Delhi High Court deprecates children being used as an instrument in matrimonial disputes; Directs lawyer husband to do 10 pro bono cases

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Delhi High Court: Two petitions were filed seeking quashing of FIR registered at PS New Usmanpur, Delhi under Sections 498-A, 406, 34 IPC and Section 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, in FIR registered at PS Amar Colony under Section 354 IPC and 10 POCSO Act. Dinesh Kumar Sharma, J., quashed the FIR filed under Sections 498-A, 406 and 34 IPC and Section 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 along with the FIR registered under Section 354 IPC and 10 POCSO Act and all subsequent proceedings emanating therefrom.

Two FIRs were lodged on the complaint of the wife of the petitioner, one was lodged on 31-12-2020 under Sections 498-A, 406, and 34 IPC and Section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, alleging that the petitioner has committed mental and physical harassment, cruelty, dowry demand, beatings, and caused threat to her life. The other was registered on 17-11-2020 under Sections 354 IPC and 10 POCSO Act alleging that the petitioner misappropriately touched the private part of their daughter.

Counsel for the parties submitted that both the above said FIRs stemmed from a matrimonial dispute between the parties, however, while the proceedings were underway, the parties reached on an amicable settlement on 11.05.2023 before the Mediation Centre, Saket Courts. It was further submitted that in terms of the above settlement, the parties have already been granted Talaq-E-Mubarat and since the parties have amicably resolved all their disputes and no longer wish to pursue the present FIRs, it would be futile to keep the present complaints pending as the same would amount to abuse of the process of the court.

The Court noted that the issue in the present case stems from a matrimonial dispute between the parties. The parties have already settled the matter and have been granted Talaq. The Court acknowledged the growing tendency in parties alleging grave allegations on one another merely to win matrimonial battles and strongly deprecated the practice of children being used as an instrument to set the criminal justice in motion solely to harass or intimidate the other party. Thus, the Courts must adopt a pragmatic approach and quash criminal proceedings for justifiable reasons, given the peculiar facts and circumstances of the case.

The Court further noted that in the present case, the complainant no longer wishes to pursue the complaints, thus making the chances of conviction bleak, given that the complainant does not wish to pursue the present complaints on account of the amicable settlement. It is pertinent to mention that the children born from the wedlock will be free to pursue their legal rights in accordance with the law. The parties have entered a settlement only with regard to their rights and titles. The rights, titles, and interests of the children to pursue their legal remedies as per law are left open.

The Court quashed the FIRs and directed the petitioner, being a lawyer by profession, to do ten pro bono cases as cases of an instant nature place a burden on the criminal justice system. Thus, the Court requested the Secretary, Delhi State Legal Service Committee to assign ten pro bono cases to the petitioner.

[Wasim Ahmad v Govt of NCT of Delhi, 2023 SCC OnLine Del 5579, 29-08-2023]

Advocates who appeared in this case :

Mr. D. K. Srivastava, Adv. with petitioners.

Ms. Rupali Bandhopadhyay, ASC for the State with SI Shantanu PS Amar Colony Mr. Amit Sahni, APP for the state Mr. Anil Basoya, Adv. for R-2

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