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Section 498A IPC: Husbands’ Acquittal A Ground To Seek Divorce Due To Mental Cruelty: SC [Read Order]

Section 498A IPC: Husbands’ Acquittal A Ground To Seek Divorce Due To Mental Cruelty: SC [Read Order]

The Supreme Court on November 19, 2019, in the case of Rani Narasimha Sastry v. Rani Suneela Rani has observed that when a husband undergoes a trial in which he is acquitted of the allegation of offence under Section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, levelled by the wife against the husband, it cannot be said that no cruelty has meted on him.

A Division Bench comprising of Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice Navin Sinha was hearing an appeal filed by the appellant/husband against the judgment of the High Court wherein the court had had refused to grant divorce to the husband by observing that merely because the wife had sought for maintenance or had filed a complaint against him for the offence punishable under Section 498-A of IPC, they cannot be said to be valid grounds for holding that such a recourse adopted by her amounts to cruelty.

Rejecting High Court’s view, the court said: “The above observation of the High Court cannot be approved. It is true that it is open for anyone to file complaint or lodge prosecution for redressal for his or her grievances and lodge a first information report for an offence also and mere lodging of complaint or FIR cannot ipso facto be treated as cruelty. But when a person undergoes a trial in which he is acquitted of the allegation of offence under Section 498-A of IPC, levelled by the wife against the husband, it cannot be accepted that no cruelty has meted on the husband.”

Thus the court granted divorce to the husband, observing that 

“In the present case the prosecution is launched by the respondent against the appellant under Section 498-A of IPC making serious allegations in which the appellant had to undergo trial which ultimately resulted in his acquittal. In the prosecution under Section 498-A of IPC not only acquittal has been recorded but observations have been made that allegations of serious nature are levelled against each other. The case set up by the appellant seeking decree of divorce on the ground of cruelty has been established.”

“In the present case the prosecution is launched by the respondent against the appellant under Section 498-A of IPC making serious allegations in which the appellant had to undergo trial which ultimately resulted in his acquittal. In the prosecution under Section 498-A of IPC not only acquittal has been recorded but observations have been made that allegations of serious nature are levelled against each other. The case set up by the appellant seeking decree of divorce on the ground of cruelty has been established.”

[Read Order]

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