Matrimonial Disputes – Husband’s Relatives Shall not be roped on Basis of Omnibus Allegations- Supreme Court

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August 22, 2018

Matrimonial Disputes – In this recent case, the Two-Judge Bench of the Supreme Court extended a word of caution by holding that the Courts should be careful in proceeding against the distant relatives in crimes pertaining to matrimonial disputes and dowry deaths. It was also asserted by the Court in the case that not ambiguous but only specific allegations shall prove the offence against relatives in case of matrimonial disputes.

Case name: K. Subba Rao & Ors. v. The State of Telangana Rep. by Its Secretary, Department Of Home and Ors.

In the case, the Respondent wife had registered complaint alleging harassment by her husband and his family members including the Appellants who were the maternal uncles of her husband. On the basis of the said complaint, an FIR was registered under Sections 498 A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. Aggrieved by the FIR, the Appellants filed petition with the High Court for quashing the FIR. The High Court dismissed the said petition, aggrieved by which the Appellant approached the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court Bench allowed the Appeal and quashed the FIR lodged against the Appellants on the basis of the following facts and circumstances in the case:

That the perusal of the charge sheet and the supplementary charge sheet discloses the fact that the Appellants were not the immediate family members of the Respondent/husband. They are the maternal uncles of the third Respondent.

The Court noted that except the bald statement that they supported the Respondent husband who was harassing the Respondent wife for dowry and that they had conspired with the Respondent husband for taking away his child to the U.S.A., nothing else indicating their involvement in the crime was mentioned.

In view of the facts and circumstances of the case, the Supreme Court noted that the Courts should be careful in proceeding against the distant relatives in crimes pertaining to matrimonial disputes and dowry deaths. The relatives of the husband should not be roped in on the basis of omnibus allegations unless specific instances of their involvement in the crime are made out.

The entire case can be accessed here.

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