KARTIK CHANDRA MAJEE@KARTIK CHAND MAJEE AND OTHERS Vs. STATE OF JHARKHAND AND ANOTHER

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Date of judgment:
28/04/2017
Case Number:
CRIMINAL APPEAL No. 0894 of 2017, decided on April 28, 2017
Section(s)/Rule(s)/Article(s) :
SECTION 498-A;
Hon'ble Judges:
A.K. SIKRI, ASHOK BHUSHAN

ORDER

1. Leave granted.

2. The appeal has been filed against the Judgment dated 16.09.2013 passed by the High Court of Jharkhand at Ranchi dismissing the Criminal Miscellaneous Petition filed by the appellant.

3. The brief facts of the case are: The appellants are accused in a criminal complaint filed by the second respondent. The first appellant is father-in-law of second respondent. The appellant Nos. 2 to 5 are brothers and appellant Nos. 6 to 9 are sons of the first appellant. The eldest son of the appellant was one i.e. Amiya Kumar Majee. The first appellant disowned his eldest son from all his properties severing all his relations with him by newspaper publication, made by the first appellant on 31.05.1999 which was published in the daily newspaper 'Awaz'. The second respondent married to Amiya Kumar Majee, the eldest son of the first appellant on 5.6.2000 in a temple near her parental house. The complaint was lodged on 5.6.2007 which was filed by the second respondent against all the appellants in which her husband was also impleaded as sixth respondent. The complainant got herself examined in the complaint as well three witnesses. The Judicial Magistrate finding a prima facie case directed on 31.05.2008 to file requisite summons. The second respondent compromised the matter with sixth respondent, her husband Amiya Kumar Majee. The appellants who are accused nos. 1 to 5 and accused nos. 7 to 10 prayed for discharge. It was pleaded by the appellants that the second respondent and her husband were residing separately away from the house of accused persons and first appellant has already disowned Amiya Kumar Majee due to his bad conduct by paper publication dated 31.05.1999. The appellants have no concern with the marital life of the second respondent and her husband and no case has been made out against the appellants to proceed under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code and the appellants be discharged. The application filed by the appellants was rejected by the Judicial Magistrate First Class on 19.07.2011. The Criminal Revision was filed by the appellant against the aforesaid order, which Revision was dismissed on 11.02.2013 by the Addl. Sessions Judge-V, Dhanbad. The Criminal Miscellaneous Petition under Section 482 Cr.P.C was filed by the appellants before the High Court praying for quashing the entire criminal proceedings and setting aside orders passed. The High Court by its Judgment dated 16.09.2013, dismissed the said application against which this appeal has been filed.

4. We have heard learned counsel for the parties. Learned counsel for the appellants submits that present is a case where the High Court ought to have exercised its jurisdiction by quashing the entire criminal proceedings. The criminal proceedings against the appellant were nothing but proceedings to put pressure on the appellants and harass them. It is submitted that husband of the second respondent was already disowned by the first appellant even before the alleged marriage of second respondent with the eldest son of the appellant and appellants have no concern with the second respondent and her husband. The Court below have mechanically entertained the complaint filed by the second respondent and in spite of, the appellants having placed relevant facts before the Magistral and Revisional Court, the discharge Petition was dismissed. It is submitted that the High Court has committed error in rejecting the application under Section 482 Cr.P.C.

5. The copy of the complaint has been filed as Annexure P-2. All the appellants were made accused including Amiya Kumar Majee, the eldest son of the first respondent as sixth respondent to the complaint. Para 1 of the complaint stated:-

“That on 05.06.2000, the complainant was got married with the accursed no. -1 under Hindu customs at Chandrachud Temple situated near the parental house of the complainant at Sendel, P.S.- Barabani, District – Vardhvan”.

