Not talking to bride for days not cruelty: SC [Sep 08, 2017, The Times of India (Kolkata)]

The Supreme Court said it was not cruelty punishable under the dreaded Section 498A of IPC if no one at the matrimonial home, including the husband, spoke to a newly-wed bride for days. In her complaint under Section 498A to the police, a woman alleged that after her marriage, she stayed with her husband for 20 days, during which she was left completely alone and no one talked to her. She alleged that her husband was “not even willing to talk freely to her despite her sincere efforts“. She accused the husband of evading her and refusing to consummate the marriage. The SC had earlier 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 Cyberabad police filed a chargesheet and the ca se is pending before the metropolitan magistrate. The high court at Hyderabad rejected a petition by the husband and his parents seeking quashing of the case. They appealed in the SC. A bench of justices Arun Mishra and Mohan M Shantanagoudar perused 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 IPC as there was no demand for dowry . Writing the judgment for the bench, Justice Shantanagoudar said, “We are conscious of the fact that Section 498A was added to the IPC with a view to punish husband or any of his relatives who harass or torture the wife to coerce her or her relatives to satisfy unlawful demands of dowry . “Keeping the aforesaid objects in mind, we have dealt with the matter. “We do not find any allegation of subjecting the wife to cruelty within the meaning of Section 498A of IPC.The records at hand could not disclose any wilful conduct which is of such a natu re as is likely to drive the complainant to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to life, lib or health (whether mental or physical) of the woman. “So also, there is nothing on record to show that there was a demand of dowry by the husband or any of his relatives, either prior to marriage, during the marriage or after the marriage. “The record also does not disclose anywhere that the husband of the woman acted, with a view to coerce her or any person related to her to meet any unlawful demand of any property or valuable security .“ The bench quashed the case terming the complaint to be devoid of any charge under Section 498A or Section 406.
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