CALCUTTA HIGH COURT- A COURT PROCEEDING CANNOT BE PERMITTED TO BE USED AS A WEAPON FOR HARASSMENT.
In Rupen Dhar & Ors. v. The State of West Bengal & Ors. [CRR 93 of 2021], the Petitioner's wife ("Complainant") filed a complaint against the Petitioner and his family members u/s 498A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 ("Act"). The Complainant alleged that after marriage, her mother-in-law subjected her to physical and mental abuse and repeatedly asked her to work at their hotel. Moreover, the Petitioner physically assaulted her and drove her out of the matrimonial home. However, the Trial Court acquitted the Petitioner and his family members.
Subsequently, after several months, the Complainant again filed a complaint against the Petitioner on the same allegations and demand for dowry. An FIR was registered u/s 498A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. Subsequently, the Petitioner filed an application U/s 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, seeking to quash the FIR before the Calcutta High Court.
The Calcutta High Court observed that the Supreme Court and High Courts, in the plethora of judgments, have expressed concern over the misuse of section 498A of the Act and the increased tendency to implicate the husband and relatives of the husband in matrimonial disputes. The Court observed that "Upon perusal of the contents of both the FIR, it reveals that the allegations are the same, which is omnibus in nature. In fact, such implication by way of the general omnibus allegation on repeated occasion resulted misuse of the process of law. There is nothing to show that the opposite party has preferred any appeal against the order of acquittal passed in the earlier proceeding. Accordingly, the veiled object behind the lame prosecution apparently is to harass the petitioners."
Furthermore, the Court added, "On perusal of the FIR of earlier proceeding as well as the present proceeding it appears that the allegation is almost same which reiterates allegation of inflicting torture by the petitioners herein upon the opposite party no. 2. In the present FIR i.e. in the second FIR allegation is that the same de facto complainant was subjected to physical and mental torture and she was driven out in the year of 2011. The first FIR which was lodged in 2016 and which has ended in acquittal, was filed long after the said cause of action allegedly arose in 2011, as stated in the second FIR. It is curious enough that the second FIR has been lodged after four months of acquittal from first FIR without making out any new case or new cause of action. When the present complaint is taken from that viewpoint the complaint appears to be sadly vague as it does not show as to which Petitioner has committed what offence and what is the exact role played by the petitioners in the alleged commission of the offence."
Thus, the High Court quashed the FIR against the Petitioner.