REPORTABLE         IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA        CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION     CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 1674      ...
read with Section 3/4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act withan   observation       that   the   question    of   territorialjur...
her husband, father-in-law, mother-in-law, brother-in-law and sister-in-law. This appeal has been preferredby the sister-i...
Rs.45,000/- per month. After negotiation between theparents of the complainant and the accused parties,the marriage of the...
getting any job.    When the complainant clearly declinedand stated that she will not ask her parents for money,Shyamji,  ...
5.         After persistent efforts, Shyamji finally got ajob in Chennai and he went to Chennai for the job inMay, 2003. B...
him immediately and he will come in the morning. Thefather-in-law Satish Dhawan and his wife who wereliving in NOIDA there...
days the complainant and her family members hopedthat the situation would improve if the matter wasresolved. Many times ot...
whatever he could but if he could afford to give Rs.10lakhs then it should be conveyed after which he willreconsider the m...
started investigation of the case and thereafter thepolice submitted chargesheet against the appellants andother family me...
complainant got the      arrest warrant issued throughGeorge Town Police Station, Allahabad, in spite of thecause of actio...
as the FIR has been lodged at Allahabad although thecause of action of the entire incident is alleged to havetaken place a...
indicating that the complainant and her father haveconcocted the story to implicate the appellants as wellas all their fam...
14.          The High Court further overlooked the factthat during the pendency of this case, the complainant-respondent N...
complainant’s husband as to how they could beimplicated into the mutual bickering         between thecomplainant    and   ...
order dismissed the petition observing that the groundsraised by the petitioners were all subject matters to beheard    by...
beyond the period of             limitation prescribed underSection 468(2) Cr.P.C. Apart from the subsequent twocontention...
Supreme Court          were pleased to hold that the HighCourt ought not to have relegated the sister in law tothe ordeal ...
even if the trial court at Allahabad had the jurisdictionto hold the trial, the question    still remained as       towhet...
in (2000) 3 SCC 693 wherein          also    in a matrimonialdispute, this Court had held that the High Court shouldhave q...
in a court of law where it takes years and      years to   conclude and in that process the      parties lose their   “you...
settling earlier.   Thus for the purpose of securing theends of justice quashing of FIR becomes necessary,Section 320 Cr.P...
could be raised only before the magistrate conductingthe trial.23.           In   the    instant        case,   the   ques...
that the complaint as it          stands    lacks ingredientsconstituting the offence under Section 498A and Section3/4 Do...
of matrimonial bickering, it would be clear abuse of thelegal and judicial process to mechanically send thenamed accused i...
domestic bickering while settling down in her newmatrimonial surrounding.25.          In the case at hand, when the brothe...
whether it was a fit case to send the appellants for trialwhen the FIR failed to make out a prima facie caseagainst them r...
27.         We, therefore, deem it just and legallyappropriate to quash the proceedings initiated againstthe appellants Ge...
