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The Supreme Court has said that the high court should not adopt a narrow and pedantic approach while dealing with the matrimonial cases. The court should liberally exercise its power under Sec 473 of the CrPC for extending the period of limitation, it said. A bench comprising Justice S B Sinha and Justice G S Singhvi said, “If the HC is satisfied that the complaint does not disclose commission of any offence or prosecution is barred by limitation or that the proceedings of criminal case would result in failure of justice, then it may exercise inherent power under Sec 482 CrPC.

“While considering the applicability of Sec 468 to the complaints made by the victims of matrimonial offences, the court can invoke Sec 473 and can take cognisance of an offence after expiry of the period of limitation keeping in view the nature of allegations, the time taken by the police in investigation and the fact that the offence of cruelty is a continuing offence and affects the society at large.” The HC should be slow to interfere with the criminal cases and should not stall the investigation and prosecution except when it is convinced that the FIR does not disclose commission of any offence or that the allegations contained in the FIR do not constitute any cognisable offence or that the prosecution is barred by law or it is necessary to interfere to prevent abuse of the process of the court, said Justice Singhvi writing the verdict.

The court set aside the order of AP High Court and quashed a dowry harassment case pending in the court of Hyderabad metropolitan magistrate. The HC had dismissed the petition of appellant Sanapareddy Maheedhar, accused of dowry harassment for quashing the proceedings in the lower court.

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