While overturning the Allahabad High Court’s judgment, the Supreme Court in a recent, refreshing, robust and rational judgment titled Mirza Iqbal @ Golu & Anr. vs State of Uttar Pradesh & Anr. in Criminal Appeal No. 1628 of 2021 in exercise of its criminal appellate jurisdiction delivered just recently on December 14, 2021 has quashed the criminal proceedings lodged for a dowry death and dowry demand against a man and a woman observing that the husband’s family members are frequently named as accused in matrimonial disputes by making passing reference of them in the FIR. It must be apprised here that a Division Bench comprising of Justice R Subhash Reddy and Hrishikesh Roy overturned an Allahabad High Court ruling ordering the victim’s brother-in-law (Appellant No. 1) and mother-in-law (Appellant No. 2) who were accused in a dowry killing case, to surrender and apply for bail. It cannot be glossed over that the Apex Court minced just no words to hold that, “This Court, time and again, has noticed making the family members of husband as accused by making casual reference to them in matrimonial disputes.”
To start with, this learned, laudable, landmark and latest judgment authored by Justice R Subhash Reddy for a Bench of Apex Court comprising of himself and Justice Hrishikesh Roy sets the ball rolling by first and foremost putting forth in para 2 that, “This Criminal Appeal is filed aggrieved by the order dated 10.12.2018 passed by the High Court of Judicature at Allahabad in Application No.44475 of 2018.”
To put things in perspective, the Bench then envisages in para 3 that, “The aforesaid application was filed before the High Court under Section 482 of Cr.P.C. for quashing the Chargesheet No.01 of 2018 dated 12.10.2018 and order of Chief Judicial Magistrate, taking cognizance of the case vide order dated 22.10.2018 for the offences punishable under Sections 498-A, 323, 504, 506, 304-B of IPC and Sections 3 & 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 (D.P. Act) in Case Crime No.0136 of 2018 registered on the file of PS-Kotwali, District Gorakhpur.”
While elaborating on the chain of events, the Bench then enunciates in para 4 that, “The 2nd respondent – complainant Shri Nisar Ullah father of the deceased, Rushda Nisar has lodged a complaint on 25.07.2018 at 09:31 p.m. at PS-Kotwali, District Gorakhpur to the effect that his younger daughter namely Rushda Nisar was married to Mirza Ismail Beg alias Amir s/o Zaki Ullah r/o MohallaMuftipur of Gorakhpur District on 25.12.2015. After the solemnization of marriage, the accused persons Mirza Ismail Beg alias Amir (husband), brother-in-law (devar) Mirza Iqbal alias Golu (1st Appellant herein), sister-in-law (nanad) Hifza alias Chinki and mother-in-law (saas) Sammi (2nd Appellant) continuously used to demand a four-wheeler vehicle and Rs.10,00,000/- in cash as dowry. It is alleged that as the said demands were not met, they used to beat his daughter and threatened to kill her. It is, further, alleged that ten days prior to the date of incident, all the accused persons with a common intention had severely beaten up his daughter and threatened to kill, if the demands of dowry of cash and car were not met. On being compelled, he had also given an amount of Rs.2,70,000/- cash from his business earning, in spite of the same, accused was adamant in demanding the car. On 24.07.2018 at about 8 p.m., the accused persons with a common intention beat his daughter, killed her by putting a noose around her neck and hanged her. On coming to know of the incident, he went along with his son from Surat and he was shocked to see his daughter in such a state. When the situation has become slightly normal, he has lodged a report to take necessary action and to initiate legal proceedings against the accused. Based on the aforesaid complaint, a case was registered against all the named accused including the appellants herein, who are brother-in-law and mother-in-law of the deceased for the alleged offences under Sections 498-A, 323, 504, 506, 304-B of IPC and Sections 3 & 4 of the D.P. Act.”
To say the least, the Bench then observes in para 5 that, “When the appellants have filed quash petition before the High Court, it was disposed of by impugned order directing the appellants to surrender before the Court below and apply for grant of bail and the same was directed to be considered in accordance with law.”