False dowry case filed by daughter-in-law against mother-in-law amounts to abuse of process of the court; FIR against mother-in-law quashed

Puttalakshmi and Anr vs State of Karnataka and Anr

Karnataka HC

09/11/2018

Crl P No. 4666/2016

About/from the judgment:

The High Court recently slammed a woman for filing a false dowry case against her mother-in-law.

 

Justice KS Mudagal opined that the proceedings against the petitioner (mother-in-law) were an “abuse of the process of the Court” and that their continuation would amount to “failure of ends of justice”.

 

The court was hearing a petition filed by one Ms. Puttalakshmi, under section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, praying for quashing of the FIR and chargesheet filed against her under Sections 498A (husband or husband’s relative subjecting a woman to cruelty) and 114 (abettor present when offence is committed) of Indian Penal Code, and Sections 3 (taking dowry) and 4 (demanding dowry) of Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961. These charges were levelled against the petitioner and her son, by her daughter in law.

 

The high court now pointed out several inconsistencies in the allegations. For instance, it pointed out that the petitioner mother-in-law was not even residing with the couple for her to have contributed to any sort of harassment.

 

It further emphasised on the lack of particulars while levelling allegations of dowry having been demanded at the instance of the mother-son duo, observing, “So far as the demand of Rs.30 Lakhs, the allegation against the petitioner is that she abetted the 1st accused [son] to demand that. No where it is said that she demanded that amount. Even this allegation of abetment is too bald. It is not said when she visited the house of the couple at Hyderabad and when the demand was made. Not even the further statement of the complainant is forthcoming in the charge sheet to clarify that. 2nd respondent is the alleged direct victim of the petitioner. She is not specific in her allegations in terms of date and time. Statements of other witnesses regarding the said abetment are all hearsay. They say they learnt about such abetment through the 2nd respondent [daughter-in-law].”

 

The court also took note of the forum chosen by the woman, highlighting the fact that the case was filed in Davanagere Women Police Station when the petitioner, who is aged about 59 years, resides in a remote area in Andhra Pradesh.

 

“The proceedings against the petitioner are nothing but the abuse of the process of the Court and their continuation against the petitioner amounts to failure of ends of justice,” it then concluded.

 

The petition was therefore allowed, and the proceedings against the mother-in-law were quashed.

Read the Judgment

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