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Sc casual, wholesale reference to in-laws won’t justify dowry case, hence quash

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Sc casual, wholesale reference to in-laws won’t justify dowry case, hence quash

  1. 1. REPORTABLE IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 1674 OF 2012 (Arising out of SLP (Crl.) No. 10547/2010)Geeta Mehrotra & Anr. ..Appellants VersusState of U.P. & Anr. . Respondents JUDGMENTGYAN SUDHA MISRA, J.1. This appeal by special leave in which wegranted leave has been filed by the appellants againstthe order dated 6.9.2010 passed by the High Court ofJudicature at Allahabad in Crl. MiscellaneousApplication No.22714/2007 whereby the High Courthad been pleased to dispose of the application moved bythe appellants under Section 482 Cr.P.C. for quashingthe order of the Magistrate taking cognizance againstthe appellants under Sections 498A/323/504/506 IPC Page 1
  2. 2. read with Section 3/4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act withan observation that the question of territorialjurisdiction cannot be properly decided by the HighCourt under Section 482 Cr.P.C. for want of adequatefacts. It was, therefore, left open to the appellants tomove the trial court for dropping the proceedings onthe ground of lack of territorial jurisdiction. The HighCourt however granted interim protection to theappellants by directing the authorities not to issuecoercive process against the appellants until disposal ofthe application filed by the appellants with a furtherdirection to the trial court to dispose of the applicationif moved by the appellants, within a period of twomonths from the date of moving the application. Theapplication under Section 482 Cr.P.C. was thusdisposed of by the High Court.2. The appellants in spite of the liberty grantedto them to move the trial court, have filed this appeal forquashing the proceedings which had been initiated onthe basis of a case lodged by the respondent No.2 Smt.Shipra Mehrotra (earlier known as Shipra Seth) against 2 Page 2
  3. 3. her husband, father-in-law, mother-in-law, brother-in-law and sister-in-law. This appeal has been preferredby the sister-in-law, who is appellant No.1 and brother-in-law of the complainant, who is appellant No.2.3. The case emerges out of the first informationreport lodged by respondent No.2 Smt. ShipraMehrotra under Sections 498A/323/504/506 IPCread with Section 3/4 of the Dowry Prohibition Actbearing F.I.R.No. 52/2004. The F.I.R. was registered atMahila Thana Daraganj, Allahabad wherein thecomplainant alleged that she was married to ShyamjiMehrotra s/o Balbir Saran who was living at ErosGarden, Charmswood Village, Faridabad, Suraj KundRoad at Faridabad Haryana as per the Hindu marriagerites and customs. Prior to marriage the complainantand her family members were told by Shyamji Mehrotraand his elder brother Ramji Mehrotra who is appellantNo.2 herein and their mother Smt. Kamla Mehrotra andher sister Geeta Mehrotra who is appellant No.1 hereinthat Shyamji is employed as a Team Leader in a top I.T.Company in Chennai and is getting salary of 3 Page 3
  4. 4. Rs.45,000/- per month. After negotiation between theparents of the complainant and the accused parties,the marriage of the complainant Shipra Seth (laterShipra Mehrotra) and Shyamji Mehrotra was performedafter which the respondent-complainant left for thehouse of her in-laws.4. It was stated that the atmosphere in thehouse was peaceful for sometime but soon after thewedding, when all the relatives left, the maid whocooked meals was first of all paid-off by the aforesaidfour persons who then told the complainant that fromnow onwards, the complainant will have to prepare foodfor the family. In addition, the above mentioned peoplestarted taunting and scolding her on trivial issues. Thecomplainant also came to know that Shyamji was notemployed anywhere and always stayed in the house.Shyamji gradually took away all the money which thecomplainant had with her and then told her that herfather had not given dowry properly, therefore, sheshould get Rupees five lakhs from her father in order toenable him to start business, because he was not 4 Page 4
  5. 5. getting any job. When the complainant clearly declinedand stated that she will not ask her parents for money,Shyamji, on instigation of other accused-familymembers, started beating her occasionally. To escapeevery day torture and financial status of the family, thecomplainant took up a job in a Call Centre at Convergyson 17.2.2003 where the complainant had to do nightshifts due to which she used to come back home ataround 3 a.m. in the morning. Just on her return fromwork, the household people started playing bhajancassettes after which she had to getup at 7’o clock inthe morning to prepare and serve food to all themembers in the family. Often on falling asleep in themorning, Shyamji, Kamla Devi and Geeta Mehrotratortured the complainant every day mentally andphysically. Ramji Mehrotra often provoked the otherthree family members to torture and often used to makethe complainant feel sad by making inappropriatestatements about the complainant and her parents. Herhusband Shyamji also took away the salary from thecomplainant. 5 Page 5
