In a recent order on Thursday by the Bombay High Court, it would consider quashing criminal cases, if both the parties mutually agreed. This view was adopted with an aim towards reducing the pendency of cases.
The observation was made by a division bench of Justices PB Varale and SM Modak, which not only hears criminal cases but also petitions seeking quashing of such cases. The judges, however, assertively specified that the move won’t be applicable to rape cases and cases registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO).
What was the case?
Advocate Shahid Ali Ansari was representing his client (husband) who had sought quashing of the criminal complaint filed by his wife for alleged cruelty (498-A). The husband was expecting an adjournment after his long wait for hearing the matter which was listed at serial number 33.
The wife, after filing the criminal complaint, had agreed to jointly quash the same.
Following oral directions from the court, Ansari and advocate for the wife, Abhinandan Waghmare, then submitted the details to the court. Ansari said,
This is a very good move. In a short while, more than 60 cases would be decided.
What prompted Bombay High Court to take this decision?
The aforementioned bench has a long list of cases for hearing every day. On Thursday, there were 89 cases listed for hearing out of which, only 29 cases could be heard.
Before rising, the judges asked the advocates present to give details of their cases in which they had sought to quash the criminal case by victim’s consent.
In further directions with regards to quashing of cases, the bench said that the advocates will have to give case details like at which police stations it was filed and whether the chargesheet was registered in the case. Subsequently, the complainant and victim will have to file an affidavit, stating that they give their consent to quash the case.
Speaking with Freepress Journal, Additional public prosecutor Jayesh Yagnik, said,
The judges will go through the case details submitted by the advocates, and verify the same with the prosecution case. Wherever, it’s not affecting public order, the court will consider passing appropriate order.
Speaking with MDO, Men’s Rights Activist Amit Deshpande, Vaastav Foundation said,
This move by Bombay HC to allow quashing of cases upon consent of the victims, is most likely going to be in cases involving matrimonial disputes, primarily cases under Section 498-A.
This move would allow women to file cases and then withdraw them at their whim, without the hassle of going through a quashing procedure wherein they have to justify their withdrawal. This check has originally been put in place in law, to avoid women from making random allegations, considering the serious consequences of these allegations on men, of being charged with a criminal case.
With this procedure being abandoned, it would be like the law being made compoundable. We have seen how making Section 498-A compoundable in two states has only increased the number of false cases manifold. This move is likely to impact similarly in Maharashtra too now.
If the judiciary is really interested in justice and safe-guarding interests of innocents, they should punish the false accusers where it’s clearly visible that charges were filed to harass the accused and make Sec 498A bailable.
- Surely, with the current laws in place, Bombay High Court has been prompt enough to clear meaningless battles, possibly filed out of anger or revenge
- However, when criminal complaints can be quashed by mutual settlements, don’t they become tools in the hands of disgruntled wives (in matrimonial matters) to file false cases only for a ‘mutual settlement’?
- This is why MDO has always maintained that the state should be kept out of matrimonial matters, unless there is absolute evidence of physical violence
- Else, filing criminal complaint and then withdrawing only adds to the pool of corruption within the system —- of course at the cost of the husband
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Bombay High Court Comes Up With "Quash By Consent" Solution To Clear Backlog Of Criminal Cases— Voice For Men India (Previously Men's Day Out) (@voiceformenind) April 24, 2022
▪️Wife had filed criminal complaint (498-A) against husband, but later both parties went to court to get it quashed
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