Archive for the '498A Quash' Category

SC Explains Section 188 – Thota Venkateswarlu Vs. State of A.P

Thota Venkateswarlu Vs. State of A.P. through Principal Secretary

ALTAMAS KABIR, J.

1. This Special Leave Petition is directed against the judgment and order dated 27th August, 2008, passed by the High Court of Andhra Pradesh at Hyderabad in Criminal Petition No.3629 of 2008 dismissing the Petition filed by the Petitioner under Section 482 Criminal Procedure Code (‘Cr.P.C.’ for short) for quashing the proceedings in Complaint Case No.307 of 2007 pending before the Additional Munsif Magistrate, Addanki. This case raises certain interesting questions of law and to appreciate the same, some of the facts are required to be reproduced.

2. The Petitioner, Thota Venkateswarlu, was married to the Respondent No.2, Parvathareddy Suneetha, on 27th November, 2005, as per Hindu traditions and customs in the Sitharama Police Kalyana Mandapam, Ongole, Prakasam District, Andhra Pradesh. At the time of marriage 12 lakhs in cash, 45 sovereigns of gold and 50,000/- as Adapaduchu Katnam is alleged to have been given to the Accused Nos.1 to 4, who are the husband, the mother-in-law and other relatives of the husband. According to the Respondent No.2, the Petitioner left India for Botswana in January 2006 without taking her along with him. However, in February, 2006, the Respondent No.2 went to Botswana to join the Petitioner. While in Botswana, the Respondent No.2 is alleged to have been severely ill-treated by the Petitioner and apart from the above, various demands were also made including a demand for additional dowry of 5 lakhs.

On account of such physical and mental torture not only by the Petitioner/husband, but also by his immediate relatives, who continued to demand additional dowry by way of phone calls from India, the Respondent No.2 addressed a complaint to the Superintendent of Police, Ongole, Prakasam District, Andhra Pradesh, from Botswana and the same was registered as Case (Crl.) No.25 of 2007 under Sections 498-A and 506 Indian Penal Code (‘I.P.C.’ for short) together with Sections 3 and 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1986, by the Station House Officer, Medarametla Police Station, on the instructions of the Superintendent of Police, Prakasam District. Upon investigation into the complaint filed by the Respondent No.2, the Inspector of Police, Medarametla, filed a charge-sheet in CC No.307 of 2007 in the Court of the Additional Munsif Magistrate, Addanki, Prakasam District, under Sections 498-A and 506 I.P.C. and Sections 3 and 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act against the Petitioner and his father, mother and sister, who were named as Accused Nos.2, 3 and 4. The learned Magistrate took cognizance of the aforesaid case and by his order dated 19th February, 2007, ordered issuance of summons against the accused.

3. The cognizance taken by the learned Magistrate was questioned by the Petitioner and the other co-accused before the Andhra Pradesh High Court in Criminal Petition Nos.3629 and 2746 of 2008 respectively and a prayer was made for quashing of the same under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The High Court by its order dated 27th August, 2008, allowed Criminal Petition No.2746 of 2008 filed by the Accused Nos.2 to 4 and quashed the proceedings against them. However, Criminal Petition No.3629 of 2008 filed by the Petitioner herein was dismissed. The present Special Leave Petition is directed against the said order of the High Court rejecting the Petitioner’s petition under Section 482 Cr.P.C. and declining to quash Complaint Case No.307 of 2007 initiated against him.

4. The submissions made by the learned counsel for the Petitioner before this Court have raised certain important questions which warrant the attention of this Court.

5. It has been submitted on behalf of the Petitioner that as will appear from the complaint made by the Respondent No.2 to the Superintendent of Police, Ongole, Prakasam District, Andhra Pradesh on 22nd March, 2007, no grounds had been made out therein to continue with the proceedings in India, having regard to the provisions of Section 188 Cr.P.C., which provides as follows :- “188. Offence committed outside India – When an offence is committed outside India- (a) by a citizen of India, whether on the high seas or elsewhere; or (b) by a person, not being such citizen, on any ship or aircraft registered in India. he may be dealt with in respect of such offence as if it had been committed at any place within India at which he may be found: Provided that, notwithstanding anything in any of the preceding sections of this Chapter, no such offence shall be inquired into or tried in India except with the previous sanction of the Central Government.”

