Quashing the issue of process order of the Magistrate Court against a son in a case filed by his father, the Bombay High Court recently observed that parents are obligated to spend money on their children's education and that such monetary transactions shouldn't be transformed into litigations.
Justice Mridula Bhatkar observed, "To educate a child and spend money on his education as per the capacity is an obligation of the parents and if it is discharged, then the child should be grateful and it is not a legal issue. Such monetary transactions are out of love, affection, care and concern, which should not be transformed into the litigations."
The court further opined that such litigations were the root cause of the piling up of court cases and that they also reflect the deterioration of societal values.
"The Court matters reflect mirror image of the culture, maturity and problem areas of the Society in the country. The present litigation speaks in volume about the deterioration of the social values on which exclusively the legal relationships stand. Filing of such litigations is a root cause of piling of cases in the Courts," it observed.
The court was hearing a petition filed by one Nikhil Mohan under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, demanding quashing of proceedings initiated against him by his father, for the offences of criminal breach of trust and cheating under sections 406, 417, 418 and 420 of the Indian Penal Code.
His father had alleged that the petitioner had failed to pay back an amount of Rs. 29 lakhs that was spent on the son's education from 2004 to 2009. He had further contended that even though the son had promised to repay him the amount along with compound interest at the rate of 10.50%, no such payment has been forthcoming from him.
The father had, in fact, requested the court to view it as a transaction between two adults and not between a father and a son. The son, on the other hand, had claimed that the father had filed the petition out of vengeance as the son had taken his mother's side at the time of separation of his parents.
Examining the case, the court called it the "most unfortunate litigation" and opined that the submission to ignore the relationship between the parties is "not only baseless but absurd".
The court then rejected the contention that there has been a breach of trust, pointing out that the money given to the son was utilised for the purpose for which it was lent. It further explained that in order to establish cheating, the accused should have an intention to cheat right from the beginning.
It explained, "There should be inducement to part money with intention to cheat. There is a difference between acknowledgement and inducement."
The court further noted that the son has agreed to take care of his father and to repay an amount of Rs. 15 lakhs to him. The petitioner-son was therefore directed to repay Rs. 15 lakhs and the father was ordered not to file "such frivolous cases" hereafter.
The order of issuance of process passed by the Metropolitan Magistrate was then quashed and set aside.
Read the Judgment Here