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MONEY SENT BY NRI WIFE TO HER FATHER-IN-LAW AFTER 3 YEARS FROM THE DATE OF MARRIAGE IS NOT DOWRY

Updated: Jun 26, 2023

FALSE IMPLICATION: It has been seen a lot of times that these days that if there is a dispute between husband and wife due to temperamental differences while residing abroad, even then a false criminal case is registered against the parents of husband or other relatives, who are living in India so as to build pressure on the husband’s family to enter into compromise and to extort money.

Rising cases of false implication by the NRI Wives residing abroad or Wives residing in India of NRI Husbands has been duly noted by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Preeti Gupta and another versus State of Jharkhand which is reproduced below:

30. It is a matter of common experience that most of these complaints under section 498A Indian Penal Code are filed in the heat of the moment over trivial issues without proper deliberations. We come across a large number of such complaints which are not even bonafide and are filed with oblique motive. At the same time, rapid increase in the number of genuine cases of dowry harassment are also a matter of serious concern.


RECENT CASE-LAW: In one of such cases which came to our firm was of an innocent father-in-law in which Mr. Navkiran Singh Advocate represented the innocent Father-in-law praying for cancellation / quashing of FIR registered by the daughter-in-law against her husband and parents-in-law. Wife was residing in New Zealand. Husband / son of the petitioner went to New-Zealand and marriage also took place in New Zealand. Initially husband wife lived with the parents of wife, later they got their separate rented accommodation as parents of wife were interfering a lot in their marital life. Due to which disputes occurred between husband and wife. Husband and wife were having Joint account in which they used to put their salaries for paying rent and other bills. However, without telling the husband, wife withdrew 17000 and deposited the same in the name of her father, due to which dispute had arisen between husband and wife. After sometime father-in-law / petitioner needed some money for his medical treatment, that time, husband asked the wife to sent money to his father from the joint account which she did. But later, due to their mutual differences, husband wife got separated and in grudge, wife got an FIR registered in India u/s 498-A (cruelty) and 406 (criminal breach of trust - dowry) mentioning that she had sent 3600$ to the father-in-law as dowry after 3 years of marriage, and hence, offence under section 406 IPC is made out. This case has been recently decided by the Punjab and Haryana High Court in which Quashing / cancellation of FIR against the innocent father-in-law has been ALLOWED by the Hon’ble High Court has discussed the concept of dowry while observing that:

3. Learned counsel for the petitioner further submits that the money was sent by the complainant on behalf of the petitioner's son from New Zealand for their maintenance, however, the petitioner has always been ready to hand over the said amount to the complainant and immediate mediation proceedings, a draft was offered, which was refused. He further submits that the provisions of Sections 420, 406 and 498-A IPC are not made out and even from the bare perusal of the complaint.

4. Per contra, learned counsel appearing for respondent No.2/complainant submits that the amount was sent to the petitioner from New Zealand as a dowry amount.

5. I have considered the submissions made by learned counsel for the parties at length and has perused the paper book.

. . .

7. The concept of granting being dowry is at the time of marriage. Admittedly, the marriage has taken place at New Zealand and therefore, there is no occasion of sending the amount to India that too much later point of time after the marriage. In that scenario, the same cannot be said to be a dowry amount. As regards the amount being treated as being that of the complainant, the petitioner being treated as a trustee of that amount, if the petitioner is ready to hand over the said amount to the complainant and has not misused that said amount, it cannot be said that the offence under Section 406 is made out. The question regarding cheating the complainant is also not made out as there is no such submission in the entire complaint to reflect that the petitioner had any point of time misrepresented or cheated the complainant and accordingly, offence under Sections 420, 406 and 498-A are not made out against the petitioner.

8. In the circumstances, the allegations as made out in the FIR do not reflect there being a case coming within the four corners of three provisions of IPC i.e. 420, 406 and 498-A against the petitioner and therefore, keeping in view the principals as laid down by the Hon'ble Apex Court in the case of State of Haryana and others Vs. Ch. Bhajan Lal and others and Preeti Gupta and another Vs. State of Jharkhand and another (supra), this Court does not find any reason to continue the criminal proceedings based on the FIR No.05 dated 05.07.2017 against the petitioner.

9. In view of above, the present petition is allowed and consequently, FIR and all subsequent proceedings arising therefrom, are hereby quashed, qua the petitioner.

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