Crl. Misc. No. M-36808 of 2012 (O&M) 1
IN THE HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB AND HARYANA
Crl. Misc. No. M-36808 of 2012 (O&M)
Date of decision: 03.12.2013
Harjot Singh Bal and others
State of Punjab and others
CORAM : HON'BLE MS JUSTICE RITU BAHRI
Present: Mr. Vikram K. Chaudhri, Advocate,
for the petitioners.
Mr. Daljit Singh Virk, AAG, Punjab.
Mr. H.S. Gill, Senior Advocate,
with Mr. Vivek Goel, Advocate,
for respondent No.2.
1. To be referred to the Reporters or not?
2. Whether the judgment should be reported in the Digest?
RITU BAHRI, J.
This petition under Section 482 Cr.P.C., is for quashing of FIR No.215 dated 20.10.2012, under Sections 420, 498-A, 406, 120-B IPC, registered at Police Station Sadar Amritsar, District Amritsar (Annexure P-5).
Harjot Singh Bal-petitioner No.1 was married to Rajdeep Kaur Bal- respondent No.3, on 15.02.2007 at Phoenix, Arizona and the certificate of Prasher Ajay 2013.12.06 10:38 I attest to the accuracy and integrity of this document High Court Chandigarh their marriage is annexed as Annexure P-1. After the marriage, they resided in a rental accommodation in Washington, United States of America. Thereafter, some traditional ceremonies were performed in India in the month of October, 2007, for the relatives, who could not make it for the wedding in United States of America. On 31.03.2012, the couple was blessed with a son. Thereafter, on 05.05.2012, respondent No.3 went to her parental house in California, along with the child. However, she did not return back. On persistent requests made by petitioner No.1, she came back on 16.06.2012. At that time, she was accompanied by her father-Rajpal Grewal and uncle- Amritpal Grewal (her father's elder brother). A meeting was held in the presence of family members of Rajdeep Kaur-respondent No.3 and parents of petitioner No.1, wherein petitioner No.1 had expressed that he could not move to Modesto, California, so as to enable his wife to be close to her parents, because he had a stable job in Washington and had been living there since 2006. On 18.06.2012, his wife-respondent No.3 along with her father- Rajpal Grewal and uncle-Amritpal Grewal decided to leave the house and take the young child along with them to California. When he stopped them from doing so, a report was made to the police under the domestic violence. Pursuant to that, petitioner No.1 was arrested and respondent No.3 along with family left with the child. She also withdrew the entire money from the shared bank accounts, however, subsequently, re-deposited the same on the advice of her attorney. Thereafter, she took away all the jewellery from the safe deposit account. A petition for dissolution of marriage was filed in the Superior Court of Washington country of Snohomish on 09.10.2012 (Annexure P-4). The petitioner No.1 was paying maintenance during the Prasher Ajay 2013.12.06 10:38 I attest to the accuracy and integrity of this document High Court Chandigarh pendency of divorce petition. In the backdrop of the divorce petition filed by the petitioner No.1, the criminal proceedings were initiated by the grandfather of respondent No.3 against the petitioners. The present FIR was got registered by Davinder Singh, grandfather of respondent No.3, with the following allegations:-
In the FIR, it is stated that on 25.10.2007, the 'shagun' ceremony was held and gold items were given as under:-
(i)Gold bangle weighing about 2.5 tolas and Rs. 11,000/- cash to Harjot singh Bal-petitioner No.1.
(ii)Gold chain of 2 tolas and Rs.2100/- cash to Tajinder Kaur.
(iii)Gold ring weighing 1 tola and Rs.2100/- in cash to Harbhajan Singh Bal.
(iv)One gold ring weighing about half tola and Rs.1100/- cash to Manjot Kaur.
