Case BriefsHigh Courts

Jharkhand High Court: Amitav K. Gupta, J. disposed of the writ petition holding that for the purpose of Section 498-A Penal Code, 1860 the strict proof of legal marriage is not required in such circumstances wherein the pleadings and evidence are enough to prove the same.

The facts of the instant case are that the petitioner was found sleeping with the husband of the informant at her husband’s house. It is alleged that the petitioner is the second wife. That on the said allegation cognizance has been taken for the offence under Section 498-A IPC against the petitioner.

The counsel for the petitioner relied on the decision of the Supreme Court in U. Suvetha v. State, (2009) 6 SCC 757 and contented that it has been observed by the Supreme Court that the relative of the husband will not include the girlfriend or concubine for attracting the offence under Section 498-A IPC. It was further argued that the informant has stated that the petitioner is the second wife but there is no proof regarding the solemnization of marriage. Hence, even if the allegation is presumed to be true then at best the petitioner can be termed as a mistress or a girlfriend but cannot be categorized as a wife as there is no legal proof for the same.

The counsel for the State has submitted that factum of marriage can only be established when the evidence is led and that in the decision relied above, it has been held by the Supreme Court that proof of a legal marriage in the rigid sense as required under civil law is unnecessary for establishing an offence under Section 498-A IPC.

The Court perused the facts and without getting into the merits of the case held that the trial court had examined six witnesses out of nine charge-sheeted witnesses and the court below has taken steps for securing the attendance of the rest of the witnesses. In the decision relied on by the counsel for the petitioner the Supreme Court has held that if from the pleadings and evidence the court finds that the woman concerned is regarded as wife and not as a mere mistress, she can be considered to be a wife and consequently as the relative of the husband for the purpose of Section 498-A IPC and strict proof of a legal marriage as required under civil law is unnecessary. [Rupa Devi v. State of Jharkhand, 2019 SCC OnLine Jhar 1200, decided on 28-08-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Patna High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Ahsanuddin Amanullah, J. dismissed a criminal petition filed under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 praying for quashing of lower court’s order whereby a prima facie case under Sections 420 and 120-B of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 was made out against petitioner.

In the present case, respondent 2 had on petitioner’s persuasion, he invested in a company named Panjon Finance and an agreement was executed between the parties where it was stipulated that shares would mature after four years when repayment would be made to the respondent by the company. It is alleged that upon expiry of the term, despite several reminders and request to pay back the amount as per terms of the agreement, the same was not done leading to filing of a complaint under IPC. 

Learned counsels for the petitioner Mr Ajay Kumar Thakur, Mr Nilesh Kumar, Mr Pravin Kumar and Mr Udbhav submitted that the petitioner was merely an employee of the company and since he had only signed as a witness on the agreement, he could not be made criminally liable for non-performance of terms of the agreement. The dispute was purely a money dispute which could be resolved through civil law.

The Court opined that petitioner, in the capacity of the company’s local manager company, persuaded the respondent for investment.  Respondent 2 had relied on him and his trust was belied by the petitioner. As such, a prima facie case was made out against the petitioner. Relying on the dictum in State of Haryana v. Bhajan Lal, 1992 Supp (1) SCC 335 it was held that there was no infirmity in lower court’s order and the petition was dismissed.[Dharmendra Kumar v. State of Bihar,2018 SCC OnLine Pat 2218, decided on 13-12-2018]