Mere non-sending of wife to her parental house does not amount to cruelty under S. 498-A IPC

Karnataka High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of K. Somashekar, J., decided a criminal appeal filed under Section 374(2) of IPC, wherein the Court set aside the order of conviction and sentence passed by the trial court against the accused-appellant for offence punishable under 498-A of IPC.

It was alleged that the accused picked quarrels with his deceased wife and did not allow her to visit her paternal house. Parents of the deceased wife who were the complainants alleged that the accused harassed the deceased and treated her with cruelty and due to this reason, she committed suicide. Learned counsel for the appellant relied on the testimony of defence witnesses including the sister of the deceased and the eldest son of the accused and the deceased. The said witnesses stated that relations between the accused husband and the deceased wife were cordial, they were happily married for more than eleven years. The deceased was upset and disturbed due to the losses incurred by her family after the shed of their house had collapsed and also because their lorry met with an accident. Counsel submitted that the trial court erred in appreciating the evidence in proper light and prayed that the order of conviction and sentenced passed against the accused may be sat aside.

The High Court perused the evidence and considered the submissions made on behalf of the parties. The Court found that the statements of prosecution witnesses were full of contradictions; while on the other hand the facts and testimony of defence witnesses show that the relations between the husband and wife were cordial for over eleven years. There was no other evidence led on behalf of the prosecution to prove guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt. The Court held that in such circumstances it was safe to say that decision of the trial court was not based on proper appreciation of evidence and hence, it was liable to be set aside.

Accordingly, the order of conviction and sentence under Section 498-A of IPC passed against the accused by the trial court was set aside and the he was acquitted of the charges leveled against him. [Srinivasa Gowda v. State of Karnataka, Crl. Appeal No. 355 of 2010, dated February 28, 2018]

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