Karnataka High Court
Pramod R. S v. State of Karnataka and Lakshmi M.R
Bench- HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE M. NAGAPRASANNA
CRIMINAL PETITION No.1511 OF 2023
Decided On 02-06-2023
Facts of the case-
The petitioner, who is the sole accused, and Lakshmi M.R., who is the respondent, his wife, and complainant, got married on April 19, 2021. It is alleged that the complainant left the matrimonial house on August 14, 2022, due to certain acts of torture.
Subsequently, on October 13, 2022, the petitioner sent a legal notice to the second respondent seeking an amicable settlement and resolution of their disputes for the purpose of dissolving the marriage. However, on December 1, 2022, the wife registered a complaint against the petitioner, which resulted in the filing of Crime No. 61 of 2022.
The petitioner argues that the wife’s registration of the crime was in retaliation to the legal notice seeking a divorce, and that the alleged offenses under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) are not applicable. The petitioner contends that the immediate registration of the crime after the notice diminishes its significance.
On the other hand, the High Court Government Pleader argues that the investigation has just begun and there are serious allegations against the petitioner for offenses punishable under Section 498A and 307 IPC. Therefore, the Government Pleader asserts that the proceedings should be allowed to continue.
|Indian Penal code, 1860
|Husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty.
The court firmly stated that it is not possible to declare a general principle of law that a complaint registered by a wife loses its significance once a divorce notice is sent by the husband. Accepting such a contention would have a detrimental effect on all complaints, and therefore, the court rejected this fundamentally flawed argument.
Upon examining the wife’s complaint, the court found multiple instances of alleged mental and physical torture by the husband. The complaint also included a charge of attempted murder under Section 307 of the IPC, with the wife claiming that the husband had strangled her, resulting in a spinal cord injury. Based on these allegations, the court concluded that prima facie offenses were established, necessitating further investigation.
The court emphasized that even if a husband issues a divorce notice or seeks an amicable settlement in close proximity to a complaint alleging prolonged torture, it does not diminish the significance of the complaint. The court stressed the importance of conducting a thorough investigation in such cases and cautioned against dismissing the complaint solely based on the timing of the notice. However, the court clarified that if a complaint fails to establish the essential elements of the alleged offenses, it may be treated differently.
While acknowledging that there are instances where family members are wrongly implicated in complaints under Section 498-A of the IPC, the court underscored the need to assess each case on its own merits. The court disagreed with a previous judgment by a coordinate bench that advocated for the quashing of FIRs solely on the ground that they were registered after the receipt of a divorce notice. Such an approach, according to the court, would undermine the purpose of Section 498-A of the IPC and complaints under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005.
The court highlighted that the inclusion of Section 498-A in the IPC aimed to prevent the torture of women by their husbands or relatives. Rejecting the argument that the complaint loses significance upon receiving a divorce notice, the court emphasized that accepting such a hyper-technical contention would work against the interests of women and the objectives for which the provision was enacted.
JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY ABHAY SHUKLA
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