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Supreme Court Imposes A Cost Of Rs. 5 Lakh On The Wife’s Father For Harassing Her Husband By Filing Cases Against Him Under Section 498a At Different Places; Misuse Of State Machinery By Policewoman & Her Father

saksham bharadwaj ,
  24 April 2024       Share Bookmark

Court :
The Supreme Court of India
Brief :

Citation :
Special Leave to Petition (Crl.) No.2520 OF 2017

Case title:  

PARTEEK BANSAL vs STATE OF RAJASTHAN & ORS.

Date of Order:

April 19, 2024

Bench:

Hon’ble Justice VIKRAM NATH; J. PRASHANT KUMAR MISHRA

Parties:

Appellant: PARTEEK BANSAL 

Respondents: STATE OF RAJASTHAN & ORS.

Subject:  

The case revolves around the overturning of the High Court’s decision, ruling that multiple complaint filing is not the right way to use the legal process. The Apex Court emphasised the importance of reading the complaints carefully as small misinterpretation could change things drastically as in this case, when the  High Court erred in getting the facts right. It was said that misuse of powers should not be done, especially in troubling or harassing someone.

IMPORTANT PROVISIONS

Code of Criminal Procedure

Section 482: Grants power to the High Court to quash any FIR’s or criminal proceedings.

Section 173(2): Pertains to the police report submitted after the completion of the investigation.

Section 300;177: Pertains to territorial and ordinary jurisdiction respectively.

Indian Penal Code

Sections 498A, 406, 384, 420, and 120(B): deal with offenses like dowry harassment. criminal breach of trust, extortion, cheating, and criminal conspiracy respectively.

OVERVIEW(Brief Facts)

  • In this case the main basis laid around the correctness of the judgement passed by the Rajasthan High Court.
  • An assailed correctness was requested of the judgement passed by the High Court when it dismissed the petition which was filed under section 482 of the CrPC, which was quashing the FIR No. 156 of 2015.
  • The case revolves around the meeting of the appellant and respondent number 3 via the Internet.
  • The appellant was a chartered accountant based in Hisar. Whereas, the respondent(no.3) was DSP in Udaipur, Rajasthan.
  • y, the complainant(respondent no. 2) who was the father of respondent number 3, visited Udaipur to meet the appellant, for the proposal of marriage of his daughter respondent(no.3).
  • Subsequently, the engagement happened on 18.02.2015 and further was solemnised into marriage on 21.03.2015, in Udaipur.
  • However, respondent No.2 filed a complaint at the Police Station, Hisar, Haryana under Section 498A IPC etc.(10.10.2015)
  • But the same FIR was registered later i.e 17.10.2015(after 7 days) as FIR No. 19 of 2015 under Section 498A which was conjointly read with Section 34 IPC. 
  • While this was under procedure, another FIR was filed on 15.10.2015(after 5 days of the original complaint) on the same grounds/allegations/charges, and this was further registered on 01.11.2015 as FIR No. 156 under Section 498A/506 IPC etc. 
  • As per the first complaint, the appellant along with other family members were eventually roped in, Eventually, when a further investigation was conducted and a police report was submitted in December, the charges framed were under 173(2) Cr.P.C. and against only the appellant under Section 498A IPC.
  • Furthermore, the report by the police was given to the Magistrate, who ordered the start of the trial(under the ambit of a criminal case). The case was registered under the Court of Judicial Magistrate, 1st Class, Hisar.
  • Simultaneously, the appellant had also filed a petition under 482 Cr.P.C. before the Rajasthan High Court. It was filed against the termination of the second FIR No. 156 of 2015 which was registered at Udaipur.

ISSUES RAISED

The core issues that were raised in this case were related to:

  • Is the second FIR filed at Udaipur by the same complainant, under the same allegations valid?
  • Whether the jurisdictional conflict arising is valid?

