Vishwas Bhandari vs The State Of Punjab on 3 February, 2021


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Supreme Court of India

Vishwas Bhandari vs The State Of Punjab on 3 February, 2021

Author: Hemant Gupta

Bench: Hemant Gupta, S. Ravindra Bhat

                                                                                   REPORTABLE

                                                  IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                                              CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION


                                        CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 105 OF 2021
                                (ARISING OUT OF SLP (CRIMINAL) NO. 6289 OF 2020)



                      VISHWAS BHANDARI                                            .....APPELLANT(S)


                                                                VERSUS


                      STATE OF PUNJAB & ANR.                                  .....RESPONDENT(S)



                                                       JUDGMENT

Leave granted.

1. The challenge in the present appeal is to an order dated

16.10.2020 passed by the learned Single Bench of the High Court

of Punjab and Haryana whereby the petition filed by the appellant

under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 1 was

dismissed.

2. An FIR No. 31 dated 27.1.2013 was lodged by Rashmi Adhen, wife

of Mohanjit Singh for the offences under Sections 363 and 366-A of
Signature Not Verified

Digitally signed by
JAGDISH KUMAR
Date: 2021.02.05
the Indian Penal Code
, 18602. The allegations were that her eldest
16:54:28 IST
Reason:

                      1    For short, the ‘Code’
                      2    For short, the ‘IPC’

                                                                                                1

daughter, 17½ years of age, went out of her house on 23.1.2013

at about 12 noon in the absence of the complainant and her

husband. It was averred that Vikram Roop Rai and the present

appellant had kidnapped her daughter by alluring her for the

purpose of marriage.

3. Upon completion of the investigation, a report under Section 173

Code was filed against Vikram Roop Rai. Furthermore, proceedings

for declaring the appellant as proclaimed offender were also

initiated.

4. In the proceedings before the Court, the complainant appeared

and recorded her statement while restricting her allegations in

respect of Vikram Roop Rai only. In the cross-examination, she

inter-alia stated to the following effect:

“My daughter has solemnised marriage with accused
Vikram on 4 August 2013 both the families had solemnised
the said marriage at Gurudwara Sahib of Khera Road,
Phagwara. I have attended the said marriage, we prepared
CD and also clicked photos of the said marriage.
Thereafter, Lunch was served at Poonam Hotel, Phagwara.
After marriage, my daughter and accused Vikram stayed
with us.”

5. The prosecutrix appeared as PW-2. She deposed that accused

Vikram Roop Rai had taken her on the promise that he would

marry her. He took her to his parents’ house and kept her in his

house until she was 18 years of age and only then contacted her

parents. It was on 24.7.2013 that the accused Vikram Roop Rai

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caller her parents and it was decided that both of them would get

married. Subsequently, she married the accused on 4.8.2013.

6. The learned Additional Sessions Judge vide order dated 13.8.2013

held that neither the complainant nor the prosecutrix have

disclosed the exact date of birth. Further, no birth certificate was

produced to show that the age of the prosecutrix was less than 18

years on the alleged date of occurrence of abduction. The learned

trial court recorded the following finding:

“21. Although the prosecutrix PW2 in her examination
in chief has stated that the accused had abducted her
on the pretext that he will solemnized marriage but how
and where abducted her has not been explained by her.
Admittedly it is stated by her that was known to her.
There is nothing in the statement of this witness that
she tried to escape from the clutches of the accused or
that she was forced to marry him. Even if it is presumed
that the prosecutrix was minor but if she leaves her
parents home in every case it cannot be held that it is
the accused who has possibly abducted the prosecutrix.

Prosecutrix was known to the accused, went with him,
married him with consent of both families, had two
children with him, then, it cannot be said that she was
taken out forcibly from the custody of her lawful
guardian, as it is not proved that she is minor as non
production of birth certificate issued by Registrar of
Births and Deaths, Jalandhar, gives rise to the
presumption that, the same could have shown her to be
major and hence doubt creeps into the version of the
prosecution, the benefit of which is to be given to the
accused.”

With these findings, the accused Vikram Roop Rai was

acquitted.

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7. It is thereafter, the appellant invoked the jurisdiction of the High

Court for quashing of the FIR and subsequent proceedings, inter

alia, on the ground that neither the prosecutrix nor the

complainant have levelled an iota of allegation against the

appellant in respect of abduction of the prosecutrix. In fact, the

prosecutrix married Vikram Roop Rai, the main accused and had

two children with him. Such marriage was with the consent of

their families. Since there is no shred of evidence against the

appellant, therefore, continuation of proceedings against the

appellant would amount to abuse of process of law.

8. We have heard learned counsel for the parties.

9. We find that the evidence of the prosecutrix and the complainant

before the Court shows that there is no allegation whatsoever

against the appellant. The main allegation was against Vikram

Roop Rai but the prosecutrix married him on 4.8.2013 and had

given birth to two children out of that wedlock. In the absence of

any allegation against the appellant, we find that the continuation

of proceedings against him is nothing but an abuse of process of

law.

10. Since there is no evidence against the appellant, the proceedings initiated

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against him on the basis of FIR would be untenable. The High

Court was, thus, not justified in dismissing the petition against the

appellant.

11. Hence, the present appeal is allowed. The order passed by the

High Court is set aside and the entire proceedings consequent to

FIR No. 31 of 2013 and charge sheet stand quashed.

………………………………………J.

(HEMANT GUPTA)

………………………………………J.

(S. RAVINDRA BHAT)

NEW DELHI;

FEBRUARY 03, 2021.

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