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Court has to be careful in summoning distant relatives sans any specific material
Ashwani Kumar Vs State of UP and Anr
APPLICATION U/S 482 No. - 1759 of 2022
About/from the judgment:
The High Court observed that in criminal cases arising out of matrimonial disputes, the Court has to be careful in summoning distant relatives without there being specific material against them.
The Court also remarked that mere naming of distant relations in the First Information Report (FIR) is not enough to summon them in absence of any specific role and material to support such role.
The case in brief
Essentially, the Bench was hearing an application under Section 482 Cr.P.C. seeking to quash a summoning order of March 2021 passed by Chief Judicial Magistrate, Pilibhit as well as the entire criminal proceedings in a case under Sections 498-A, 323, 504 I.P.C. and Section 3/4 D.P. Act.
The petitioner, Ashwani Kumar, who is the maternal father-in-law (Mausiya Sasur) of the lady who lodged the FIR alleging that he harassed her, along with her in-laws, for non-fulfillment of demand of dowry.
Before the Court, the applicant argued that allegations against him are general and vague with no specificity.
Significantly, seeking quashing of the case, the applicant's counsel referred to the recent judgment in the case of Mirza Iqbal @ Golu & Another Vs. State of Uttar Pradesh & Another, wherein the Apex Court had quashed the FIR in a similar matter while noting that except vague and bald allegations against the appellants, there were no specific allegations disclosing the involvement of the appellants to prosecute them for the offences alleged.
Having heard the arguments put by the applicant in the matter, the Court, at the outset, observed thus:
"The Court has, thus, to be careful in summoning distant relatives without there being specific material. Only the husband, his parents or at best close family members may be expected to demand dowry or to harass the wife but not distant relations, unless there is tangible material to support allegations made against such distant relations. Mere naming of distant relations is not enough to summon them in absence of any specific role and material to support such role."
Further, the Court emphasized that the parameters for quashing proceedings in a criminal complaint are well known and that if there are triable issues, the Court is not expected to go into the veracity of the rival versions but where on the face of it, the criminal proceedings are abuse of Court's process, quashing jurisdiction can be exercised.
Against this backdrop, taking into account the submissions of the applicant, the Court issued notice to the State of UP and listed the matter for further hearing on 22nd March, 2022, and directed that till the next date of listing, no coercive action shall be taken against the applicant in the case.
Read the Judgment
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