ARGUMENTS ADVANCED BY THE APPELLANT

  • The appellants contended that the second FIR that was filed at Udaipur by the same complainants (under the same allegations) should stand terminated.
  • Earlier, when the appellant filed a petition under Section 482 Cr.P.C. before the Rajasthan High Court to quash the second FIR, registered at Udaipur. It was rejected on two grounds [1] That the complaint at Udaipur was prior in point of time to the complaint in Hisar.[2] Rajasthan Police was not aware of the earlier proceedings/complaint before the Hisar Police and as such the Udaipur Police should be at liberty to investigate the said complaint made at Udaipur.  
  • Even the Apex court stayed the order of FIR investigations. But apparently, the Trial Court acquitted the appellant under 313 Cr.P.C.
  • Based on the aforementioned points, the counsel of the appellants argued that both the High Court erred and wrongfully thought that Udaipur FIR was earlier lodged than HISAR.
  • Also, the counsel pressed on the fact that the Rajasthan Police knew about the case at Hisar. 

ARGUMENTS ADVANCED BY THE RESPONDENT

  • The arguments made by the respondents were that the Court at Hisar had no territorial jurisdiction as the offence had been committed at Udaipur. It was emphasised that the Hisar Court’s decision was void in terms of judgement of acquittal.
  • It was further mentioned that due to the order of the Apex court, the investigations by Rajasthan Police were halted. It was urged that they should have been continued.

JUDGEMENT ANALYSIS 

  • It was found out that earlier when the appellant filed a petition under Section 482 Cr.P.C. before the Rajasthan High Court for quashing the second FIR, registered at Udaipur. It was rejected on two grounds [1] That the complaint at Udaipur was prior in point of time to the complaint in Hisar.[2] Rajasthan Police was not aware of the earlier proceedings/complaint before the Hisar Police and as such the Udaipur Police should be at liberty to investigate the said complaint made at Udaipur.  
  • When filed under the Apex court, the order of FIR investigations was stayed.[03.04.2017]. This happened because the FIR back then was not investigated so far.
  • But apparently after the message of the impugned order, the Trial Court of Hisar acquitted the appellant under 313 Cr.P.C.[2.08.2017]
  • As per the few mentions in the records of the Trial Court, it was told that the prosecution eventually tried their best to be the victim, but failed miserably as they were not able to depose before the court with substantial proof.
  • As there was no alternative left, the Court closed the evidence whilst recording the statement of the appellant under CrPC’s section 313. The verdict of acquittal was given.
  • Moving ahead, the Court (apex) on the aforementioned statutory provisions(by the respondents) said that the impugned proceedings were an abuse of law.
  • The Apex Court acknowledged that, even though respondents 2 and 3 filed an FIR at Hisar, they should have filed an application of transfer to the Udaipur branch or should have withdrawn the application for wrongly filing a case.
  • The Court said that respondent 3 was a gazetted(published) police officer back then, and knew CrPC well. But they eventually allowed the investigation to go on. This act by them wasted the precious time of the Court.
  • It was pressed to the fact that being a mere police officer, she (resp 3) managed to get the FIR lodged by her father in both cities within a week.
  • The Apex Court after re-examining the dates of filing of the FIRs found that the High Court erred in finding the complaint at Udaipur prior to Hisar.
  • The Court again pressed on the fact that the High Court erred in finding that the investigating agency at Udaipur was well aware of the complaint on similar allegations being lodged at Hisar. Basically, it meant that Rajasthan Police knew about the proceedings initiated in Hisar. The Apex Court emphasised that a careful reading of the complaint should have been done by the High Court and the Rajasthan Police.
  • Ultimately, it was acknowledged that the High Court erred in delivering. Also, it was mentioned that respondent Nos. 2 and 3 were misusing their official position(s) by lodging recurring complaints one after the other.
  • It was held that these multiple complaints were to harass the appellant and the allegations of the demand of Rs. 50,00,000  and an Innova Car were found to be untrue. Hence, the respondent 2 was instructed to compensate the appellant.
  • The proceedings of the High Court were quashed with costs of Rs. 5,00,000which were asked to be deposited within four weeks to the Registrar. Upon deposit of the same, 50% was to be transmitted to the account of the Supreme Court Legal Services Committee and the remaining 50% to the appellant.

CONCLUSION

In this landmark judgement, it was held by the Apex court that the High Court erred in giving a decision, which quashed the appellant’s petition to terminate the second FIR. The Apex court held multiple complaint filing is a misuse of legal process. Hence, a monetary compensation to reimburse the appellant was ordered to respondents 2 and 3 while quashing the decisions of the High Court.

The costs were to be split between the Supreme Court services and the appellant. 
 

 
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