Relatives of Husband should not be made accused in offence U/S 498A of IPC without allegation of active involvement in the matter
Geeta Mehrotra & Anr vs State of UP & Anr
AIR2013SC181; (2012)10SCC741; CRIMINAL APPEAL NO . 1674 OF 2012 (Arising out of SLP (Crl.) No. 10547/2010)
About/from the judgment:
The High Court in our considered opinion appear to have missed that assuming the trial court had territorial jurisdiction, it was still left to be decided whether it was a fit case to send the appellants for trial when the FIR failed to make out a prima facie case against them regarding the allegation of inflicting physical and mental torture to the complainant demanding dowry from the complainant. Since the High Court has failed to consider all these aspects, this Court as already stated hereinbefore, could have remitted the matter to the High Court to consider whether a case was made out against the appellants to proceed against them. But as the contents of the FIR does not disclose specific allegation against the brother and sister of the complainant’s husband except casual reference of their names, it would not be just to direct them to go through protracted procedure by remanding for consideration of the matter all over again by the High Court and make the unmarried sister of the main accused and his elder brother to suffer the ordeal of a criminal case pending against them specially when the FIR does not disclose ingredients of offence under Sections 498A/323/504/506, IPC and Sections 3/4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act.
Merely by making a general allegation that they were also involved in physical and mental torture of the complainant-respondent No.2 without mentioning even a single incident against them as also the fact as to how they could be motivated to demand dowry when they are only related as brother and sister of the complainant’s husband, we are pleased to quash and set aside the criminal proceedings in so far as these appellants are concerned and consequently the order passed by the High Court shall stand overruled.
Where large number of family members had been included in FIR by casually mentioning their names and contents did not disclose their active involvement, cognizance of matter against them would not be justified. Under such conditions, cognizance would result in abuse of judicial process.
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