Case Laws on Matrimonial Disputes
1. G.V. Rao Vs. L.H.V. Prasad, (2000) 3 SCC 693
Recognizing the rising trend of matrimonial dispute, the Supreme Court, though in a slightly different context, in paragraph 12, observed as under :
“There has been an outburst of matrimonial disputes in recent times. The marriage is a sacred ceremony, the main purpose of which is to enable the young couple to settle down in life and live peacefully. But little matrimonial skirmishes suddenly erupt which often assume serious proportions resulting in commission of heinous crimes in which elders of the family are also involved with the result that those who could have counselled and brought about rapprochement are rendered helpless on their being arrayed as accused in the criminal case.
There are many other reasons which need not be mentioned here for not encouraging matrimonial litigation so that the parties may ponder over their defaults and terminate their disputes amicably by mutual agreement instead of fighting it out in a court of law where it takes years and years to conclude and in that process the parties lose their “young” days in chasing their “cases” in different courts”.
The view taken by the Court in the above case was that the court would not encourage the matrimonial dispute.
2. Preeti Gupta Vs. State of Jharkhand, (2010) 7 SCC 667
The Supreme Court took note of the fact that the complaints under section 498-A of the IPC are being filed in the heat of the moment over trivial issues without proper deliberations. The Court was of the view that every complaint under section 498-A of the IPC should be considered as a basic human problem and an endeavour should be made to help the parties in arriving at an amicable resolution of that human problem.
3. B.S. Joshi Vs. State of Haryana, (2003) 4 SCC 675
In that case, the informant had registered a case under sections 498-A, 323 and 406 of the IPC at Central Faridabad Police Station against her husband, father-in-law, mother-in-law and brother-in-law. Subsequently, the informant filed an affidavit that the FIR was registered at her instance due to temperamental differences and implied imputations. Her disputes with the accused persons had been finally settled and she and her husband had agreed for mutual divorce.
The accused persons of the case had filed an application before the High Court seeking quashing of the FIR. The High Court had declined to quash the FIR as the offences alleged under section 498-A and 406 of the IPC were non-compoundable. Being aggrieved by the judgment of the High Court, the accused persons preferred an appeal before the Supreme Court.
After hearing the parties, the Supreme Court held that the inherent power of the High Court under section 482 of the Code are wide and unfettered. It upheld the powers of the High Court under section 482 of the Code to quash the criminal proceedings where the dispute is of private nature and the compromise is entered into between the parties, who are willing to settle their differences amicably. The Court further held that the High Court ought to have quashed the criminal proceedings by accepting the agreement arrived at between the parties.
4. Gian Singh Vs. State of Punjab, (2010) 15 SCC 118
A two-Judge Bench of the Supreme Court doubted the correctness of the decisions of the Supreme Court in B.S. Joshi Vs. State of Haryana, (2003) 4 SCC 675, Nikhil Mercant Vs. C.B.I. [(2008) 9 SCC 677] and Manoj Sharma Vs. State [(2008) 16 SCC 1] and referred the matter to a larger Bench.
5. Gian Singh Vs. State of Punjab, (2012) 10 SCC 303
The question before the larger Bench was with regard to the inherent power of the High Court under section 482 of the Code in quashing the criminal proceedings against an offender who has settled his dispute with the victim of the crime in which he is allegedly involved is not compoundable under section 320 of the Code. The question referred to was lucidly explained by a three-Judge Bench.
The Court was categorical that in respect of serious offences like murder, rape, dacoity, etc. or other offences of mental depravity under IPC or offences of moral turpitude under special statute, like Prevention of Corruption Act or the offences committed by public servants while working in that capacity cannot be quashed merely on the ground of settlement between the parties but the offences arising out of matrimony, particularly relating to dowry, etc. or the family dispute, where the wrong is basically to the victim and offender and the victim have settled all disputes between them amicably, irrespective of the fact that such offences have not been made compoundable, the High Court may within the framework of its inherent power, quash the criminal proceeding or criminal complaint or FIR if it is satisfied that on the face of such settlement, there is hardly any likelihood of the offender being convicted.
The Court has held that under such circumstances by not quashing the criminal proceedings, justice shall be casualty and ends of justice shall be defeated.
6. Jitendra Raghuvanshi Vs. Babita Raghuvanshi, (2013) 4 SCC 58
Recently, the ambit and scope of the inherent powers of the High Court under section 482 of the Code in quashing of the criminal proceedings in non-compoundable offences relating to matrimonial disputes was discussed and adjudicated by a three-Judge Bench.
7. Habeeb Asghar Vs. State of Bihar [Patna High Court, 22 May 2015]
Even if the offences are non-compoundable, if they relate to matrimonial disputes and the court is satisfied that the parties have settled the same amicably and without any pressure, section 320 of the Code would not be a bar to the exercise of powers of quashing of the First Information Report, complaint or the subsequent criminal proceedings.
it would be evident that the entire controversy had arisen due to domestic and matrimonial discord and differences and since the matter has amicably been settled and the informant is not willing to pursue the matter as she is happily residing in her matrimonial home, no useful purpose would be served by continuing with the investigation.
Consequently, and keeping in mind the decisions of the Supreme Court rendered in the cases discussed hereinabove, the Court viewed that allowing the investigation to continue may lead to insurmountable harassment, agony and pain not only to the accused but also to the informant and even other common relatives. It may even spoil the matrimonial life of the couple which could be saved due to intervention of friends and well wishers.
Accordingly, the FIR registered for the offences punishable under sections 341, 323, 498-A read with 34 of the IPC and under sections 3 and 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act and all the proceedings emanating therefrom are hereby quashed.