Supreme Court of India
Taramani Parakh vs State Of M.P. & Ors on 16 March, 2015Author: A K Goel

Bench: T.S. Thakur, Adarsh Kumar Goel








1. Leave granted.

2. This appeal has been preferred against judgment and order dated 20th
February, 2013 passed by the High Court of Judicature of Madhya Pradesh at
Gwalior in Misc. Criminal Case No.9759 of 2012.

3. The appellant was married to Respondent No.2 on 18th November, 2009.
She lodged complaint dated 19th May, 2011 alleging that Respondent No.2 and
his parents harassed her with demand of dowry amounting to cruelty. This
led to registration of FIR being Crime No.15811 under Sections 498-A/34 of
IPC at Police Station Hujrat Kotwali, Gwalior. After investigation, charge
sheet was filed against Respondent No.2 and his parents which has been
registered as Criminal Case No.163/12 before the Judicial Magistrate First
Class, Gwalior.
4. The respondents accused moved the High Court under Section 482 of the
Code of Criminal Procedure for quashing the proceedings by submitting that
the behaviour of the appellant was not cordial and in spite of efforts of
the accused, she failed to improve her behaviour and her father took her
with him on 22nd May, 2010. The husband filed a petition under Section 9
of the Hindu Marriage Act. In mediation proceedings, the appellant stated
that she did not want to live with her husband. Thereupon, the
respondent filed a divorce petition on 26th April, 2011 which was pending.
It was thereafter that the appellant filed the impugned complaint dated
19th May, 2011 which contained false allegations.

5. The petition was contested by the appellant.

6. The High Court relying upon judgments of this Court in Neelu Chopra
and another vs. Bharti[1], Manoj Mahavir Prasad Khaitan vs. Ram Gopal
Moddar and another[2] and Geeta Mehrotra and another vs. State of Uttar
Pradesh and another[3] held that since there were no specific allegations,
the criminal proceedings against the accused amounted to abuse of the
court’s process. Accordingly, the High Court quashed the criminal

7. Aggrieved by the above, the appellant has approached this Court.
8. We have heard learned counsel for the parties and perused the record.
9. Learned counsel for the appellant submitted that it was the conduct
of the accused on account of their not being satisfied with the dowry given
and the inability of the appellant’s family to meet such demands that the
appellant was forced to leave the matrimonial home. The appellant was keen
to continue in the matrimonial home and to return home even after being
forced to leave but the accused refused to take her back. The husband has
filed a divorce petition which is without any legal basis. The appellant
lodged the complaint after filing of the divorce petition for the reason
that the appellant had earlier remained hopeful that the matter may be
amicably settled. It was only after she lost all hopes that she had to
initiate criminal proceedings in respect of cruelty meted out to her. The
High Court in proceedings under Section 482 could not quash the proceedings
merely with the observation that the allegations were omnibus. The power
of quashing could be exercised sparingly and only if no case was made out
from the allegations taken as correct or where the complaint was absurd or
legally not maintainable. In the FIR, the appellant has specifically
mentioned that the accused harassed her for dowry by taunting her and
beating her. It was already mentioned that she was deprived of her
belongings by the accused.
10. Learned counsel for the accused respondents supported the impugned
order passed by the High Court.
11. Law relating to quashing is well settled. If the allegations are
absurd or do not made out any case or if it can be held that there is abuse
of process of law, the proceedings can be quashed but if there is a triable
case the Court does not go into reliability or otherwise of the version or
the counter version. In matrimonial cases, the Courts have to be cautious
when omnibus allegations are made particularly against relatives who are
not generally concerned with the affairs of the couple. We may refer to
the decisions of this Court dealing with the issue. Referring to earlier
decisions, in Amit Kapoor vs. Ramesh Chander and Anr.[4], it was observed:
“27.1. Though there are no limits of the powers of the Court under Section
482 of the Code but the more the power, the more due care and caution is to
be exercised in invoking these powers. The power of quashing criminal
proceedings, particularly, the charge framed in terms of Section 228 of the
Code should be exercised very sparingly and with circumspection and that
too in the rarest of rare cases.

27.2. The Court should apply the test as to whether the uncontroverted
allegations as made from the record of the case and the documents submitted
therewith prima facie establish the offence or not. If the allegations are
so patently absurd and inherently improbable that no prudent person can
ever reach such a conclusion and where the basic ingredients of a criminal
offence are not satisfied then the Court may interfere.

27.3. The High Court should not unduly interfere. No meticulous examination
of the evidence is needed for considering whether the case would end in
conviction or not at the stage of framing of charge or quashing of charge.

27.4. Where the exercise of such power is absolutely essential to prevent
patent miscarriage of justice and for correcting some grave error that
might be committed by the subordinate courts even in such cases, the High
Court should be loath to interfere, at the threshold, to throttle the
prosecution in exercise of its inherent powers.

27.5. Where there is an express legal bar enacted in any of the provisions
of the Code or any specific law in force to the very initiation or
institution and continuance of such criminal proceedings, such a bar is
intended to provide specific protection to an accused.

