Father Who Pretended as a Garbage Van Guard in Order to Visit his Child was Found Not Guilty of Trespassing by Karnataka High Court

Judge M Nagaprasanna noted that the man’s former wife had filed the case for frivolous reasons, and that he had a legal right to visit his daughter under a court order.

The Karnataka High Court recently dismissed a case brought by a woman against her ex-husband for allegedly trying to visit their eight-year-old daughter by pretending to be a garbage van guard, accusing him of criminal intimidation and house trespassing.

Judge M Nagaprasanna noted that the man’s former wife had filed the case for frivolous reasons, and that he had a legal right to visit his daughter under a court order.

“On the day he desired to see his daughter, the husband was granted legitimate visitation rights. Thus, the Court noted in its December 20 order, “He had a legal right to visit the daughter by an order of the competent Court.”

The father was pleading with the court to overturn actions taken against him by his former spouse under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) under Sections 448 (house trespass), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace), and 506 (criminal intimidation).

For background, the couple had separated by mutual consent after getting a divorce, with the mother receiving custody of their daughter and the father having the opportunity to see her every Saturday.

But on one particular Saturday last year, the father acknowledged receiving an email from the mother rescheduling their visit.

Nevertheless, the woman stated that on that particular day, the man made an attempt to see their daughter. She claimed that the father used the MyGate app to send a request before attempting to enter the apartment building. The father was accused of assuming the identity of a guard on a garbage van and entering the apartment complex after being refused permission.

The woman also said that he entered the apartment abruptly and caused trauma to the daughter, who spent the next two hours locked in the bathroom.

He (the petitioner) moved a plea before the High Court seeking relief after the woman filed a criminal case against her estranged former husband over this purported incident.

On behalf of the father, advocate R Pallava argued that he was entitled to visitation rights on the day of the incident. He claimed that the petitioner did not consent to the rescheduling, despite admitting that the petitioner was aware of it.

He consequently asserted that the petitioner was forced to enter the apartment building by force. In his view, filing the crime report in this instance amounted to a misuse of the legal system.

However, mother’s counsel KP Yashodha argued that the child was traumatized by the petitioner’s unexpected visit. She therefore contended that there had been trespassing, intimidation, and an insult to cause a breach of the peace.

She further argued that the High Court could dismiss the petition and decide the case against the petitioner after a trial.

The husband would have the right to see his daughter on Saturdays from 3 to 5 PM, either at the wife’s house or at a neutral location, according to the terms of their divorce decree, the court noted.

It further noted that fifteen days following the purported incident, the police registered the crime without even investigating the dispute between the parties.

Since the petitioner might have had to wait another week to see his child if his visit were rescheduled, the Court emphasized that the petitioner’s actions were motivated by his anxiety to see his daughter.

“This is the father’s nervousness about seeing his daughter. The wife has labeled this as a criminal trespass into the house with the intention of intimidating the daughter, the court noted.

The Court went on to say that it was puzzling how precisely the petitioner had threatened his daughter and came to the conclusion that permitting additional inquiry would be an abuse of the legal system.

“It is again incomprehensible where the husband has criminally hinted at the daughter… It stated, “On the face of it, if any additional investigation is allowed to proceed, it would become an abuse of the legal system and misuse of the law by the wife against the husband to settle her scores.”

Consequently, the Court quashed the proceedings against the petitioner in accordance with Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), which grants the Court jurisdiction while preserving the inherent powers of the High Court.

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