Distant relatives fall within the scope of Section 498A IPC: Bombay High Court

The Court stressed that even distant relatives fall within the definition of “related” and that mental cruelty can be applied even if the perpetrator does not reside in the victim’s home.

Image Source: Bar and Bench

Related includes blood, marriage, or adoption

In a case of cruelty to a wife under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court recently declined to reject a first information report (FIR) against distant relatives of a complainant’s husband (IPC). Sunil B. Shukre and MW Chandwani’s panel emphasized that the word “related” brings within its purview a status that is bestowed either by blood, marriage, or adoption. As a result, the Court rejected the notion that a distant cousin would not fall under the purview of Section 498-A of the IPC.

Allegations amount to Cruelty.

The FIR and the witness statements contained enough information to construct charges and begin a trial against the applicants, according to Assistant Public Prosecutor SM Ghodeswar, as there were specific allegations against them that, at least on the surface, amounted to cruelty as defined by the IPC.

Applicants found guilty

The applicants, despite not living together with the complainant, had frequent visits to her home, where they may have interacted with her and possibly harassed, humiliated, or otherwise mistreated her, the court stated, citing the FIR and witness accounts. Due to this, the Court determined that the applicants were guilty of a crime even though they did not live with the complainant.

Mental Cruelty from Distance

It was clarified that mental cruelty, which can occur from a distance as well as in the present case, is included in the definition of cruelty under Section 498A. It was further noted that one of the applicants, who the FIR said was employed by the police, even threatened to thwart any criminal proceedings the complainant might have started if she didn’t put up with her husband’s irritating behavior.

Enough Evidence for charge of Section 240 CRPC

The Court stated that, in addition to the fact that there is already enough evidence against each applicant to support a charge under Section 240 of the Cr.P.C., “if such is the nature of the allegation, which is quite serious, it is all the more reason for this Court to direct that all of these applicants be put on trial.” As a result, court decided to impose substantial charges on the applicants and ordered them to deposit Rs. 10,000 with the High Court Bar Association of Nagpur for the construction of its library as costs.

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