The court says that there is no evidence against the accused and has therefore, quashed the FIR against him in the case of Vishwas Bhandari versus The State of Punjab & Anr.
By: Shannia Yesenia, LLB, Prima University.
The complaint was lodged by Rashmi Adhen, wife of Mohanjit Singh, alleging that her eldest daughter who is 17½ years of age, had been kidnapped by Vikram Roop Rai and Vishwas Bhandari by alluring her for marriage. Upon completion of the investigation, a report under Section 173 CrPC was filed against Vikram Roop Rai.
Furthermore, proceedings for declaring the appellant as a proclaimed offender were also initiated but Vishwas Bhandari was not tried since he had run away during that period.
In the proceedings before the Court, the complainant appeared and recorded her statement while restricting her allegations in respect of Vikram Roop Rai only. In the cross-examination, she testified to have attended the marriage in Phagwara. The complainant stated that “My daughter has solemnised marriage with accused Vikram on 4 August 2013 both the families had solemnised the said marriage at Gurudwara Sahib of Khera Road, Phagwara. I have attended the said marriage, we prepared CD and also clicked photos of the said marriage. Thereafter, Lunch was served at Poonam Hotel, Phagwara. After marriage, my daughter and accused Vikram stayed with us.”
The learned Additional Sessions Judge held that neither the complainant nor the prosecutrix has disclosed the exact date of birth. Further, no birth certificate was produced to show that the age of the prosecutrix was less than 18 years on the alleged date of occurrence of abduction.
The court observed that “Although the prosecutrix PW2 in her examination in chief has stated that the accused had abducted her on the pretext that he will be solemnized marriage but how and where abducted her has not been explained by her. Admittedly, it is stated by her that was known to her.”
Later, after Rai’s release, Vishwas Bhandari filed an appeal to the High Court to revoke the FIR and subsequent proceedings saying that neither the prosecutrix nor the complainant has leveled a shroud of allegation against him regarding the abduction of the prosecutrix but this petition was dismissed by the High Court.
In the appeal, the court said that there is no evidence against the accused and thus, the doings initiated against him based on FIR would be unarguable.
The bench comprising Justices Hemant Gupta and S. Ravindra Bhat observed that “We find that the evidence of the prosecutrix and the complainant before the Court shows that there is no allegation whatsoever against the appellant. The main allegation was against Vikram Roop Rai but the prosecutrix married him on 4.8.2013 and had given birth to two children out of that wedlock. In the absence of any allegation against the appellant, we find that the continuation of proceedings against him is nothing but an abuse of process of law.”
The order passed by the High Court is set aside and the entire proceedings consequent to FIR No. 31 of 2013 and charge sheet stand quashed.