27.6. The Court has a duty to balance the freedom of a person and the right
of the complainant or prosecution to investigate and prosecute the

27.7. The process of the court cannot be permitted to be used for an
oblique or ultimate/ulterior purpose.

27.8. Where the allegations made and as they appeared from the record and
documents annexed therewith to predominantly give rise and constitute a
“civil wrong” with no “element of criminality” and does not satisfy the
basic ingredients of a criminal offence, the court may be justified in
quashing the charge. Even in such cases, the court would not embark upon
the critical analysis of the evidence.

27.9. Another very significant caution that the courts have to observe is
that it cannot examine the facts, evidence and materials on record to
determine whether there is sufficient material on the basis of which the
case would end in a conviction; the court is concerned primarily with the
allegations taken as a whole whether they will constitute an offence and,
if so, is it an abuse of the process of court leading to injustice.

27.10. It is neither necessary nor is the court called upon to hold a full-
fledged enquiry or to appreciate evidence collected by the investigating
agencies to find out whether it is a case of acquittal or conviction.

27.11. Where allegations give rise to a civil claim and also amount to an
offence, merely because a civil claim is maintainable, does not mean that a
criminal complaint cannot be maintained.

27.12. In exercise of its jurisdiction under Section 228 and/or under
Section 482, the Court cannot take into consideration external materials
given by an accused for reaching the conclusion that no offence was
disclosed or that there was possibility of his acquittal. The Court has to
consider the record and documents annexed therewith by the prosecution.

27.13. Quashing of a charge is an exception to the rule of continuous
prosecution. Where the offence is even broadly satisfied, the Court should
be more inclined to permit continuation of prosecution rather than its
quashing at that initial stage. The Court is not expected to marshal the
records with a view to decide admissibility and reliability of the
documents or records but is an opinion formed prima facie.

27.14. Where the charge-sheet, report under Section 173(2) of the Code,
suffers from fundamental legal defects, the Court may be well within its
jurisdiction to frame a charge.

27.15. Coupled with any or all of the above, where the Court finds that it
would amount to abuse of process of the Code or that the interest of
justice favours, otherwise it may quash the charge. The power is to be
exercised ex debito justitiae i.e. to do real and substantial justice for
administration of which alone, the courts exist.

(Ref. State of W.B. v. Swapan Kumar Guha [(1982) 1 SCC 561 : 1982 SCC
(Cri) 283 : AIR 1982 SC 949]; Madhavrao Jiwajirao Scindia v. Sambhajirao
Chandrojirao Angre [(1988) 1 SCC 692 : 1988 SCC (Cri) 234]; Janata Dal v.
H.S. Chowdhary [(1992) 4 SCC 305 : 1993 SCC (Cri) 36 : AIR 1993 SC 892];
Rupan Deol Bajaj v. Kanwar Pal Singh Gill [(1995) 6 SCC 194 : 1995 SCC
(Cri) 1059]; G. Sagar Suri v. State of U.P. [(2000) 2 SCC 636 : 2000 SCC
(Cri) 513]; Ajay Mitra v. State of M.P. [(2003) 3 SCC 11 : 2003 SCC (Cri)
703]; Pepsi Foods Ltd. v. Special Judicial Magistrate [(1998) 5 SCC 749 :
1998 SCC (Cri) 1400 : AIR 1998 SC 128]; State of U.P. v. O.P. Sharma
[(1996) 7 SCC 705 : 1996 SCC (Cri) 497]; [pic]Ganesh Narayan Hegde v. S.
Bangarappa [(1995) 4 SCC 41 : 1995 SCC (Cri) 634]; Zandu Pharmaceutical
Works Ltd. v. Mohd. Sharaful Haque [(2005) 1 SCC 122 : 2005 SCC (Cri) 283];
Medchl Chemicals & Pharma (P) Ltd. v. Biological E. Ltd. [(2000) 3 SCC 269
: 2000 SCC (Cri) 615 : AIR 2000 SC 1869]; Shakson Belthissor v. State of
Kerala [(2009) 14 SCC 466 : (2010) 1 SCC (Cri) 1412]; V.V.S. Rama Sharma v.
State of U.P. [(2009) 7 SCC 234 : (2009) 3 SCC (Cri) 356]; Chunduru Siva
Ram Krishna v. Peddi Ravindra Babu [(2009) 11 SCC 203 : (2009) 3 SCC (Cri)
1297]; Sheonandan Paswan v. State of Bihar [(1987) 1 SCC 288 : 1987 SCC
(Cri) 82]; State of Bihar v. P.P. Sharma [1992 Supp (1) SCC 222 : 1992 SCC
(Cri) 192 : AIR 1991 SC 1260]; Lalmuni Devi v. State of Bihar [(2001) 2 SCC
17 : 2001 SCC (Cri) 275]; M. Krishnan v. Vijay Singh [(2001) 8 SCC 645 :
2002 SCC (Cri) 19]; Savita v. State of Rajasthan [(2005) 12 SCC 338 :
(2006) 1 SCC (Cri) 571] and S.M. Datta v. State of Gujarat [(2001) 7 SCC
659 : 2001 SCC (Cri) 1361 : 2001 SCC (L&S) 1201]).

