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Himachal Pradesh High Court disposes of FIR by woman over dowry demands after compromise

A Single-Judge Bench of Justice Chander Bhusan Barowalia heard the petition maintained by the petitioners for quashing of F.I.R dated 19.1.2020, under Section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code registered at Women Police Station Dharamshala, District Kangra, H.P., alongwith all consequent proceedings arising out of the said F.I.R., pending before the trial Court.

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The Himachal Pradesh High Court quashed an FIR under IPC Section 498A on Tuesday while observing that even if the trial is allowed to be continued there are bleak chances of conviction to secure the ends of justice as the parties have arrived at a compromised on the matter.

A Single-Judge Bench of Justice Chander Bhusan Barowalia heard the petition maintained by the petitioners for quashing of F.I.R  dated 19.1.2020, under Section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code registered at Women Police Station Dharamshala, District Kangra, H.P., alongwith all consequent proceedings arising out of the said F.I.R., pending before the  trial Court.

The facts of the case is that on 8.10.2019, respondent No.2(wife of petitioner No.1)  solemnized marriage with petitioner No.1, according to Hindu Rites and ceremonies. After sometime, petitioners started maltreating respondent No.2 regarding insufficient dowry and started treating her with cruelty.

Consequent upon the statement of respondent No.2, Police registered an FIR against the petitioners. Now, the parties have entered into a compromise,  and she does not want to pursue the case against the petitioners, hence the Petitioner approached the High Court.

Learned counsel for the petitioners has argued that as the parties have compromised the matter, no purpose will be served by keeping the proceedings against the petitioner and the FIR/Challan, may be quashed and set aside.

On the other hand,  the Additional Advocate General has argued that the offence is not compoundable, so the petition may be dismissed.

While considering the Petition the Court observed that the Supreme Court in the case of  B.S. Joshi and others vs. State of Haryana and another, (2003) 4 SCC 675, have held that if for the purpose of securing the ends of justice, quashing of FIR becomes necessary, Section 320 would not be a bar to the exercise of power of quashing. It is well settled that the powers under section 482 have no limits. Of course, where there is more power, it becomes necessary to exercise utmost care and caution while invoking such powers.

Moreover the Supreme Court in Preeti Gupta and another vs. State of Jharkhand and another, (2010) 7 SCC 667, have held that the ultimate object of justice is to find out the truth and punish the guilty and protect the innocent. The tendency of implicating the husband and all his immediate relations is also not uncommon. At times, even after the conclusion of the criminal trial, it is difficult to ascertain the real truth. Experience reveals that long and protracted criminal trials lead to rancour, acrimony and bitterness in the relationship amongst the parties. The criminal trials lead to immense suffering for all concerned. The Apex Court has further held that permitting complainants to pursue complaint would be abuse of process of law and the complaint against the appellants was quashed.

The High Court further relied in the Supreme Court case of Jitendra Raghuvanshi and others vs. Babita Raghuvanshi and another, (2013) 4 SCC 58, in which the Top Court  have held that criminal proceedings or FIR or complaint can be quashed under Section 482 Cr. P.C. in appropriate cases in order to meet ends of justice. Even in non-compoundable offences pertaining to matrimonial disputes, if court is satisfied that parties have settled the disputes amicably and without any pressure, then for the purpose of securing ends of justice, FIR or complaint or subsequent criminal proceedings in respect of offences can be quashed.

“Thus, taking into consideration the law as discussed hereinabove, I find that the interest of justice will be met, in case, the proceedings are quashed, as the parties have already compromised the matter,” the Court said while disposing the matter.

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