HIGH COURT OF DELHI
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S.Ravindra Bhat, J. -
(1.) The petitioners have challenged an order on charge, made by the learned Chief Metropolitan Magistrate ("the trial Court") on 17.9.12005. They were charged with committing offences punishable under Section 498-A/406, read with Section 34, Indian Penal Code (hereafter called as "the IPC").
(2.) The first petitioner (hereafter "the husband") is the son of petitioners No. 2 and 3 and the brother of the fourth Petitioner. The husband got married to the informant, (hereafter variously "the wife" and "the complainant") Ms. Juhi Modi, on 3.7.1998. According to the first information report, (FIR) lodged by the informant wife with the police on 11.5.2000, the marriage was preceeded by her parents' gifting valuables to the petitioners. When she joined the matrimonial home, the parents in law namely petitioners No. 2 and 3 expressed disappointment with the marriage arrangements and stated that their expectations were unfulfilled. It was alleged that they wanted a Mercedes car, but since they were unable to maintain it, an Opel car and Rs. 16 lakhs were to be paid. It was also alleged that the complainant's father was called to the matrimonial home in July and Augnst, 1998 and told in no uncertain terms that Rs. 1.5 crores ought to have been given to the petitioners. As the complainant's parents could not fulfill these demands, it was alleged that the accused proceeded to hurt, humiliate and insult the respondent.
(3.) It was also alleged that the husband kept taunting her, alleging that she was ugly; the accused, besides, assigned her menial jobs such as washing clothes, utensils etc. They also criticized her for not doing those jobs properly. The FIR cited several instances where acts of cruelty were allegedly perpetrated on the informant. It was alleged that the complainant asked leave to visit her parents but the petitioners refused to do so. She stated that once her husband turned her out of the house early in the morning at 3.00 a.m. without any cause. The complainant alleged as follows:
"On 30.9.98 my father came to meet me at New Friends Colony & brought Rs. 1,50,000/- & gave it to Suresh Kumar and Sumitra Devi. When he paid this money, they started shouting "Itne se paise se kya hoga. Apne aap ko Rai Bahadur Gujar Mal Modi ka nephew kehte ho, Exporter ho, beshumar paisa hai to humko 1.5 crorers kyon nahin dete." At this point my father said he will not pay any another penny & they could do what they wanted & he left the house. On 5.10.98 I was sent to my parents house. On 7.10.98 Neeraj took me back to his house, my parents sent all the things traditionally given on Karva Chauth. On the way back he spoke very rudely to me and told me that he had made a big mistake by marrying me. On 8.10.98 on the day of Karva Chauth Neeraj's elder sister Poonam came from Noida to spend the day. Sumitra Devi told me that my parents should have sent a silver lota & though my father is a rich exporter he has sent such small things. In the evening we all did pooja together. The Suresh Kumar, Sumitra Devi, Poonam & Sonika called me to the front room of the house, shut the door & started shouting at me. "Itni ghatia shadi hamne baniyon mein nahin dekhi. Tere ma-baap ne koi lena-dena nahin kiya. Koi reeti riwaz nahin poore kiye. Baniyon mein to paison ka hena-dena hota hee hai. Hamne kai bar tere baap se paisa manga hai aur us Modi ne saaf saaf mana kar diya hai. Hamne bhi saaf saaf kehna parega, apne ma-baap se kaho 51 lac rupay aur 51 ginni lakar Diwali se pehle hame dekar jayen. Hamare liye turn kisi kam ki nahin ho, mere ladke ke liye bahut ladkiyan hain." Sumitra Devi pulled my hair and shouted "Raise nahin lakar denge paisa. Mein dekhti hoon. Koi baap ladki to gahr nahin baitha sakta." Then Sonika slapped me. At that moment I felt afraid for my life. Then Poonam told me to phone my parents & tell them to come & take me from there. I phoned my father & asked him to come immediately as they were again asking for money. I went to my room & sat there. After this Neeraj came from the office & he was rude and abusive. When I asked him why money was being demanded again when my father had clearly refused to pay, he hit me with his foot and told me "you have no place in this house, since your father still hasn't understood how marriages take place." In the meanwhile my father along with Mr. B.L.Gupta and Mr. G.K.Aggarwal reached there and talked to my in-laws. They insisted that my father take me with him. I left the house bare-handed because when I demanded my jewellery which is in the custody of my monther-in-law along with the articles of istri-dhan, all of them became......and abusive. This list of jewellery given to me at the wedding by my parents & parents-in-law is enclosed herewith. The aforesaid members of family of my husband along'with my husband have thus committed breach of trust. That as a result of this cruel treatment to which I have been subjected my health has been gravely affected. All these months, I have been under a great deal of physical & mental torture. All the above persons harassed me to extort money from my father. I am not in a position to meet the demands of my parents-in-law, nor is my father agreeable to dole out money to them. It is with this state of mind that I am requesting you to take action against the culprits under law. In these circumstances to finish my life by suicide is the only,option with which I am constantly toying. I am approaching you with the hope that you may come to my rescue. I am doing so with a complete conviction that my survival in my matrimonial home is not only difficult but impossible.";
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