  6. 6. 5. After persistent efforts, Shyamji finally got ajob in Chennai and he went to Chennai for the job inMay, 2003. But, it is alleged that there was no changein his behaviour even after going to Chennai. Thecomplainant often called him on phone to talk to himbut he always did irrelevant conversation. He neverspoke properly with the complainant whenever hevisited home and often used to hurl filthy abuses. Thecomplainant states that she often wept and tolerated thetortures of the accused persons for a long time but didnot complain to her family members, as that would havemade them feel sad. At last, when the complainantrealized that even her life was in danger, she wascompelled to tell everything to her father on phone whowas very upset on hearing her woes. On 15.7.2003complainant heard some conversation of her mother-in-law and sister-in-law from which it appeared to her thatthey want to kill the complainant in the night only.Thereupon the complainant apprised her father of thesituation on phone to which her father replied that hewill call back her father-in-law and she should go with 6 Page 6
  7. 7. him immediately and he will come in the morning. Thefather-in-law Satish Dhawan and his wife who wereliving in NOIDA thereafter came in the night andsomehow took the complainant to their home who alsocame to know of everything. The complainant’s fatherand brother later went to her matrimonial home on16.7.2003. On seeing her father and brother, KamlaMehrotra and Geeta Mehrotra started speaking loudlyand started saying that Shyamji would be coming by theevening and so he should come in the evening fortalking to them. Her father and brother then went awayfrom there. That very day, her husband Shyamji andbrother-in-law Ramji also reached home. On reachingthere, Shyamji abused her on phone and told her tosend her father.6. When father and brother of the complainantwent home in the evening, they were also insulted by allthe four and video camera and tape were played and inthe end they were told that they should leave from here.Insulted, they came back from there and then cameback to Allahabad with the complainant. For many 7 Page 7
  8. 8. days the complainant and her family members hopedthat the situation would improve if the matter wasresolved. Many times other people tried to persuade thein – laws but to no avail. Her brother went to theirhouse to talk to her in – laws but it came to hisknowledge that the in – laws had changed their house.After much effort, they came to know that the father-in-law and mother-in-law started living at B-39, Brahmacooperative group housing society, block 7, sector-7,Dwarka, Delhi. On 19.09.04 evening, her father talkedto Kamla Mehrotra and Geeta Mehrotra regarding thecomplainant using bad words and it was said that if herdaughter came there she will be kicked out. After sometime Shyamji rang up at complainant’s home but onhearing the complainant’s voice, he told her abusivelythat now she should not come his way and she shouldtell her father not to phone him in future. Atapproximately 10:30 pm in the night Ramji’s phonecame to the complainant’s home. He used bad wordswhile talking to her father and in the end said that hehad got papers prepared in his defence and he may do 8 Page 8
  9. 9. whatever he could but if he could afford to give Rs.10lakhs then it should be conveyed after which he willreconsider the matter. If the girl was sent to his placewithout money, then even her dead body will not befound.7. On hearing these talks of the accused, thecomplainant believed that her in-laws will not let thecomplainant enter their home without taking ten lakhsand if the complainant went there on her own, she willnot be safe. Hence, she lodged the report wherein sheprayed that the SHO Daraganj should be ordered to dothe needful after registering the case against theaccused Shyam Mehrotra, Ramji Mehrotra, KamlaMehrotra and Geeta Mehrotra. Thus, in substance, thecomplainant related the bickering at her matrimonialhome which made her life miserable in several ways andcompelled her to leave her in-law’s place in order to livewith her father where she lodged a police case as statedhereinbefore.8. On the basis of the complaint, theinvestigating authorities at P.S. Daraganj, Allahabad 9 Page 9
