Case BriefsHigh Courts

Allahabad High Court: The Division Bench of Karuna Nand Bajpayee and Ifaqat Ali Khan, JJ. dismissed a petition seeking quashing of a First Information Report filed against the petitioner for offences committed under Sections 148, 307, 353 and 504 of Indian Penal Code, 1860, and Section 7 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.

The Court observed that grounds for quashing of FIR are well-settled, and thus in such cases court must refrain itself from embarking upon a roving enquiry into details of the case. It was noted that all the contentions raised by the petitioner’s counsel related to the determination of disputed questions of fact which may be adequately discerned either through proper investigation or adjudicated by the trial court. The ambit of an investigation into the alleged offence is an independent area of operation and does not call for interference except in rarest of rare cases. Relying on Ajit Singh v. State of Uttar Pradesh, 2006 SCC OnLine All 1409 it was opined that operational liberty to collect sufficient material, if any, cannot be scuttled prematurely by any uncalled for overstepping of the Court. 

The Court held that perusal of the case records, prima facie, made out the offence alleged and there appeared to be sufficient ground for investigation in the case. In view thereof, prayer for quashing FIR was refused. However, it was directed that the petitioner shall not be arrested unless credible evidence against him is collected by the Investigating Officer.[Umar Mohd. v. State of U.P, Criminal Misc. Writ Petition No. 330 of 2019, Order dated 08-01-2019]

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Gujarat High Court: The Bench of Sonia Gokani, J. disposed of a petition with the direction to lodge the FIR if any cognizable offence is made out; and if not, reasons to be mentioned for not lodging an FIR to the complainant at the earliest but not later that one week.

The facts of the case are that the petitioner was aggrieved by non-registration of the FIR on the basis of the complaint given in writing by him. He contended that a cognizable offence was made out and still his FIR was not registered.

The Court while relying on the case of Lalita Kumari v. State of U.P., (2014) 2 SCC 1, held that registration of FIR is mandatory under Section 154 CrPC if the information discloses commission of a cognizable offence and no preliminary inquiry is permissible in such a situation. For the purpose of knowing as to whether any cognizable offence was revealed, a preliminary inquiry should be conducted. Still, if it is not made out, reasons are to be mentioned for not lodging an FIR to the complainant at the earliest but not later that one week in a cognizable offence. [Haripriyaben Sanjaykumar Shah v. State of Gujarat, 2019 SCC OnLine Guj 239, Order dated 06-02-2019]

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Delhi High Court: Sanjeev Sachdeva, J. dismissed a petition filed against the judgment of Revisional Court whereby petitioner’s / complainant’s in-laws were discharged of the offences under  Sections 498-A and 34 IPC.

In 2013, petitioner had filed an FIR against her husband and in-laws alleging harassment. It was alleged that her husband used to come late and beat the petitioner and when she complained to her in-laws, they behaved in the same manner. She was thrown out of the matrimonial house and was threatened not to enter again.

Anuj Kr Ranjan, Advocate for the petitioner submitted that there was sufficient material on record to substantiate framing of charge under Section 498-A. Per contra, Kishan N. Rana, Advocate for in-laws submitted that allegations against them were bald and even the investigation did not ravel any incriminating material.

After perusing the FIR, it was noted by the High Court that “in one breath, the petitioner named all the family members without specific role ascribed to any one of them.”Though instances were mentioned vis-a-vis her mother-in-law and brother of father-in-law, however, no specifics about date, time or place were given. Omnibus allegations were made which according to the Court did not justify framing a charge under Section 498-A as “for a change to be framed, the evidence gathered by the prosecution should not only give rise to suspicion but there should be grave suspicion that the accused have committed the offence.” Consequently, the petition was dismissed. It may be noted that in the present case, a charge was framed against the husband who was facing trial. [Anju v. State (NCT of Delhi), 2019 SCC OnLine Del 6865, dated 04-02-2019]

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Delhi High Court: R.K. Gauba, J. allowed a petition filed against the order of Sessions Court whereby proceedings in a case filed under Section 138 of Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 were stayed.

