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Non exercise of inherent power to quash the proceedings to meet the ends of justice would prevent women from settling earlier. : Allahabad High Court

There is little doubt that the purpose of inserting Chapter XX-A, which contains Section 498A, into the Indian Penal Code was to prevent a woman from being tortured by her husband or his relatives. Section 498A was added to punish a husband and his relatives who abuse or torture the wife in order to persuade her or her relatives to comply with dowry demands that are illegal. The hyper-technical viewpoint would be counterproductive, acting against women’s interests and the purpose for which this provision was added. Non-exercise of inherent power to quash proceedings to meet the goals of justice is almost certain to dissuade women from settling sooner, this was referred by Justice Sanjay Kumar Singh of Allahabad High Court in the matter of Parth Chakravorty and 2 others versus State of U.P [APPLICATION U/S 482 No. – 8 of 2021]

This order was passed when On 21.01.2016, applicant No. 1 married opposite party No. 2; however, their marriage did not succeed due to their acrimonious relationship; as a result, opposite party No. 2 filed an F.I.R. against the applicants as Case Crime No. 0070 of 2016 at P.S. Mahila Thana, Jhansi, alleging, among other things, that she was harassed by the applicants due to dowry demand. 

She was ejected from her marital residence on September 13, 2016. After an investigation, the investigating officer filed a charge sheet against the petitioners on 18.01.2017, which the learned Magistrate took cognizance of on 14.02.2017.

The opposing party No. 2 has also filed Miscellaneous Case No. 4059 of 2020 before the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Court No. 18, Barabanki, under Section 12 of the Domestic Violence Act. After that, the parties reached an out-of-court settlement, as a result of which opposite party No. 2 did not pursue her case No. 4059 of 2020 under Section 12 of the Domestic Violence Act, and the case was closed by order dated October 18, 2020. On September 21, 2020, the applicants and opposed party No. 2 jointly filed an application for dissolution of their marriage before the Principal Judge, Family Court, Barabanki, under Section 13-B of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.

Learned counsel for the applicants has called the Court’s attention to an interim order issued by this Court on January 12, 2021, in which the pertinent court below was asked to verify the factum of inter-se compromise between the parties concerned after being apprised of it by this Court.

The aforementioned fact is not disputed by the learned Additional Government Advocate or the experienced counsel appearing on behalf of opposing party No.2. The learned counsel for opposing party No. 2 has also stated at the Bar that, because the parties involved have settled their disagreement as stated above, opposing party No. 2 has no grievance and no objection to the quashing of the applicants’ criminal proceedings.

The court held the primary goal of criminal law is to bring specific penalties to the perpetrator. He may be punished or compensated by the victim, but the law also stipulates that punishment may not be necessary for every criminal offence, particularly if the parties involved wish to bury the hatchet. They may be allowed to compound the offences in terms of settlement if they desire to move forward in a marriage dispute on the basis of compromise.

Allowing a criminal prosecution against the applicants to proceed would be a pointless exercise and a waste of the Court’s valuable time, given the parties’ compromise/settlement in this case. The continuation of a criminal case after a settlement would result in oppression and prejudice for the persons involved.

This Court believes that, in view of the facts and circumstances of the case, and in light of the dicta and guideline put down by the Apex Court as noted above, this is a situation in which it can exercise its inherent power to attain the purpose of justice. If the parties’ prayer is granted and the criminal proceedings and other litigation between them are ended, the above-mentioned interest of justice will be served.

As a result of the foregoing discussions, the entire proceeding of Criminal Case No. 287/2017, State Versus Parth Chakravorty and others, under Section 498A/323/406/506 I.P.C. and 3/4 D.P. Act, Police Station Mahila Thana, District-Jhansi, (arising out of Case Crime No. 70 of 2016) pending in the court of Civil Judge (J.D.)/Judicial Magistrate, Jhans The aforesaid application under Section 482 Cr.P.C. is granted on the basis of the above-mentioned compromise.

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