14 July 2022 7:04 AM GMT
The Karnataka High Court has dismissed a petition filed by a husband seeking to quash a case of dowry death registered against him under Sections 304B and 498A of IPC, after his wife, living separately since over two years, committed suicide in her parental house. A single judge bench of Justice M Nagaprasanna while dismissing the petition filed by one Niranjan Hegde said that the...
The Karnataka High Court has dismissed a petition filed by a husband seeking to quash a case of dowry death registered against him under Sections 304B and 498A of IPC, after his wife, living separately since over two years, committed suicide in her parental house.
A single judge bench of Justice M Nagaprasanna while dismissing the petition filed by one Niranjan Hegde said that the existence of seriously disputed questions of fact in the case require a "full blown trial" and hence, there is no ground to quash the proceedings at this stage. It observed,
"The contention is that it should be 'soon before death' and soon before death is required to be interpreted as 'immediately before death' and the deceased leaving matrimonial house two years ago would not mean immediately before death, are all repellable, as it is too farfetched to be considered at this juncture."
The bench also noted that, "The case at hand is also one such, where the complainant has placed on record such material that would demand further proceedings to be continued against the petitioner and the petitioner has not placed on record any document that is so unimpeachable and of sterling quality which would entail quashing of entire proceedings at the stage of registration of FIR itself."
As per the complaint filed by the father of the deceased the couple got married in the year 2017, the relationship between the wife and the husband did not go well immediately after marriage and they had serious compatibility issues between them. When incompatibility became inevitable, the daughter of the complainant appears to have left the matrimonial home and began to reside with her parents at Bangalore. All efforts of reconciliation which were on for over two years are said to have failed.
On the score of irreconcilable incompatibility both the petitioner and the daughter of the complainant filed an application for divorce under Section 13B of the Hindu Marriage Act, by mutual consent, accompanied by an application for waiver of 6 months cooling off period.
During the pendency of the said petition before the Family Court, it transpires, the Petitioner's wife committed suicide by hanging herself in the bed room of her parental house and a report of suicide was made before the jurisdictional police. On the said incident, a complaint came to be registered against the Petitioner-husband under Sections 304B, 313 and 498A of the IPC.
Advocate Arun Govindaraj, appearing for the petitioner contended that a strained relationship between the husband and the wife for over two years has led the daughter of the complainant to leave the matrimonial house and reside in her parents' house. The family of the complainant also has a problem amongst themselves.
The complainant argued that the investigation is still on. At this stage, what is to be looked into is only whether prima facie the complaint satisfies the ingredients of Section 304B of the IPC. Further, there are other offences alleged under Sections 313 and 498A of the IPC which are all cognizable.
The bench went through the complaint and relied on judgments of the Supreme Court and said, "The complaint narrates that on the night of 12-06-2022 just before the fateful incident she was in conversation with her husband. Whether the conversation with the husband before her death has led to commission of suicide or it was collective harassment for years that has exploded in the said commission of suicide is a matter to be necessarily tried, as prima facie the complaint narrates such instances which could become ingredients of Section 304B of the IPC."
Then it said, "The FIR is registered for offences punishable under Section 304B of the IPC along with other offences. The complaint and the narration prima-facie indicate ingredients of Section 304B of the IPC."
Further the bench took into account the transfer of amount made by the father-in-law to the accused in his bank accounts and said, "There are documents placed now to indicate the funds being transferred from the father-in-law to the son-in-law. Therefore, prima facie, ingredients of all offences are met for registration of the crime and conduct of investigation."
It then held, "The matter with such serious offence as could be gathered from available documents on record cannot be interjected at this juncture, as there are undoubtedly a plethora of seriously disputed questions of fact. The primary ingredient of death happening before 7 years of marriage exists in the case at hand, as the couple got married in the year 2017 and the daughter of the complainant commits suicide on 12-06-2022. What has driven the daughter to commit suicide either cruelty or demand of dowry, is to be thrashed out in a full blown trial."
Accordingly it dismissed the petition.
Case title: NIRANJAN HEGDE v. THE STATE OF KARNATAKA
Case No: CRIMINAL PETITION No.5657 OF 2022
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Kar) 261
Date of Order: 08TH DAY OF JULY, 2022
Appearance: Advocate ARUN GOVINDRAJ for petitioner; HCGP K S ABHIJITH, FOR R-1; Advocate M R C MANOHAR, FOR R-2
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