Supreme Court Slams Misuse of State Machinery in Marital Cruelty Case, Imposes Costs

Mainstream
22-Apr-2024
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The Supreme Court delivered a scathing rebuke on Friday, imposing a hefty ₹5 lakh fine on the father of a lady police officer from Rajasthan for misusing state machinery to file a marital cruelty case against her estranged husband. In the case of *Parteek Bansal vs State of Rajasthan and ors*, a Bench of Justices Vikram Nath and Prashant Kumar Mishra criticized the Rajasthan High Court and the State Police for allowing multiple criminal complaints to proceed, deeming it an abuse of the legal process.

"The impugned proceedings are nothing but an abuse of the process of law ... respondent Nos. 2 and 3 had been misusing their official position by lodging complaints one after the other ... We thus deprecate this practice of state machinery being misused for ulterior motives and for causing harassment to the other side," the Supreme Court remarked.

The case stemmed from an appeal challenging the Rajasthan High Court's refusal to quash the case filed by the Rajasthan police against the accused man under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code. The accused contended that two criminal cases had been lodged against him on the same set of allegations in two districts, Udaipur and Hisar.

The complainant, the father of the police officer, had filed complaints in both Udaipur and Hisar alleging marital cruelty against the accused. While the accused's plea to quash the case in Udaipur was rejected by lower courts, the Supreme Court stayed all criminal proceedings in the Udaipur case in 2017.

On Friday, the Supreme Court noted that the complainant and his daughter failed to appear before the Haryana trial court, resulting in the accused's acquittal in the Hisar case. The Court criticized their conduct, stating, "Neither the complainant nor the victim entered the witness box before the Hisar Court allowing total wastage of the valuable time of the Court and the investigating agency."

The Court also took exception to the Rajasthan Police and the High Court for allowing the proceedings to continue despite knowledge of the case in Hisar.

In a significant ruling, the Supreme Court quashed the criminal case registered in Udaipur and directed the complainant to pay half of the ₹5 lakh costs imposed to the appellant, with the remaining amount allocated to the Supreme Court Legal Services Committee.

Author: Anushka Taraniya 

News writer, MIT ADT University