  10. 10. started investigation of the case and thereafter thepolice submitted chargesheet against the appellants andother family members of the complainant’s husband.9. Hence, the appellants who are sister andbrother of the complainant’s husband filed petitionunder Section 482 Cr.P.C. for quashing of thechargesheet and the entire proceedings pending in thecourt of learned Judicial Magistrate, Court No.IV,Allahabad, inter-alia, on the ground that FIR has beenlodged with mala fide intentions to harass theappellants and that no case was made out against theappellants as well as other family members. But theprincipal ground of challenge to the FIR was that theincident although was alleged to have taken place atFaridabad and the investigation should have been donethere only, the complainant with mala fide intention inconnivance with the father of the complainant, got theinvestigating officer to record the statements by visitingGhaziabad which was beyond his territorial jurisdictionand cannot be construed as legal and properinvestigation. It was also alleged that the father of the 1 Page 10
  11. 11. complainant got the arrest warrant issued throughGeorge Town Police Station, Allahabad, in spite of thecause of action having arisen at Allahabad.10. This appeal has been preferred by KumariGeeta Mehrotra i.e. the sister of the complainant’shusband and Ramji Mehrotra i.e. the elder brother ofthe complainant’s husband assailing the order of theHigh Court and it was submitted that the Hon’ble HighCourt ought to have appreciated that the complainantwho had already obtained an ex-parte decree of divorce,is pursuing the present case through her father withthe sole purpose to unnecessarily harass the appellantsto extract money from them as all efforts of mediationhad failed.11. However, the grounds of challenge beforethis Court to the order of the High Court, inter alia isthat the High Court had failed to appreciate that theinvestigation had been done by the authority withoutfollowing due process of law which also lacked territorialjurisdiction. The relevant documents/parcha diary fordeciding the territorial jurisdiction had been overlooked 1 Page 11
  12. 12. as the FIR has been lodged at Allahabad although thecause of action of the entire incident is alleged to havetaken place at Faridabad (Haryana). It was, therefore,submitted that the investigating authorities of theAllahabad have traversed beyond the territorial limitswhich is clearly an abuse of the process of law and theHigh Court has failed to exercise its inherent powersunder Section 482 Cr.P.C. in the facts andcircumstances of this case and allowed the proceedingsto go on before the trial court although it had nojurisdiction to adjudicate the same.12. It was further averred that the High Courthad failed to examine the facts of the FIR to seewhether the facts stated in the FIR constitute any primafacie case making out an offence against the sister-in-law and brother-in-law of the complainant and whetherthere was at all any material to constitute an offenceagainst the appellants and their family members.Attention of this Court was further invited to thecontradictions in the statement of the complainant andher father which indicate material contradictions 1 Page 12
  13. 13. indicating that the complainant and her father haveconcocted the story to implicate the appellants as wellas all their family members in a criminal case merelywith a mala fide intention to settle her scores andextract money from the family of her ex-husbandShyamji Mehrotra and his family members.13. On a perusal of the complaint and othermaterials on record as also analysis of the argumentsadvanced by the contesting parties in the light of thesettled principles of law reflected in a catena ofdecisions, it is apparent that the High Court has notapplied its mind on the question as to whether the casewas fit to be quashed against the appellants and hasmerely disposed of the petition granting liberty to theappellants to move the trial court and raisecontentions on the ground as to whether it hasterritorial jurisdiction to continue with the trial in thelight of the averment that no part of the cause of actionhad arisen at Allahabad and the entire incident even asper the FIR had taken place at Faridabad. 1 Page 13
  14. 14. 14. The High Court further overlooked the factthat during the pendency of this case, the complainant-respondent No.2 has obtained an ex-parte decree ofdivorce against her husband Shyamji Mehrotra and theHigh Court failed to apply its mind whether any casecould be held to have been made out against KumariGeeta Mehrotra and Ramji Mehrotra, who are theunmarried sister and elder brother of the complainant’sex-husband. Facts of the FIR even as it stands indicatethat although a prima facie case against the husbandShyamji Mehrotra and some other accused persons mayor may not be constituted, it surely appears to be acase where no ingredients making out a case againstthe unmarried sister of the accused Shyamji Mehrotraand his brother Ramji Mehrotra appear to be existingfor even when the complainant came to her in-law’shouse after her wedding, she has alleged physical andmental torture by stating in general that she had beenordered to do household activities of cooking meals forthe whole family. But there appears to be no specificallegation against the sister and brother of the 1 Page 14