Petitioner had filed a case against respondents alleging commission of an offence under Section 138. It was alleged that he had advanced a loan to the respondents, for the repayment of which, the respondents had issued a cheque in his favour drawn on Axis Bank Ltd. However, on presenting the cheque, it was returned unpaid with remarks “payment stopped by drawer.” After a preliminary enquiry, Metropolitan Magistrate issued summons to respondents. Thereafter the respondents reached the Sessions Court which granted a stay on summons order till final decision in another case arising out of an FIR filed by respondents against the petitioner. Aggrieved thereby, petitioner filed the present petition under Section 482 CrPC.

The High Court noted that in the FIR filed, respondents alleged that the cheque in question was stolen and misappropriated by the petitioner. It was also noted that revisional court stayed the proceedings under Section 138 on the ground that the same would unnecessarily prejudice the trial in the case arising out of the FIR. The High Court held this to be totally unjust and unfair. It was stated “Though questions would arise in the criminal case under Section 138 NI Act as to whether cheque in question had come in the hands of the petitioner legitimately or not, the contentions of the respondents are a matter of defence which will have to be raised by them, the burden of proof of the requisite facts in such regard being placed on them. There is no reason why the case arising out of above-mentioned FIR should have primacy or priority over the case of the petitioner against the opposite party.” The petition was thus allowed and the impugned stay order was allowed. [Mukesh Aggarwal v. State (NCT of Delhi), 2019 SCC OnLine Del 6843, decided on 28-01-2019]

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Madhya Pradesh High Court: The application was filed before the Bench of S.C. Sharma, J. under Section 438 of Criminal Procedure Code for grant of anticipatory bail.

Applicants were apprehending their arrest for offences punishable under Section 498-A, 506 and 34 of the Penal Code registered with Police Station Pandrinath, Indore. Applicant 1 was the husband and other applicants were the father and mother-in-law of the complainant. Applicant 1 had stated that after 15-20 days of his marriage with complainant he came to Indore. Applicants were alleged for dowry demand and cruelty to complainant. Applicants contended that complainant was having an affair with someone and she was stopped from chatting with him. Even after efforts to peacefully end the marriage, a false complaint against applicants was made. Further, they submitted that they are respectable persons and they do not intend to abscond. It was brought before Court that FIR was lodged against the applicants only after a suit for divorce was filed.

High Court was of the view that bail ought to be granted to the applicants and the applicants should adhere to the conditions mentioned in Section 438(2) CrPC. [Kunal Bagdi v. State of M.P., 2019 SCC OnLine MP 215, Order dated 30-01-2019]

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Gujarat High Court: A Bench of S.H. Vora, J. allowed the special leave petition and quashed the impugned order of detention by the respondent.

In the present case the petitioner was detained by the respondent under the Gujarat Prevention of Anti Social Activities Act, 1985 as a ‘bootlegger’ as defined under Section 2(b) of the said Act. It was contended that the alleged activity could be a breach of law and order but cannot be breach of maintenance of public order.

The Court held that the offences alleged in the FIRs are dealt under relevant penal laws but do not fall within the ambit of the Act mentioned. Further, it referred to Pushker Mukherjee v. State of W.B., (1969) 1 SCC 10 to distinguish between ‘law and order’ and ‘public order’. And since except general statements there was no relevant and cogent material on record to show that all social apparatus was in peril disturbing public order at the instance of such person, it does not fall within the definition under Section 2(b) of the Act. [Vijaypal Sudarshanpal Pal v. State, 2019 SCC OnLine Guj 159, Order dated 29-01-2019]

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Uttaranchal High Court: The Bench of Narayan Singh Dhanik J. disposed a compounding application along with a criminal writ petition and quashed the First Information Report filed against the accused applicant on the ground of amicable settlement of the dispute between the parties.

The instant application had been filed for quashing FIR registered against the applicant under Sections 406, 420, 467, 468 and 471 of the Indian Penal Code. The accused-applicant and respondent-complainant entered into a compromise whereby the loss suffered by respondent was duly compensated and dispute between both the parties had been amicably settled. The complainant had no grudge or grievance against the accused-applicant and hence he was not interested in further prosecution.

