New Judgement regarding Dowry Harrasment has come.
On April 10th, 2019 the High Court held that Women can file matrimonial cases, including criminal matters pertaining to cruelty, from the place where they have taken shelter after leaving or being driven out of their matrimonial home, the Supreme Court said Tuesday.
The apex court’s verdict came on an appeal filed by Rupali Devi against the Allahabad High Court which dismissed her plea to file a dowry harassment case from her parents’ house.
The high court order held that cruelty punishable underneath Section 498A of the IPC isn’t a continuing offence, and therefore can’t be investigated or penalised in a jurisdiction outside the one in which the married house of the plaintiff is located.
A bench headed by justice Ranjan Gogoi aforesaid the impact on the mental health of the married woman by “overt acts” by the husband or his relatives, mental stress and trauma of being driven faraway from the matrimonial home can’t be neglected while understanding the meaning of “cruelty” in Section 498A of the Indian penal code.
The judges held that “We, therefore, hold that the courts at the place wherever the wife takes shelter after going or driven away from the marital home on account of acts of cruelty committed by the husband or his relatives, would, dependent on the factual situation, also have jurisdiction to entertain a grievance alleging commission of offences underneath Section 498A of the IPC”, the bench also comprised of Justices L Nageswara Rao and S K Kaul.
The provisions contained in Section 498A undoubtedly encompasses both mental as well as the physical well-being of the wife, it said. “Even the silence of the wife may have an underlying element of an emotional distress and mental agony. Her sufferings at the parental home though may be directly attributable to commission of acts of cruelty by the husband at the matrimonial home would, undoubtedly, be the consequences of the acts committed at the matrimonial home,” the bench said.
Such consequences, by itself, would amount to distinct offences committed at the parental home where she has taken shelter. The adverse effects on the mental health in the parental home though on account of the acts committed in the matrimonial home would, in our considered view, amount to commission of cruelty within the meaning of Section 498A at the parental home, the bench added.
This post is written by Rukmani Sachdeva from CPJ School of Law, New Delhi. For more info, please dial 99888-17966.