In a judgement with wide ramifications for criminal cases, the Supreme Court has held that the accused cannot be prosecuted on the basis of vague allegations.
While dropping the proceedings against a woman’s aged in-laws — Neelu Chopra (76) and Krishan Swaroop Chopra (80), a bench comprising Justices V S Sirpurkar and Deepak Verma, in their judgement, noted, ‘In order to lodge a proper complaint, a mere mention of the sections and the language of those sections is not the end of the matter.’ ‘What is required to be brought to the notice of the court is the particulars of the offence committed by each and every accused,’ the bench added.
‘When we see the complaint, the complaint is sadly vague.
It does not show as to which accused committed what offence and what is the exact role played by these appellants in the commission of the offence,’ it said.
‘There could be said something against Rajesh (late husband) as the allegations are made against him more precisely but he is no more, ‘it added.
‘Under such circumstances, it would be an abuse of the process of law to allow the prosecution to continue against the aged parents of Rajesh, the present appellants hear in on the basis of vague and general complaint which is silent about the precise acts of the appellants,’ the bench added.
Bharti, the complainant, was married to Rajesh in 1984. Trouble started within six months of the marriage.
Bharti lodged a complaint against her husband, in-laws and sister-in-law Rakhi on December 24,1993 for dowry harassment .
Judicial Magistrate issued summons to the accused on January 25, 1994.
The husband expired on January 6, 2006. The Delhi High Court dismissed the petition of in-laws seeking quashing of the criminal proceedings.
Justice Sirpurkar writing a 6-page judgement for the bench also noted even the statements of the parents of the complainant could not be better than the vague complaint.
It has taken 16 years to the in-laws to get rid of the criminal proceedings initiated against them in 1993.