Milni Cerenomy At the time of 'Milni Ceremony' Tejinder Kaur was given 1 necklace set weighing 3 tolas, Harbhajan Singh Bal was given a gold bracelet weighing 2.5 tolas, Manjeet Kaur was given a gold necklace weighing 2 tolas. Apart from this, relatives of Harjot Singh Bal, including his grandmother,uncles and aunts and other close relatives were given 12 gold rings. Vidai At the time of 'vadai', Harjot Singh Bal received a gold bracelet weighing 2.5 tolas and a gold ring weighing 1 tola, Harbhajan Singh Bal was given Rs.51,000/- in cash. Rs.1.5 lacs were given for urniture, kitchen and Prasher Ajay 2013.12.06 10:38 I attest to the accuracy and integrity of this document High Court Chandigarh household items.
Apart from this, various gift items were also given to the accused- petitioners for the use of respondent No.3. In all, Rs.15 to 20 lacs were spent in the wedding. There are specific allegations in the FIR that amount of Rs.2 lacs was given to in-laws of respondent No.3 for her use, after 2/3 years of wedding. But the said money was never deposited in the account of Rajdeep Kaur-respondent No.3. Apart from the above stated allegations of giving gifts and money, there are allegations that when she became pregnant, she was mentally harassed and troubled, so that she should have a miscarriage. After the birth of her son, she was maltreated and was not allowed to speak to her parents on phone. The complainant made efforts to convince Harbhajan Singh Bal-petitioner No.3 to sortout the problems at home, but despite that he started making false allegations on respondent No.3 and refused to keep his grandson with him. Thereafter, Rajdeep Kaur-respondent No.3 left her matrimonial house along with the minor child in July, 2011.
On notice, reply on behalf of respondent No.1-State, in the shape of affidavit of Assistant Commissioner of Police (North), Amritsar, has been filed, stating therein that further investigation of the case is being conducted by ASI Gurinder Singh and real facts will come to light on completion of the same.
Learned counsel for respondent No.2 has vehemently argued that petitioner No.1 had solemnized marriage with respondent No.3 with the sole purpose of obtaining citizenship of United States of America (USA). The Court marriage was performed on 15.02.2007 in USA and thereafter, the marriage was solemnized in India in October, 2007. Petitioner No.1 got Prasher Ajay 2013.12.06 10:38 I attest to the accuracy and integrity of this document High Court Chandigarh citizenship of USA and shortly filed a petition for divorce. Respondent No.3 faced the cruelty and maltreatment at the hands of her in-laws (petitioners). He has further urged that the petitioners are residing in USA and proclamation proceedings under Section 82 Cr.P.C., have been issued against them. Even though, the Court in USA has granted divorce to the parties, yet since the marriage was solemnized in India in the year 2007, the criminal proceedings could very well be initiated against the petitioners in India. After the birth of the child, petitioner No.1 did not handover the child to the mother. It was only on a complaint made by Rajdeep Kaur-respondent No.3 and on intervention of the police, the custody of the child was given to the mother-respondent No.3. At that stage, the proceedings against petitioner No.1 were dropped on the statement made by Rajdeep Kaur. The complainant (herein) is the grandfather of Rajdeep Kaur and the criminal proceedings have been initiated as a fraud was committed by petitioner No.1 and his family members on his grand-daughter.
It has been further argued that after registration of the FIR, proclamation against petitioner No.1 has been effected and he has been declared proclaimed offender under Section 82 (1) Cr.P.C., vide order dated 29.04.2013 (Annexure R-7). Once the petitioners have been declared proclaimed offenders, they cannot approach this Court and seek quashing of the FIR under Section 482 Cr.P.C.
Learned counsel for the petitioners does not dispute that the petitioners have been declared proclaimed offenders. He placed on record a settlement agreement (Annexure P-21) executed between Harjot Singh Bal- petitioner No.1 and Rajdeep Bal-respondent No.3, in the Superior Court of Prasher Ajay 2013.12.06 10:38 I attest to the accuracy and integrity of this document High Court Chandigarh Washington. He has also placed on record the judgment dated 03.04.2013 (Annexure P-22), whereby a decree of divorce has been granted.
Heard, counsel for the parties.