  15. 15. complainant’s husband as to how they could beimplicated into the mutual bickering between thecomplainant and her husband Shyamji Mehrotraincluding his parents.15. Under the facts and circumstance of similarnature in the case of Ramesh vs. State of TamilNadu reported in (2005) SCC (Crl.) 735 at 738allegations were made in a complaint against thehusband, the in-laws, husband’s brother and sister whowere all the petitioners before the High Court whereinafter registration of the F.I.R. and investigation, thecharge sheet was filed by the Inspector of Police in thecourt of Judicial Magistrate III, Trichy. Thereupon, thelearned magistrate took cognizance of the offence andissued warrants against the appellants on 13.2.2002.Four of the accused-appellants were arrested andreleased on bail by the magistrate at Mumbai. Theappellants had filed petition under Section 482, Cr.P.C.before the Madras High Court for quashing theproceedings in complaint case on the file of the JudicialMagistrate III, Trichy. The High Court by the impugned 1 Page 15
  16. 16. order dismissed the petition observing that the groundsraised by the petitioners were all subject matters to beheard by the trial court for better appreciation afterconducting full trial as the High Court was of the viewthat it was only desirable to dismiss the criminaloriginal petition and the same was also dismissed.However, the High Court had directed the Magistrate todispense with the personal attendance of theappellants.16. Aggrieved by the order of the Madras HighCourt dismissing the petition under Section 482Cr.P.C., the special leave petition was filed in this Courtgiving rise to the appeals therein where threefoldcontentions were raised viz., (i) that the allegations arefrivolous and without any basis; (ii) even according tothe FIR, no incriminating acts were done within thejurisdiction of Trichy Police Station and the court atTrichy and, therefore, the learned magistrate lackedterritorial jurisdiction to take cognizance of the offenceand (iii) taking cognizance of the alleged offence at thatstage was barred under Section 468(1) Cr.P.C. as it was 1 Page 16
  17. 17. beyond the period of limitation prescribed underSection 468(2) Cr.P.C. Apart from the subsequent twocontentions, it was urged that the allegations under theFIR do not make out any offence of which cognizancecould be taken.17. Their Lordships of the Supreme Court inthis matter had been pleased to hold that the baldallegations made against the sister in law by thecomplainant appeared to suggest the anxiety of theinformant to rope in as many of the husband’s relativesas possible. It was held that neither the FIR nor thecharge sheet furnished the legal basis for themagistrate to take cognizance of the offences allegedagainst the appellants. The learned Judges werepleased to hold that looking to the allegations in theFIR and the contents of the charge sheet, none of thealleged offences under Section 498 A, 406 and Section 4of the Dowry Prohibition Act were made against themarried sister of the complainant’s husband who wasundisputedly not living with the family of thecomplainant’s husband. Their Lordships of the 1 Page 17
  18. 18. Supreme Court were pleased to hold that the HighCourt ought not to have relegated the sister in law tothe ordeal of trial. Accordingly, the proceedings againstthe appellants were quashed and the appeal wasallowed.18. In so far as the plea of territorial jurisdictionis concerned, it is no doubt true that the High Courtwas correct to the extent that the question of territorialjurisdiction could be decided by the trial court itself.But this ground was just one of the grounds to quashthe proceedings initiated against the appellants underSection 482 Cr.P.C. wherein it was also alleged that noprima facie case was made out against the appellantsfor initiating the proceedings under the DowryProhibition Act and other provisions of the IPC. TheHigh Court has failed to exercise its jurisdiction in so faras the consideration of the case of the appellants areconcerned, who are only brother and sister of thecomplainant’s husband and are not alleged even by thecomplainant to have demanded dowry from her. TheHigh Court, therefore, ought to have considered that 1 Page 18
