New Delhi: In bigamy cases while lodging a criminal complaint it is not necessary for the aggrieved party to prove that marriage ceremonies were performed as it is for the trial court to decide the veracity of the allegations, the Supreme Court has held.
The apex court further said that in criminal cases, courts cannot quash the charge sheet on the mere plea of the accused that there is no truth in the allegations.
"It has to be borne in mind that while considering the application for quashing of the charge sheet, the allegations made in the first information report (FIR) and the materials collected during the course of the investigation are required to be considered.
"Truthfulness or otherwise of the allegation is not fit to be gone into at this stage as it is always a matter of trial. Essential ceremonies of the marriage were gone into or not is a matter of trial," a bench of Justices DK Jain and CK Prasad said in a judgement.
The apex court gave the verdict while upholding the appeal of a woman K Neelavani, challenging a Madras High Court order quashing the charge sheet filed against her husband S K Siva Kumar under IPC Sections 406 (breach of trust) and 494 (bigamy-second marriage).
According to Neelavani, despite subsistence of their marriage, Kumar had married another woman Bharathi and fathered her child.
Though police filed a charge sheet against the accused husband for the alleged offences, the High Court quashed the charge sheet even before the matter came up for trial on the ground that the allegations were not substantiated.
Allowing the wife`s appeal, the apex court observed, "We are of the opinion that the High Court erred in holding that the charge sheet does not reveal the ingredients constituting the offences under Sections 494 and 406 of the Indian Penal Code.
"It is trite that the Magistrate is not bound by the conclusion of the investigating agency in the police report i.e. in the charge sheet and it is open to him after exercise of judicial discretion to take the view that facts disclosed in the report do not constitute any offence for taking cognizance.
"Quashing of Sections 406 and 494 of IPC from the charge sheet even before the exercise of discretion by the Magistrate under Section 190 of the Code of Criminal Procedure is undesirable.
"In our opinion, in the facts and circumstances of the case, quashing of the charge sheet under Sections 406 and 494 of IPC at this stage in exercise of the power under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure was absolutely uncalled for," the apex court observed while quashing the High Court order.