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Bombay High Court Rejects FIR Against Husband for Verbal Threats Regarding Signing of Divorce Papers

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Published on: February 12, 2024 at 12:42 IST

The Bombay High Court has dismissed an FIR filed by a female judicial officer against her husband, asserting that a verbal threat to sign divorce papers does not amount to criminal intimidation under Section 503 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The Court quashed the FIR, ruling that the alleged threat did not fall under the scope of Section 503.

The Division Bench, consisting of Justice A.S. Chandurkar and Justice Jitendra Jain, handled two writ petitions seeking the quashing of the FIR. The court considered the situation as a counterblast to the ongoing matrimonial dispute between the parties.

The bench clarified that Section 506 of the IPC is applicable when acts fall within the definition of “criminal intimidation” as outlined in Section 503 of the IPC.

According to Section 503, criminal intimidation involves a threat with the intention to cause injury to a person, reputation, or property, compelling the other person to perform an act they are not legally bound to do or to omit a legally entitled act.

The Court highlighted that there was no act in the present case that would result in injury to the complainant.

Therefore, the verbal threat to sign divorce papers did not fall under Section 503, and the court questioned the invocation of Section 506 in this context.

The Court expressed its concern over the FIR being filed as a counterblast to the matrimonial dispute, emphasizing that the incident occurred in June 2023, while the FIR was lodged in July 2023, almost a month later.

The delay, coupled with the circumstances, led the court to conclude that the FIR was a reaction to the ongoing matrimonial discord.

The Court also took note of the complainant’s status as a judicial officer and pointed out that the incident took place at her workplace. The court considered these factors in evaluating the legitimacy of the FIR.

The Court concluded that the facts and circumstances justified the quashing of the FIR, preventing an abuse of the legal process and securing the ends of justice.