Pre-Arrest Bail Application Denied to Husband in Matrimonial Discord Case Involving Theft of Household Articles


In a recent case [Akshay Dhingra Vs. State (Govt. of NCT of Delhi)] before the Delhi High Court, an application under Section 438 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 seeking pre-arrest bail was filed by the applicant/husband in response to FIR No. xxx/20xx dated 24.09.2022 under Section 380 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. The FIR, filed by the wife, alleged the theft of household articles while she was away from her house. The application for pre-arrest bail was contested on grounds related to matrimonial discord, surreptitious actions, and the removal of household articles.



According to the complainant, the theft occurred during her absence, leading to the registration of the FIR. The applicant, who is married to the complainant, claimed that the FIR was a result of matrimonial discord. The parties were in litigation, and the house from which the articles were alleged to be stolen was taken on rent by the applicant.



The counsel for the applicant argued that the complainant had voluntarily left the house, leaving the applicant with no choice but to surrender the tenancy. The complainant’s counsel, on the other hand, contended that the applicant surreptitiously surrendered the flat in an attempt to pressurize the complainant. Additionally, a previous complaint had been filed against the petitioner and his family members, involving the theft of a diamond ring and allegations of physical and mental torture.


The Household Articles Dispute:

The complainant asserted that the household articles, including a television, refrigerator, washing machine, laptop, cash, and jewelry, were purchased by her and were unrelated to the ongoing litigation over stridhan (gifts given to a bride during marriage). The applicant’s counsel provided supporting documents to confirm the complainant’s ownership of the articles.


Court’s Reasoning:

The court took note of the fact that the FIR did not initially identify a suspect, but during the proceedings, statements from the landlord and a witness were presented. These statements suggested that the applicant had surreptitiously removed household articles without the complainant’s knowledge or consent after surrendering the tenancy. The court emphasized that even in a matrimonial dispute, the law does not permit one party to take possession of household articles, including jewelry, without proper legal procedures.


Furthermore, the court highlighted that the power under Section 438 of the CrPC, pertaining to anticipatory bail, should not be exercised routinely. It should only be invoked if the accusation appears to be made with the intent of injuring or humiliating the applicant. In this case, the court found no reason to grant pre-arrest bail, stating that the allegations were not frivolous and the applicant had not joined the investigation.



The Delhi High Court, in dismissing the pre-arrest bail application, emphasized that the observations made were specific to the bail application and should not influence the trial’s outcome.

This case underscores the importance of proper legal procedures even in the midst of matrimonial discord and disputes over household articles.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. The content may not reflect the most current legal developments and is not guaranteed to be accurate, complete, or up-to-date. Readers should consult a qualified legal professional before taking any action based on the information provided. The authors and publishers disclaim any liability for any loss or damage incurred as a result of reliance on this article. This article does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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