Observing that there is no embargo on quashing a domestic violence case even after conviction, but pending appeal, the Bombay High court had quashed a complaint filed by a woman against her husband and in-laws in 2017.
The husband and his family were convicted by the trial court in March 2021. They had approached the HC challenging the conviction. Pending appeal, they reached a settlement and the woman gave her consent to quash the complaint.
A division bench of Justices Anuja Prabhudessai and RM Joshi of the Aurangabad bench noted that the Hc had powers under Section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) to quash a complaint post-conviction when an appeal is pending before a judicial forum.
“In the instant case, it is stated that the appeal filed by the Applicants is pending before the Sessions Court, Aurangabad. Hence, there is no embargo in exercising power under Section 482 of Cr. P.C. to quash present proceedings at the post-conviction stage, particularly considering the fact that the proceedings are emanating from the matrimonial dispute,” said the HC.
The court also took note of the fact that the parties had settled the matter and the wife had voluntarily given no objection to the quashing of the FIR. Also, the family has criminal antecedents. “We are satisfied that the settlement is voluntary and genuine,” it added.
“Considering the nature of accusations and particularly that the parties have now decided to put an end to their strained relationship and move on with life, we are of the view that this is a fit case to exercise inherent power of this Court under Section 482 of Cr.P.C. to secure the ends of justice,” said the court.
The Hc was hearing a petition filed by the husband and his family seeking the quashing of the FIR registered against them for domestic violence and other provisions of the Indian Penal Code. The couple married in 2014. The woman later alleged ill-treatment and a dowry demand of Rs5 lakh. In March 2021, the trial court convicted them and sentenced them to six months in prison.
The husband and his family contended before the HC that the parties have amicably settled the dispute and the couple has separated by way of a Khula (divorce with mutual consent and at the instance of a wife). According to the consent terms, the husband paid the wife Rs3.25 lakhs along with the meher (is the obligation, in the form of money or possessions paid by the groom, to the bride at the time of Islamic marriage) amount.
The court was informed that the appeal in the case is pending. Their plea cited Supreme court judgments which said that criminal proceedings involving non-heinous offences or offences which are predominantly of a private nature, could be set aside at any stage of the proceedings, including at the appellate level.
Relying on SC judgments, the HC quashed the FIR.
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