Quash of 498A / 498A AFTER mutual consent and agreement to Divorce, maintenance

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Vinayak

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Feb 21, 2006, 11:57:58 AM2/21/06
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CASE NO.: Appeal (crl.) 1274 of 2004

PETITIONER: Ruchi Agarwal

RESPONDENT: Amit Kumar Agrawal & Ors.

DATE OF JUDGMENT: 05/11/2004

BENCH: N.Santosh Hegde & S.B.Sinha

JUDGMENT:

J U D G M E N T

(Arising out of SLP(Crl.)No. 3769 of 2003)

SANTOSH HEGDE,J.

Heard learned counsel for the parties.

Leave granted.

By the impugned order, the High Court of Uttaranchal quashed a
criminal complaint filed by the appellant against the respondents.

The complaint was made by the appellant alleging offences under
sections 498A, 323 and 506 IPC, and Sections 3 and 4 of the Dowry
Prohibition Act.

The High Court by the impugned judgment came to the conclusion that the
alleged offences having taken place within the jurisdiction of Ram
Nagar Police Station of Bilaspur district, the court at Rampur district
did not have the territorial jurisdiction to entertain a complaint,
hence, while quashing the chargesheet and the summoning order of the
Chief Judicial Magistrate, Nainital, transferred the investigation of
the case to Police Station Bilaspur, district Rampur. It is the above
order of the High Court that is under challenge before us in this
appeal.

During the pendency of the proceedings before the courts below and in
this Court, certain developments have taken place which have a material
bearing on the merits of this appeal.

The complaint which the appellant herein filed is dated 10.4.2002.

Thereafter, a divorce petition was filed by the appellant-wife before
the Family Court at Nainital. In the said divorce petition a compromise
was arrived between the parties in which it was stated that the first
respondent-husband was willing for a consent divorce and that the
appellant-wife had received all her Stridhan and maintenance in lump
sum. She also declared in the said compromise deed that she is not
entitled to any maintenance in future. It is also stated in the said
compromise deed that the parties to the proceedings would withdraw all
criminal and civil complaints filed against each other which includes
the criminal complaint filed by the appellant which is the subject
matter of this appeal. The said compromise deed contains annexures with
the particulars of the items given to the appellant at the time of
marriage and which were returned. The said compromise deed is signed by
the appellant.

But before any order could be passed on the basis of the said
compromise petition, the appellant herein wrote a letter to the Family
Court at Nainital which was received by the Family Court on 3.10.2003
wherein it was stated that she was withdrawing the compromise petition
because she had not received the agreed amount. But subsequently when
her statement was recorded by the Family Court, she withdrew the said
letter of 3.10.2003 and stated before the court in her statement that
she wanted a divorce and that there is no dispute in relation to any
amount pending.

The Court, after recording the said statement, granted a divorce under
Section 13-B of the Hindu Marriage Act, dissolving the marriage by
mutual consent by its order dated 3.3.2004.

In the compromise petition, referred to herein above, both the parties
had agreed to withdraw all the civil and criminal cases filed by each
against the other. It is pursuant to this compromise, the above divorce
as sought for by the appellant was granted by the husband and pursuant
to the said compromise deed the appellant also withdrew Criminal Case
No.63 of 2002 on the file of the Family Court, Nainital which was a
complaint filed under Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code for
maintenance. It is on the basis of the submission made on behalf of the
appellant and on the basis of the terms of the compromise, said case
came to be dismissed. However, so far as the complaint under Sections
498A, 323 and 506 IPC and under Sections 3 and 4 of the Dowry
Prohibition Act is concerned, which is the subject matter of this
appeal, the appellant did not take any steps to withdraw the same. It
is in those circumstances, a quashing petition was filed before the
High Court which came to be partially allowed on the ground of the
territorial jurisdiction, against the said order the appellant has
preferred this appeal.

From the above narrated facts, it is clear that in the compromise
petition filed before the Family Court, the appellant admitted that she
has received Stridhan and maintenance in lump sum and that she will not
be entitled to maintenance of any kind in future. She also undertook to
withdraw all proceedings civil and criminal filed and initiated by her
against the respondents within one month of the compromise deed which
included the complaint under Sections 498A, 323 and 506 IPC and under
Sections 3 and 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act from which complaint this
appeal arises. In the said compromise, the respondent-husband agreed to
withdraw his petition filed under Section 9 of the Hindu Marriage Act
pending before the Senior Judge, Civil Division, Rampur and also agreed
to give a consent divorce as sought for by the appellant. It is based
on the said compromise the appellant obtained a divorce as desired by
her under Section 13(B) of the Hindu Marriage Act and in partial
compliance of the terms of the compromise she withdrew the criminal
case filed under Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code but for
reasons better known to her she did not withdraw that complaint from
which this appeal arises. That apart after the order of the High Court
quashing the said complaint on the ground of territorial jurisdiction,
she has chosen to file this appeal. It is in this background, we will
have to appreciate the merits of this appeal. Learned counsel appearing
for the appellant, however, contended that though the appellant had
signed the compromise deed with the above-mentioned terms in it, the
same was obtained by the respondent-husband and his family under threat
and coercion and in fact she did not receive lump sum maintenance and
her Stridhan properties, we find it extremely difficult to accept this
argument in the background of the fact that pursuant to the compromise
deed the respondent-husband has given her a consent divorce which she
wanted thus had performed his part of the obligation under the
compromise deed. Even the appellant partially performed her part of the
obligations by withdrawing her criminal complaint filed under Section
125. It is true that she had made a complaint in writing to the Family
Court where Section 125 Cr.P.C. proceedings were pending that the
compromise deed was filed under coercion but she withdrew the same and
gave a statement before the said court affirming the terms of the
compromise which statement was recorded by the Family Court and the
proceedings were dropped and a divorce was obtained. Therefore, we are
of the opinion that the appellant having received the relief she wanted
without contest on the basis of the terms of the compromise, we cannot
now accept the argument of the learned counsel for the appellant. In
our opinion, the conduct of the appellant indicates that the criminal
complaint from which this appeal arises was filed by the wife only to
harass the respondents.

In view of the above said subsequent events and the conduct of the
appellant, it would be an abuse of the process of the court if the
criminal proceedings from which this appeal arises is allowed to
continue. Therefore, we are of the considered opinion to do complete
justice, we should while dismissing this appeal also quash proceedings
arising from the Criminal Case No.Cr.No.224/2003 registered in Police
Station, Bilaspur, (Distt.Rampur) filed under Sections 498A, 323 and
506 IPC and under Sections 3 and 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act against
the respondents herein. It is ordered accordingly. The appeal is
disposed of.

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