Courts can quash criminal cases if parties have settled "Matrimonial Disputes": Supreme Court

Courts can quash criminal cases if parties have settled "Matrimonial Disputes": Supreme Court

A division bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and MM Sundresh (Supreme Court) has held that High Courts and the Supreme Court can quash criminal proceedings initiated in matrimonial disputes, if the court is satisfied that the parties have genuinely settled the dispute between them amicably.

The Court said that "This court has held that in cases of offences relating to matrimonial disputes, if the Court is satisfied that the parties have genuinely settled the disputes amicably, then for the purpose of securing ends of justice, criminal proceedings inter-se parties can be quashed by exercising the powers under Article 142 of the Constitution of India1 or even under Section 482 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973."

The Court observation of the Supreme Court has come while setting aside a Karnataka High Court order that had refused to quash criminal proceedings initiated by a woman against her husband, both of whom had divorced by mutual consent later on.

The criminal case was filed by the wife in 2011 with the allegations of cruelty, mischief, insult, and criminal intimidation as well as dowry harassment, and the Dowry Act charges were dropped in the charge sheet.

Later, a settlement agreement was entered into between the husband and wife. Thereafter, they obtained a divorce decree by mutual consent and the woman agreed to drop the case filed against her former husband.

However, the High Court rejected the petition filed by the man to quash the case, despite the settlement between him and his former wife. This led to the man (appellant) filing an appeal before the Supreme Court against the High Court order.

The Supreme Court observed that the appellant and his former wife have already come to an agreement to quash the case and that the wife is remarried. Hence, there would be no useful purpose served in continuing the prosecution against the appellant, the bench noted.

"It is apparent that the parties have resolved and settled their disputes. In the facts of the caes, we do not feel that any useful purpose would be served by continuation of the prosecution," the Court noted.

The Court noted that the continuation of criminal proceedings would amount to harassing the appellant and said, "The appellant - Rangappa Javoor, who is an officer in the Border Security Force and as per the job requirement, has to serve in different parts of the country, would be put to harassment."

Hence, the Court ultimately allowed the appeal.

Case Details:-

Rangappa Javoor v. State of Karnataka and Another

Criminal Appeal No. 254/2023

Read the complete judgement/order on this link

Appearances of the Advocates:-

For Petitioner(s) 
Mr. Anand Sanjay M. Nuli, Adv.
Ms. Akhila Wali, Adv.
Mr. Dharm Singh, Adv.
Mr. Nanda Kumar, Adv.
Mr. Agam Sharma, Adv.
Mr. Suraj Kaushik, Adv.
Mr. Shiva Swaroop, Adv.
 M/S. Nuli & Nuli, AOR

For Respondent(s) 
Mr. Shubhranshu Padhi, AOR
Mr. Vishal Banshal, Adv.
Mrs. Rajeshwari Shankar, Adv.
Mr. Niroop Sukrithi, Adv.
Mr. Ovais Moh., Adv. 

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