Calcutta High Court: A single bench comprising of Shampa Dutt (Paul),* J., quashed the impugned criminal proceeding pending before the Judicial Magistrate and all related orders and held that the criminal proceedings against the petitioner that she allegedly took ornaments with her upon leaving the matrimonial home is unjustified.
In the instant matter, the petitioner is the wife of the complainant/opposite party, and they got married in 1999. On 14-05-2019, after 29 years of marriage, the petitioner lodged a complaint against her husband under Sections 498A/323/324/506 of the Penal Code, 1860 (IPC) after alleged torture and abuse since marriage. In response, the complainant initiated a counter-complaint against the petitioner and others under Sections 420/468/471/120B/34 IPC. The petitioner claims that the complainant falsely implicated her in criminal cases and misused his status as a practicing advocate to do so.
The petitioner preferred the present revision praying for quashing of the criminal proceeding pending before the Judicial Magistrate and all related orders.
The petitioner contended that the proceeding against her is an abuse of the court process, and the order of cognizance taken by the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate suffers from non-application of mind and relied on Anupriya Pal v. State of U.P., (2019) 14 SCC 643, wherein the Supreme Court quashed criminal proceedings initiated as a counterblast to maintenance claims. On the other hand, the opposite party contended that there is sufficient evidence on record to proceed with the trial.
While examining the allegations and evidence presented by both parties, the Court observed that the items listed in the complaint that the petitioner allegedly took with her upon leaving the matrimonial home, which form the basis of the alleged criminal offenses, are traditional ornaments and belongings of a married woman and these allegations do not establish any case under Sections 420/406/467/468/471/120B/34 of the IPC.
“These ornaments/accessories as described, are worn on regular basis by a traditional Bengali married woman, who chooses to wear them. The phones which might be for her own use and the ornaments as described, cannot be the basis of a criminal case between a married couple, that too, after 29 years of marriage.”
The Court held that these allegations are not sufficient to warrant criminal prosecution against the petitioner after such a long period of marriage.
The Court allowed the revision application and quashed the proceedings and all related orders and suggested that the petitioner can avail legal aid for future proceedings.
[Mithu Dash v. State of W.B., 2023 SCC OnLine Cal 2221, order dated 01-08-2023]
*Judgment by Justice Shampa Dutt (Paul)
Advocates who appeared in this case :
Mr. Sanat Kumar Das, Mr. Satadru Lahiri, Mr. Safdar Azam, Counsel for the Petitioner
Mr. Subham Bhakat., Counsel for the State
Mr. Manas Kumar Das, Mr. Aritra Kumar Talukder, Counsel for the Opposite Party 2