The Court observed that though the complainant can be permitted to enter into the compromise for offences under Sections 406 and 420 IPC, but for the offences under Sections 467, 468 and 471 IPC, the complainant has no right to enter into a compromise with the accused. However, it was opined that in the present case, as the complainant and accused had willingly and amicably arrived at compromise; and complainant was not interested in further prosecution, therefore it would be futile to permit future trial inasmuch as it would not reach to its logical and correct conclusion as there is great possibility of witnesses turning hostile.

In view of the above, compromise arrived at between the parties was accepted and the compounding application was allowed. [Akil Ahmad v. State of Uttarakhand, 2019 SCC OnLine Utt 10, Order dated 16-01-2019]

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Punjab and Haryana High Court: This writ petition was filed before the Bench of Rajan Gupta, J., where he addressed five writ petition together which challenged the recommendations given by Zora Singh Commission Report and Ranjit Singh Commission Report where they had to inquire into the incidents of sacrilege and alleged role played by various person, the role of police officials who were alleged of improper and delayed investigation. Thereby, the petitioner prayed for quashing of the above two report’s recommendation.

There were three incident of alleged sacrilege relating to one sarup (set) of Guru Granth Sahib. Various protests were done which turned into major agitation leading to firing by police, as a consequence of which two people had died and few injured. On all three occasions, FIRs were filed. In aftermath of these incidents, the State Government formed Zora Singh Commission deriving its powers from the Commission of Inquiry Act, 1952. Later when elections took place new Government was formed which formed Rajan Singh Commission for an inquiry into the same matter as was inquired by Zora Singh Commission.

Petitioner contended that Section 7 of the Act was not complied according to which, a new commission for an inquiry could not have been created without de-notifying the Commission formed by the previous Government. Advocate General for State referred a case of Abhinandan Jha v. Dinesh Mishra, 1967 (3) SCR 668 and mentioned that the Court could not have interfered with the investigation being carried out or direct it to act in a particular manner.

High Court was of the view that SIT should not be swayed by the observations made by the Commissions. Observations of Commissions are meant only to instruct the mind of Government in order to prevent such incidents in the future. The SIT should conduct a fair, impartial and speedy investigation. It is to be remembered that Commission report are not adjudicatory in nature and have no binding force, is a settled law in light of the above-referred case of Abhinandan Jha. Therefore, this writ petition was dismissed with the aforementioned directions.[Charanjit Singh v. State of Punjab, 2019 SCC OnLine P&H 66, decided on 25-01-2019]

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Meghalaya High Court: The Bench of H.S. Thangkhiew, J. hearing a bail application filed by an accused under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, denied grant of bail opining that the accused was a threat to the victim.

First Information Report was lodged against the accused for committing offence punishable under Section 8 of the POCSO Act, 2012. He was in custody since the date of his arrest as successive bail applications filed by him were rejected by the Special Judge.

Learned counsel for the applicant submitted that the investigation against accused had been completed and hence his further detention was not necessary. Whereas, learned counsel for the respondent submitted that bail should be denied as there were no new facts or materials warranting consideration of grant of bail. Also, the accused was trying to cast undue influence and harassment on the victim by coercing her to enter into a compromise. The said fact of coercion was also recorded in the Special Judge’s order rejecting bail.

The Court opined that normally, after chargesheet is filed, custody of the accused is not needed as the investigation is complete, and since evidence is already collected by the police, there are fewer chances of destruction or concealment of evidence. However, chances of threatening of witnesses may still exist. In the instant case, there was a reasonable apprehension of the witness being tampered with as there were threats to the complainant and the minor victim girl.

It was held that the nature and gravity of circumstances of the offence which involved a minor victim girl under the POCSO Act, and the conduct of accused towards the victim and witnesses weighed against the grant of bail. Accordingly, the present application was rejected.[Sumanta Deka v. State of Meghalaya, 2019 SCC OnLine Megh 1, Order dated 07-01-2019]

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Gujarat High Court: The Bench of A.Y. Kogje, J. allowed a bail application under Section 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 in connection with FIR registered for the offence punishable under Sections 363, 366 and 376(2)(I)(N) IPC and under Sections 3(A), 4, 5(L), 6, 7, 8, 11(6) and 12 of the POCSO Act, 2012.

