Bombay HC Quashes Cruelty Complaint By Judicial Officer Against IAS Husband

Bombay HC Quashes Cruelty Complaint By Judicial Officer Against IAS Husband

The high court observed that the FIR seemed to have been lodged only as a counterblast to the matrimonial dispute between the husband and wife.

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Saturday, February 10, 2024, 03:25 PM IST
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Bombay HC | PTI

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has quashed a first information report (FIR) filed by a judicial officer against her husband, an IAS officer, and his family, alleging cruelty under section 498A of the Indian Penal Code.

The high court observed that the FIR seemed to have been lodged only as a counterblast to the matrimonial dispute between the husband and wife.

“This is a perfect case where this Court should exercise its jurisdiction to prevent the abuse of the process of the Court to secure the ends of justice,” observed a bench of Justices AS Chandurkar and Jitendra Jain on February 9.

The HC was hearing petitions filed by the husband and his family, mother, brother and sister, through Advocates SR Nargolkar, Arjun Kadam and Neeta Patil seeking quashing of the FIR.

The judicial officer met her husband through a matrimonial site and they got married in February 2018. The wife alleged that after marriage, the husband refused to have a conjugal relationship with her and there were various matrimonial disputes between them.

The wife’s complaint alleged that after the husband filed a diverse petition, he and his brother entered her judicial chambers on June 7, 2023 and threatened her to sign the petition for divorce by mutual consent. He allegedly forced her to sit on a chair to sign the papers for divorce by mutual consent. The same afternoon, his mother and sister also came to her chamber and threatened her to sign the divorce papers.

This effectively obstructed her from discharging her duties as a judge that day, said her Advocates Sagar Kasar, Amol Wagh and Chaitali Bhogle.

She filed an FIR with the police on July 9, based on the June 7 incident, under Sections 186, 353 (criminal force to deter public servant), 498A (cruelty) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the IPC. The period of offence in the FIR was from October 1, 2018 to June 7, 2023.

Hence, they approached the HC seeking quashing of the case.

The bench noted that there was no evidence to show that the husband and his brother did not allow the wife to sit in the morning session to discharge her duties as a judge. Also, even during the afternoon session, his mother and sister did not enter the court hall but were waiting in the chamber and the judicial officer voluntarily rose from the court and came to the chamber.

“There does not appear to be any obstruction to the wife in discharge of her public function but on the contrary, she discharged her official duties on that day and, therefore, the provisions are not attracted. The act of retiring to the chamber is a voluntary act of the informant on being told by her peon,” the judges noted.

Also, the court said, it did not find any force being used by the husband to deter or create fear in the wife’s mind from discharging her duty as judicial officer.

The differences and bickering between the complainant and her husband and her in-laws would not amount to an offence under Section 498A of the IPC, the court noted while quashing the FIR.

Advocates Sagar Kasar, Amol Wagh and Chaitali Bhogle appeared for the wife.

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