Maqsood Main And Anr. vs Rukhsana Tazeem And Anr ( 20/07/1998)
ALLAHABAD HIGH COURT
Maqsood Main And Anr. vs Rukhsana Tazeem And Anr.
DATE: 20 July, 1998
Equivalent citations: 1999 CriLJ 681
ACTS: Section 6 of the Dowry Prohibition Act
S.K. Phaujdar, J.
1. The present application under Section 482, Cr.P.C. has been filed for quashing the proceedings of a complaint case No. 1068 of 1993 pending in the Court of 3rd ACJM, Moradabad, for an offence under Section 406, IPC. The complaint was filed by one Rukhsana Tazeem, wife of Asim Maqsood with allegations that at the time of her marriage she was presented with valuable dowry by her parents and relatives which were her streedhan. These valuables were kept in the custody of the accused persons and they had refused to part with them on demand. An objection was taken that under the Muslim law there is no concept of streedhan and, more so, the complaint did not speak of entrustment and, as such, no element for the offence under Section 406, IPC was made out.
2. The. learned Counsel relied on a decision of the Supreme Court, as reported in 1997 SC Cri R 37 : 1996 Cri LJ 3501. In this decision a complaint for breach of trust was quashed on the ground that the dispute was basically of a civil nature. The Supreme Court, however, held that the particular act may constitute criminal and civil wrong and both actions are permissible under law and for quashing a complaint it is necessary for a Court to consider whether a criminal offence was made out or not.
3. According to the complaint, the valuables, as indicated in the list annexed to the complaint, were given to the complainant at the time of her marriage. There is a further allegation that the same were given in the custody of the accused persons and were not returned. The provision of Dowry Prohibition Act are relevant so far the present allegations are concerned. Under this Act dowry has been defined as any property or valuable security given by one party to the other party to the marriage, or by the parents of either party to the marriage or by any other person to either party to the marriage at or before or any time after the marriage in connection with the marriage of the said parties. Dowry, however, would not include meher in the case of persons to whom the Muslim personal law applies. The valuable presents given by the parents and relatives of the complainant at the time and in connection with the marriage must, therefore, come within the definition of dowry under this Act. Section 6 of the Dowry Prohibition Act requires that the dowry is to be for the benefit of the wife or her heirs, and if the same is received by any person other than the wife, in connection with whose marriage it is given, it would be the duty of that person to transfer it to that woman and pending such transfer, such person is to hold it in trust for the. benefit of that woman. The law further states within what time such dowry was to be given back to the woman. Section 6 further provides for punishment if the dowry is not returned back to the woman within the specified time.
4. An objection was raised by the learned Counsel in this regard also stating that the dowry if any, was given in 1981 when the marriage was performed and the complaint was filed in 1993 and the offence under Section 6 of the Dowry Prohibition Act was punishable with imprisonment for two years only and, as such, the law of limitation as per Section 468, Cr.P.C would apply and cognizance would be bad. It is true that an offence under Section 6 is punishable with two years’ imprisonment only and in the normal course Section 468 would apply, but we may look to Sections 472 and 473 as well. Section 472 speaks of a continuing offence for which a fresh period of limitation shall begin at every moment of time during which the offence continues and Section 473 empowers a Court: to extend the period of limitation to take cognizance beyond such time. The facts and circumstances for application of these two sentences must be looked into by the trial Court. Moreover, when the law says as per Section 6 of the Dowry Prohibition Act that the dowry if received by any other person than the woman in whose favour the same is given, he shall hold it in trust for the benefit of the woman. Thus, under the law there was a trust, as required under Section 406, IPC and this is to be discharged only by delivery of the property. It appears from the complaint that in a panchayat held at the instance of the parties, a demand was made for the return of the property kept in trust, but the same was not returned. Prima facie, materials for an offence under Section 406, IPC are, therefore, present and cognisance cannot, therefore, be dubbed as illegal and the proceedings cannot, therefore, be quashed. The trial court is to proceed with the trial and to come to a conclusion without being influenced by any opinion expressed by this Court on facts.
5. With the aforesaid observations, this application stands dismissed.
S.K. Phaujdar, J.
DATE: 20 July, 1998