Petitioner Fails To Explain Any Reason For Leaving Husband : Punjab and Haryana High Court

Imposes Rs 25K Costs On Wife For Frivolous Plea For Protection From Husband and In-Laws

Let me not hesitate to begin by first and foremost stating that I very strongly feel that the time is ripe now for making many radical changes in our penal laws and treating woman on the same platform as man and as is repeatedly demanded most strenuously by many reputed woman organizations also not just in our country alone but all over the world! Just like adultery has been decriminalized unlike earlier when men alone was punishable for imprisonment of upto five years similarly laws must be so amended so as to treat women on par with men in all respects! There can be no denying or disputing it!

No doubt, there is now also a dire need to ensure that if a woman makes false accusations against any men then she is not allowed to get away scot free. She must also be made to pay just like men for her crime of making false accusations against any men whether he is her husband or a friend or a stranger! Not just this, I also very strongly feel that there must be a minimum of two years  imprisonment and maximum of five years imprisonment for anyone whether he/she is a man or a woman who makes false allegations against anyone without substantiating it due to which the reputation of that person affected on whom allegation is made suffers irreparably!

To start with, in a latest, landmark and laudable judgment titled Babita and another Vs State of Haryana and others in CRWP-6765-2020 delivered on September 3, 2020 by Justice Manoj Bajaj of Punjab and Haryana High Court, a cost of Rs 25,000 has been imposed on a woman for failing to explain why she had left her husband against whom she had approached the Court apprehending threat to her life. She failed to give any sound and valid reason for leaving her husband and for apprehending threat to her life. This alone explains why the Punjab and Haryana High Court took strong exception to it and imposed a cost of Rs 25000 on her for doing so!

At the outset, this noteworthy judgment begins by first and foremost pointing out in the opening para that, “By means of this writ petition, the petitioners have prayed for a writ of mandamus by way of directions to the official respondents to protect their life and liberty as they apprehend danger at the hands of private respondent Nos. 5 to 12.”

While elaborating on the facts of the case, it is then pointed out in the next para that, “Briefly, the facts as pleaded in the writ petition are that Babita (petitioner No. 1) was married to Manish (respondent No. 5) in the year 2008 and two children were born out of this wedlock. Petitioner No. 1 was dealt with cruelty by her husband and other members of her in-laws family. She gathered courage ten days back and left the matrimonial home with the help of petitioner No. 2. According to the pleadings, the petitioner No. 1 left the house as per her own will and is living at different places in the District Jhajjar. The petitioners apprehended that the private respondents would cause harm to them, therefore, they had given representations to official respondent Nos. 1 to 3 (Annexures P-1 to P-3) respectively. However, the representations have not been looked into so far and therefore, they have approached this Court for protection of their life and liberty.”

As it turned out, what is next illustrated in the new para of this significant judgment is this: “Learned counsel for the petitioners contend that the life of the petitioner No. 1 had become miserable in her matrimonial home and therefore, there were compelling circumstances for her to leave the company of her husband. It is pointed out that the private respondent Nos. 5 to 12 may cause harm to her and petitioner No. 2, who rendered his help. He prays that the appropriate directions be issued to the official respondents to provide protection to the petitioners.”

More significantly, Justice Manoj Bajaj without mincing any words took potshots at the way the petitions was drafted and said that, “After hearing learned counsel for the petitioners, this Court finds that the writ petition does not contain any pleading much less narration of a cause of action in favour of petitioner No. 2 for filing petition along with petitioner No. 1. Though the petition is verified by both the petitioners by appending their signatures, but no affidavit in support of the petition has been filed by petitioner No. 2. Apart from this, even in the representations submitted to the official respondents, petitioner No. 2 has not portrayed any grievance. Resultantly, this Court finds that the writ petition on behalf of petitioner No. 2 is without any valid cause of action and therefore, qua him, the petition is dismissed on this ground.”
While not finding much substance in the claims made by petitioner No. 1, the Court then points out that, “Considering the pleadings and submissions of learned counsel, this Court finds that petitioner No. 1 also does not deserve any concession, particularly when she  has failed to explain any reason for leaving the company of her husband. Besides, the petitioner No. 1 has given the address of her matrimonial home in the petition, but has claimed that she is residing at different places in district Jhajjar.”

More damningly and most significantly, it is then pointed out by the Court in simple and straight language without mincing any words that, “During the course of hearing, it is not disputed by learned counsel that no complaint has ever been made by petitioner No. 1 either against the husband or any of the other family members of the in-laws. Admittedly, the marriage is 12 years old and the children are also residing with the father. It does not appeal to prudence that after leaving the matrimonial home, the petitioner No. 1 has not contacted her parents, but chose to live alone at District Jhajjar. Except for the bald allegation that respondent No. 5 treated the petitioner No. 1 with cruelty, no supportive material has been placed on record by her. This Court finds that not only the petition for protection is founded on frivolous grounds, but it also amounts to abuse of the process of law. Apparently, the petitioner has not approached the Court with clean hands and has deliberately suppressed the material facts, therefore, this Court finds that she deserves to be saddled with costs.”

As a corollary, Justice Manoj Bajaj of the Punjab and Haryana High Court then finally concludes by observing directly and diligently that, “In view of the above, this Court does not find any reason to exercise the extra ordinary writ jurisdiction and the petition is dismissed with costs of Rs 25,000/- to be borne by petitioner No. 1. It is ordered that the costs be deposited in Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana, COVID-19 Relief Fund, within four weeks from today. Chief Judicial Magistrate, Rohtak shall ensure the recovery and deposits of the costs.”

To sum up, the long and short of this noteworthy judgment is that woman too now must be very cautious before approaching the Courts for relief in any particular case. It goes without saying that now woman must also ensure that she too just like men has approached the court with clean hands. She should no longer hope that like the past, she will immediately get an order in her favour just because she is a woman and normally it is seen that the courts always sympathizes with woman!

But times have changed now and the approach of the courts have also changed substantially! This latest verdict by none other than the Punjab and Haryana High Court is the biggest proof to substantiate this that a woman can no longer hope that she will promptly get relief from courts as courts now very carefully go deep into the concerned case and examine it from very close quarters and only after weighing the pros and cons pronounces its final decision! Now courts don’t hesitate to promptly impose court on the woman if it finds that there is no merit in her allegations, she just attempts to hoodwink the court and the precious time of the court has been wasted on utterly frivolous grounds having no merit at all!

So, without doubt, it is in the own best interest of a woman that she deeply examines all the allegations that she makes and finds it fully genuine and sustainable in any court. If she neglects here then she will have to cough up a huge amount as we see in this leading case.   There can be no denying it!

Sanjeev Sirohi

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