Magistrate cannot return a complaint merely because it was filed by the aggrieved person’s wife: Kerala HC

Magistrate cannot return a complaint merely because it was filed by the aggrieved person's wife: Kerala HC

The  Kerala High Court ruled that the Magistrate cannot return a complaint merely because it was filed by the aggrieved person’s wife. 


Petitioner is the wife of the injured in a road traffic accident. It is alleged that petitioner’s husband- Thankachan, a carpenter by avocation, sustained injuries while proceeding to the place of work traveling on the pillion seat of the motorcycle ridden by the accused, through Elamakkara-Puthukkalavattom Road; in front of Skyline Apartments, due to the rash and negligent riding as to endanger human life, since he had abruptly twisted, the vehicle capsized and her husband fell down and sustained grievous injuries. 


The petitioner contended that despite intimation given by the CMO, MAJ Hospital to the Sub Inspector, Elamakkara Police Station, crime was not registered. She said that she lodged a complaint before the City Police Commissioner, Ernakulam which also was not acted upon and thus, she approached the Judicial First Class Magistrate-II, Aluva. 

She specifically averred that after sustaining grievous injuries, her husband is in immobile stage and is under complete rest and thus, she approached the court alleging offenses under Sections 279, 337 and 338 IPC. But the complaint was returned stating that ‘the petition was filed by the wife of the complainant’. 


The single judge bench of Justice K.Haripal said that it has no doubt that the order passed by the Magistrate is illegal and unsustainable. It is the settled proposition of law that criminal law can be set in motion by any person. 

The court stated that after sustaining grievous hurt, her husband is unable to move out and hence, she has taken initiative to prefer the complaint. The principle of locus standi is alien to criminal jurisprudence.

The court said that it is more disturbing that the Court is acting upon office notes put up by the ministerial staff. The Court takes strong exception to such a conduct. In judicial matters, the staff members cannot make any note or suggestion. The Magistrate has not applied his mind before returning the complaint. The reason stated is illegal. 

The court quashed the order and directed the Magistrate to entertain the complaint and pass orders, in accordance with law, within a period of seven days.

Case title: Smitha w/o.Thankachan v/s The State of Kerala and Ors. 

Citation: WP(CRL.) NO. 89 OF 2022 

Click here to read the Order/Judgment

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