Sunday, May 19, 2024

Allahabad High Court quashes criminal case proceedings against an old lady in matrimonial dispute

The Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court has quashed the proceedings of criminal case against a old age lady who was not a relative in a matrimonial dispute.

A Single Bench of Justice Rahul Chaturved passed this order while hearing an application under Section 482 filed by Sufia Kidwai.

The application has been filed under section 482 Cr.P.C invoking the extra-ordinary power of the Court whereby the applicant-Sufia Kidwai, aged old lady of 73 years is assailing the proceeding of criminal case arising out of case crime whereby she was roped in by the informant for the offence under sections 498A, 323, 504, 506 and 120B IPC and Section 3/4 of D.P Act Police station- Mahanagar, District-Lucknow.

The Court noted that,

Admittedly, the applicant is a neutral lady, unconnected with either of the parties. From the FIR, there is no allegation that the applicant has ever demanded any type of dowry or harass the opposite party no 2. The interesting feature of this case is that she is a land lady of a repute, whereby the accused persons and the informant work as her domestic help. The applicant used to scold both the parties and tried to pacify the situation between them. In the FIR, a tangent remark has been made, that the accused were deriving the power from the applicant and used to commit atrocities upon the informant/victim. After the investigation, the police has submitted the charge sheet only under sections 120B, 504 and 506 IPC against the applicant.

Keeping in view the submissions advanced by counsel for the applicant and the contentions made in the affidavit, there is no allegation that at any point of time, the applicant has ever demanded any additional dowry or harass the opposite party no 2. But the police whimsically has leveled the allegations of hatching the conspiracy against her. In the entire case diary, there is not a whisper against the applicant who is elderly lady of 73 years of age, the Court observed.

The Court relied upon the judgment of the Apex Court in the case of Kahkashan Kausar @Sonam and others v State of Bihar and others, (2022) 6 SCC 599, paragraph no 18 of which is quoted hereinbelow :-

“18. The above-mentioned decisions clearly demonstrate that this court has at numerous instances expressed concern over the misuse of section 498A IPC and the increased tendency of implicating relatives of the husband in matrimonial disputes, without analyzing the long term ramifications of a trial on the complainant as well as the accused. It is further manifest from the said judgments that false implication by way of general omnibus allegations made in the course of matrimonial dispute, if left unchecked would result in misuse of the process of law. Therefore, the court by way of its judgments has warned the courts from proceeding against the relatives and in-laws of the husband when no prima facie case is made out against them.”

The aforesaid judgment is true and clear depiction of the prevailing practice in the society now-a-days that the entire family has been falsely roped in such type of cases, the Court said.

“In the case, the applicant is rank outsider and there is no question of demand of any additional dowry from the accused. She has been falsely roped in the case for the reasons best known to the informant.

The Court is of the considered opinion that it would be heavy upon the elderly lady of 73 years to face the prosecution in the case. Even during investigation, nothing on record to prima facie accuse her for hatching the conspiracy against the victim”, the Court further observed while allowing the application.

“Hence, the Court, after exercising the extra- ordinary power of the Court, is quashing the proceeding of criminal case under sections 120B, 504, 506 IPC, police station-Mahanagar, District-Lucknow so far as it relates to the applicant-Sufia Kidwai only”, the order reads.


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