Singh Vs. State of Punjab & ANR  INSC 1733 (13 November 2009)
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.2122
OF 2009 (Arising out of SLP(Crl.) No. 5910/2006) Pashaura Singh ...Appellant
Versus State of Punjab & Anr. ...Respondents JUDGEMENT R.M. Lodha, J.
In this appeal by special leave, the appellant has challenged the
order dated May 24, 2006 passed by the High Court of Punjab and Haryana. By the
said order, the petition filed by the appellant under Section 482 of Code of
Criminal Procedure for quashing F.I.R. No. 9 dated January 21, 2002 registered
at Police Station Sehna under Sections 498-A, 494, 506/34, IPC has been
Kamaljeet Kaur is a landed immigrant of Canada.
On May 7,
1997, she married Pashaura Singh Sidhu - appellant - at village Ghall Kalan,
District Moga, Punjab. She left for Canada on May 15, 1997. She sponsored her
husband and, accordingly, Pashaura Singh went to Canada in 1998.
stayed together for few months and then relations between them became strained.
Kamaljeet, thereafter, started living separately in Ontario. Pashaura Singh
applied for divorce and dissolution of marriage before the Supreme Court of
British Columbia and a divorce judgment was passed in his favour and their
marriage stood dissolved with effect from February 8, 2001. After the
dissolution of marriage, Pashaura Singh came to India and remarried on January
Singh went back to Canada with his newly wedded wife and both of them have been
On January 21, 2002, Kamaljeet's brother Balwant Singh lodged a
first information report being F.I.R. No. 9 at Police Station Sehna against
Pashaura Singh, Hakam Singh (father of Pashaura Singh), Randhir Singh (brother
of Pashaura Singh), Charanjit Kaur (wife of Randhir Singh) and Harbans Kaur
(mother of Pashaura Singh) alleging therein that on May 7, 1997 he performed
his sister Kamaljeet Kaur's marriage with 2 Pashaura Singh; that at the time of
marriage, according to his status, he gave rupees four lacs in cash, gold
jewelry, utensils, almirah, fifty-one suits, five bags etc. but the accused
started harassing his sister Kamaljeet Kaur and threatened to kill her if she
did not bring car, electronic items etc. and that he has now come to know that
Pashaura Singh has entered into second marriage in the first week of January,
2002. A case under Sections 498-A, 494, 506/34, IPC was registered against the
accused persons and it appears that the police submitted challan against them
in the court of Judicial Magistrate First Class, Barnala.
Randhir Singh, Charanjit Kaur (Rajinder Kaur), Hakam Singh and
Harbans Kaur filed a petition under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal
Procedure for quashing the F.I.R. No. 9 and criminal prosecution against them.
Vide order dated April 29, 2004, the High Court allowed the petition and
quashed F.I.R. No. 9 dated January 21, 2002 registered against them and all
Pashaura Singh by a separate petition under Section 482 of the
Code prayed for quashing F.I.R. No. 9/2002 3 and the subsequent criminal
proceedings against him but, as noticed above, the High Court by its order
dated May 24, 2006 dismissed his petition. The High Court in its cryptic order,
while dismissing the petition, observed that Pashaura Singh has married second
time on January 2, 2002 while he was already married with Kamaljeet Kaur and
the aforesaid marriage has not been dissolved.
Having heard the learned Counsel for the parties and upon careful
perusal of the materials placed before us, in our judgment, the order of High
Court cannot be sustained for more than one reason. In the first place, the
High Court gravely erred in observing that Pashaura Singh married second time
on January 2, 2002 while he was already married with Kamaljeet Kaur and the
aforesaid marriage has not been dissolved. The certificate of divorce dated
February 26, 2001 issued by the New Westminster Registry, Supreme Court of
British Columbia shows that the marriage of Pashaura Singh and Kamaljeet Kaur
stood dissolved on February 8, 2001. As a matter of fact, this fact is noticed
in the order dated April 29, 2004 whereby the High Court quashed F.I.R. No. 9
and the subsequent criminal 4 proceedings against the family members of
Pashaura Singh. In the affidavit filed by Gurmail Singh, Deputy Superintendent
of Police in response to the petition filed by the appellant under Section 482
before the High Court, it has been admitted that during investigation on March
14, 2002 Hakam Singh had produced photocopy of divorce certificate purporting
to have been issued by the Supreme Court of British Columbia. The observation
of the High Court, thus, that Pashaura Singh married second time, although his
marriage has not been dissolved, is ex-facie contrary to record.
Section 494, IPC, inter-alia, requires the following ingredients
to be satisfied, namely, (i) the accused must have contracted first marriage;
(ii) he must have married again; (iii) the first marriage must be subsisting
and (iv) the spouse must be living. Insofar as present case is concerned the appellant's
marriage with Kamaljeet Kaur was not subsisting on January 2, 2002 when he is
said to have married second time. Pertinently before the High Court, along with
reply, the complainant Balwant Singh annexed copy of an affidavit filed by
Kamaljeet Kaur which states that she was not aware of the divorce 5 proceedings
filed by her husband Pashaura Singh. However, from this affidavit, it is
apparent that her husband has obtained a divorce judgment. There is nothing in
the affidavit that divorce judgment has been stayed or set aside. On the face
of the allegations made in the first information report, therefore, ingredients
of the offence under Section 494, IPC are not satisfied.
Insofar as offence under Section 498-A is concerned, the High
Court in its earlier order dated April 29, 2004 in the petition filed by the
family members, observed thus:
have perused the First Information Report registered against the petitioners.
allegation against the petitioner is that they started harassing Kamaljeet Kaur
Gill for not bringing more dowry. No demand of dowry has been made by the
petitioners, nor is there any specific entrustment, as alleged in the First
Information Report of dowry articles to the petitioners. Parties have divorced
each other, as per the order of the Supreme Court of British Columbia (Annexure
P-1). Order is dated February 25, 2001. It is after this divorce that Pishora
Singh got married in India on January 2, 2002."
Moreover, in the affidavit of Kamaljeet Kaur referred to hereinabove,
there is not a word about demand of dowry or harassment on account of dowry by
We have no hesitation in holding that the first information report
lodged by Balwant Singh is manifestly attended with malafides and actuated with
ulterior motive. The prosecution of the appellant is not at all legitimate,
rather it is frivolous, vexatious, unwarranted and abuse of process. The
appellant has made out a case for quashing the first information report and all
subsequent proceedings pursuant thereto.
For the reasons indicated above, appeal is allowed and order dated
May 24, 2006 passed by the High court of Punjab and Haryana is set aside.
Resultantly, F.I.R. No. 9 dated January 21, 2002 registered at Police Station
Sehna and all subsequent proceedings pursuant thereto stand quashed and set
The pending applications stand disposed of.
........................J (Tarun Chatterjee)
........................J (R. M. Lodha)
November 13, 2009.