Court to encourage genuine settlement of matrimonial disputes: Supreme Court set aside conviction under Section 498A of IPC

The Supreme Court in the case of Rajendra Bhagat v/s State of Jharkhand & Anr. ruled that the Court should encourage the genuine settlement of matrimonial disputes.

The appellant joined the Indian Army as Naik. The appellant and the respondent got married in 2013. Certain disputes having arisen, the respondent lodged an FIR at Police Station, Sisai against the appellant and his family members with the allegations of demand of dowry, mental and physical torture etc. The High Court took up the matter for consideration and, after taking note of the submissions of the parties that they had resolved the marital discord and were residing together while enjoying a happy conjugal life, indeed observed that continuance of the proceedings might lead to disharmony but then, merely ordered modification of sentence to the period of imprisonment already undergone by the appellant while affirming his conviction.

The division bench of Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Justice Vikram Nath noted that the expected approach of the High Court in the event of bona fide settlement of disputes, is to encourage the genuine settlement of matrimonial disputes. 

The court said that the High Court, while disposing of the revision petition with the application moved by the parties, did not pause to consider that maintaining of conviction of the appellant of the offence under Section 498-A IPC would not be securing the ends of justice and with such conviction being maintained and the appellant losing his job, the family would again land itself in financial distress which may ultimately operate adverse to the harmony and happy conjugal life of the parties. The High Court should have accepted the settlement and quashed all the proceedings with annulment of the orders against the appellant.

The court while quashing all the proceedings arising out of the FIR set aside the conviction of the appellant. 

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