Additional Public Prosecutor appearing for the respondent-State opposed grant of regular bail looking to the nature and gravity of the offence.

The cardinal fact that was taken into account was that the applicant was aged 24 years, unmarried and was a student whereas the prosecutrix was aged 16 years. The Court while allowing the application stated that by history narrated before the Medical Officer, the element of love affair could not have been ruled out and therefore the present was found to be a fit case to enlarge the accused on bail. [Harsul v. State of  Gujarat, 2019 SCC OnLine Guj 68, Order dated 16-01-2019]

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Gujarat High Court: The Bench of A.Y. Kogje, J., allowed the application for bail sought under Section 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 for regular bail in connection with FIR registered for the offence punishable under Sections 395, 397 and 452 of the Indian Penal Code and under Section 135 of the Gujarat Police Act.

Additional Public Prosecutor appearing for the respondent-State opposed grant of regular bail looking to the nature and gravity of the offence.

The Court considered that there was no recovery or discovery from the applicant regarding the offence. No identification was carried out. Further, there was no evidence connecting the applicant with the offence. Basically, the opposite party was unable to bring on record any special circumstances against the applicant. The court while allowing the application held that the nature of the allegations made against the applicant in the First Information Report were bald and thus it was a fit case to exercise the discretion and enlarge the applicant on regular bail. [Anil Bhawan Vaskeliya v. State of Gujarat, 2019 SCC OnLine Guj 38, decided on 11-01-2019]

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Gujarat High Court: The Bench of Sonia Gokani, J., allowed a petition seeking quashing of the FIR registered with Mahila Police Station under Sections 498-A, 323, 504, 506(2) and 114 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 on the ground that the parties had settled all their disputes.

The facts of the case are that the respondent had been residing along with her husband-petitioner for last about four months and due to the intervention of the family members and friends and also for the better future of their child they chose to bury all their disputes.

The Court placed reliance on the case of Gian Singh v. State Of Punjab, (2012) 10 SCC 303 and held that in view of the nature of disputes being matrimonial and when the parties had voluntarily chosen to end all their grievances by mutual understanding, the Court should show indulgence and invoke the powers under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure for bringing lasting peace between the parties. The application was thus allowed. [Namoribhai Mudjibhai Maheshwari v. State of Gujarat, 2019 SCC OnLine Guj 25, decided on 10-01-2019]

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Gujarat High Court: The Bench of S.H. Vora, J., allowed an appeal made for granting of bail.

The facts of the case are that the appellant was booked for offences committed under Sections 306, 385 and 114 of the Indian Penal Code and Sections 3(2), 5(a) and 3(2)(v) of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. The Sessions Judge had rejected the application moved for bail in reference to this. Present appeal was filed under Section 14-A(2) of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.

The Court, considering the fact that the complaint filed by the complainant did not disclose any role against the appellant, the suicide note was silent and the FIR was registered after 27 days of delay, allowed the current appeal and the appellant was ordered to be released on bail. [Chintan Kaushikbhai Patel v. State Of Gujarat, 2019 SCC OnLine Guj 23, Order dated 10-01-2019]

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Delhi High Court: The Bench of Sunil Gaur, J. quashed an FIR filed against the petitioners for offences punishable under Sections 498-A, 406 and 34 IPC.

Petition was filed seeking quashing of the FIR on the basis of mediated settlement between the parties. Jitender Gupta and Deepak Rohilla, Advocates representing the petitioners submitted that the dispute between the parties was matrimonial in nature which was amicably resolved in terms of mediated settlement dated 15-12-2018. It was also brought to notice of the Court that the parties had been divorced by mutual consent.

The High Court relied on Gian Singh v. State of Punjab, (2012) 10 SCC 303 where the Supreme Court had recognised the need of amicable resolution of disputes in cases like the present one. Inclined to allow the petition, the High Court observed, “Since the subject matter of this FIR is essentially matrimonial, which stands mutually and amicably settled between parties, therefore, the continuance of proceedings arising out of the FIR is question would be an exercise in futility.” Taking note of the mediated settlement between the parties and the fact that they have taken divorce by mutual consent, the Court quashed the FIR and proceedings emanating therefrom. [Rohit Bhargava v. State, 2018 SCC OnLine Del 13177, Order dated 20-12-2018]

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Delhi High Court: A Bench of Sunil Gaur, J. quashed an FIR registered against the petitioners for offences punishable under Sections 498-A, 406 and 34 IPC along with Section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961.

