act is maintainable even after a decree of divorce has been passed, the bench of Anita Chaudhry, J., held that the provisions of the Domestic Violence Act can only be invoked if the marital relationship is in existence, therefore once a marital relationship is ended by a decree of divorce, a complaint under Domestic Violence Act cannot be filed at all.

The present case was filed seeking the quashment of complaint filed under the Domestic Violence Act. It is to be noted that the marital relationship between the petitioner and his wife had ended by an exparte divorce decree. The counsel for the petitioner, Sukhbir Singh contended that, since the marriage of the petitioner and his wife has ended therefore the complaint under the Domestic Violence Act is not maintainable.

The Court perused the relevant provision of the Domestic Violence Act, namely Section 2(a) and 2(f) while answering the accompanying question that whether a divorced woman is included in the definition of an ‘aggrieved person’. It was observed by the Court that the language of the concerned provision uses ‘who is’ and ‘has been’, both of which have been used in the present tense, clearly establishing that there has to be a marital relationship in existence. Similarly, Section 2(f) stresses about the existence of a relationship by marriage or a relationship in the nature of marriage at the time. The expression used is ‘are related’ by marriage, which again is in present tense. The relevant provisions indicate the legislative intent to protect women who are living in a domestic relationship. Therefore for a complaint under the Domestic Violence Act to sustain, it is necessary that the marriage between the aggrieved person and the respondent is in existence. [Amit Agarwal v. Sanjay Aggarwal, 2016 SCC OnLine P&H 4200, decided on 31.05.2016]