Thursday, February 21, 2013

Ruchi Arora vs State Of Punjab And Another on 27 January, 2010


Punjab-Haryana High Court

Ruchi Arora vs State Of Punjab And Another on 27 January, 2010

CRM No. M 27158 of 2008 1

IN THE HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB AND HARYANA AT CHANDIGARH

--

CRM No. M 27158 of 2008

Date of decision: 27.01.2010

Ruchi Arora ........ petitioner

Versus

State of Punjab and another .......Respondent(s)

Coram: Hon'ble Ms Justice Nirmaljit Kaur -.-

Present: Mr. Vipin Mahajan, Advocate

for the petitioner

Mr. K S Pannu, DAG, Punjab

for the respondent

Mr. Kuldip Sanwal, Advocate

for respondent No. 2 - complainant

-.-

1. Whether Reporters of local papers may be allowed to see the judgement?

2. To be referred to the Reporter or not?

3. Whether the judgement should be reported in the Digest?

Nirmaljit Kaur, J.

This is a petition under Section 482 of Criminal Procedure of

Code for quashing of FIR No. 160 dated 08.08.2007 under Sections 406,

498-A of Indian Penal Code, registered at Police Station Dhariwal, District

Gurdaspur (Annexure P1).

Facts of the case, in short, are that petitioner Ruchi Arora is an elder married sister-in-law of complainant. The petitioner was married on 17.04.1998 to Arun Arora i.e. almost four years prior to marriage of the complainant and is living at Ghaziabad at a distance of more than 500 k.ms. from Allahabad where couple lived in matrimonial house.

On 20.02.2002, complainant-Sanjogta was married to the petitioner's brother Rohit Kapoor according to Hindu rites and ceremonies.

The husband and his parents are permanent residents of Allahabad in the State of Uttar Pradesh, whereas the girl's parents are resident of Dhariwal District Gurdaspur. The complainant and Rohit Kapoor could not pull on together and differences cropped up between them.

Complainant - Sanjogta filed a complaint against all the family members of her husband as well as against the petitioner, Masar Varinder Kumar, his wife Bimla Devi and Maternal Uncle Satish Kumar. On the basis of aforesaid complaint, FIR 160 dated 08.08.2007 under Sections 406, 498-A of Indian Penal Code, registered at Police Station Dhariwal, District Gurdaspur. The only allegation against the petitioner in the FIR is that she was given a one golden ring and shawl. There are no specific allegations against the petitioner. The main thrust of the allegations in the FIR are against husband, mother-in-law and father-in-law. However, the police authorities submitted challan under Section 137 of Criminal Procedure of Code against the petitioner and declared innocent mother-in-law and father-in-law.

Learned counsel for the petitioner stated that the petitioner whois an elder sister of the husband of the complainant and is living at a far away place from the matrimonial home has been falsely implicated only to put pressure on husband in family.

Learned counsel for the complainant, on the other hand, stated that Rohit Kapoor, husband of the complainant has two sisters, namely, Mrs. Ruchi and Mrs. Ritu.

He has three more "Massars' ( (mother's brother-in-law), 'Massies' (mother's sisters) and three 'Mamas'. In laws of Ruchi were living at just two houses neighbourhood Rohit Kapoor's parental house at Allahabad and she generally used to live at her parental house and was one amongst them in misappropriation and harassment. Mrs. Ritu, hissecond sister though living in the same house (her parental house) as she was left by her husband was not party to harassment and misappropriation and as such she was not named in the FIR.

Two more 'Massies' and
'Massars' are not named. Two more "Mamas, are also not named. The complainant is not blowing anything out of proportion. She only named the person who is actually involved and was party to misappropriation and harassment and none else.

From the perusal of the FIR, it is evident that the allegations are vague as no specific allegation of either demand of dowry or harassment has been levelled against the petitioner. All allegations are general in nature.

Even otherwise, it is not denied that while she was in Allahabad, the petitioner was residing with her own in-laws and not in the house of her parents. Similar allegations have also been levelled against the accused mother in law and father in law, but they have been found innocent by the Police.

