SC quashes dowry harassment case filed by woman, says she wanted to ‘wreak vengeance’

The Supreme Court has quashed a dowry harassment case filed by a woman against her in-laws, saying she “clearly wanted to wreak vengeance” and allowing criminal proceedings to continue would result in patent injustice.

A three-judge bench of justices Aniruddha Bose, Sanjay Kumar and SVN Bhatti said given the totality of facts and circumstances, it was of the considered opinion that the woman’s allegations against her in-laws are wholly insufficient and, prima facie, do not make out a case against them.

“She clearly wanted to wreak vengeance against her in-laws… The allegations are so far-fetched and improbable that no prudent person can conclude that there are sufficient grounds to proceed against them … Permitting the criminal process to go on against the appellants in such a situation would, therefore, result in clear and patent injustice,” the apex court said.

The top court’s judgment came on a plea against an order of the Madhya Pradesh High Court which refused to quash the proceedings against the woman’s former brothers-in-law and mother-in-law.

The woman, a teacher by profession, had married in the year 2007. The husband, however, secured a decree of divorce dissolving their marriage.

Prior to the filing of the divorce petition by the husband, the woman made a written complaint to the police, levelling several allegations against her husband and


In response to the complaint, police filed an FIR against them under Indian Penal Code section 498A (husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty) and sections 3 and 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961.

The top court said the allegations levelled by the woman are mostly general and omnibus in nature, without any specific details as to how and when her brothers-in-law and mother-in-law, who lived in different cities altogether, subjected her to harassment for dowry.

It said most damaging to the woman’s case is the fact that she did nothing whatsoever after leaving her matrimonial home in February 2009, and filed a complaint in the year 2013 alleging dowry harassment, just before her husband instituted divorce proceedings.

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