6. The allegations of the second respondent in the complaint itself indicate that her marriage with son of the appellant was performed in a temple near her parental house. General allegations have been made in paras 5 and 6 of the complaint no. 506/2007 against the appellants. It is, further, alleged in para 7 that on 01.03.2006, by the complainant that the first appellant and his brothers took all her jewellery and threw her out of the house along with two children. The Magistrate has noticed the case of the appellant that husband of the second respondent i.e. Amiya Kumar Majee was disowned by his father severing all his relations with him by newspaper publication made in the year 1999. It is relevant to extract the newspaper publication dated 31.05.1999, which was to the following effect:-

“That Sri Amiya Kumar Majee is my eldest son amogst others who is an adult one doing his independent business on separation from my family, who also resides separately from my family.

That I have no relation of any nature either familier or in business with my said son who indulged himself in illegal activities accordingly he will not part up any share of my properties due to his detachment with my family.

That I shall not be responsible in any manner for his any type of activities who has no legal right title, interest or possession over the properties of my family.

That any type of dealings by any one else with my said son will be in his own risk.

That I have sweared an affidavit in this connection vide Sl. No. 108 dated 31.05.1999 before the Notary Publec, Dhanbad.”

7. The Magistrate has further noticed that the second respondent has compromised the matter with her husband - sixth respondent to the complaint. It is useful to notice the second paragraph of the order of the Judicial Magistrate dated 19.07.2011 which is to the following effect:-

“The learned counsel for accused No. 1 to 5 and 7 to 10 while avoking the discharge petition submitted that the accused No. 6 and the complainant reside with separate place away from the house of the accused persons and the accused No. 1 has disclosed through affidavit duly published in the newspaper, that he has not relation with the accused No. 6, his son Amiya Kumar Maajee since 1999 and accused No. 6 has married the complainant in the year 2000. He further submitted that the complainant has compromised this case with accused No. 6, her husband, hence this case be dropped on this point above, as the accused No. 1 to 5 and 7 to 10 have no concern with the complainant and her marital life as they never reside with her in her matrimonial house, hence they be discharged from this case.”

8. The second respondent's marriage was performed on 5.6.2000 that is subsequent to her husband being disowned by his father by newspaper publication dated 31.05.1999 severing all his relations with Amiya Kumar Majee. It was also pointed out by the appellant before the Magistrate that the complainant had compromised the matter with her husband i.e. sixth respondent in the complaint. Only accused nos. 1 to 5 and accused nos. 7 to 10 who all are appellants in this case had to file discharge application. The above facts clearly indicate that complainant and her husband are together in prosecuting the criminal proceeding against the appellants. The complaint does not disclose any specific allegations regarding nine appellants except the allegations of an incident on 01.03.2006 that the complainant was turned out from house by father-in-law and brothers. The facts of the case as noted above indicate that the complaint was filed with only intend to harass the appellants and to settle the score with the appellants who had earlier disowned the eldest son i.e. Amiya Kumar Majee, even before the marriage was performed by the complainant with Amiya Kumar Majee. For criminal prosecution under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, both the Magistral and Revisional Court were required to look into the pleadings and evidences more carefully. It is well settled that when the criminal proceedings are attended with mala fide and proceeded maliciously due to private and personal grudge, the High Court had ample jurisdiction to interject such proceedings in exercises of power under Section 482 Cr.P.C.

9. We have an occasion to consider the ambit and scope of power of the High Court under Section 482 Cr.P.C. for quashing a criminal proceeding in Criminal Appeal No. 577 of 2017: Vineet Kumar & Ors. Vs. State of U.P. & Anr. decided on 31.03.2017. It is useful to refer to paras 20, 21 and 39 of the above judgment where following was stated:-

“20. Before we enter into the facts of the present case it is necessary to consider the ambit and scope of jurisdiction under Section 482 Cr.P.C. vested in the High Court. Section 482 Cr.P.C. saves the inherent power of the High Court to make such orders as may be necessary to give effect to any order under this Code, or to prevent abuse of the process of any Court or otherwise to secure the ends of justice.

