T.S.K. Ashwin Kumar vs Tubati Srivalli on 6 November, 2020


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Supreme Court of India

T.S.K. Ashwin Kumar vs Tubati Srivalli on 6 November, 2020

Author: V. Ramasubramanian

Bench: Hon’Ble The Justice, A.S. Bopanna, V. Ramasubramanian

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                                                              Non­Reportable
                                  IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                                    CIVIL ORIGINAL JURISDICTION



                           CONTEMPT PETITION (CIVIL) NO.444 OF 2020
                                              IN
                      SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (CRIMINAL) NO.10686 OF 2020




          T.S.K. ASHWIN KUMAR                                      … PETITIONER(S)

                                                 Versus


          TUBATI SRIVALLI & ORS.                                  …RESPONDENT(S)
                                                 WITH
                                      DIARY NO. 17301 OF 2020


                                            JUDGMENT

V. Ramasubramanian, J.

1. While the Contempt Petition arises out of an order passed by

this Court on 16.07.2019 by consent of parties in SLP(Crl)No.10686
Signature Not Verified

Madhu Balaof 2018, the Special Leave Petition arises out of an interim order
Digitally signed by
Date: 2020.11.06
16:55:55 IST
Reason:

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passed by the High Court for the State of Telangana at Hyderabad,

staying the trial of a criminal complaint, during the pendency of a

criminal petition arising out of an order of the Trial court refusing

to reopen and recall PW­1 to PW­4.

2. We have heard Mr. Marlapalle, learned senior counsel

appearing for the petitioner and Mr. Devadatt Kamat, learned senior

counsel appearing for the 1st respondent.

3. The facts sufficient for the disposal of these proceedings are as

follows:­

(a) The sole petitioner in the Contempt Petition (who is also
the first petitioner in the SLP) is the husband of the 1 st
respondent in both these proceedings. They got married at
Hyderabad on 07.12.2008 and a male child was born in the
wedlock on 04.04.2010;

(b) After the marriage, the couple went to the United States
of America and they came back to India in November, 2015;

(c) On 20.12.2015 the 1st respondent­wife filed a criminal
complaint in Crime No.477 of 2015 against the 1 st petitioner
herein as well as his parents and other close relatives, for
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alleged offences under Section 498A read with Section 120B
and Sections 420 and 365 of the IPC;

(d) A charge­sheet was filed on 12.03.2017. A supplementary
charge­sheet was also filed on 20.12.2017. However, the
proceedings against persons shown as Accused Nos.4 to 6
were quashed by this Court by an order dated 21.08.2018 in
Criminal Appeal No.1045 of 2018, on the ground that they are
not the immediate family members of the 1st petitioner­
husband, but distant relatives;

(e) In the meantime, the petitioner who was on bail by virtue
of an order passed by the Trial Court on 29.12.2017, subject
to the condition that he shall not leave the State of Telangana
or the country without prior permission of the Court,
approached the Trial Court for relaxation of the bail condition,
so that he could travel to USA. But the said petition was
dismissed by the Trial Court by an order dated 20.06.2018;

(f) Therefore, the 1st petitioner approached the High Court
and the High Court, by an order dated 08.11.2018 passed in
Criminal Petition No.11411 of 2018 granted relaxation of the
bail conditions and allowed the 1st petitioner to go to USA
after furnishing bank guarantee in a sum of Rs. 3,00,000/­
(Three Lakhs Only), for his appearance as and when called
upon to do so;

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(g) Challenging the order of the High Court granting
relaxation of the bail conditions, the 1 st respondent­wife filed
a Special Leave Petition in SLP (Crl) No.10686 of 2018;

(h) The SLP (Crl) No.10686 of 2018 was disposed of by this
Court by an order dated 16.07.2019, by consent of parties.
By this order this Court directed the Trial Court to conclude
the trial of the criminal case within a period of two months;

(i) Though a period of 15 months has now elapsed from the
date of the said order passed by this Court, the trial has not
concluded;

(j) Blaming the 1st respondent­wife for adopting dilatory
tactics and not allowing the trial to get completed within the
period stipulated by this Court, the husband has come up
with the Contempt petition. On 28.07.2020 notice was
ordered in the Contempt Petition;

(k) It appears that in the meantime, the State, through the
Assistant Public Prosecutor filed a petition before the Trial
Court on 17.01.2020 to reopen the evidence and to recall PWs
1 to 4. The said petition was dismissed by the Trial Court by
an order on 23.01.2020;

(l) Challenging the order of the Trial Court refusing to recall
PWs 1 to 4 the 1st respondent­wife filed a criminal petition in
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Criminal Petition No.896 of 2020 under Section 482 CrP.C.
While entertaining the said petition, the High Court for the
State of Telangana at Hyderabad granted interim stay of
further proceedings in the criminal case. Though the High
Court posted the criminal petition for final hearing on
06.03.2020, it could not be taken up for hearing. As a result,
the stay of further proceedings got extended;

(m) Therefore, aggrieved by the stay of trial granted by the
High Court in Criminal Petition No.896 of 2020 at the
instance of the 1st respondent­wife, the husband and his
parents have come up with the present SLP.

4. The grievance of the petitioner­husband in the Contempt

Petition is that after having consented to cooperate in the

conclusion of the trial within a period of two months, the 1 st

respondent­wife has been dragging on the matter under some

pretext or the other. However, the 1st respondent­wife has filed a

statement of objections claiming that she is not in any way

responsible for the delay.

