30 Lakhs for settlement of 498a: Such husbands are promoting legal terror
CR.MA/1669/2011 5/5 JUDGMENT
IN THE HIGH COURT OF GUJARAT AT AHMEDABAD
CRIMINAL MISC.APPLICATION No. 1669 of 2011
For Approval and Signature:
HONOURABLE MR.JUSTICE MD SHAH
Whether Reporters of Local Papers may be allowed to see the judgment ?
To be referred to the Reporter or not ?
Whether their Lordships wish to see the fair copy of the judgment ?
Whether this case involves a substantial question of law as to the interpretation of the constitution of India, 1950 or any order made thereunder ?
Whether it is to be circulated to the civil judge ?
KEYURBHAI HARSHADRAI PARIKH & 3 – Applicant(s)
STATE OF GUJARAT & 1 – Respondent(s)
========================================================= Appearance :
M/S THAKKAR ASSOC. for Applicant(s) : 1 – 4. Mr.L.R.Pujari, APP for Respondent(s) : 1,
MR RAJESH H SAHJANI for Respondent(s) : 2,
HONOURABLE MR.JUSTICE MD SHAH
Date : 22/04/2011
1. Leave to add the husband of the respondent No-2 as petitioner No.5 is granted and draft amendment is allowed. Amendment be carried out forthwith.
2. Heard learned Senior Advocate, Mr.P.M.Thakkar for M/s Thakkar Associates for the petitioners, learned APP, Mr.L.R.Pujari for the respondent No.1 and learned advocate, Mr.Rajesh Sahjani for the respondent No.2. The respondent No.2-complainant is also present in Court.
3. Rule. Learned APP, Mr.L.R.Pujari for the respondent No.1 and learned advocate, Mr.Rajesh Sahjani for the respondent No.2 waive service of notice of rule.
4. The learned advocates for the respective parties have jointly submitted that this matrimonial matter is settled between the parties and as per the settlement, the parties have decided to separate and for which, divorce application has been preferred before the competent court. Further, the petitioners have agreed to pay a sum of Rs.30,00,000/- (Rupees Thirty Lakhs only) by pay order No.015974 dated 4-3-2011 drawn on Principal Judge, Family Court, Ahmedabad, in lieu of all claims present and future arising out of marriage in full and final settlement. The respondent No.2-complainant wife, who is present in Court, has stated that she is ready to accept the said amount. It is further stated by her that since the matter is settled, she has no objection if the complaint is quashed.
5. It is clear that the parties have settled the matter by arriving at a compromise and a consent terms on affidavit is submitted which is taken on record. Reliance is placed on a decision of the Apex Court reported in AIR 2005 SUPREME COURT 757 in the case of Mohd. Shamim v. Nahid Begum wherein it has been held by the Apex Court in paragraph Nos.12, 13, 14 and 15 as under:
“12. In view of the fact that the settlement was arrived at the intervention of a judicial officer of the rank of the Additional Sessions Judge, we are of the opinion, the contention of the First Respondent herein to the effect that she was not aware of the contents thereof and the said agreement as also the affidavit which were got signed by her by misrepresentation of facts must be rejected. In the facts and circumstances of this case, we have no doubt in our mind that the denial of execution of the said deed of settlement is an afterthought on the part of the Respondent No.1 herein.
13. Ex facie the settlement between the parties appears to be genuine. If the contention of the First Respondent herein is to be accepted, she would not have accepted the sum of Rs. 2,25,000/- and in any event, she could have filed an appropriate application in that behalf before the Court of S.N. Gupta, Additional Sessions Judge, Delhi. What was least expected of her was that she would return the said sum of Rupees 2,25,000/- to the Appellants herein.
14. Section 406 is a compoundable offence with the permission of the court. It is true that Section 498-A IPC is not compoundable.
15. This Court in Ruchi Agarwal v. Amit Kumar Agrawal and others (2004 (8) Supreme 525), in almost a similar situation has quashed a criminal proceeding against the husband, stating:
“… Therefore, we are of the opinion that the appellant having received the relief she wanted without contest on the basis of the terms of the compromise, we cannot now accept the argument of the learned counsel for the appellant. In our opinion, the conduct of the appellant indicates that the criminal complaint from which this appeal arises was filed by the wife only to harass the respondents.
8. In view of the above said subsequent events and the conduct of the appellant, it would be an abuse of the process of the court if the criminal proceedings from which this appeal arises is allowed to continue.”
16. In view of the conduct of the First Respondent in entering into the aforementioned settlement, the continuance of the criminal proceeding pending against the Appellants, in our opinion, in this case also, would be an abuse of the process of the court. The Appellant No.1, however, would be entitled to withdraw the sum of Rs. 50,000/- which has been deposited in the court. We, therefore, in exercise of our jurisdiction under Article 142 of the Constitution of India direct that the impugned judgment be set aside. The First Information Report lodged against the Appellants is quashed. The Appeal is allowed. However, this order should not be treated as a precedent.”
6. Reliance is also placed on another decision of the Apex Court reported in AIR 2003 SUPREME COURT 1386 in the case of B. S. Joshi v. State of Haryana wherein complaint for the offence under Sec.498-A has been quashed by observing that High Court can exercise inherent power for quashing of criminal proceedings under Sec.482 of Cr.P.C. It has been held by the Apex Court in paras 14 and 15 of the said judgment as under:
“14. There is no doubt that the object of introducing Chapter XX-A containing Section 498A in the Indian Penal Code was to prevent the torture to a woman by her husband or by relatives of her husband. Section 498A was added with a view to punishing a husband and his relatives who harass or torture the wife to coerce her or her relatives to satisfy unlawful demands of dowry. The hyper-technical view would be counter productive and would act against interests of women and against the object for which this provision was added. There is every likelihood that non-exercise of inherent power to quash the proceedings to meet the ends of justice would prevent women from settling earlier. That is not the object of Chapter XXA of Indian Penal Code.
15. In view of the above discussion, we hold that the High Court in exercise of its inherent powers can quash criminal proceedings or FIR or complaint and Section 320 of the Code does not limit or affect the powers under Section 482 of the Code.”
7. Applying the above ratio to the facts of the present case, since the matter has been settled between the parties, I am of the opinion that no useful purpose would be served by permitting the criminal proceedings pending against the petitioners to continue. Hence, the complaint in question is required to be quashed.
8. In view of the above, FIR registered as C.R.No.I-35 of 2011 at Satellite Police Station is quashed. This Cri.Misc.Application is accordingly allowed. Rule is made absolute. Direct service is permitted.