Natubhai Somabhai Rohit v. State of Gujarat

 Name of the CaseNatubhai Somabhai Rohit v. State of Gujarat
Citation (2017) 2 CCC 434
Year of the Case2017
AppellantNatubhai Somabhai Rohit 
                  RespondentState of Gujarat
                  Bench/JudgesIn the High Court of Gujarat at Ahmadabad before Justice N.V.Anjaria
                  Acts InvolvedCriminal Procedure Code, Indian Penal Code and Dowry prohibition Act
                  Important SectionsSection 482 of Cr.p.c; Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code

The present case speaks about the charge which has been alleged by the wife against her husband and in-laws. There has been presence of cruelty charges levelled by the wife against her husband and his relatives. The case was filed in the Gujarat High Court by the husband and his relatives in response to the FIR filed by the wife. The court after considering all the necessary situations and circumstances in the case delivered its judgement in favour of the appellants.

Introduction

The case mainly deals with the roping in of the people who are not really connected with the matrimonial dispute. Here, the wife has filed the FIR not only against her spouse but also includes the in-laws of her husband. Hence, they have filed the application under section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code for quashing the First Information Report which has been filed.

Background Of The Case

The FIR was filed on 12.12.2013 with Panigate Police Station, Vadodara having Crime Register No. I-310 of 2013. According to the facts stated in the FIR, the marriage was solemnised on 21.05.2010 and she visited her matrimonial house only for the purpose of consummation of the marriage. The reason for filing FIR was alleged that the husband was prompted to re-marry, therefore other members also used to harass the complainant as they didn’t want her to be his wife.

Facts

After the marriage on 21.05.2010, the initial seven months went smooth in the matrimonial house for her. However, thereafter the members in the matrimonial family namely the husband, father-in-law, mother-in-law and in-laws started misbehaving with the complainant over small issues. The complainant stated that she hoped that everything would get improved with the passage of time. She also mentioned in the FIR that both her sister-in-laws used to give mental torture and taunt her by saying her educational qualification is unfit to be matched with that of her husband and he was required to be solemnised with a girl of higher community and well educated who was serving with him in the office. It was alleged that the husband was prompted to re-marry, therefore other members also used to harass the complainant as they didn’t want her to be his wife.

Issues

  1. Whether the husband and his relatives are liable for being cruel to the wife under section 498A of I.P.C?
  2. Whether the husband and his in-laws can be charged under the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961?

Related Provisions

The related provisions are section 482 of the code of criminal procedure, sections 498-A, 323, 504, 506(2) and 114 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and section 3 and section 7 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961.

Related Cases

In G.V. Rao v. L.H.V. Prasad [(2000) 3 SCC 693), the Supreme Court held that a complaint relating to matrimonial dispute where all the members are roped into irrespective of role, becomes liable to be quashed.

The Supreme Court in the case of Bhaskar Lal Sharma v. Monika [(2009) 10 SCC 604], held that the allegations of harassment should be of such nature and extent so as to coerce the wife to meet any unlawful demand of dowry or any other unlawful conduct on part of the accused of a nature which is likely to drive the woman to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to life, limb or health.

In Neelu Chopra v. Bharti [(2009) 10 SCC 184], the Supreme Court has  emphasised that the complaint should show the exact role played by the appellants and should show which accused committed what offence, without which the complaint would be suffering from vice of vagueness.

Judgement

Relying upon the above legal instances, when the allegations are proved to be completely unrelated, non-specific and when the degree of seriousness is not contemplated in law then the allegations become too weak to be raised against. As a result of this, the First Information Report which was filed based on the alleged offences under sections 498-A, 323, 504, 506(2) and 114 of the Penal Code, 1860, read with section 3 and section 7 of the Dowry Prohibition Act and is hereby quashed. The rule was made absolute.

Concepts Highlighted

The concepts highlighted in this case are sufficient grounds for quashing an FIR under section 482 of the CrPC and establishment of offence under section 498-A of the IPC.

Conclusion

This fake allegation case which was discharged by the court has been considered as one of the landmark cases in the history of matrimonial disputes and marriage allegations. The case has also established a remarkable position in matters of vague and false allegations. The main subject stressed in this case is the establishment of the allegations raised which is of at most importance in matrimonial case.

To constitute cruelty, the conduct complained of should be “grave and weighty” so as to come to the conclusion that the petitioner spouse cannot be reasonably expected to live with the other spouse. It must be something more serious than “ordinary wear and tear of married life”. The conduct taking into consideration the circumstances and background has to be examined to reach the conclusion whether the conduct complained of amounts to cruelty in the matrimonial law.

Conduct has to be considered, as noted above, in the background of several factors such as social status of parties, their education, physical and mental conditions, customs and traditions. It is difficult to lay down a precise definition or to give exhaustive description of the circumstances, which would constitute cruelty. It must be of the type as to satisfy the conscience of the Court that the relationship between the parties had deteriorated to such extent due to the conduct of the other spouse that it would be impossible for them to live together without mental agony, torture or distress, to entitle the complaining spouse to secure divorce.

Physical violence is not absolutely essential to constitute cruelty and a consistent course of conduct inflicting immeasurable mental agony and torture may well constitute cruelty. Mental cruelty may consist of verbal abuses and insults by using filthy and abusive language leading to constant disturbance of mental peace of the other party.

FAQ’s

Whether An FIR Can Be Quashed Under Section 482 Of The Criminal Procedure Code, 1973?

When the allegations which have been raised against the accused have proved to be false or there is no sufficient evidence to precede the prosecution, then the FIR filed can be quashed under section 482 of the CrPC.

In Case Of Charging Under The Provisions Of The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 The Burden Of Proof Lies Under Which Side?

Generally, in all cases, the burden of proof lies under the prosecution side. Even under the dowry prevention cases, the prosecution side should establish the allegations made by them.

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