5. We do not wish to go into the nitty gritties, since it is a

matrimonial matter. But we cannot desist from recording our
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displeasure at the manner in which the proceedings before the Trial

Court have dragged on for the past 15 months, after this Court

passed an order on 16.07.2019 with the consent of the parties, for

the conclusion of the trial within a period of 2 months. The order

passed by this Court on 16.07.2019 in SLP (Crl) No.10686 of 2018

reads as follows:­

“After hearing learned counsel for the parties,
the following order is passed by consent:

1. The Trial in case No. CC. 622/2018 before the Court
of AJCJ­cum­XXV Metropolitan Magistrate,
Cyberabad, Kukatpally, which was transferred and
now pending before the Court of VIII Metropolitan
Magistrate, Cyberabad, Kukatpally shall be concluded
2 expeditiously and in any case not later than two
months from the date the appearance of the parties
before the in Charge Court, since the Court of VIII
Metropolitan Magistrate, Cyberabad, Kukatapply is
reported to be vacant.

2. The parties are directed to appear before the In
charge Court, Cyberabad, kukatapply on 22.07.2019.

3. This direction is given in view of the peculiar
circumstances and status of the parties.

4. All other criminal cases between the parties in any
other courts shall stand disposed of without any
orders.

5. The parties are restrained from filing any case civil
or criminal against each other or their respective
Advocates during the pendency of the trial.
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6. The passport application of respondent No.
2/husband may be considered by the passport
authorities.”

The special leave petition is disposed of
accordingly.

Pending application stands disposed of.”

6. Apart from the party/parties responsible for protracting the

proceedings, it is unfortunate that the State, the Trial Court as well

as the High Court have also omitted to take note of the time frame

fixed by this Court. The State represented by the Prosecutor filed an

application in Crl.M.P.No.56 of 2020 for recalling PW­1 to PW­4 for

further examination and for the issue of summons to several other

persons. This application was filed on the ground that a

supplementary charge­sheet was filed later.

7. But the Trial Court dismissed the Application filed by the

Prosecutor on 23.01.2020 on the ground that the supplementary

charge­sheet related only to A­4 to A­6 and that in as much as the

charges against A­4 to A­6 have been quashed, the reason for

seeking recall was not convincing. The Trial Court also recorded
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that PW­1 to PW­4 were supposed to speak about their grievances

at length even when they were examined in the first instance and

that therefore the petition filed by the prosecution was only an

attempt to delay the proceedings.

8. As against the well­considered order of the Trial Court, the

1strespondent­wife moved a petition before the High Court under

Section 482 Cr.P.C. This petition was entertained by the High Court

and stay of further proceedings was granted. The High Court should

not have granted such a stay on 07.02.2020, in the teeth of the

order passed by this Court on 16.07.2019 for the disposal of the

proceedings within two months.

9. It is relevant to point out that the 1 st respondent­wife was PW­

1 and she was examined in chief on 09.10.2019 and 15.10.2019

long after the filing of the supplementary charge­sheet. She was

cross­examined on 18.11.2019, 20.11.2019 and 28.11.2019. After

conclusion of such extensive cross­examination, the prosecution

reported no re­examination.

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10. Similarly, the 1st respondent’s mother was examined as PW­2.

Her chief examination took place on 22.10.2019 and her cross­

examination took place on 09.12.2019. There was no re­

examination. The father of the 1 st respondent was examined as PW­

3 and the brother of the 1st respondent was examined as PW­4.

These two witnesses were also examined during the very same

period of time namely October – December, 2019.

11. It appears that after the recording of evidence of all

prosecution witnesses was over, the trial court closed the evidence

on the side of the prosecution on 08.01.2020 and posted the case

for questioning under Section 313, Cr.P.C on 17.01.2020. On

30.01.2020, the questioning under Section 313 was also over.

12. Therefore, it is surprising that the prosecution filed an

application in Crl.M.P.No.56 of 2020 for recalling PW­1 to PW­4, on

the basis of the supplementary charge­sheet. PW­1 to PW­4 are not

strangers or 3rd parties. All of them are aggrieved persons and hence

they should have spoken about all the facts even in the first

instance. After having prevented the 1 st petitioner­husband from
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travelling to USA, by inviting an order on consent before this Court,

neither the parties nor the prosecution should give any room for

suspicion that they are protracting the proceedings.

13. Our attention was drawn to the certified copies of the

deposition of PW­1, PW­2 and PW­4, where the Trial Court has

recorded the demeanour of these witnesses. We do not wish to

make any observation regarding the same, lest it may prejudice the

outcome of the trial.

14. Suffice it to point out that any attempt to overreach an order

of this Court passed by consent should be discouraged and

deprecated. Therefore, the order of stay granted by the High Court

is liable to be vacated and the trial directed to be proceeded. The

Contempt Petition, in our considered view can be closed without

going into the rival claims.

15. Accordingly, the Special Leave Petition and the Contempt

Petition are disposed of to the following effect: ­
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(i) The Contempt Petition is closed without going into
the rival contentions;

(ii) The Special Leave Petition is allowed and the order
of stay of further proceedings, granted by the High Court
in Criminal Petition No.896 of 2020 is set aside;

(iii) The Trial Court is directed to proceed further with
the trial of the criminal case, from the stage where it got
struck due to the stay order of the High Court. The Trial
Court may endeavour to dispose of the matter within a
period of two months.

……………………………..CJI
(S.A. BOBDE)

……………………………….J.

(A.S. BOPANNA)

………………………………..J.

(V. RAMASUBRAMANIAN)

New Delhi
November 06, 2020



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