498A Quash Judgement by Supreme Court - Neelu Chopra & Anr vs Bharti- No specific allegations made against the mother-in-law, father-in-law & sister-in-law. FIR Quashed

 498A Quash Judgement by Supreme Court - Neelu Chopra & Anr vs Bharti- No specific allegations made against the mother-in-law, father-in-law & sister-in-law. FIR Quashed

498A Quash Judgement by Supreme Court - Neelu Chopra & Anr vs Bharti
498A Quash Judgement by Supreme Court

498A Quash Judgement by Supreme Court - Neelu Chopra & Anr vs Bharti – This article is based on the Landmark judgement of the Supreme court. In this case, major complaints are made against the husband of the complainant who has left for his heavenly abode on 06.01.2006. Further, the complaint does not disclose the specific allegations made against the mother-in-law, father-in-law & sister-in-law of the complainant except for the mere mention of their names, it would not be fair to make them go through the criminal proceedings especially when the complaint does not attract provisions of an offence under section 498A, 406 read with 114 IPC. Hence, the proceedings against them were quashed by the Hon’ble Supreme court.

Case Brief - 498A Quash Judgement by Supreme Court - Neelu Chopra & Anr vs Bharti

It was submitted that the son of the petitioner got married to the respondent in 1984. The marriage of the husband & wife got solemnized in accordance with their rituals. The wife was residing happily with the family members of the husband in the beginning. It is submitted that the husband expired on    06.01.2006.

Two beautiful daughters were born out of this wedlock. The wife stated that problems started to emerge after six months of the marriage, from the day the husband and his parents demanded dowry which was unreasonable and started to misbehave with her on the account of not fulfilling the demands.

In the end, the complaint was registered before the Judicial Magistrate to take charge of the offences under Section 498A, 406 read with 114 of the Indian Penal Code.

Neelu Chopra & Anr vs Bharti

It is also submitted by the wife that all the petitioners then came to the wife’s parents’ home and made a demand to give more gold and other articles to the wife of the husband or else they’ll leave the wife at her parents’ home and will make their son i.e.; the husband to marry the second time.

The wife has submitted the complaint mainly against the husband in the sense that the husband asked her to hand over all her gold ornaments and expensive clothes to his parents otherwise they may get stolen during the time travelling to Delhi.

All her gold ornaments were handed over to the husband & her father-in-law, and her clothes were handed over to her sister-in-law. On reaching Delhi when the wife asked to return her gold ornaments & clothes back, she was denied and they were not returned to her. She also stated that she was beaten by the petitioners in support of which she has submitted a certificate from AIIMS hospital, New Delhi.

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Arguments - 498A Quash Judgement by Supreme Court - Neelu Chopra & Anr vs Bharti

The advocate of the petitioners stated that the marriage of the wife & the husband took place way back in 1984 while the complaint was filed on 24.12.1993 i.e.; after about nine years of the marriage.

The wife along with her two daughters who are of 22 and 19 years of age is residing in the same matrimonial home but on a different floor.  Further, great stress is laid on the fact that the complaint is absolutely vague and silent as regards the allegation against the present petitioners.

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Court opinion - 498A Quash Judgement by Supreme Court - Neelu Chopra & Anr vs Bharti

After carefully going through the complaint, it is clear that the complaint is majorly against the husband. All the allegations are against the husband.

Undoubtedly some reference has been made to the petitioners but what catches the eyes of the court is that no particulars are given as to the date on which the ornaments were handed over, or the exact number of ornaments or their description. Hence, the complaint is general and vague in nature.

In order to file a complaint, just the mention of the sections is not all and the end of the matter. What is essential to be brought to the notice of the court is the particulars of the offence committed by each and every accused and the role played by each and every accused in the commission of that particular offence.

By looking at the complaint, the complaint is sadly vague as it does not describe which accused has committed what offence and what is the exact role played by the petitioners of this case in the committing the said offence.

Neelu Chopra & Anr vs Bharti

Some allegations are made against the husband, as the allegations made against him are more precise but he has already expired. Under such circumstances, it would be considered an abuse of the process of law to allow the prosecution to continue against the aged parents of the husband, the present petitioners are here on the basis of a vague and general complaint that is silent about the precise acts of the petitioners.

The High Court, however, was not of the view to quash the complaint and took a view that the complaint did show the material sufficient to proceed against the petitioners. The High court, however, stated that it is open to the Magistrate to exempt the personal presence of the petitioners.

The High Court has mentioned that the allegation in the complaint is of retaining gold ornaments in possession of the husband and the petitioners. If the ornaments were in the possession of the husband, there is no question of the present petitioners being in possession of the ornaments.

This is apart from the fact that it has already been expressed by the court that there is no mention of the date on which the said ornaments, if any, were entrusted to the petitioners or even the date when they were demanded back and were refused to be given back by the petitioners.

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Conclusion - 498A Quash Judgement by Supreme Court - Neelu Chopra & Anr vs Bharti

Insofar as the offence under Section 498A IPC is concerned, the court does not find any material fact or allegation worth the name against the present petitioners. All the allegations seem to be against the husband.

In order to file a complaint, just the mention of the sections is not the end of the matter. The important thing that should be brought to the notice of the court is the particulars of the offence that each and every accused has committed and the role each and every accused has played in the commission of that particular offence.

By looking at the complaint, the complaint is vague as it does not specify which accused has committed what offence and what is the exact role played by the petitioners of this case in the committing the said offence.

This is apart from the fact that even after the service of summons, the complainant neither appeared before this court nor engaged any advocate to represent her. Under such circumstances, the court is of the opinion that the judgment of the High Court deserves to be set aside.

Therefore, it is accordingly, set aside and the order of the Magistrate taking cognizance is quashed. The complaint under section 482A is quashed.


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