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Allahabad High Court refuses to grant relief to husband and his family members in harassment of wife case

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The Allahabad High Court refused to grant relief to the husband (petitioner) and his family members on the harassment of the wife.

The Division Bench of Justice Siddhartha Varma and Justice Subhash Chandra Sharma passed this order while hearing a petition filed by Abhishek Shukla and another petition.

These writ petitions have been filed with a prayer that the First Information Report dated 14.4.2021 under sections 498-A, 323, 506, 406, 342, 313, 351 I.P.C and sections 3/4 of Dowry Prohibition Act be quashed. A further prayer has been made that the petitioners in pursuance of the First Information Report be not arrested.

A perusal of the First Information Report shows that the respondent 4 (wife) had married the petitioner on 6.5.2011 at Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh. This marriage was also registered as per law.

It has been alleged in the First Information Report that since the inception of the marriage, the petitioner used to forcefully take-away the salaries of respondent no 4 and in fact he had forced respondent no 4 to transfer almost Rs 2,00,000/- to clear off his educational loans. He had further forced the respondent no 4 to give Rs 80,000/- to pay off some other loan.

It has been alleged that the petitioner regularly used to transfer various amounts from the accounts of respondent no 4 to his accounts to pursue his higher studies in BITS Pilani. Respondent no 4 has stated that the petitioner had forced her to leave her job in India and to go to the USA on an H4 visa and had made her to work in the USA online despite the fact that the visa did not permit her to do so.

It has been alleged in the First Information Report that despite the fact that respondent no 4 desired to pursue her higher studies in Pepperdine University, the petitioner had restrained her from studying. During their stay as husband and wife in the USA, in June, 2016, the respondent no 4 had got pregnant but because of the fact that the petitioner had pushed her, she had fallen-down and resultantly a miscarriage had taken place.

Subsequently, in 2017, the respondent no 4 again got pregnant but during the pregnancy, it has been alleged, the petitioner had never cared for her and, therefore, from May 2017 to August 2017, the respondent no 4 stayed in India. It has been alleged that despite the fact that the husband did not care for respondent no 4, she went back to the USA to save her marriage for the sake of her child which she was bearing.

It has also been stated that despite requests from the in-laws that they may return her Stridhan, the same was not returned to her.

Subsequently, when respondent no 4 had gone back to the USA and the child was born, the petitioner, it has been alleged, did not take care of respondent no 4 and did not even take any paternity leave to take care of the child. On top of that it has been alleged that the parents of the petitioner also came to the USA and the respondent no 4 was required to conduct the household chores.

In June 2018, the opposite party no 4 flew down to India once again with her son and in the following July, the petitioner sent her a notice for divorce.

Thereafter, to save the marriage she again flew back in August 2018 to enquire why all the cruelty was being perpetrated.

It has been alleged that the petitioner had throughout been ignoring the respondent no 4. In the USA the petitioner had cancelled all the credit cards which were there with the respondent no 4. The respondent no 4 and her son were made to live in a state of penury without any medical support. Despite the fact the parents of respondent no 4 had sent money, she was not allowed to pursue her studies.

At times, she was closed in the bath room and was beaten. When the respondent no 4 had desired the admission of the young child in a day-care centre, the petitioner had denied the same.

It has been alleged in the First Information Report that when respondent no 4 on 15.3.2019 had fallen ill, she had to herself go to the hospital and in the hospital when there was no money with her, the emergency contact people in the USA suggested to her that she should go back to India. It has been alleged that after that she came back to India where she filed a complaint under the Domestic Violence Act.

It has been alleged that behind the back of respondent no 4, the petitioner had also filed a case for divorce. When respondent no 4 was in India, on 26.2.2021, two persons had come to the house of respondent no 4 and had threatened her and her parents to withdraw the cases otherwise they would kill both, the parents and the son of respondent no 4.

Challenging the First Information Report, the counsel for the petitioner Prabhat Jauhar assisted by Prakhar Saran Srivastava had argued that despite the fact that respondent no 4 had got admission in the USA, she never studied.

He has submitted that on 14.1.2016, the petitioner had also purchased a house for the respondent no 4 in NOIDA from his own pocket.

