At, High Court of Bihar
By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE NAVIN SINHA
For the Appearing Parties: , Advocates.
NAVIN SINHA, J.
(1.) Heard, learned Counsel for the petitioners and learned Counsel for opposite party No. 2, in both the applications. The petitioner in Cr. Misc. No. 21703 of 2003 would be the husband while petitioners in 35584 of 2003 would be his family members. The opposite party No. 2 in both the applications would be the wife of the petitioner in Cr. Misc. 21703 of 2003.
(2.) A complaint case would have been filed on 2.1.2003 registered as Complaint Case No. 5 of 2003 by opposite party No. 2 (hereinafter called the 'Complaint') under sections 406, 379, 498-A and sections 3 and 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act. The allegation would be that the complainant was married on 29.4.1999. The husband and his family members would have created demands for dowry during the marriage. Even thereafter the husband would
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allegedly ignore the complainant for association with his sister-in-law. The complainant would have been humiliated, assaulted and demands made for a motorcycle. Her jewellery would have been snatched. The complainant having visited her matrimonial home the husband would not have gone to bring her back till such 'time that he be not gifted a motorcycle. A sum of Rs. 40,000/- would then have been given to the husband whereafter the complainant was brought back to the matrimonial home. The demands would have continued even thereafter as narrated in the complaint including assault and alleged illicit relations between the husband and his sister-in-law. The complainant would have gone back to her maternal home in frustration. None would have come to take her back. A child would have been born to the complainant on 14.6.2000 when the husband still refused to visit his wife and participate in festivities.
(3.) Cognizance would then have been taken against the petitioners under sections 498-A, 379 and 323 of the Penal Code and sections 3 and 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act.
(4.) On 12.9.2002 the husband would have preferred Matrimonial Case No. 49 of 2002 for restitution of conjugal rights.
(5.) The institution of the present case would have as its offshoot as Cr. Rev. No. 525 of 2003, Cr. Rev. No. 828 of 2003 and Cr. Rev. No. 363 of 2003.
(6.) The present applications would then have been preferred under section 482, Cr.P.C. for quashing of the entire proceedings including the order of cognizance in the complaint case.
(7.) This Court upon a reading of the complaint case and the submissions made on behalf of the parties would be satisfied that the allegations as made in the complaint would constitute sufficient material for a full-fledged criminal trial and there would have been little occasion for this Court to interfere with the same under section 482, Cr.P.C.
(8.) Considering the stand of the petitioners that they would be ready and willing to keep the complainant in the matrimonial home with dignity, notices would have been issued to the complainant and who would have entered appearance.
(9.) This Court would have viewed the matter not as a simple criminal prosecution, but as a social issue involving two human beings, their inter-relations and the life of a new born who could hardly be faulted with for the misdoings of its parents.
(10.) This Court would then have attempted reconciliation between the parties. Learned Counsel appearing for both sides would have rendered proper and necessary assistance to the Court for the purpose.
(11.) The matter would have been adjourned on several dates when both the complainant and her husband would have been present in Court in person. The efforts would ultimately borne fruit. It would now appear that both the complainant and her husband are residing peacefully as husband and wife along with the family members of the husband. Even today when the matter was listed after a gap of time for reasons as mentioned in the order dated 23.9.2005 learned Counsel for the parties reiterated that the complainant and her husband are residing peacefully as husband and wife. They thus desire that the proceedings be given a quietus.
(12.) The prosecution would be under sections 323, 379 and 498-A of the Penal Code. While sections 323 and 379 would be compoundable with the permission of the Court section 498-A would constitute a non-compoundable offence. There would be no State amendment to the same unlike the State of Andhra Pradesh where the offence would have been made compoundable by a State amendment.
(13.) The Supreme Court in the case of B.S. Joshi and others v. State of Haryana and another, would have considered the question of invocation of powers under section 482, Cr. P.G. for purposes of putting an end to matrimonial disputes under section 498-A and encourage settlement of genuine differences. Their Lordships would hold that in cases where there was no reasonable likelihood of the accused being convicted of the offence when the wife does not support the imputations, for varied justifiable reasons for her which could be either for the reason that she would have resolved disputes with her husband and his family members as a result of which she would again have started living with her husband having earlier parted ways. In such a situation the refusal of the premise that 498-A would be non-compoundable, would prove counter-productive. Their Lordships would hold at paragraphs 13 and 14 as follows:- -
"13. The observations made by this Court, though in a slightly different context, in G. V. Rao v. L.H. V. Prasad, are very apt for determining the approach required to be kept in view in a matrimonial dispute by the Courts. It was said that there has been an outburst of matrimonial disputes in recent times. Marriage is a sacred ceremony, the main purpose of which is to enable the young couple to settle down in life and live peacefully. But little matrimonial skirmishes suddenly erupt which often assume serious proportions resulting in commission of heinous crimes in which elders of the family are also involved with the result that those who could have counselled and brought about rapprochement are rendered helpless on their being arrived as accused in the criminal case. There are many other reasons which need not be mentioned here for not encouraging matrimonial litigation so that the parties may ponder over their defaults and terminate their disputes amicably by mutual agreement instead of fighting it out in a Court of law where it takes years and years to conclude and in that process the parties lose their "young" days in chasing their "rases" in different Courts. 14. There is no doubt that the object of introducing Chapter XX-A containing section 498-A in the Indian Penal Code was to prevent torture to a woman by her husband or by relatives of her husband. Section 498-A was added with a view to punishing a husband and his relatives who harass or torture the wife to coerce her or her relatives to satisfy unlawful demands of dowry. The hypertechnical view would be counter-productive and would act against interests of women and against the object for which this provision was added. There is every likelihood that non-exercise of inherent power to quash the proceedings to meet the ends of justice would prevent women from settling earlier. That is not. the object of Chapter XX-A of the Indian Penal Code."
(14.) This Court in the facts and circumstances of the present case, noticing the subsequent developments when the complainant and her husband would have resolved their differences and would be basking in their matrimonial bliss would hold that no useful purpose would be served by the continuation of the criminal prosecution. On the contrary the continuance of the same could only have a detrimental effect on tne restored harmony. The present would therefore be an appropriate case for the exercise of inherent powers by this Court under section 482,Cr.P.C. to quash the order of cognizance as also the entire proceedings in the complaint case.
(15.) In the result these applications have to be allowed. The entire proceedings against the petitioners in Complaint Case No. 5 of 2003 pending before the S.D.J.M., Rosera and the order of cognizance dated 24.1.2003 are accordingly quashed. The parties have unanimously assured the Court that all offshoots litigations shall be withdrawn by them respectively. No order as to costs. Applications allowed