Supreme Court says not speaking to bride does not amount to cruelty
The Supreme Court in a recent appeal of Section 498Aobserved that if the in-laws and husband do not speak to the bride it does not amount to cruelty. A lady filed a complaint under Section 498Ato the police, that after her marriage she stayed with her husband and in-laws for 20 days, during which she was left completely alone and no one talked to her.
She stated that her husband was "not even willing to talk freely to her despite her sincere efforts". She accused the husband of avoiding her and refusing to consummate the marriage.
The SC had earlier in a case ruled that refusal to cohabit could be a ground for seeking divorce. After the husband left for Australia where he worked, no one in his family talked to the woman, forcing her to leave the matrimonial house for her parent’s place.
She claimed that her parents had spent Rs 15 lakh on the marriage and Rs 20 lakh on gold ornaments. The Hyderabad police filed a charge-sheet and the case is pending before the metropolitan magistrate.
The Hyderabad high court rejected a petition by the husband and his parents seeking quashing of the case. They appealed to the Supreme Court. A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Mohan M Shantanagoudar initiated the wife's complaint and said her story did not reveal any offence under Section 498A ( cruelty at matrimonial home to drive the woman to commit suicide, cause injury to her or harassment for dowry)or Section 406 (breach of trust) of Indian Penal Code as there was no demand for dowry. The bench quashed the case terming the complaint to be devoid of any charge under Section 498A or Section 406because cruelty means any wilful conduct which is of such a nature as is likely to drive the woman to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to life, limb or health (whether mental or physical) of the woman; or harassment of the woman where such harassment is with a view to coercing her or any person related to her to meet any unlawful demand for any property or valuable security or is on account of failure by her or any person related to her to meet such demand, and the women in the present case was not subjected to any such cruelty.
Article by K.P.Satish Kumar M.L. Top Divorce Advocate in Chennai
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