Every case of harassment/cruelty to married woman not "cruelty" under Section 498A, IPC: Bombay High Court
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Every case of harassment/cruelty to married woman not "cruelty" under Section 498A, IPC: Bombay High Court

"It must be shown that acts were of such a nature, as were sufficient for causing a married woman to lose her normal frame of mind", the Court said.

Aishwarya Iyer

The Bombay High Court recently allowed an application filed to quash an order of the Trial Court by way of which Section 498A, IPC proceedings were initiated for inflicting cruelty on a woman (Avinash Chandrakant Deshmukh & Ors v State of Maharashtra).

In doing so, Justice AM Badar opined that Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) would not be attracted for every instance of cruelty against a married woman. After extracting the provision in the judgment, the Court said,

"Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code does not come into play in every case of harassment and/or cruelty to a married woman. What is required to be shown is willful conduct of such a nature as is likely to drive or propel or compel a married woman to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to her life, limb or health. It must be shown that acts were of such a nature, as were sufficient for causing a married woman to lose her normal frame of mind."
Bombay High Court

The Court explained that, "the term “cruelty” implies harsh and harmful conduct with certain intensity and persistence. It covers acts causing both physical and mental agony and torture. In order to hold that the acts amount to cruelty, it must be shown that such acts amount to unbearable, continuous, repeated acts of brutality."

The Court added that,

"It is a judicially recognized fact that off late a tendency has been developed for roping in all the relatives in the case for the offence punishable under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code in order to browbeat and pressurize the husband."

Bombay High Court

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