6. Learned counsel urged that Section 188 Cr.P.C. recognizes that when an offence is committed outside India by a citizen of India, he would have to be dealt with as if such offence had been committed in any place within India at which he may be found. Learned counsel, however, laid stress on the proviso which indicates that no such offence could be inquired into or tried in India except with the previous sanction of the Central Government [Emphasis Supplied]. Learned counsel submitted that in respect of an offence committed outside India, the same could not be proceeded with without previous sanction of the Central Government and that, accordingly, even if any of the offences was allegedly committed inside India, trial in respect of the same could continue, but the trial in respect of the offences committed outside India could not be continued, without the previous sanction of the Central Government.

7. On behalf of the Respondents it was urged that a part of the alleged offences relating to the Dowry Prohibition Act did appear to have arisen in India, even at the initial stage when various articles, including large sums of cash and jewellery were given in dowry by the father of the Respondent No.2. It was submitted that since a part of the cause of action had arisen in India on account of alleged offences under Sections 3 and 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1968, the learned Magistrate trying the said complaint could also try the other offences alleged to have been committed outside India along with the said offences. Reliance was placed on the decision of this Court in Ajay Aggarwal vs. Union of India & Ors. [(1993) 3 SCC 609], wherein it had been held that obtaining the previous sanction of the Central Government was not a condition precedent for taking cognizance of offences, since sanction could be obtained before trial begins.

8. The question which we have been called upon to consider in this case is whether in respect of a series of offences arising out of the same transaction, some of which were committed within India and some outside India, such offences could be tried together, without the previous sanction of the Central Government, as envisaged in the proviso to Section 188 Cr.P.C.

9. From the complaint made by the Respondent No.2 in the present case, it is clear that the cases relating to alleged offences under Section 498-A and 506 I.P.C. had been committed outside India in Botswana, where the Petitioner and the Respondent No.2 were residing. At best it may be said that the alleged offences under Sections 3 and 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act occurred within the territorial jurisdiction of the Criminal Courts in India and could, therefore, be tried by the Courts in India without having to obtain the previous sanction of the Central Government. However, we are still left with the question as to whether in cases where the offences are alleged to have been committed outside India, any previous sanction is required to be taken by the prosecuting agency, before the trial can commence.

10. The language of Section 188 Cr.P.C. is quite clear that when an offence is committed outside India by a citizen of India, he may be dealt with in respect of such offences as if they had been committed in India. The proviso, however, indicates that such offences could be inquired into or tried only after having obtained the previous sanction of the Central Government. As mentioned hereinbefore, in Ajay Aggarwal’s case (supra), it was held that sanction under Section 188 Cr.P.C. is not a condition precedent for taking cognizance of an offence and, if need be, it could be obtained before the trial begins. Even in his concurring judgment, R.M. Sahai, J., observed as follows :-

“29. Language of the section is plain and simple. It operates where an offence is committed by a citizen of India outside the country. Requirements are, therefore, one – commission of an offence; second by an Indian citizen; and third — that it should have been committed outside the country.”Although the decision in Ajay Aggarwal’s case (supra) was rendered in the background of a conspiracy alleged to have been hatched by the accused, the ratio of the decision is confined to what has been observed hereinabove in the interpretation of Section 188 Cr.P.C.

The proviso to Section 188, which has been extracted hereinbefore, is a fetter on the powers of the investigating authority to inquire into or try any offence mentioned in the earlier part of the Section, except with the previous sanction of the Central Government. The fetters, however, are imposed only when the stage of trial is reached, which clearly indicates that no sanction in terms of Section 188 is required till commencement of the trial. It is only after the decision to try the offender in India was felt necessary that the previous sanction of the Central Government would be required before the trial could commence.

