Specific Allegations Against Husband's Relatives Essential To Warrant Their Prosecution For Cruelty U/S 498A IPC: J&K High Court Reiterates


Chambers of Ishaan Garg

Ch. No. 217, Western Wing, District & Sessions Court, Tis Hazari, New Delhi, Delhi 110054

+91 8851742417, +91 8800386163

Emphasising that relatives of the husband cannot be prosecuted under Section 498-A IPC based on general and vague allegations, the Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court has underscored the necessity for specific allegations to warrant their prosecution.

Quashing an FIR to the extent the parents of an accused-husband are concerned, Justice Rajnesh Oswal observed,

“There must be specific allegations against the relatives of the husband, to warrant their prosecution for commission of offence under Section 498-A, but on the bald and general allegations and bereft of necessary details, the relatives of the husband cannot be prosecuted”.

The case involved a woman who filed an FIR against her husband and his entire family, including parents, siblings, and even relatives residing far away, alleging harassment for dowry. The husband's parents (petitioners 1 & 2) and siblings (petitioners 4 to 5) challenged the FIR under Section 482 CrPC, arguing that they were falsely implicated.

The petitioners represented by Advocate Mr. Shafiq Choudhary argued that the allegations against them were general and bald, and there were no specific instances mentioned to substantiate their involvement. They further contended that petitioners 4 to 7 resided separately and could not have possibly been involved in the alleged harassment.

The complainant failed to enter appearance.

Govt Advocate Bhanu Jasrotia contended that the FIR and subsequent investigation substantiated the charges against petitioners 1 to 3 based on the statements of the complainant and witnesses. The prosecution maintained that these statements proved the offences under Sections 498-A, 323, 504, and 505 IPC against the primary accused and his parents.

Justice Rajnesh Oswal, after examining the record and arguments, noted that the allegations made by the respondent were specific against petitioner No. 3 (the husband) but vague and general against the other petitioners. The Court observed,

"Simply because the petitioner Nos. 1 & 2 are the parents of the petitioner No.3, they cannot be proceeded against when on similar allegations, which are vague, general and bald in nature, the Investigating Officer has not found the petitioner No. 4 to 7 involved in the commission of offence."

Citing judgments, including "Arnesh Kumar v. State of Bihar", "K. Subba Rao v. State of Telangana", "Kahkashan Kausar v. State of Bihar", and "Abhishek v. State of M.P.", the Court reiterated the Supreme Court's stance on the misuse of Section 498-A IPC and the need for specific allegations to proceed against relatives in matrimonial disputes. Justice Oswal emphasized the potential misuse of the provision and the long-term ramifications of a trial based on unfounded allegations.

Concluding that the continuance of the proceedings against petitioners 1 & 2 would be an abuse of the legal process, the Court quashed the FIR regarding them while directing the investigation to proceed against the husband (petitioner 3) based on the specific allegations leveled against him.

Case Title: Manzoor Hussain Vs UT Of J&K (2024 J&K HC)