The petitioners who were represented by Sumit Nandvani, Advocate sought quashing of the FIR of the basis of the Mediated Settlement arrived at between the parties at Delhi Mediation Centre, Karkardooma Courts.

The wife submitted that the parties have already been granted divorce by mutual consent. Further, in terms of the settlement, she had received a sum of Rs 7 lakhs. However, she submitted some of the dowry articles including a motorcycle were not returned to her.

Upon perusal of the Mediated Settlement and joint statement made by parties, the High Court found that the wife clearly stated in the statement that she had received the alimony, stridhan, etc. in a full and final. Therefore, according to the Court subsequently she could not be heard to say that she had not received certain dowry articles. It was observed that ” party cannot be allowed to wriggle out of a mediated settlement unless vitiated by misrepresentation, etc.” In the present case, there was no allegation of any misrepresentation against the petitioners so the wife was bound by the statement. Therefore, the petition was allowed and the FIR was quashed. [Amandeep Singh v. State, 2018 SCC OnLine Del 13125, dated 18-12-2018]

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Delhi High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of R.K. Gauba, J. declined to exercise jurisdiction under Section 482 CrPC to quash an FIR registered against the petitioner.

The petitioner was facing criminal prosecution under Section 135 of the Electricity Act, 2003. The petitioner who was represented by V.K. Sharma, Advocate sought quashing of FIR on the basis of payment of Rs 1,60,000 to the power distribution company. The prime contention was that the dispute being of civil liability, therefore the ruling of Supreme Court in Parbatbhai Aahir v. State of Gujarat, (2017) 9 SCC 641 would not apply.

The High Court reproduced the relevant portion of board principles governing the exercise of extraordinary power and jurisdiction of the Court under Section 482 CrPC as observed in Parbatbhai case. As far as the present case concerned, the Court observed that “Theft of electrical energy is menace which the society suffers at great cost to itself and to the State. It is a serious offence which affects the financial and economic well being of the State having implications which lie beyond the domain of a mere dispute between private disputants”. Opining that such offence cannot be termed to be private in nature, the Court held that exercising jurisdiction under Section 482, in this case, would be a misplaced sympathy. Consequently, the application was dismissed. [Mukesh Chand v. State (NCT of Delhi), 2018 SCC OnLine Del 13031, dated 10-12-2018]

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Delhi High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Sunil Gaur, J. quashed an FIR registered against the petitioners for an offence punishable under Section 307 IPC in light of the amicable resolution of dispute between the parties.

One of the petitioners was alleged to have given a knife blow on the left hip and right thigh to one Arjun. Another petitioner was alleged to have given a brick blow to him. Remaining two petitioners were bystanders. Injuries sustained by Arjun were opined to be simple in nature.

Jagdev Singh, Advocate moved the petition on behalf of the petitioners seeking to quash the FIR on the basis of compromise entered into between the parties as also on the ground that the misunderstanding which led to registration of the FIR stood clarified between the parties. The complainant and the injured present before the Court supported the submissions of the petitioners.

The High Court, at the outset, observed that the offence committed by the petitioners did not come within the ambit of Section 307. At best it could come within the purview of Section 325. Reference was made to Gian Singh v. State of Punjab, (2012) 10 SCC 303 wherein the Supreme Court had recognised the need for amicable resolution of disputes in cases like the present one. It was noted that the parties were from lower strata of society. Since the differences between the parties were amicably resolved, the misunderstanding stood clarified and in light of the compromise deed, the Court held that continuation of proceedings would be an exercise in futility. Therefore, the FIR and proceedings emanating therefrom were quashed. [Arun Mohan v. State (NCT of Delhi), 2018 SCC OnLine Del 13131, dated 18-12-2018]

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Uttaranchal High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Narayan Singh Dhanik, J. partly allowed a petition as a prima facie case was made out against the accused.