11. Accordingly, upto the stage of taking cognizance, no previous sanction would be required from the Central Government in terms of the proviso to Section 188 Cr.P.C. However, the trial cannot proceed beyond the cognizance stage without the previous sanction of the Central Government. The Magistrate is, therefore, free to proceed against the accused in respect of offences having been committed in India and to complete the trial and pass judgment therein, without being inhibited by the other alleged offences for which sanction would be required.

12. It may also be indicated that the provisions of the Indian Penal Code have been extended to offences committed by any citizen of India in any place within and beyond India by virtue of Section 4 thereof. Accordingly, offences committed in Botswana by an Indian citizen would also be amenable to the provisions of the Indian Penal Code, subject to the limitation imposed under the proviso to Section 188 Cr.P.C.

13. Having regard to the above, while we see no reason to interfere with the High Court’s decision to reject the petitioner’s prayer for quashing of the proceedings in Complaint Case No.307 of 2007, we also make it clear that the learned Magistrate may proceed with the trial relating to the offences alleged to have been committed in India. However, in respect of offences alleged to have been committed outside India, the learned Magistrate shall not proceed with the trial without the sanction of the Central Government as envisaged in the proviso to Section 188 Cr.P.C.

14. The Special Leave Petition is disposed of accordingly.

………………………………………………………J. (ALTAMAS KABIR)

………………………………………………………J. (CYRIAC JOSEPH)

………………………………………………………J. (SURINDER SINGH NIJJAR)

New Delhi,

Dated: 02.09.2011.

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SC Explains Conditions For The Quash Of An FIR – 2009

This is a 498A case, Sundar BabuVs State Of Tamil Nadu (CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 773 OF 2003) – 2009.

Here are the conditions under which an FIR can be quashed:

1  Where the allegations made in the first information report or the complaint, even if they are taken at their face value and accepted in their entirety do not prima facie constitute any offence or make out a case against the accused.

2  Where the allegations in the first information report and other materials, if any, accompanying the FIR do not disclose a cognizable offence, justifying an investigation by police officers under Sec.156(1) of the Code except under an order of a Magistrate within the purview of Sec.155(2) of the Code.

3  Where the uncontroverted allegations made in the FIR or complaint and the evidence collected in support of the same do not disclose the commission of any offence and make out a case against the accused.

4  Where, the allegations in the FIR do not constitute a cognizable offence but constitute only a non-cognizable offence, no investigation is permitted by a police officer without an order of a Magistrate as contemplated under Sec. 155 (2) of the Code.

5  Where the allegations made in the FIR or complaint are so absurd and inherently improbable on the basis of which no prudent person can ever reach a just conclusion that there is sufficient ground for proceeding against the accused.

6   Where there is an express legal bar engrafted in any of the provisions of the Code or the concerned Act (under which a criminal proceeding is instituted) to the institution and continuance of the proceedings and/or where there is a specific provision in the Code or the concerned Act, providing efficacious redress for the grievance of the aggrieved party.

7  Where a criminal proceeding is manifestly attended with mala fide and/or where the proceeding is maliciously instituted with an ulterior motive for wreaking vengeance on the accused and with a view to spite him due to private and personal grudge.

Here is the judgment: SC-FIR-498A-Quash – 2009

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Justice Dhingra Explains Section 482 Of IPC (HC Quash Petition)

The courts have always been reluctant to quash a case under Section 482 IPC.

I have written about it here: Understanding High Court Quash Petitions (Section 482 Of CrPC)

The best explanation of the view of the courts, in my opinion, has been given by Justice Dhingra.

