Karnataka High Court Quashes Wife’s Criminal Case Alleging Cruelty and Dowry Harassment After Husband’s Divorce Notice

In a recent ruling, the Karnataka High Court has invalidated a criminal case filed by a woman against her husband and in-laws, accusing them of cruelty and dowry harassment. The court stated that the significance of such a case diminishes if it is filed subsequent to the receipt of a divorce notice from the husband.

The case was brought before a single judge bench, presided over by Justice S Rachaiah at the Kalaburagi bench. The petition seeking the quashing of the FIR was granted, with the judge remarking that the wife’s criminal complaint, alleging cruelty and dowry harassment against her husband and in-laws, loses its weight when lodged after the divorce notice.

The petitioners in this case included the parents, brother, and sister-in-law of the accused husband. The woman had alleged continuous harassment by her in-laws, who constantly insisted that she move to Pune to live with her husband. Frustrated by the ongoing mistreatment, she eventually decided to accompany her husband to Pune under the condition that she would not contact her own relatives.

However, the woman later made several allegations, claiming that on a specific date and time, her husband and all the accused parties forcefully entered her parents’ house, assaulted the family, and used offensive language towards them. It was on the basis of these allegations that she filed the complaint.

The petitioners argued that the allegations made against them were baseless and frivolous. They contended that, upon a comprehensive examination of the complaint, no prima facie case could be established against them. The prosecution, on the other hand, opposed the plea.

Upon careful scrutiny of the complaint, the court noted that it contained numerous allegations against the petitioners. However, it observed that the woman had not lodged any complaint against her in-laws until a specific date. The court further stated that the allegations, though implicating all the petitioners, appeared to be general and absurd in nature, lacking the substance required to invoke legal provisions.

The court emphasized that unless individual allegations were made against each petitioner independently, it could not be inferred that they had committed the offense. Notably, the court took into consideration the fact that the husband had filed for divorce at the Solapur Family Court on December 17, 2018. It deemed the wife’s complaint against the petitioners to be an act of retaliation in response to the divorce petition.

Consequently, the court exercised its inherent jurisdiction to quash the proceedings, deeming it a suitable course of action in this case.

ย NG & others And State of Karnataka & ANR
CRL.P.NO.201257/2019 C/W CRL.P.NO.200660/2019

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