After going through the judgment dated 03.04.2013 (Annexure P-
22) passed by the Superior Court of Washington, it is apparent that all the disputes between the parties have been resolved. The details of the property, awarded to Rajdeep Kaur Bal-respondent No.3 vide judgment (Annexure P-
22) are as under:-
Property Awarded to respondent: The respondent should be awarded as her sole and separate property, free and clear of any liens, claims, interests, or encumbrances of the petitioner the following:
A. All bank/investment accounts and insurance policies (including riders) currently in respondent's name, except as otherwise specifically awarded to petitioner. B. All employment-related benefits in respondent's name, including all rights and benefits which have been derived as a result of past or present employment, union affiliations, military service, or United States, state or other citizenship (except rights the parties are entitled to receive by virtue of this relationship); and further including but not limited to sick leave benefits, life/health/disability insurance, educational benefits and grants, health orwelfare plans and all other contractual, legislated or donated benefits, whether vested or unvested, and whether directly or indirectly derived through the activity of the parties, along with all rights and benefits to which he is entitled by state or federal law, including Social Security benefits, as well as any pension, retirement, profit sharing, 401-K, IRA or Keogh benefit in her name except as otherwise specifically awarded to petitioner herein. C. All property currently in respondent's possession;
including, but not limited to, clothing, jewellery, personal effects, Prasher Ajay 2013.12.06 10:38 I attest to the accuracy and integrity of this document High Court Chandigarh furniture, furnishings, household adornments, and tools, except as otherwise specifically awarded to petitioner. D. The 2006 Honda Accord and any underlying obligation(s) thereon.
E. Any property acquired since the date of the parties' separation with respondent's separate funds, and except as otherwise specifically awarded to petitioner." As per the aforesaid judgment, if the husband decided to sell home, the net proceeds would be divided equally (50/50) between the husband and wife. Rajdeep Kaur Bal-respondent No.3 has been given 10% separate property interest in thebusiness known as GRDA, including real estate, equipment, bank accounts, receivables and assets associated therewith. The custody of the child would be with the mother.
At this stage, reference can be made to the deposition of Rajdeep Kaur-respondent No.3 before the Superior Court of Washington (Annexure P-
25), wherein she had denied that she had authorized her grandfather to act on her behalf or that she had given any power of attorney to institute a suit on her behalf. She specifically denied that any Lawyer has been appointed by her to institute a suit in India.
Reference can also be made to Annexure P-24, which shows that on 08.12.2012, the Safe Deposit Box was opened by Rajdeep Kaur-respondent No.3, where all her gold items and jewellery items were found present and opening of the locker has been acknowledged by Harjot Bal.
After going through the documents (Annexures P-22, P-24 and P- 25, it transpires that all the liabilities between Rajdeep Kaur Bal-respondent No.3 and her husband Harjot Singh Bal-petitioner No.1 have since been settled. As per the statement of Rajdeep Kaur Bal-respondent No.3 (Annexure Prasher Ajay 2013.12.06 10:38 I attest to the accuracy and integrity of this document High Court Chandigarh P-25), she has not authorized anybody to institute a suit on her behalf.
Another fact, which is to be considered is that all the petitioners as well as Rajdeep Kaur Bal are residing in U.S.A. and as per the decree of divorce dated 03.04.2013 (Annexure P-22), all the claims have already been settled between the parties. Even the jewellary has been taken away by opening the locker as per Annexure P-24. At this stage, no cause of action survives to prolong the criminal proceedings, which have been initiated after registration of the present FIR. The essential ingredients for commission of offences under Sections 406 and 498-A IPC, after passing of decree of dovirce vide Annexure P-22, ceased to exist and continuation of criminal proceedings, after presentation of the challan dated 13.07.213, would be an abuse of the process of law, especially in view of the fact that Rajdeep Kaur Bal had not given any instructions to her grandfather to file any suit of complaint on her behalf.
Resultantly, FIR No.215 dated 20.10.2012, under Sections 420, 498-A, 406, 120-B IPC, registered at Police Station Sadar Amritsar, District Amritsar, is quashed with all consequential proceedings arising therefrom qua the petitioners. Since the claims between the parties have already been settled, the order dated 29.04.2013 (Annexure R-7), declaring the petitioner No.1 as proclaimed offender, is also set aside.
Disposed of accordingly.
I attest to the accuracy and
integrity of this document
High Court Chandigarh