Fostering Integrity and Accuracy: Guidelines for Lawyers in Criminal Complaints during Matrimonial Disputes

In a recent judgment by the Calcutta High Court, the importance of critical analysis in handling matrimonial disputes was highlighted. The court emphasized the need for lawyers and the judiciary to exercise caution and evaluate the veracity of the claims made in these cases.

The court acknowledged that while the institution of marriage holds great significance in our society, there has been an alarming increase in false and exaggerated complaints, particularly under sections 498A/406/506/34 of the Indian Penal Code. These provisions were initially introduced to protect women from harassment and abuse, but they have, unfortunately, been misused as weapons rather than shields.

The court drew attention to the observations made by the Supreme Court of India in landmark cases such as Arnesh Kumar v. State of Bihar and Preeti Gupta v. State of Jharkhand. These judgments highlighted the need for a balanced approach, acknowledging that many complaints are not bona fide and are filed with ulterior motives. The courts emphasized the responsibility of lawyers to ensure that small incidents are not exaggerated in criminal complaints.

The judgment emphasized the social responsibility of lawyers and their obligation to safeguard the fabric of family life. Their role is not merely to advocate for their clients but also to assist in finding amicable resolutions to matrimonial disputes. The court recognized the tremendous impact such complaints have on both the accused and the complainant, leading to incredible pain and suffering.

Moreover, the court acknowledged the challenge in determining the truth in such cases, as the tendency to implicate the husband is not uncommon. The courts must exercise caution and scrutinize the allegations with care and circumspection. Merely looking at the complaints or FIRs is not sufficient; a thorough examination of the attending circumstances and reading between the lines is necessary to uncover the truth.

In the specific case before the Calcutta High Court, it was observed that the allegations in the written complaint were general and lacked any supporting evidence. The case was filed almost two decades after the marriage, and no materials were presented to substantiate the claims. In light of these facts, the court quashed the proceedings, deeming it an abuse of the process of law.

Sri Suman Kumar Das & Ors v. The State of West Bengal & Anr

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