New Delhi: The Supreme Court (SC) has rushed to the rescue of a man hounded by criminal proceedings initiated by his estranged wife alleging fake charges relating to the period they were together in Canada.
“We, in the peculiar facts and circumstances of this case, have absolutely no doubt in our mind that the allegations in the FIR had been made with an ulterior motive to harass the appellants (husband),” said a bench of justices SB Sinha and Mukundakam Sharma. “Continuance of the criminal proceeding against them (husband and his parents) wouldamount to abuse of process of the court,” the bench said. The SC passed the order while upholding an appeal by Harmanpreet Singh Ahulwalia, challenging registration of cases under Sections 406 (criminal breach of trust) and 420 (cheating) IPC against him and his parents.
Though the police chief had recommended withdrawal of the complaint and charge-sheet saying if any offence was committed it was within the jurisdiction of Ontario, Canada, the trial court concerned continued with the prosecution. The SC wondered why, when the alleged offence was committed in Canada, Kaur’s father, Inder Pal Singh, a permanent resident of Canada, filed the case in India.
Kaur had married Harmanpreet in Jalandhar in 2000 after divorcing her earlier husband in Canada. After a month’s stay in India, she left for Canada. In 2001, she gave birth to a girl child in Canada. Harmanpreet went to Canada in 2001. He got the job of a driver there.
Soon, differences surfaced between Kaur and her new husband. In 2003, she allegedly left with all her jewellery and withdrew Canadian $24,500 from the joint account she held with Harmanpreet.
Harmanpreet initiated divorce proceedings before the Ontario court saying his wife left home to live with her parents in India while he had gone to work. He alleged that she was “threatening to hurt herself and get him involved with the police to deport him from Canada”.
Differences between the couple were sorted out for some time, but they surfaced again and the couple started living separately. During a visit to India in 2006, Interpal Singh lodged a complaint against Harmanpreet under Section 406 and 420 IPC along with an affidavit from Kauri alleging that he demanded dowry and misappropriated dowry articles.