The applicant has prayed for quashing the Criminal Case filed under Sections 147, 148, 149, 452, 504, 323, 427 IPC and one under Section 3(1)x of the SC/ST Act.

The respondent through his counsel Pratiropp Pandey has filed an FIR by alleging that the applicant armed with a sword, pistol and lathi entered into his house and hurled abuses and caste indicating words “Neech” and “Chamar” and also assaulted him as well as his brother along with looting articles from his house. The applicant through his counsel Amit Kapri has contended that the provisions of the SC/ST Act were not attracted in this case as the FIR nowhere states that that the applicant does not belong Scheduled Caste or the Scheduled Tribe and that they intentionally insulted or intimidated the complainant and his brother with intent to humiliate them in a place within public view.

The Court here was of the view that the basic element needed to prosecute the applicant was missing here and thus the offence under the SC/ST Act cannot be sustained nonetheless the rest of the claim stood allowed.[Mahendra Bhatt v. State of Uttarakhand,2018 SCC OnLine Utt 1022, decided on 14-12-2018]

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Delhi High Court: A Single Judge Bench of R.K. Gauba, J. allowed a petition for quashing of criminal proceedings pending against in light of the settlement between the parties.

Disputes arose between the petitioner and his wife which led to FIRs being lodged against each other. Subsequently, the parties entered into a settlement. They approached the matrimonial court for divorce by mutual consent. Recording the joint statement by the parties, the matrimonial court decreed the divorce by mutual consent. On the basis of the resolution between the parties, the petitioner and his relatives approached the High Court under Section 482 CrPC for quashing criminal cases against them. However, owing to such framing of the petition, the case under one of the FIRs only was quashed. Notably, the wife submitted no objection thereto. Now, the petitioner was before the Court praying the quashing of the case under the second FIR but the wife raised an objection that there being no fresh settlement, the present petition could not be entertained.

The High Court perused the record and did not agree with the objection. It noted that the settlement leading to divorce and quashing of criminal case was comprehensive, the parties specifically referred to all litigations including the second FIR. The intent of parties was to bring an end to all litigations. As such, the continuation of proceedings would be an abuse of process of the Court. Therefore, the petition was allowed and the proceedings under the second FIR were quashed. [Sandeep Dutta v. State (NCT of Delhi), 2018 SCC OnLine Del 13029, dated 11-12-2018]

 

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Delhi High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Mukta Gupta, J. dismissed a criminal writ petition filed by the husband praying quashing of FIR under Section 498-A IPC and complaint under Section 12 of Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 (DV Act).

The grounds for seeking quashing of the FIR and the complaint was that they were registered to wreak vengeance and were beyond the period of limitation as the parties separated in 2014. It is pertinent to note that the wife had filed a complaint before CAW Cell in 2015 where a settlement was arrived at between the parties at pre-litigation mediation. However, it was not fully acted upon and even after an application the earlier complaint could not be revived. Thus, the filed fresh complaint in 2018.

The High Court was of the view that the FIR was within the period of limitation. Relying on Vanka Radhamanohari v. Vanka Venkata Reddy, (1993) 3 SCC 4 and Asha Ahuja v. Rajesh Ahuja, 2003 SCC OnLine Del 316, the Court held that Section 468 CrPC which deals with “bar to taking cognizance after lapse of period of limitation” is to be read with Section 473 which provides for “extension of period of limitation in certain cases”. Further relying on Arun Vyas v. Anita Vyas, (1999) 4 SCC 690, it was held that is a continuing offence and each occasion of “cruelty” is a new starting point of limitation. As far as a complaint under Section 12 DV Act is concerned, it was noted that it related to the grant of maintenance for the wife and minor child. It was held that “not providing maintenance is a continuous cause of action and even if for three years the wife did not claim maintenance for herself or for the child, the same would not debar her from seeking maintenance under Section 12 DV Act and the complaint thereon cannot be dismissed being barred by limitation”. In such view of the matter, the petition was dismissed. [Anthony Jose v. State (NCT of Delhi), 2018 SCC OnLine Del 12956, decided on 05-12-2018]