27.16. These are the principles which individually and preferably
cumulatively (one or more) be taken into consideration as precepts to
exercise of extraordinary and wide plenitude and jurisdiction under Section
482 of the Code by the High Court. Where the factual foundation for an
offence has been laid down, the courts should be reluctant and should not
hasten to quash the proceedings even on the premise that one or two
ingredients have not been stated or do not appear to be satisfied if there
is substantial compliance with the requirements of the offence.”

12. In Kailash Chandra Agrawal & Anr. vs. State of U.P. & Ors. (Criminal
Appeal No.2055 of 2014 decided on 6.9.2014), it was observed:
“9. We have gone through the FIR and the criminal complaint. In the FIR,
the appellants have not been named and in the criminal complaint they have
been named without attributing any specific role to them. The relationship
of the appellants with the husband of the complainant is distant. In Kans
Raj vs. State of Punjab & Ors. [(2000) 5 SCC 207], it was observed:-

“5………A tendency has, however, developed for roping in all relations
of the in-laws of the deceased wives in the matters of dowry deaths which,
if not discouraged, is likely to affect the case of the prosecution even
against the real culprits. In their over enthusiasm and anxiety to seek
conviction for maximum people, the parents of the deceased have been found
to be making efforts for involving other relations which ultimately weaken
the case of the prosecution even against the real accused as appears to
have happened in the instant case.”

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.

10. The parameters for quashing proceedings in a criminal complaint are
well known. 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. Reference may be made to K. Ramakrsihna and Ors. vs.
State of Bihar and Anr. [(2000) 8 SCC 547], Pepsi Foods Ltd. and Anr. vs.
Special Judicial Magistrate and Ors. [(1998) 5 SCC 749], State of Haryana
and Ors. vs. Ch. Bhajan Lal and Ors. [(1992) Suppl 1 SCC 335] and
Asmathunnisa vs. State of A.P. represented by the Public Prosecutor, High
Court of A.P., Hyderabad and Anr. [(2011) 11 SCC 259].”

13. In the present case, the complaint is as follows:

“Sir, it is submitted that I was married on 18.11.09 with Sidharath Parakh
s/o Manak Chand Parak, r/o Sarafa Bazar in front of Radha Krishna Market,
Gwalior according to the Hindu rites and customs. In the marriage my
father had given gold and silver ornaments, cash amount and household goods
according to his capacity. After the marriage when I went to my
matrimonial home, I was treated nicely by the members of the family. When
on the second occasion I went to my matrimonial, my husband, father-in-law
and mother-in-law started harassing me for brining the dowry and started
saying that I should bring from my father 25-30 tolas of gold and
Rs.2,00,000/- in cash and only then they would keep me in the house
otherwise not. On account of this my husband also used to beat me and my
father-in-law and my mother-in-law used to torture me by giving the taunts.
In this connection I used to tell my father Kundanmal Oswal, my mother
Smt. Prem Lata Oswal, uncle Ashok Rai Sharma and uncle Ved Prakash Mishra
from time to time. On 2.4.2010 the members of the family of my matrimonial
home forcibly sent me to the house of my parents in Ganj Basoda along with
my brother Deepak. They snatched my clothes and ornaments and kept with
them. Since then till today my husband has been harassing me on the
telephone and has not come to take me back. Being compelled, I have been
moving this application before you. Sir, it is prayed that action be taken
against husband Sidharath Parakh, my father-in-law Manak Chand Parakh and
my mother-in-law Smt. Indira Parakh for torturing me on account of
demanding the dowry.”

14. From reading of the complaint, it cannot be held that even if the
allegations are taken as proved no case is made out.
15. There are allegations against Respondent No.2 and his parents for
harassing the complainant which forced her to leave the matrimonial home.
Even now she continues to be separated from the matrimonial home as she
apprehends lack of security and safety and proper environment in the
matrimonial home. The question whether the appellant has infact been
harassed and treated with cruelty is a matter of trial but at this stage,
it cannot be said that no case is made out. Thus, quashing of proceedings
before the trial is not permissible.
16. The decisions referred to in the judgment of the High Court are
distinguishable. In Neelu Chopra, parents of the husband were too old.
The husband Rajesh had died and main allegations were only against him.
This Court found no cogent material against other accused. In Manoj
Mahavir, the appellant before this Court was the brother of the daughter-in-
law of the accused who lodged the case against the accused for theft of
jewellery during pendency of earlier 498A case. This Court found the said
case to be absurd. In Geeta Mehrotra, case was against brother and sister
of the husband. Divorce had taken place between the parties. The said
cases neither purport to nor can be read as laying down any inflexible rule
beyond the principles of quashing which have been mentioned above and
applied to the facts of the cases therein which are distinguishable. In
the present case the factual matrix is different from the said cases.
Applying the settled principles, it cannot be held that there is no triable
case against the accused.
17. Accordingly, we allow this appeal and set aside the impugned order
passed by the High Court.


MARCH 16, 2015
[1] (2009) 10 SCC 184
[2] (2010) 10 SCC 673
[3] (2012) 10 SCC 741
[4] (2012) 8 SCC 460


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