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Matrimonial Cases : When the matter is Amicably settled, it is up to the Duty of the Courts to Encourage such Settlements [Case Law]

Penal Code, 1860 - Ss. 406, 420 & 498A - When the matter is amicably settled, it is up to the duty of the courts to encourage such settlements especially in matrimonial cases.

IN THE HIGH COURT OF KERALA AT ERNAKULAM
ANNIE JOHN, J.
Cr.M.C.No.1833 of 2018
Dated this the 11th day of April, 2018
AGAINST THE JUDGMENT IN CC 1522/2015 of J.M.F.C.-II, KOCHI CRIME NO. 1454/2014 OF PALLURUTHY POLICE STATION, ERNAKULAM 
PETITIONERS
ANANTHAKRISHNAN B. AND 3 OTHERS
BY ADVS.SRI.SUBAL J.PAUL SMT.SHEEBA THOMAS 
RESPONDENTS
1. DIVYA
2. THE STATE OF KERALA REPRESENTED BY PUBLIC PROSECUTOR, HIGH COURT OF KERALA, KOCHI-31.
R1 BY ADV. SRI.R.PRADEEP R2 BY PUBLIC PROSECUTOR SMT.REKHA C.NAIR
O R D E R
The first petitioner is the first accused in Crime No.1454/2014 of Cusba Police Station, Kochi. The accused Nos. 2 to 4 are the mother, sister and brother of the first accused. The first respondent herein is the wife of the first petitioner. The alleged offence is under sections 406, 420 and 498A of the Indian Penal Code. The first accused married the first respondent on 08.11.2012, at Arayankulangara Temple, Perumbalam, according to Hindu religious custom and ceremonies. A male child was born out in the wedlock in 07.01.2014, who is now under the custody of the first respondent. The first respondent had filed a complaint before the Cusba Police Station, Kochi against the petitioners alleging torture. Certified copy of the FIR is produced as Annexure A1. The first petitioner has already approached this Court for the same relief in Crl.M.C.3304/2017, but the first respondent appeared and stated that the matter is not settled, which resulted in a dismissal by giving a liberty to file fresh M.C. with the same prayer. The certified copy of the order in Crl.M.C. is produced as Annexure A2. On 13.03.2018, the first petitioner and the first respondent filed a mutual consent application for divorce. Now the entire issues arising out of the marital tie is settled between the parties and they finally decided to withdraw the pending cases, civil as well as criminal. The first respondent has handed over the Annexure A3 affidavit stating that she has no objection in allowing the Crl.M.C. So the petitioners pray to quash the entire proceedings in C.C.No.1522/2015 pending before the JFCM-II, Kochi in Crime No.1454/2014 of Cusba Police Station.
2. When the matter was taken up for consideration, the learned counsel for the petitioners has pointed out the affidavit filed by the first respondent. In the affidavit, it was stated that the entire dispute between petitioners and herself was fully and finally settled in chamber counselling and joint petition for divorce is also filed. Therefore, she has no objection to quash the entire proceedings pending in Crl.M.C. It has borne out that earlier, the petitioners had filed Crl.M.C.No.3304/2017 before this Court, wherein the de facto complainant was present in person. She had submitted that the matter is not settled. Accordingly, the same was dismissed. However, there was a direction that the petitioners shall be at liberty to approach this Court again, if the matter is settled between the parties with the same prayer.
3. The learned counsel for the petitioners has also pointed out the ruling held in Jithendra Raghuvanshi and others v. Babita Raghuvanshi and another [2013 (4) SCC 58] wherein it has held that the High Court in exercise of its inherent powers can quash the criminal proceedings or FIR or complaint in appropriate cases in order to meet the ends of justice. In such cases, Section 320 of the Code does not limit or affect the powers of the High Court under S.482 of the Code. It has further held that it is not in dispute that matrimonial disputes have been on considerable increase in recent times resulting in filing of complaints under Section 498A and 406 of the Indian Penal Code not only against the husband but also against the relatives of the husband. The question is whether such matters are resolved either by the wife agreeing to rejoin the matrimonial home or by mutual settlement of other pending disputes for which both sides approached the High Court and jointly prayed for quashing of the criminal proceedings in the FIR or complaint by the wife under Section 498A and 406 I.P.C. Whether the prayer can be declined on the sole ground that since the offences are non-compoundable under Section 320 of the Code it would be impermissible for the Court to quash the criminal proceedings or FIR or complaint.
4. It has been held in Kanta Choudhary and Others v. State of J.K.and Another [2017 KHC 2607] that FIR by wife against husband alleges commission of offence under Section 498A of the IPC. In the meantime parties entered into compromise and agreed for divorce by mutual consent. Parties resolved to withdraw all civil and criminal cases of any nature against each other. Continuation of the investigation or any other proceedings in connection with case registered would be a sheer abuse of process of law. So the prayer is quashed.
5. In Ayshath Muneera Hameed v. Chikkilodancheriya Kooveri Davood and Another [2017 (2) KLT 617], it has been held that if for the purpose of securing the ends of justice, quashing of FIR becomes necessary. Section 320 of the Cr.P.C.would not be a bar to exercise of inherent power of quashing.
6. The learned Public Prosecutor has also stated that the de facto complainant has approached the concerned Police Station and gave a statement to the effect that the entire matter has been settled.
7. It is trite to state the power under section 482 of the Cr.P.C. should be exercised sparingly and with circumspection only when the court is convinced. On the basis of materials on record, I find that allowing of the proceedings to continue would be an abuse of the process of court and the ends of justice require that proceeding ought to be quashed. When the matter is amicably settled, it is up to the duty of the courts to encourage such settlements especially in matrimonial cases. There has been a genuine settlement arrived at between the petitioners and the first respondent, I do find that continuation of the proceedings will not improve the case between the petitioners and the first respondent, and it is really an abuse of process of court.
Accordingly this Crl.M.C. is allowed and the entire proceedings pursuant to Crime No.1454/2014 of Cusba Police Station, now pending as C.C.No.1522/2015 before the JFCM-II is hereby quashed invoking the inherent power under section 482 of the Cr.P.C.

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