Case BriefsHigh Courts

Karnataka High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of K. Somashekar, J., decided a criminal appeal filed under Section 374(2) of IPC, wherein the Court set aside the order of conviction and sentence passed by the trial court against the accused-appellant for offence punishable under 498-A of IPC.

It was alleged that the accused picked quarrels with his deceased wife and did not allow her to visit her paternal house. Parents of the deceased wife who were the complainants alleged that the accused harassed the deceased and treated her with cruelty and due to this reason, she committed suicide. Learned counsel for the appellant relied on the testimony of defence witnesses including the sister of the deceased and the eldest son of the accused and the deceased. The said witnesses stated that relations between the accused husband and the deceased wife were cordial, they were happily married for more than eleven years. The deceased was upset and disturbed due to the losses incurred by her family after the shed of their house had collapsed and also because their lorry met with an accident. Counsel submitted that the trial court erred in appreciating the evidence in proper light and prayed that the order of conviction and sentenced passed against the accused may be sat aside.

The High Court perused the evidence and considered the submissions made on behalf of the parties. The Court found that the statements of prosecution witnesses were full of contradictions; while on the other hand the facts and testimony of defence witnesses show that the relations between the husband and wife were cordial for over eleven years. There was no other evidence led on behalf of the prosecution to prove guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt. The Court held that in such circumstances it was safe to say that decision of the trial court was not based on proper appreciation of evidence and hence, it was liable to be set aside.

Accordingly, the order of conviction and sentence under Section 498-A of IPC passed against the accused by the trial court was set aside and the he was acquitted of the charges leveled against him. [Srinivasa Gowda v. State of Karnataka, Crl. Appeal No. 355 of 2010, dated February 28, 2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Karnataka High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of K.N. Phaneendra, J., decided a criminal petition filed under Section 482 of CrPC, wherein the proceedings against the petitioner before the trial court under Section 498-A IPC and other sections were quashed.

The petitioner was the brother of Accused 1 and a co-accused in a criminal case under Section 498-A of IPC along with other sections. The deceased was the wife of Accused 1 who committed suicide allegedly due to harassment and demand of dowry by the family of Accused 1 which was mentioned in the suicide note. No specific acts were mentioned against the petitioner even in the said note except that he once abused the deceased. No allegation with regard to demand of dowry was attributable to the petitioner.

The Court considered whether the said allegation was sufficient to attract Section 498-A. After perusing the section, the Court was of the view that ‘wilful misconduct’ of the petitioner herein must have been of such a nature that was likely to drive a woman to commit suicide. It was also observed that in order to felicitate a person to commit suicide, there must be abetment thereof. The Court also perused Section 107 of IPC and observed that there must be some nexus between the abetment and the suicide caused as a result thereof. The Court found that in the instant case the nature of the act alleged against the petitioner was not such that would amount to willful misconduct that was likely to drive a woman to commit suicide; it seemed that the petitioner was arraigned as an accused to bring him to books only because he was related to Accused 1.

Since the allegations were not sufficient to constitute an offence under the said section, the proceedings against the petitioner were quashed. [Chethan v. State, Crl. Petition No. 5185 of 2017, order dated 7.2.2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Punjab and Haryana High Court: The High Court recently addressed the case of petitioners under Section 482 CrPC for quashing the FIR filed under Sections 323, 406, 498-A, 420, 506 and 120-B IPC on the ground that they had been falsely implicated in the case. Petitioner 1  was the mother-in-law of the complainant who lodged complaint against her as well as her husband after the matrimonial relations of complainant and her husband did not remain cordial any more.

After the registration of FIR, when the DSP thoroughly investigated into the matter, he concluded that the dispute was between the husband and wife and no role could be attributed to Kamaljit Kaur- the petitioner. After this, the complainant prepared a Divorce Deed in which she had clearly testified that she was giving divorce to her husband and had received lump sum money from the petitioner as life time maintenance as well as alimony.

However after this, the complainant filed a complaint against the petitioner under Section 156(3) CrPC before the Magistrate alleging the demand of dowry from her. The petitioner now before the High Court contended that she had been roped in the case without any adequate reasons and that the dispute was between her daughter-in-law and the son who does not even reside with them, but in Canada. The petitioner also highlighted the contents of the ‘Divorce Deed’ that had been signed by the complainant.

The Court looked into the antecedents of the case and found that main allegations of the complainant have been against her husband that he solemnized another marriage in Canada after taking dowry from her father and did not talk to her after that and so on. The Court observed that the allegations were general in nature qua the petitioners and thus, not sustainable. Also, the Bench of Jaishree Thakur, J. said that details made out in the FIR do not satisfy the ingredients of Sections 406 and 498-A against the petitioners.

The Bench cited Preeti Gupta v. State of Jharkhand, (2010) 7 SCC 667 in support of its observations in which it has been laid down by the Supreme Court that the allegations of harassment of husband’s close relations to the complainant filing under Section 498-A, should be scrutinized with great care and circumspection. It further considered the fact that the petitioner had already paid maintenance to the complainant and was also looking after the minor child of complainant and her husband, it decide to accept the petition and quash the FIR against petitioners. [Kamaljit Kaur @ Kamla Devi v. State of Haryana, 2017 SCC OnLine P&H 2344, decided on 15.09.2017]