Not Sending Wife to her Paternal Home is not Cruelty u/S 498A IPC

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March 07, 2018

Case name: Srinivas Gowda v. State of Karnataka

Date of Judgement: February 28, 2018

In the case, the deceased was married to the accused and it has been alleged that the accused and her mother did not allow the deceased to visit her parental home and was subjected to both physical and mental harassment. The deceased allegedly due to abetment to suicide by the accused committed suicide.

The Trial Court in the case held the accused guilty of offence under Section 498A IPC (husband or relative of husband subjecting woman to cruelty). It would be relevant to mention here that the Trial Court in the case based conviction of the accused for the offence punishable under Section 498A of IPC solely on the ground that the accused did not allow the deceased to go to her parental house and the same amounted to cruelty.

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In appeal, the High Court of Karnataka allowed the appeal and set aside the Trial Court’s order on the following grounds:

That no cogent evidence was adduced by the prosecution to establish the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt. That no corroborative evidence was adduced to prove the guilt of the accused.

The Court observed that the deceased had a happy marital life for a period of 11 long years and in such circumstances it could not be inferred that the deceased committed suicide out of ill-treatment or cruelty by the accused.

Object of Section 498A of IPC- The Court in the case elaborated on the legislative intent behind Section 498A of IPC. It stated that the statutory provision was introduced to curb the harassment meted by the husband to the wife and also in order to protect the weaker spouse. The life of a woman in the family of the husband is sometimes intolerable and so also miserable that it drags the woman to commit suicide. In such cases, Section 498A of IPC has been plugged into the issue against the husband.

With reference to the present case, the Court stated that the deceased had committed suicide by consuming pesticides after 11 years from the date of her marriage. It is revealed from the case projected by the prosecution who had examined several witnesses. That there were inconsistencies and contradictions in these three material witnesses examined for the prosecution relating to the harassment meted out to the deceased by the accused.

The case can be accessed here.