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498A Quashed When Wife Files a Dowry Harassment Case Against Her Husband After Receiving a Divorce Notice

While deciding the instant petitions invoking the Court’s inherent power under S. 482 CrPC to quash complaints against the petitioners under the provisions of Penal Code, 1860 and Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, the Bench of S. Rachaiah, J.*, held that criminal case filed by a wife against her husband and in-laws with regards to cruelty and dowry harassment, loses its importance when such complaints are made after receiving a divorce notice from the husband.

The marriage between the husband (petitioner) and wife (respondent) was solemnized and it was stated that at the time of marriage, dowry was given in the form of cash, gold and certain household items. The husband worked at a private company in Pune and since the wife did not know Marathi or Hindi language, she continued to live with her in-laws. It was alleged that the wife faced consistent harassment and thus becoming frustrated, went to live with her husband in Pune, who took her in on a condition that she must not call any of her relatives in Pune. The wife alleged that her husband and in-laws have continuously assaulted her and her family members, hence she filed complaints against them.

Perusing the facts and contentions presented by the parties, the Court pointed out that the wife’s complaint contains a specific allegation of assault, however, the same appears to be omnibus and absurd in nature. The Court stated that unless the allegations are not made out against the petitioners independently, it cannot be construed that the petitioners have committed the offences.

The Court importantly noted and pointed out that the husband had filed a divorce petition before Solapur Family Court on 17-12-2018, and it was in the aftermath that the wife lodged her complaint on 25-12-2018 as a token a retaliation.

The Court thus allowed the petition and quashed the criminal proceedings.

Naresh Gundyal v. State, Crl. P. No. 201257/2019, decided on 18-04-2023.

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