Husband's kin shouldn't be roped in marital disputes, dowry-deaths: SC
The relatives of a husband shouldn't be roped in cases of matrimonial disputes and dowry deaths unless specific instances of their involvement in the crime are made out, the Supreme Court has held. A bench of Justices SA Bobde and L Nageswara Rao also cautioned the courts to be careful in proceeding against "distant relatives" of the husband in such cases. Here's more.
The apex court judgment came as it allowed a plea filed by the maternal uncles of a man challenging a Hyderabad High Court's January 2016 verdict dismissing their petition for quashing criminal proceedings against them in a matrimonial dispute case.
The bench said that after considering the charge sheets filed in the matter, the court was of the view that a prima facie case was not made out against maternal uncles of the man for alleged charges of subjecting a married woman to cruelty, criminal conspiracy, cheating, and kidnapping. The maternal uncles had approached the apex court challenging the Hyderabad High Court's verdict.
The complainant in the case had filed a complaint with the police alleging harassment by her husband and his family members, including his maternal uncles, and also claimed that her son was kidnapped by her husband. After High Court's order, charge sheets were filed by the police alleging that the couple had married in December 2008 and were mostly residing in the US.
The police had alleged in the charge sheet that there was a marital discord between the couple and the maternal uncles were supporting the husband, who was physically and mentally torturing his wife.
The court observed that the uncles weren't directly involved in the crime. "Except the bald statement that they (petitioners) supported the third respondent (husband) who was harassing the second respondent (wife) for dowry and that they conspired with the third respondent for taking away his child to the USA, nothing else indicating their involvement in the crime was mentioned," the apex court said.
"Criminal proceedings are not normally interdicted by us at the interlocutory stage unless there is an abuse of process of a court. This court, at the same time, does not hesitate to interfere to secure the ends of justice," the SC bench observed.