The Karnataka High Court on 6th June 2022 ruled that annulment of marriage does not imply that the husband’s family can keep all of the items that a woman brought to the matrimonial house, through the single bench of Justice M Nagaprasanna in the case of Ganesh Prasad Hegde vs Surekha Shetty (Criminal Petition No. 4544 of 2018).
FACTS OF THE CASE:
The petitioner filed the present Criminal Petition under Section 482 of the Cr.P.C., seeking to quash the order dated 31.03.2015 passed by the learned IV A.C.M.M., Bangalore and confirmed by the Sessions Judge, Bangalore on 22.03.2018, which discharged the petitioners for offences punishable under Section 406 of the IPC.
The petitioners, Ganesh Prasad Hegde and his parents had challenged the order dated March 31, 2015, by which cognizance was taken by the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate in Bangalore, as well as the order dated March 22, 2018, dismissing the petitioners’ application for discharge from proceedings initiated by his ex-wife for offences punishable under Section 406 of the IPC.
The Petitioner contended that nothing was left to be paid to the respondent because it was agreed during the divorce that the permanent alimony would be in full and final settlement towards annulment of marriage. In a Family Court Appeal, the High Court of Bombay said clearly that the marriage between the first petitioner and the respondent was dissolved by mutual consent, for which permanent alimony of Rs.4/- lakhs was paid.
The Respondent, on the other hand, contended that the Rs.4 lakhs in permanent alimony did not include the amount paid before marriage. After divorce, the petitioners cannot keep Stridhana, which was granted on two occasions, one for Rs.4 lakhs and the second for Rs.5 lakhs, and further alleged that not returning the money despite a notice being issued to them amounts to criminal breach of trust.
The bench took into consideration all the records and facts of the different proceedings undertaken by the parties, as well as the marriage dissolution order issued by the Bombay High Court. It was also stated that in all of the aforementioned proceedings, it was gathered that annulment of marriage did take place on the settlement between the parties for Rs.4/- lakhs.
The court relied on the Supreme Court’s and other High Courts’ judgments on the concept of Stridhan and its retention as an ingredient of Section 406 of the IPC and stated that the money involved in the present matter is Rs.9 lakhs, which the complainant claims were paid as Stridhan in 1998. Further notes that with the settlement entered into between the parties seeking annulment of marriage as permanent alimony, the amount of Rs.9, lakhs that was paid at the time when the respondent was given in marriage to the 1st petitioner was a separate and distinct Stridhan.
Accordingly, the petition was dismissed.
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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY NIDHI KUMAR
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