Counsel for the petitioner argued that when respondent no 4 had urged for the admission of the child in a daycare centre and when there was some dispute regarding that, the respondent no 4 had approached the US Police which had found that there was no merit in the complaint. This had happened on 15.3.2019 and the respondent no 4 had come back to India on 19.3.2019. Aggrieved by the actions of respondent no 4, the petitioner had sent a legal notice through his attorney to respondent no 4 to return the minor child and also he had informed respondent no 4 about the contemplated divorce proceedings in the USA.

Counsel for the petitioner has also stated that after the divorce petition was filed by the petitioner in USA on 4.3.2021, the respondent no 4, as a counterblast to the filing of the divorce case in the US Court, filed the instant First Information Report on 14.4.2021. He further submitted that the order for the custody of the son was passed on 18.12.2020 and that was also a reason for the F.I.R.

In the meantime, it is alleged that the petitioner had filed a Habeas Corpus Petition for the custody of the minor child before the Allahabad High Court which was still pending.

Counsel for the petitioner has also stated that the respondent no 4 had filed a Special Leave Petition against the order of issuance of notice in the Habeas Corpus Petition and the Supreme Court had also tried reconciliation but that had failed and, therefore, the Habeas Corpus Petition in the High Court was to be heard.

Counsel for the petitioner has submitted that if the First Information Report is perused, then it becomes abundantly clear that all the incidents which had been complained of had occurred in the USA and, therefore, the respondent no 4 had no cause of action in India.

Counsel for the petitioner has also submitted that the ingredients of Section 498A I.P.C were also not present in the First Information Report which was lodged by the respondent no 4.

Counsel for the petitioner has stated that the cruelty of the husband or the relatives of the husband should have been to the extent that it would have driven the respondent no 4 to a state when she would have committed suicide. If that had not happened then the cruelty should have caused a grave injury or a danger to the life, limb or health (whether mental or physical) to the respondent No 4. In the absence of the necessary ingredients as were to be found under section 498-A I.P.C, the First Information Report was required to be quashed.

Counsel for the petitioner also submitted that the respondent no 4 had hardly stayed with her inlaws and, therefore, it could not be said that they had subjected her to any cruelty or torture.

Counsel for the petitioner further stated that the lodging of the F.I.R was an abuse of process of law and if it was established that there was no cruelty then the F.I.R should be quashed.

Counsel for the petitioner further argued that since most of the offences had allegedly occurred in the USA the petitioner could not be investigated against and could not be tried in India as all the evidence were available only in the USA.

Counsel for the petitioner in the end submitted that there was a Look Out Notice and there was also a non-bailable warrant issued against the petitioner and if the High Court did not protect the interest of the petitioner then the petitioner’s interest would be greatly jeopardized.

Counsel for the State also submitted that the offences alleged in the FIR were of a continuing nature and they could not be taken lightly. Still further, AGA submitted that most of the judgements which had been cited by the counsel for the petitioner were for the quashing of the charge sheet.

“Having heard counsel for the parties, the Court finds from the perusal of the First Information Report that there are allegations which reveal the commission of a cognizable offence. Respondent No 4 has alleged various kinds of cruelties which had led her to various illnesses. The respondent no 4 had also alleged that there was a miscarriage which had resulted because of the fact that the petitioner had pushed her. Still further the Court finds that the respondent no 4 was being deprived of her financial resources and that had driven her to come back to India and in India also, the Court finds, there was a threat made vis-a-vis the respondent no 4 and her parents on 26.2.2021 when two persons had reached her house at 5.30 PM and had threatened her with dire consequences. The arguments of the counsel for the petitioner that the FIR was a counter-blast to the notice for divorce and that the FIR itself was a malicious persecution of the petitioner do not hold any water”, the Court observed.

“Under such circumstances, when the First Information Report definitely discloses the commission of cognizable offences the writ petition does not warrant any interference.

The Court also finds that under Section 188 and 189 Cr.P.C the offences alleged to have been committed beyond the territory of India by an Indian citizen could be investigated into and also tried in India”, the Court further observed while dismissing the petition.

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