The Calcutta High Court has quashed the criminal proceedings against the petitioners who filed a revision related to a case arising from an FIR (First Information Report) filed under Sections 498A/325/34/506 of the Indian Penal Code. The petitioners' case was that they had been wrongfully victimized by their daughter-in-law with the intent of harassing them and gaining ownership of a property. The husband had filed a petition for divorce under the Hindu Marriage Act.

A Bench of Justice Shampa Dutt (Paul) held that, “There are no materials on record to show that the ingredients required to constitute the offences alleged are present against any of the petitioners and permitting such a case to proceed towards trial will be an abuse of the process of law and as such the proceeding is liable to be quashed.”

The complainant was the daughter-in-law of petitioner no. 1 and 2, and petitioner no. 3 is the brother of petitioner no. 2, while petitioner no. 4 is the daughter of petitioner no. 3. The complainant left her matrimonial home, citing a visit to her ailing grandmother, and later filed an FIR. The petitioners claimed that the FIR was false and lacked specific allegations to constitute the offense under Section 498A.

Advocate Debisree Adhikary appeared for the Petitioners and Advocate P.K. Datta appeared for the Respondents.

The petitioners alleged that the complainant subjected her husband to physical cruelty, serious injuries, threats, verbal abuse, emotional exploitation, and criminal intimidation, which were reported to the police.

The Court noted that “a medical prescription showing that the husband of the opposite party no. 2 was treated for bite on hand and neck caused by the opposite party no. 2”. The Court further noted several documents showing that the daughter-in-law had been treated by several psychiatrists, from 2018 to 2020, prescriptions also showed that she has Gross Communication Problem and was also advised marriage counseling.

The Court further perused the Whatsapp messages on record to find that everything was normal, “Whatsapp messages till 17th February, 2020, 7.17p.m. show that the relationship between the complainant and the petitioner no. 2 was apparently normal (as projected by the complainant). From this it is clear that even after filling the complaint, the complainant continued to whatsapp the petitioner no. 2.”

The Court said that from the materials on record, including the case diary, it was evident that she had been under the treatment of a psychiatrist since 2018, coinciding with her marriage. Her prescriptions also include advice related to marital therapy, anger management, communication problems, and cohabitation. Notably, the husband was not present in court, and there were no materials on record to establish the essential elements required for the alleged offenses against any of the petitioners. Therefore, permitting this case to proceed towards trial would be an abuse of the process of law.

The revision was allowed and the proceedings against the petitioners were quashed by the Court.

Cause Title: Kalyan Panda & Ors. v. The State of West Bengal & Anr.

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