This is what he says:

“While exercising powers under Section 482 of the Cr. P.C. the Court has to keep in mind that it should not ordinarily embark upon an enquiry whether the evidence in question is reliable or not or whether on a reasonable appreciation of it accusation would not be sustained. This is a function of the Trial Court. Though the judicial process should not be an instrument of oppression or needless harassment but the Court should be circumspect and judicious in exercising discretion and should take all relevant facts and circumstances in consideration before issuing process under Section 482 lest the Section becomes an instrument in the hands of accused persons to claim differential treatment only because the accused persons can spend money to approach higher forums. This Section is not an instrument handed over to an accused to short circuit a prosecution and bring about its sudden death. “

Here is the judgment I pulled this from : Justice Dhingra Explains Section 482

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A Gujarati Guide To Surviving IPC 498A

This is a translated, though slightly older version of the popular Guide To Surviving IPC 498A.

Download the pdf here:

A Gujarati Guide To Surviving IPC 498A (pdf)

All the supporting material in the form of judgments, etc, in English, are here:

The 498A Survival Kit

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SC-Maintenance From Parents In Law Cannot Be Claimed By DIL – 2008

Here is the judgment: SC-Maintenance Cannot Be Claimed By DIL – 2008

Parents-in-law can’t be forced to maintain daughter-in-law:

The Supreme Court has ruled that a woman, if neglected by her husband, cannot eye her mother-in-law’s property for getting maintenance. Maintenance of a married woman is her husband’s personal obligation and the property in her mother-in-law’s name can never be the subject matter of the obligation to maintain a daughter-in-law even after the death of her husband, said a Bench comprising Justices S B Sinha and V S Sirpurkar. A woman lawyer, who had filed several cases against her parents-in-law in Chincholi, Karnataka, had even taken recourse to litigation to see that their property was auctioned for getting the maintenance she was entitled to from their son. Disapproving the extra-legal arguments taken by her and deprecating the trial court and the Karnataka High Court overstretching the law as well as their jurisdiction to go by her pleadings, the Bench said a woman could seek attachment of properties only if her husband had a share in it. This means, if the parents-inlaw’s properties were self-acquired and not inherited, then their daughter-in-law could institute suits seeking attachment of those properties which stood in the name of her husband and not against those owned by his parents. Referring to the plea of the daughter-in-law, Sonalben, the Bench said she might be entitled to maintenance from her husband and the decree in her suit could only be against his properties. “The decree, if any, must be executed against her husband and only his properties could be attached for that but not of her mother-in-law,” said Justice Sinha, writing the judgment for theBench. Referring to the HC order, which was challenged by mother-in-law Vimlaben, the apex court said it suffered from “total non-application of mind” and was “wholly unsustainable”.”

The said orders might have been passed only on consideration that Sonalben is a harassed lady, but the fact that Vimlaben is also a much harassed lady was lost sight of (by the HC),” the Bench said. Directing release of the attached properties to Vimlaben, the court directed Sonalben to give Rs 50,000 to her mother-in-law as cost of litigation.

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AP HC Acknowledges The Abuse Of 498A – 2007

Here is a great judgement from Justice Swaroop Reddy Of the AP HC. He basically acknowledges the abuse of 498A going on in the country and in the state.

Here are some excerpts:

