For the purposes of S. 498-A IPC, a former wife will not come under the category of “the relative of the husband”

Gujarat High Court: In the instant application wherein the applicant invoked the inherent power of the Court under Section 482 of CrPC thereby seeking quashment of proceedings under Section 498-A read with Section 114 IPC, the Bench of J.B. Pardiwala, J., held that for the purposes of Section 498-A IPC, a former wife will not come under the category of the “relative of the husband”. Thus even if the former wife is the cause of matrimonial disputes, she cannot be prosecuted under Section 498-A IPC.

As per the facts the accused in the present case was the former husband of the applicant and their marriage was dissolved in the customary manner. However, after getting married to the respondent in the present case the accused went back to the applicant, thereby giving rise to matrimonial disputes between the accused and the respondent. This led to the applicant being charged as a co- accused.

After hearing the submissions of the parties, the Bench observed that even though the accused went back to the applicant, the same does not constitute any offence of cruelty under Section 498-A. Quashing the proceedings against the applicant the Court observed that, the marriage between the applicant and the accused was dissolved, therefore she is not a “relative of the husband” and does not fall under the ambit of Section 498-A. [Honeyben Ashokbhai Patel v. State of Gujarat,  2017 SCC OnLine Guj 1558, decided on 30.11.2017]

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