Read Time: 07 minutes
The Court held that generalised allegations for offences under Section 498a without specifics cannot be cannot be relied upon to conclude that offence
The Calcutta High Court recently held that day-to-day bickering between husband and wife does not amount to cruelty, as per Section 498A of the Penal Code, 1860. The court was hearing an appeal of a man convicted for the offence of voluntarily causing hurt under Section 323 IPC and cruelty under Section 498A IPC.
Justice Sugato Majumdar, while quashing conviction under Section 498A of the Penal Code, observed, “Cruelty contemplated in Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code is different from day to day bickering between the husband and wife. Sweeping and general allegations cannot be relied upon to conclude that offence under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code has been perpetrated… There are latches on the part of the Trial Court in appreciation of evidence. Therefore, conviction under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code is liable to be quashed. However, conviction and sentence under Section 323 of the Indian Penal Code stands upheld, in view of oral and corroborating documentary evidence.”
An appeal was preferred against the conviction and order of sentence dated 31.07.2019 passed by the ASJ, Cooch Behar in Sessions Case No. 15 of 2017, whereby the husband was convicted under Section 498A [Husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty] of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and sentenced to simple imprisonment for six months as well as fine of Rs. 10,000/- in default to undergo the said sentence. He was also convicted for the offence under Section 323 of the Indian Penal Code [Voluntarily causing hurt] and directed to pay a fine of Rs. 1000/- for failure to adhere the same.
The wife lodged a complaint alleging demand of dowry, torture and attempt to murder against her husband and the mother-in-law. However, the mother in law was acquitted.
The husband filed an appeal, whereby high court found that wife stated in evidence that she was assaulted and tortured on demand of Rs. 50,000/-; she was beaten on chick by the husband, from time to time she was tortured; she was about to be killed on a railway bridge by her husband and was rescued by two persons. Court further stated that is no specific instance of any torture, assault or harassment.
“There is no mention of any point or period of time of such torture or harassment. P.W.8, the elder brother of the de-facto complainant stated in his evidence that the Appellant used to assault the de-facto complainant on consuming liquor. He did not mention that there was any demand of money on the part of the Appellant. Although the de-facto complainant stated that she was about to be killed, two eye witnesses who rescued her namely P.W.4 and P.W.9 did not corroborate the statement of the de-facto complainant that she was about to be killed. The Appellant (husband) was not at that spot, according to them. The de-facto complainant was medically examined twice. Both the medical report shows simple injuries like bite marks,” the court said.
The court allowed the appeal with respect to quashing of charges under section 498a, while upholding the sentence under section 323, of voluntarily causing hurt.
Case Title: Ranjan Das v. State of West Bengal | CRA 16 of 2019
Please Login or Register