21. This Court time and again has examined scope of jurisdiction of High Court under Section 482 Cr.P.C. and laid down several principles which govern the exercise of jurisdiction of High Court under Section 482 Cr.P.C. A three-Judge Bench of this Court in State of Karnataka vs. L. Muniswamy and others, [(1977)2 SCC 699], held that the High Court is entitled to quash a proceeding if it comes to the conclusion that allowing the proceeding to continue would be an abuse of the process of the Court or that the ends of justice require that the proceeding ought to be quashed. In paragraph 7 of the judgment following has been stated:

“7.... In the exercise of this wholesome power, the High Court is entitled to quash a proceeding if it comes to the conclusion that allowing the proceeding to continue would be an abuse of the process of the Court or that the ends of justice require that the proceeding ought to be quashed. The saving of the High Court's inherent powers, both in civil and criminal matters, is designed to achieve a salutary public purpose which is that a court proceeding ought not to be permitted to degenerate into a weapon of harassment or persecution. In a criminal case, the veiled object behind a lam prosecution, the very nature of the material on which the structure of the prosecution rests and the like would justify the High Court in quashing the proceeding in the interest of justice. The ends of justice are higher than the ends of mere law though justice has got to be administered according to laws made by the legislature. The compelling necessity for making these observations is that without a proper realisation of the object and purpose of the provision which seeks to save the inherent powers of the High Court to do justice, between the State and its subjects, it would be impossible to appreciate the width and contours of that salient jurisdiction.”

39. Inherent power given to the High Court under Section 482 Cr.P.C. is with the purpose and object of advancement of justice. In case solemn process of Court is sought to be abused by a person with some oblique motive, the Court has to thwart the attempt at the very threshold. The Court cannot permit a prosecution to go on if the case falls in one of the Categories as illustratively enumerated by this Court in State of Haryana vs. Bhajan Lal. Judicial process is a solemn proceeding which cannot be allowed to be converted into an instrument of operation or harassment. When there are material to indicate that a criminal proceeding is manifestly attended with mala fide and proceeding is maliciously instituted with an ulterior motive, the High Court will not hesitate in exercise of its jurisdiction under Section 482 Cr.P.C. to quash the proceeding under Category 7 as enumerated in State of Haryana vs. Bhajan Lal, which is to the following effect:

(7) Where a criminal proceeding is manifestly attended with mala fide and/ or where the proceeding is maliciously instituted with an ulterior motive for wreaking vengeance on the accused and with a view to spite him due to private and personal grudge.”

Above Category 7 is clearly attracted in the facts of the present case. Although, the High Court ha noted the judgment of the State of Haryana vs. Bhajan Lal, but did not advert to the relevant facts of the present case, materials on which Final Report was submitted by the IO. We, thus, are fully satisfied that the present is a fit case where High Court ought to have exercised its jurisdiction under Section 482 Cr.P.C. and quashed the criminal proceedings.”

10. The present case was fully covered by Category 7, as enumerated in the case of State of Haryana Vs. Bhajan Lal(supra), the complainant married Amiya Kumar Majee subsequent to severing all relations by his father which was published in the newspaper on 31.05.1999. Several years after marriage, the complaint is filed on vague allegations against the nine accused without imputing specific roles of the accused from which offence under Section 498 Cr.P.C. could be made out. The fact that before the Magistrate himself, the complainant compromised the matter with her husband and proceeded to prosecute the father of the husband, uncles of the husband and brothers of the husband clearly proves the case of the appellants that the entire proceedings were initiated to put pressure on the appellants due to personal grudge of the son being dis-inherited and separated from the family. We are of the view that the present case, the High Court ought to have exercised its power under Section 482 Cr.P.C. for quashing criminal complaint and proceedings consequent thereof.

11. In the result, the appeal is allowed, the judgment of the High Court dated 16.09.2013 is set aside, the criminal complaint no. 506 of 2007 and all subsequent proceedings therein are quashed.

…..................

For Petitioner(s)          Mr. Jayesh Gaurav, Adv., Ms. Diksha Ojha, Adv., Mr. Farrukh Rasheed,Adv.

For Respondent(s)      Mr. Ajit Kumar Sinha, Sr. Adv., Mr. Krishnanand Pandeya,Adv.

ORDER

1. Leave granted.

2. The Criminal Appeal is allowed in terms of the signed order.

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