-Report by Sarweshree Bawari
The High Court of Himachal Pradesh in Jagir Singh Vs the State of Punjab, held that the FIR be dismissed even though the offence was heinous. The matter was classified as being private as it involved a husband-wife, and both of them reached an agreement outside the court.
In this case, a FIR is sought to be quashed. The FIR came to be lodged at the behest of respondent Sarvjeet Kaur, the wife of plaintiff Jagir Singh. She alleged that her marriage was solemnized with the petitioner on 26 February 2020 and since then she has been residing with him as his wife. Jagir Singh is in the Indian Army, but he does not provide any financial support to his wife to run her household nor does he behave properly. The petitioner insisted on developing physical relations to which the respondent agreed but since he tried to commit unnatural intercourse to which she refused. She has been a victim of harassment by her husband ever since for bringing in less dowry. Therefore, the matter was investigated by the police, and they presented challan in the competent court of law but it could not be taken to its logical end. This was because the husband-wife duo reached for a settlement outside the court. They decided to settle the dispute among themselves amicably.
The court directed the respondent state to verify the facts about the compromise, if any, arrived at by the parties, so that the facts with regard to the compromise can be ascertained.
Although the reply on behalf of the respondent-state is said to have been filed, the same is not recorded, nor are the instructions of the respondent on record, but Sarabjit Kaur is present in the court and represented by Miss Mamta.
The Learned Counsel contended that the defendant has, of her violation, compromised the matter with the petitioner and now they have amicably resolved to settle the dispute. She states that both of them have filed proceedings in the competent court of law for dissolution of marriage by way of mutual consent and she has also received a sum of Rs.4,00,00 out of the eight lakh promised to her. As such she does not wish to prosecute the case any further and would like to quash all the charges.
The court’s dilemma
The court was in a sudden dilemma as to whether they should allow both parties to quash the charges or carry on with the criminal proceedings. The Hon’ble Apex court in Narendra Singh and others vs the State of Punjab and another had specifically held that the power under section 482 CrPC is not to be exercised in cases that involve heinous and serious offences of mental depravity or offences like murder, rape, dacoity. Such offences are not private and have a serious impact on society. It would be open to the High Court to examine the case. Further, in Gian Singh Vs the State of Punjab, it was mentioned that the court must have due regard to the nature in the gravity of the crime and its social impact and it cautioned the courts not to exercise the power of quashing proceedings in heinous and serious offences of mental depravity, murder, rape, dacoity etc. In this particular case, the kind of harassment, the mental damage and the professional report of Sarvjeet Kaur are said to play a key role.
It was observed by the court
“In the case at hand, the offences alleged to have been committed by the accused though are heinous offences but since the parties are husband-wife and have decided to part their ways by filing divorce petition with mutual consent and compromise has been arrived at inter se them, as such, no fruitful purpose would be served in continuing with criminal prosecution of the petitioner, more so when complainant has compromised the matter with the accused and complainant is no more interested in pursuing the case further and there are bleak and remote chances of conviction of accused and as such, this court sees no impediment in accepting the prayer made by petitioners for quashing of FIR.”
The court, therefore, quashed all the charges against the petitioner.