Madhya Pradesh High Court: Rajeev Kumar Shrivastava, J. allowed a petition which was filed to quash FIR for offence under Sections 498-A, 506, 34 of IPC and other subsequent proceedings initiated therefrom.

The complainant (herein respondent 2) along with her brother made a written complaint stating therein, that her marriage was performed with the petitioner and her father had given sufficient dowry including spent of Rs.15 lac for her marriage and had given cash of Rs.15 lac at the time of ”Tika”. After some days of her marriage, her in-laws started demanding dowry and also, committed ”marpeet” and thereafter, turn out of her in-laws house. A complaint was also made in the conciliation centre but no fruitful purpose could be served. It was further alleged that petitioner 1, 2,3 and 4 were demanding Rs. 15 lac for purchase of a flat and if she did not fulfill the same, they could not keep her in house and would kill her.

Counsel appearing for the petitioners submitted that the entire allegations are completely false and FIR itself lodged with clear motive to harass and pressurize the petitioners. It was submitted that the complainant was a quarrelsome lady and used to quarrel with her in-laws as she has no interest to live peacefully with them and even she does not want to live with her husband. The attitude as well as conduct of complainant towards her in-laws is not good since the date of marriage. On account of conduct and behaviour of complainant petitioner 1 filed a petition under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act for dissolution of marriage before Family Court, petitioner 3 had also filed a complaint before the Court of AJCM under Sections 406, 504 of IPC against the complainant and her family and on the basis of counter-blast, the complainant had falsely lodged the present FIR against the petitioners.

The controversy involved in the present matter was as to whether impugned FIR has been lodged by complainant with a revengeful intent or only to wreck vengeance as against the petitioners or not?

The Court relied on the judgment of the Supreme Court in State of Haryana v. Bhajan Lal, 1992 Supp (1) SCC 335 wherein it has been held that where a criminal proceeding is manifestly attended with mala fide and/or where the proceedings is maliciously instituted with an ulterior motive for wrecking vengeance on the accused and with a view to spite him due to private and personal grudge, then criminal proceeding can be quashed exercising the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court under Section 482 of the Code. Similar judgment was also given by the Supreme Court in Social Action Forum for Manav Adhikar v. Union of India, (2018) 10 SCC 443.

The Court was of the view that allegations made against petitioners were general and omnibus, therefore, they cannot be prosecuted under Section 498A of IPC. It was further stated by the Court that in the case at hand, earlier a petition under Section 13 of Hindu Marriage Act was filed by husband of complainant and then a complaint was also filed by father-in-law of complainant where-after, the conciliation proceedings could not be succeeded due to difference of thoughts whatsoever between complainant and her husband. The Court believed that the FIR made by complainant was nothing, but only to wreck vengeance so also with a revengeful intent in order to pressurize and harass the petitioners.

The Court allowed the petition and held that the fact that respondent 2 had left her matrimonial home voluntarily without any rhyme and it was a fault on the part of the complainant to live separately prior to filing of the impugned FIR and in absence of specific allegation of demand of dowry or harassment, the impugned FIR deserves to be quashed.[Alok Lodhi v. State of M.P.,  2022 SCC OnLine MP 750, decided on 07-04-2022]

Shri Prasun Maheshwari, counsel for petitioners.

Shri Nitin Goyal, Panel Lawyer for respondent 1/State.

Shri Suresh Agrawal, counsel for respondent 2.

Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

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