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Delhi HC imposes 25k cost on lawyer seeking FIR over wife's rape by cousin

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New Delhi, Jan 25 (PTI) The Delhi High Court has dismissed a plea by a lawyer for "maliciously" seeking an FIR against his estranged wife's cousin for raping her when she was a minor, an allegation that she denied, and imposed a cost of Rs 25,000 on him.

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Justice Anoop Kumar Mendiratta said the wheels of criminal justice system cannot be permitted to be clogged by frivolous complaints when the alleged victim herself has no grievance, and asked the petitioner to pay the cost to Delhi High Court Legal Services Committee within eight weeks.

The judge said such complaints may not only harass the spouse but also a person who may have been framed despite his innocence.

"Any such allegation of rape not only puts a question mark on dignity of 'X' (the wife) but also may lead to harassment and affect reputation and life of another person," said the court in a recent order.

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"The wheels of criminal justice system cannot be permitted to be clogged by frivolous complaints wherein the victim herself does not have a grievance but the same is maliciously filed on her behalf. This may be an agonizing way of harassment not only to the spouse but a person who may be innocently framed and prosecuted," the court observed.

The petitioner approached the high court after a magisterial court as well as a sessions court refused to order registration of an FIR under Section 156(3) Criminal Procedure Code.

Under Section 156(3), a magistrate can order an investigation of an offence of which he may have taken cognisance. Any application under Section 156(3) can therefore be made only at the pre-cognisance stage.

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The petitioner claimed after their marriage in 2017, his wife disclosed her cousin had raped her when she was 16.

The court noted that as per the Action Taken Report filed by the police, which "cannot be brushed aside lightly", the wife denied the allegation and claimed that the petitioner harassed her for dowry, and proceedings for domestic violence, maintenance and divorce were pending against him.

The court said while deciding an application under section 156(3), the lower court has to apply judicial mind to assess the disclosure of commission of a cognisable offence and also to rule out the possibility of harassment by unscrupulous elements making bald allegations.

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In the present case, it added, the wife was "under no handicap" but still did not come forward with any complaint, and the law cannot be permitted to be abused by the petitioner.

The court asserted that merely alleging disclosure of a cognisable offence may not be sufficient to issue directions for registration of an FIR if it lacks credibility, is bereft of necessary details and appears to be a "perverted litigation".

"Merely because an information was allegedly disclosed by his wife regarding commission of offence to the petitioner, it cannot give rise to the cause of action when the wife of the petitioner herself has categorically denied any such offence having been committed by her cousin. Obviously, petitioner who is an Advocate intends to obliquely use the proceedings and gain some advantage in the pending matrimonial proceedings against his wife," the court said.

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The court ruled that the petitioner has no locus standi to file the complaint in the face of the wife denying the alleged offence.

"The prayer made by the petitioner for directions to investigate and register an FIR under Section 156(3) Cr.P.C. defy any logic or prudence, since any such incident of commission of offence has been categorically denied by the wife of the petitioner," the court said.

"The petition being without any merits, is dismissed with a cost of Rs 25,000/- (Rupees Twenty Five Thousand Only) to be paid to Delhi High Court Legal Services Committee within eight weeks," the court ordered. PTI ADS ADS SK SK SK

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