New Delhi: Family members of a man should not be implicated in a dowry case just because their names have been mentioned in the complaint without any specific allegation levelled against them, the Supreme Court has said.

The apex court said that courts should be cautious in implicating family members as the wife sometime wants to settle scores arising out of teething problems or "skirmish of domestic bickering".

"...if the FIR as it stands does not disclose specific allegation against accused more so against the co-accused specially in a matter arising out of matrimonial bickering, it would be clear abuse of legal and judicial process to mechanically send the named accused in the FIR to undergo trial," a bench of justices T S Thakur and Gyan Sudha Misra said.

The bench said that family members should not be implicated unless FIR discloses specific allegations against the relatives who are prima facie not found to have indulged in physical and mental torture of the complainant-wife.

"The courts are expected to adopt a cautious approach in matters of quashing specially in cases of matrimonial dispute whether the FIR in fact discloses commission of an offence by the relatives or the FIR prima facie discloses a case of over-implication by involving the entire family at instance of the complainant, who is out to settle her scores arising out of teething problem or skirmish of domestic bickering while settling down in her new matrimonial surrounding," it said.

The court passed the order on an appeal filed by family members of a man against whom FIR was lodged by his wife in a dowry torture case.

The court, after going through the allegation made in the FIR, came to the conclusion that no specific instance were mentioned in the complaint in which they had tortured the woman for dowry.

It dismissed the criminal proceedings against them and cautioned the police and court not to proceed against family members just because their names have been mentioned in the FIR.

"It is the well settled principle laid down in cases too numerous to mention, that if the FIR did not disclose the commission of an offence, the court would be justified in quashing the proceedings preventing the abuse of the process of law," the apex court said.


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