A Bench comprising of Justice S. Abdul Nazeer and Justice Sanjiv Khanna of the Hon’ble Supreme Court recently passed an interim order staying Rajasthan HC’s order in a SLP filed on 04.02.2021 in the matter of Mafatlal and Anr. v. State of Rajasthan in which the petitioners appealed against the final judgment and order dated 09/12/2020 passed by High Court of Judicature of Rajasthan bench at Jaipur in S.B. Criminal Misc. (Petition) No. 591/2020.
The petition was filed under section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and prays for quashing of the First Information Report No.45/2005 registered with Police Station Phulcra, District Jaipur for the offences u/s 363, 366 IPC for minor abduction and kidnapping and the criminal proceedings emanating therefrom.
The petitioners were represented by Sondhi & Partners and the arguments were led by Ms. Mayuri Raghuvanshi (AOR) , Adv. Vyom Raghuvanshi, Adv. Deepankur Sondhi, Adv Parnika Sondhi, Adv Chanpreet Singh and Adv. Manish Kumar.
In 2005, when the Petitioner No.2 was 17 years, Petitioner No.1, Mafat Lal and Petitioner No.2 fell in love. Reportedly, petitioner No.2 at her own free will, decided to stay with, and subsequently marry Petitioner No. 1, Mafat Lal. It has been submitted that they are blessed with a baby boy and are voluntarily living as husband and wife since past 15 years.
In 2005, subsequent to the ‘elopement’ of both the petitioners, Prahalad Dan, the father of Petitioner No.2 lodged a report on 23.05.05 and which led to the registration of First Information Report u/s 363, 366 1PC wherein challan was submitted against Petitioner No.1 Mafat Lal by declaring him as absconding under section 299 Cr.PC.
Henceforth, Police sought to arrest Petitioner No.1 Mafat Lal and permanent warrant was issued against him.
Thereafter, criminal proceedings were initiated against Petitioner No. 1 for kidnapping and abducting Petitioner No. 2 in the District and Sessions Court. Petitioner No.1 then approached the Rajasthan HC for quashing of criminal proceedings which was dismissed on grounds that no strong, legal ground could be established for quashing the criminal proceedings. An SLP was then filed with the Supreme Court seeking relief.
Issues Raised in SLP
- Whether the High Court did not err in holding that it was not a case where offences charged against the petitioner no. 1 were baseless or not made out even when is not in dispute that the petitioner no. 2 left her parental home without any promise or offer or inducement from the petitioner no. 1?
- Whether the will or consent of the petitioner no. 2 was insignificant even when she had attained the age of discretion and was at the verge of attaining majority and was capable to know the full import of what she was doing?
- Whether the argument that there was possibility that after kidnapping the petitioner no. 2 was constrained to live with the petitioner no. 1 is not erroneous since the petitioner no. 2 had specifically deposed that she was in love with petitioner no. 1 and had left her parental home voluntarily inasmuch as there was no basis to presume otherwise in the absence of any allegation to that effect on record?
- Whether the High Court did not err in failing to appreciate that the petitioners had to live in oblivion on account of threat to their lives inasmuch as their intentions were not ride a high horse but save their lives as they had approached the court below disclosing their present addresses?
- Whether courts below did not err in failing to appreciate that there is an imminent threat to the lives of the petitioners in case they visit their native village and could become victims of honour killing?
- Whether courts below ought not to have appreciated that the petitioner no. 2 who is said to be the victim does not support the case of the respondent?
- Whether the courts below ought not to have appreciated that if petitioner no. 1 is allowed to be prosecuted, the matrimonial life of the petitioners will be disrupted inasmuch as where the High Court did not in not taking liberal view of the matter since the petitioners were in love and were settled in their lives?
- Whether the present case does not fall squarely within the scope defined under State of Haiyana v. Bhajan Lai, 1992 Supp (1) SCC 335 whereby the powers under Section 482 of the Code could be exercised to prevent abuse of the process of any court or otherwise to secure the ends of justice?
Read the High Court’s Order here:
Read the Order of Sessions Judge, Jaipur here:
This order deals with the acquittal of father of Petitioner No.1 wherein he was accused of criminal conspiracy u/s 120-B IPC for helping petitioner no.1 for alleged kidnapping and abduction of pet. 2.
Read the Supreme Court’s Order here: