A division bench of the Apex Court passed this Order, whereby the allegations in the complaint are held to be vague and therefore case against the petitioners was Quashed.
Super Specific Allegations:
We have perused the complaint, as well as the charge sheet. In the complaint, the informant/respondent no. 2 – Rekha Bhaskaran had alleged that in February 2016, appellant no.1 – Mahalakshmi commented on her physical appearance and on 20.09.2016, Mahalakshmi had thrown the personal belongings of Rekha Bhaskaran in the dustbin. In the charge sheet, however, the only allegation that was found to be substantiated was the second allegation, that is, the appellant no. 1 – Mahalakshmi had thrown some of the personal belongings of the informant/respondent no. 2 – Rekha Bhaskaran on the ground, as they were not kept at the proper place. Further, appellant no. 1 – Mahalakshmi had cursed the informant/respondent no. 2 – Rekha Bhaskaran in foul words.
Visits to India:
It is the contention of appellant no. 1 – Mahalakshmi that the assertions made in the complaint are false and incorrect. However, it is accepted that she was living and working in Canada. Further,sometime in March 2016, she visited India to attend her friend’s wedding in Mysore and stayed there for nearly twenty days. Again,in September 2016, she had remained in India for almost 12 days when her father, accused no.2 – Surendra Prasad, was operated and hospitalized under critical care for two to three weeks.
Reasoning and Decision:
Mahalakshmi and Ors Vs State of Karnataka on 30 Nov 2023
Having considered the charge sheet filed, we are of the view that the assertions made therein are very vague and general. One instance unless portentous, in the absence of any material evidence of interference and involvement in the marital life of the complainant, may not be sufficient to implicate the person as having committed cruelty under section 498A of the IPC. Given that the appellants were not residing at the marital home, and appellant no.1 was not even living in India, the absence of specific details that constitute cruelty, we would accept the present appeal.
Accordingly, we quash the criminal proceedings against the appellants. However, we clarify that if any material comes on record during the recording of evidence, it will be open to the trial court to take recourse to Section 319 of the Code and proceed following the law.