  19. 19. even if the trial court at Allahabad had the jurisdictionto hold the trial, the question still remained as towhether the trial against the brother and sister of thehusband was fit to be continued and whether thatwould amount to abuse of the process of the court.19. Coming to the facts of this case, when thecontents of the FIR is perused, it is apparent that thereare no allegations against Kumari Geeta Mehrotra andRamji Mehrotra except casual reference of their nameswho have been included in the FIR but mere casualreference of the names of the family members in amatrimonial dispute without allegation of activeinvolvement in the matter would not justify takingcognizance against them overlooking the fact borne outof experience that there is a tendency to involve theentire family members of the household in the domesticquarrel taking place in a matrimonial dispute specially ifit happens soon after the wedding.20. It would be relevant at this stage to takenote of an apt observation of this Court recorded in thematter of G.V. Rao vs. L.H.V. Prasad & Ors. reported 1 Page 19
  20. 20. in (2000) 3 SCC 693 wherein also in a matrimonialdispute, this Court had held that the High Court shouldhave quashed the complaint arising out of amatrimonial dispute wherein all family members hadbeen roped into the matrimonial litigation which wasquashed and set aside. Their Lordships observedtherein with which we entirely agree that: “there has been an outburst of matrimonial dispute in recent times. Marriage is a sacred ceremony, 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 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 arrayed as accused in the criminal case. There are many reasons which need not be mentioned here for not encouraging matrimonial litigation so that the parties may ponder over their defaults and terminate the disputes amicably by mutual agreement instead of fighting it out 2 Page 20
  21. 21. 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 cases in different courts.”The view taken by the judges in this matter was that thecourts would not encourage such disputes.21. In yet another case reported in AIR 2003 SC1386 in the matter of B.S. Joshi & Ors. vs. State ofHaryana & Anr. it was observed that there is no doubtthat the object of introducing Chapter XXA containingSection 498A in the Indian Penal Code was to preventthe torture to a woman by her husband or by relativesof her husband. Section 498A was added with a viewto punish the husband and his relatives who harass ortorture the wife to coerce her relatives to satisfyunlawful demands of dowry. But if the proceedings areinitiated by the wife under Section 498A against thehusband and his relatives and subsequently she hassettled her disputes with her husband and his relativesand the wife and husband agreed for mutual divorce,refusal to exercise inherent powers by the High Courtwould not be proper as it would prevent woman from 2 Page 21
  22. 22. settling earlier. Thus for the purpose of securing theends of justice quashing of FIR becomes necessary,Section 320 Cr.P.C. would not be a bar to the exerciseof power of quashing. It would however be a differentmatter depending upon the facts and circumstances ofeach case whether to exercise or not to exercise such apower.22. In the instant matter, when the complainantand her husband are divorced as the complainant-wifesecured an ex-parte decree of divorce, the same couldhave weighed with the High Court to consider whetherproceeding initiated prior to the divorce decree was fitto be pursued in spite of absence of specific allegationsat least against the brother and sister of thecomplainant’s husband and whether continuing withthis proceeding could not have amounted to abuse ofthe process of the court. The High Court, however,seems not to have examined these aspects carefullyand have thus side-tracked all these considerationsmerely on the ground that the territorial jurisdiction 2 Page 22
  23. 23. could be raised only before the magistrate conductingthe trial.23. In the instant case, the question ofterritorial jurisdiction was just one of the grounds forquashing the proceedings along with the other groundsand, therefore, the High Court should have examinedwhether the prosecution case was fit to be quashed onother grounds or not. At this stage, the question alsocrops up whether the matter is fit to be remanded to theHigh Court to consider all these aspects. But inmatters arising out of a criminal case, freshconsideration by remanding the same would furtherresult into a protracted and vexatious proceeding whichis unwarranted as was held by this Court in the caseof Ramesh vs. State of Tamil Nadu (supra) that sucha course of remand would be unnecessary andinexpedient as there was no need to prolong thecontroversy. The facts in this matter on this aspectwas although somewhat different since the complainanthad lodged the complaint after seven years of delay,yet in the instant matter the factual position remains 2 Page 23
