Punjab and Haryana High Court flays personal vendettas in litigation, quashes FIR : The Tribune India

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Punjab and Haryana High Court flays personal vendettas in litigation, quashes FIR

Punjab and Haryana High Court flays personal vendettas in litigation, quashes FIR

Punjab and Haryana High Court. File photo



Tribune News Service

Saurabh Malik

Chandigarh, July 10

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has ruled that litigation driven by personal vendettas was required to be discouraged. The ruling came in a case where a woman staying abroad lodged an FIR against her in-laws on the allegations of dowry harassment, though she stayed with them for less than a week.

The Bench also made it clear that the use of the legal process to harass the accused due to deteriorating personal relationships tainted its sanctity, rendering it entirely unjustifiable. The courts were established to ensure that the justice was served, but the overwhelming backlog of cases was well-known.

The matter was placed before Justice Harpreet Singh Brar of the High Court after the husband and his parents filed a plea seeking the quashing of an FIR registered in November 2020 for the criminal breach of trust, subjecting a married woman to cruelty and another offence under Section 406,498-A and 34 of the IPC at the Adampur police station in Jalandhar district. Directions were also sought to quash to all subsequent proceedings as well.

Justice Brar asserted the couple was permanent residents of Australia having no intention of moving back to India. The allegations levelled by the wife did not find a mention in the divorce and custody proceedings initiated before the Australian Courts. She resided at her matrimonial home in India with her parents-in-law for hardly three-four days, making the allegations regarding dowry harassment against them “rather unlikely”. As such, it was evident that criminal prosecution was initiated by her in India by lodging the FIR merely to satisfy her personal vendetta against petitioners —husband and the in-laws.

Justice Brar asserted the inviolably sacrosanct process of law existed to provide a grievance redressal mechanism to the aggrieved party. It was also instrumental in reposing the society’s faith and trust in the criminal justice system.

“However, it must be emphasised that the misuse of the same to badger the accused on account of souring of relations taints the sanctity of the process, which makes it unequivocally inexcusable. While the courts exist to ensure vindication of justice, the crippling backlog of cases is no secret. It is in this context that the menace of initiating litigation exclusively motivated by personal spite must be strongly discouraged”, Justice Brar asserted.

Before parting with the petition, Justice Brar asserted that the court did not find any reason to allow criminal prosecution to continue against the petitioners. As such, the FIR and all subsequent proceedings arising out of it were hereby quashed.

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