The Bombay high court has refused to quash a first information report (FIR) registered under Section 498A (cruelty meted to a married woman at her matrimonial home) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) in Mumbai for a complaint of alleged harassment at Badlapur in eastern Uttar Pradesh’s (UP) Jaunpur district.
A two-member HC division bench, comprising Justices Sadhana Jadhav and NJ Jamadar, dismissed the petition filed by Ashish Shukla and his family members seeking quashing of the FIR registered with Mumbai’s Santacruz police station in March this year, on the basis of a complaint lodged by his estranged wife.
- The complainant wife alleged that she was treated with cruelty at her matrimonial home in UP
- She further alleged that she was sexually assaulted by her father-in-law and brother-in-law
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As reported by Hindustan Times, woman came to Mumbai in February this year, and on March 18, she shared her ordeal with her sister following which the police complaint was lodged and the offence was registered.
Her husband and his family members then moved HC, seeking quashing of the FIR primarily on the ground that admittedly no part of the offence has taken place within the jurisdiction of Santacruz police station. They also argued that the offence could not have been registered in Mumbai and the Mumbai Police would have no jurisdiction to investigate the alleged crime.
The petitioner’s lawyer submitted bare perusal of the complaint reveals that no part of the offence has taken place in Mumbai. Adding further he said,
A proper course would be to transfer investigation of the crime to the police station having jurisdiction over the area, where the offences have been allegedly committed.
Arguments In The Case:
Citing a recent Supreme Court judgement in the Rupali Devi case, the complainant’s lawyer, however, pointed out that the apex court took into consideration the aspect of mental cruelty contemplated under section 498A of the IPC.
The SC held that where a woman is driven out or forced to leave the matrimonial home due to cruelty meted out to her, the adverse effect would continue. The apex court had ruled that a complainant would be entitled to get an offence registered under section 498A at the place where she takes shelter after such harassment.
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High court bench noted these supreme court citing and said:
The aforesaid pronouncement makes it abundantly clear that in a given fact situation, the wife, who had been subjected to cruelty, can lodge a report at the police station within the local limits of which she is forced to take shelter, provided the mental cruelty continues to torment her.
While dismissing the jurisdiction petition filed by husband and his family, high court said:
In our opinion, the SC pronouncement in the Rupali Devi case governs the fact situation.
We are not persuaded to agree with the submission of the petitioner that the FIR could not have been registered at Santacruz police station and it is incompetent to investigate the said crime.