  • 8. Before parting with the petition, I feel it desirable to observe that there is rampant misuse of S.498-A IPC. False complaints are given against kith-and-kin of the husband, including the married sisters and their husbands;unmarried sisters and brothers and married brothers and their wives. There are instances where even young children, aged below ten years, were also implicated in the offences of this nature. My experience, while sitting in matrimonial Bench revealed that several families are ruined; marriages have been irretrievably broken down and chances of reconciliation of spouses have been spoiled on account of unnecessary complaints and the consequent arrest and remand of the husbands and their kith-and-kin. To discourage this unhealthy practice, it is desirable that anticipatory bail is granted very liberally in all cases of S.498-A IPC, particularly when the petitioner/accused is not the husband of the complainant and when the allegations are not very specific and prima facie do not inspire confidence.
  • 9. Section 498-A IPC is incorporated by the Legislature basically in the interest of women and to safe guard them from harassment. But, it has become somewhat counter productive. In several cases, women are harassed, arrested and humiliated on the complaints given under section 498-A IPC. The truth or otherwise of the allegations is subject to proof. For giving complaint absolutely no authentic and prima facie material like medical evidence is required, but on such complaints, in several cases, number of women are being arrested. In cases of arrest of married young women, they might face problems from their husbands and in-laws; in case unmarried women are arrested their marriage prospects would be badly affected and if government servants are arrested their service prospects are affected. In the present case, only one woman is the alleged victim; but at least four women might have to go to jail even before trial, effecting their reputation, subjecting them to rude treatment at Police Station etc.
  • 10.Only in cases where, strong and authentic evidence like letters written by the accused-husband to the spouses or their parents etc., are available and where there is sufferance of serious injuries or death of the victim only, perhaps, it is desirable to refuse anticipatory bail, that, too, for the accused-husband. Another important aspect is in this type of cases; there is no chance of witnesses turning hostile or being influenced by the accused, as the witnesses would invariably be the kith-and-kin of the alleged victim like herself and her parents etc.These aspects have to be kept in view, while dealing with the cases of anticipatory bail/bail in cases of offences involving section 498-A IPC.

Here is the judgment:  AP HC Acknowledges The Abuse Of 498A

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SC Clarifies Sections 406 And 498A – 2007

Excerpts:

  • According to Section 406 I.P.C., the offence of criminal breach of trust is committed when a person who is entrusted in any manner with the property or with any dominion over it, dishonestly misappropriates it or converts it to his own use, or dishonestly uses it, or disposes it of, in violation of any direction of law prescribing the mode in which the trust is to be discharged, or of any lawful contract, express or implied, made by him touching such discharge, or wilfully suffers any other person so to do. Thus in the commission of the offence of criminal breach of trust, two distinct parts are involved. The first consists of the creation of an obligation in relation to the property over which dominion or control is acquired by the accused. The second is a misappropriation or dealing with the property dishonestly and contrary to the terms of the obligation created. (See: The Superintendent & remembrancer of Legal Affairs, West Bengal Vs. S.K. Roy )
  • We are convinced that the allegation of misbehaviour on the part of appellant Nos.1 and 2 and the demand of Rs. 50,000/- and V.C.R. by them made by the complainant in her subsequent statement, dated 4.4.1995, was an after thought and not bona fide. Section 498A I.P.C. was introduced with the avowed object to combat the menace of dowry deaths and harassment to a woman at the hands of her husband or his relatives. Nevertheless, the provision should not be used as a device to achieve oblique motives. Having carefully glanced through the complaint, the F.I.R. and the charge-sheet, we find that charge under Section 498A I.P.C. is not brought home insofar as appellant Nos. 1 and 2 are concerned.

Here is the judgment: SC Clarifies 406 And 498A-2007

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Some Interesting Stats On Arrests Of Women

In 1930, the British govt arrested 17,000 women for their involvement in the Dandi Yatra (Salt March). During 1937 to 1947 (10 Years), they arrested 5,000 women involved in the freedom struggle. From 2004 to 2006, the govt of India arrested 90,000 women of all ages under 498A. On the average, 27,000 women per year are being arrested under this flawed law. These are stats from the NCRB.

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Disclaimer:

The family of the writer was tortured by the Indian Police in an attempt to extort over a $100,000 by holding them in custody for over a week. The police, in cahoots with the magistrate and the PP, did this due to the ridiculous allegations made in a 498A case by his embittered ex-wife. She filed the case years after he and his family had last seen her. Thousands of 498A cases are filed each year in India by women seeking to wreak vengeance on their husbands and in-laws. Enormous sums are extorted from intimidated families implicated in these cases by corrupt Indian police officers and elements of the Indian judiciary. The author and his family haven't bribed any public official nor have they given in to the extortion. This blog aims to raise awareness of due process in India. The content of this blog constitutes, opinions, observations, and publicly available documents. The intent is not to slander or defame anyone or any institution and is the manifestation of the author's right to freedom of expression – with all the protections this right guarantees.

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