In a pleasant change of events for the falsely accused men and their families, Bombay High Court has strictly observed that women and their families have started making vague allegations against every member of the husband’s family, implicating everybody under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code. The observation has come in the order given by the high court last week.
Division bench of justices ZA Haq and Amit Borkar said,
Nowadays, it has become a tendency to make vague and omnibus allegations against every member of the family of the husband, implicating everybody under Section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code.
While striking down offence of matrimonial cruelty registered by the Nagpur Police against three persons under Section 498A, the bench further added,
Hence, it has become necessary for the courts to carefully scrutinise the allegations and to find out if the allegations really constitute an offence and meet the requirements of the law, at least prima facie.
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The bench struck down the first information report registered at Sakkardara police station in September 2012 against Shabnam Sheikh, her husband Arif and Shabnam’s sister Shamans, after noticing that the complainant, Dr Kausar Fatima, wife of Shabnam’s brother Shabbir, had levelled vague allegations against the three.
The bench noticed that the complainant wife had alleged that her in-laws threatened her saying they were connected with higher authorities in the police and other departments, and taunted her for being of no use to her husband, despite being educated.
The high court categorically stated that the vague statements and taunts cannot be said to constitute cruelty to a married woman, as contemplated under Section 498A of the IPC.
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The bench reiterated that the Supreme Court has time and again deprecated the tendency of using the criminal justice system as a tool for arm-twisting and to settle personal scores.
In the present case, sisters-in-law and brother-in-law have been arraigned as accused without there being specific allegations as regards the nature of cruelty, as contemplated by Section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code.
The bench also added,
On overall reading of the FIR and the charge sheet, we are of the opinion that there are no allegations against the present applicants which constitute offences alleged against them and hence, we are of the opinion that continuance of present proceedings would amount to an abuse of process of law.
In our opinion, there should be strict action on women who think it is alright to file frivolous cases on husbands and their families. The minute a criminal case is registered for a matrimonial dispute, the image and respect of entire family of the husband is tarnished in society. Careers are ruined for years until the innocent members get an acquittal. There is no monetary or any other compensation to the falsely accused.