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As cited many times, the provisions relating to dowry harassment are less used and more misused. Please advise (and if possible cite judgement) if complaint for dowry harassment can be filed at a place other than the matrimonial home, where the offences may have allegedly taken place and secondly can there be some reprieve for such relatives of the husband who do not live with him or live at place other than the matrimonial home.


 3 Replies

Sanjeev Panda (Advocate)     01 April 2010

You are right Mr. Mehta, the provisions relating to Dowry harassment are less used and more used. It has been rightly termed as legal terrorism by the Apex Court.

The queries raised by you depend upon the facts of your case. Now answering to your first query:-

Jurisdiction: The crucial question is whether any part of the cause of action arose within the jurisdiction of the concerned Court where the paternal home of bride is situated. In terms of Section 177 of the Code of Criminal Procedure it is the place where the offence was committed. In essence it is the cause of action for initiation of the proceedings against the accused. Under Section 177 of the Code of Criminal procedure, 1973 an offence shall ordinarily be enquired into and tried by a court within whose local jurisdiction offence was committed. In the decision of Supreme Court reported as 2004 (2) CC Cases (SC) 289, Y.Abraham Ajith and Ors. Vs. Inspector of Police, Chennai, it was held that where no part of cause of action arose within the jurisdiction of a concerned court, proceedings before the Magistrate had to be quashed. In the said case the complainant herself left the house of the husband on account of alleged dowry demands by the husband and his relations. There is thereafter not even a whisper of allegations about any demand of dowry or commission of any act constituting an offence much less at Chennai.

Further in the unreported judgment of the Hon’ble Delhi High Court in Smt. Veena Kapoor and Anr. Vs. The State of NCT of Delhi (Bail Application No.3093-94/2005) the Hon’ble Delhi High Court accepting the bail plea held that a meaningful reading of the complaint shows that the parties were married at Ferozepur. Matrimonial house of the complainant was at Ferozepur. She parted company at Ferozepur. Gravement of the allegation pertained to what happened at Ferozepur. She was left at her parent's house at Delhi. Under the circumstances, the court held that the cause of action would be at Ferozepur and not at Delhi. The Delhi High Court directing the local police to transmit the afore-noted FIR along with record of investigation to the police at Ferozepur.

However, contrary to the aforesaid two judgments, I may draw your attention to another judgment of Supreme Court in Sujata Mukherjee (Smt.) v. Prashant Kumar Mukherjee (1997 (5) SCC 30), allegations related to commission of alleged offences punishable under Sections 498A, 506 and 323 IPC. On the factual background, it was noted that though the dowry demands were made earlier, the husband of the complainant went to the place where complainant was residing and had assaulted her. The Court held in that factual background that clause (c) of Section 178 was attracted. Section 178 (c) Cr.P.C. provides that where an offence is a continuing one, and continues to be committed in more local areas than one, it may be inquired into or tried by a court having jurisdiction over any of such local areas.

So any part of the cause of action should not have arose within the jurisdiction of the Court where the paternal home of bride is situated and further offence should not be a continuing offence under Section 178 (C) of Cr.P.C. to exclude the jurisdiction of Court where the paternal home of bride is situated.

Answering your second query, yes there can be reprieve for the relatives who do not live with the couple or live at a distant place as there are number of judgments of various High Courts which say that the desperate litigant wife would go to any extent to rope in each and every relative to implicate them in false dowry case. But you have to present the facts with supporting evidence, however now court are also aware of the fact that most of complaints are false and relatives names are dragged in unnecessarily to harass them. Please go through the judgment of pronounced by the Delhi High Court given in the Link https://www.indiankanoon.org/doc/1879561/

navdeep gahlawat (faridbad)     23 October 2012

sir please let me know in 498,406,34 ipc act is possible that IO order the husband party to deposit the dowry items like car,bed etc into the police station

navdeep gahlawat (faridbad)     23 October 2012

Dear sir,

              my wife is also working in some company and she wanted maintance from me rs.30000per month is it necessary or not please let me know

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