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THE Supreme Court in a significant ruling has said that the inherent powers granted to the high courts under section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code should be exercised sparingly and in the rarest of rare cases. Taking exception of such power not being exercised properly, the apex court set aside Rajasthan High Court’s verdict which had quashed an FIR on the dowry harassment case.

A bench comprising Justice A K Mathur and Justice Tarun Chatterjee said, “the power under Section 482 of the Code (CrPC) has to be exercised sparingly and in the rarest of rare cases”. In our view, the present case did not warrant such exercise by the high court. For the reasons aforesaid, we are unable to sustain the order of the high court and the impugned order is accordingly set aside, said Justice Chatterjee, writing the verdict.

The court asked the concerned magistrate to proceed in the case in accordance with law. It directed the magistrate to complete it within six months.

In this case, one Pratibha had entered into wedlock on January 25, 2000. But she left her matrimonial home on May 25, 2001 with her father and brother. She also lodged an FIR, alleging that during her stay in her matrimonial home, she was subjected to harassment and cruelty by her husband, mother-in-law and others as they were dissatisfied with the dowry articles, ‘stridhan’. They also forced her to bring Rs 5 lakh in dowry.

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