  24. 24. that the complaint as it stands lacks ingredientsconstituting the offence under Section 498A and Section3/4 Dowry Prohibition Act against the appellants whoare sister and brother of the complainant’s husbandand their involvement in the whole incident appearsonly by way of a casual inclusion of their names.Hence, it cannot be overlooked that it would be totalabuse of the process of law if we were to remand thematter to the High Court to consider whether therewere still any material to hold that the trial shouldproceed against them in spite of absence of prima faciematerial constituting the offence alleged against them.24. However, we deem it appropriate to add byway of caution that we may not be misunderstood so asto infer that even if there are allegation of overt actindicating the complicity of the members of the familynamed in the FIR in a given case, cognizance would beunjustified but what we wish to emphasize byhighlighting is that, if the FIR as it stands does notdisclose specific allegation against accused more soagainst the co-accused specially in a matter arising out 2 Page 24
  25. 25. of matrimonial bickering, it would be clear abuse of thelegal and judicial process to mechanically send thenamed accused in the FIR to undergo the trial unless ofcourse the FIR discloses specific allegations whichwould persuade the court to take cognisance of theoffence alleged against the relatives of the main accusedwho are prima facie not found to have indulged inphysical and mental torture of the complainant-wife. Itis the well settled principle laid down in cases toonumerous to mention, that if the FIR did not disclosethe commission of an offence, the court would bejustified in quashing the proceedings preventing theabuse of the process of law. Simultaneously, the courtsare expected to adopt a cautious approach in matters ofquashing specially in cases of matrimonial disputewhether the FIR in fact discloses commission of anoffence by the relatives of the principal accused or theFIR prima facie discloses a case of over-implication byinvolving the entire family of the accused at theinstance of the complainant, who is out to settle herscores arising out of the teething problem or skirmish of 2 Page 25
  26. 26. domestic bickering while settling down in her newmatrimonial surrounding.25. In the case at hand, when the brother andunmarried sister of the principal accused ShyamjiMehrotra approached the High Court for quashing theproceedings against them, inter-alia, on the ground oflack of territorial jurisdiction as also on the groundthat no case was made out against them underSections 498A,/323/504/506 including Sections 3/4 ofthe Dowry Prohibition Act, it was the legal duty of theHigh Court to examine whether there were prima faciematerial against the appellants so that they could bedirected to undergo the trial, besides the question ofterritorial jurisdiction. The High Court seems to haveoverlooked all the pleas that were raised and rejectedthe petition on the solitary ground of territorialjurisdiction giving liberty to the appellants to approachthe trial court.26. The High Court in our considered opinionappear to have missed that assuming the trial courthad territorial jurisdiction, it was still left to be decided 2 Page 26
  27. 27. whether it was a fit case to send the appellants for trialwhen the FIR failed to make out a prima facie caseagainst them regarding the allegation of inflictingphysical and mental torture to the complainantdemanding dowry from the complainant. Since the HighCourt has failed to consider all these aspects, thisCourt as already stated hereinbefore, could haveremitted the matter to the High Court to considerwhether a case was made out against the appellants toproceed against them. But as the contents of the FIRdoes not disclose specific allegation against the brotherand sister of the complainant’s husband except casualreference of their names, it would not be just to directthem to go through protracted procedure by remandingfor consideration of the matter all over again by theHigh Court and make the unmarried sister of the mainaccused and his elder brother to suffer the ordeal of acriminal case pending against them specially when theFIR does not disclose ingredients of offence underSections 498A/323/504/506, IPC and Sections 3/4 ofthe Dowry Prohibition Act. 2 Page 27
  28. 28. 27. We, therefore, deem it just and legallyappropriate to quash the proceedings initiated againstthe appellants Geeta Mehrotra and Ramji Mehrotra asthe FIR does not disclose any material which could beheld to be constituting any offence against these twoappellants. Merely by making a general allegation thatthey were also involved in physical and mental tortureof the complainant-respondent No.2 withoutmentioning even a single incident against them as alsothe fact as to how they could be motivated to demanddowry when they are only related as brother and sisterof the complainant’s husband, we are pleased to quashand set aside the criminal proceedings in so far asthese appellants are concerned and consequently theorder passed by the High Court shall stand overruled.The appeal accordingly is allowed. ……………………………J (T.S. Thakur) ……………………………J (Gyan Sudha Misra)New Delhi,October 17, 2012 2 Page 28

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