This Court in a case of Divya alias Babli and others v. State of Haryana and another reported as 2006 (4) RCR (Criminal) 322, while relying on the judgement of the Apex Court rendered in the case of Kans Raj v. State of Punjab and others reported as 2000(2) RCR (Crl.) 695 held CRM No. M 27158 of 2008 4 as under:-

"22. Another judgement rendered in Shinder Pal @ Kakke's case (supra) relied by Mr. Saini, this Court while relying upon a judgement of Apex Court rendered in Kans Raj v. State of Punjab and others, AIR 2000 Supreme Court 2324 wherein their Lordships have observed that a tendency has developed for roping in all the relations in dowry cases which ultimately weakens the case of the prosecution even against the real accused.

23. My view is also fortified by the latest judgment of Hon'ble Supreme Court rendered in Ramesh Kumar and others vs. State of Tamil Nadu, 2005 (2) R.C.R. (Criminal) 68 in which their Lordships while quashing the proceeding against sister-in-law who was staying at a different place observed that there were bald allegations to rope in as many relations of the husband.

24. Another latest judgment of Apex Court rendered in Sushil Kumar Sharma vs. Union of India and others, 2005 (3) R.C.R.(Criminal) 745 where issue of striking down Section 498-A IPC had sprouted, their Lordships observed that in such type of cases the "action" and not the "section" may be vulnerable and the Court by upholding the provisions of law may still set aside the action, order or decision and grant appropriate relief to the persons aggrieved. Their Lordships while dealing with the dowry menace, however, observed in para 17 as under:-

" The object of the provision is prevention of the dowry menace. But as he has been rightly contended by the petitioner many instances have come to light where the complaints are not bona fide and have been filed with oblique motive. In such cases acquittal of the accused does not in all cases wipe out the ignomny (ignominy?) suffered during and prior to trial. Sometimes adverse media coverage adds to the misery. The question, therefore, is what remedial measures can be taken to prevent abuse of the well-intentioned provision. Merely because the provision is constitutional and intra vires, does not give a licence to unscrupulous persons to wreck personal vendettaor unleash harassment. It may, therefore, become necessary for the legislature to find out ways how the makers of frivolous complaints or allegations can be appropriately dealt with. Till then the Courts have to take care of the situation within the existing framework. As noted above the object is to strike at the roots of dowry menace. But by misuse of the provision a new legal terrorism can be unleashed. The provision is intended to be used a shield and not an assassin's weapon. If cry of "wolf" is made too often as a prank, assistance and protection may not be available when the actual "wolf" appears. There is no question of investigating agency and Courts casually dealing with the allegations. They cannot follow any straitjacket formula in the matters relating to dowry tortures, deaths and cruelty.

It cannot be lost sight of that ultimate objective of every legal system is to arrive at truth, punish the guilty and protect the innocent. There is no scope for any pre-conceived notion or view. It is strenuously argued by the petitioner that the investigating agencies and the Courts start with the presumptions that the accused persons are guilty and that the complainant is speaking the truth. This is too wide available and generalised statement. Certain statutory presumptions are drawn which again are rebuttable. It is to be noted that the role of the investigating agencies and the Courts is that of watch dog and not of a bloodhound. It should be their effort to see that an innocent person is not made to suffer on account of unfounded, baseless and malicious allegations. It is equally indisputable that in many cases no direct evidence is available and the Courts have to act on circumstantial evidence. While dealing with such cases, the law laid down relating to circumstantial evidence has to be kept in view."

From the perusal of the FIR, no offence under Section 406 of Indian Penal Code appears to have been made out against the petitioner.

Small gift to in laws at the time of marriage does not constitute Istridhan.

With respect to offence under Section 498-A of IPC, vague allegation is
levelled against the petitioner who is married sister-in-law and is residing in her own matrimonial house. Similar allegations have been levelled against the mother-in-law and father-in-law but they have been found innocent by the police. Whereas, no specific allegation is levelled against the petitioner.

They are vague and general in nature.

Accordingly, in the view of the above, the present petition is partly allowed and the FIR and subsequent proceedings arising out of the same qua the petitioner is quashed.

(Nirmaljit Kaur)

Judge

January 27, 2010

mohan

CRM No. M 27158 of 2008 7