AP HC | Is girlfriend or concubine a “relative” of husband, liable to be prosecuted for cruelty under S. 498-A IPC? Court decides

Andhra Pradesh High Court, Amaravati: Cheekati Manavendranath Roy, J., addresses whether a girlfriend or concubine who is not connected by blood or marriage can be prosecuted under Section 498-A of Penal Code, 1860.

In the instant matter, it was stated that a case under Sections 498-A, 114 Penal Code, 1860 was registered against the petitioner along with other accused.

Allegation against the petitioner was that she was the girlfriend of A-1, who is the husband of de facto complainant and A-1 developed illegal intimacy with A-2.

Vide the present petition, petitioner sought quashing of the FIR mainly on the ground that only relative of the husband connected by blood or marriage alone was liable for prosecution under Section 498-A IPC and a girlfriend or concubine was not liable for prosecution under Section 498-A IPC as she was not relative either by blood or marriage to A-1, who is the husband of the de facto complainant.

High Court’s Decision

Bench stated it is well-settled law that only a relative of a husband by blood or marriage is liable for prosecution under Section 498-A IPC.

Girlfriend or concubine, being not connected by blood or marriage, is not a relative of the husband for the purpose of Section 498-A IPC.

High Court relied on the Supreme Court case in U. Suvetha v. State, (2009) 6 SCC 757, held that persons who can commit an offence under Section 498-A IPC are husband and relatives only. A girlfriend, being not a relative, cannot be charged under Section 498-A IPC.

Hence, in the instant matter, the petitioner made out a strong case and warranting interference of the Court under Section 482 CrPC to ascertain whether launching criminal prosecution under Section 498-A IPC is legally sustainable or not and whether the aforesaid FIR registered against her is liable to be quashed or not.

High Court stayed the proceedings pursuant to registration of FIR only in respect of petitioner A-2.[Anumala Aruna Deepika v. State of Andhra Pradesh, 2021 SCC OnLine AP 1934, decided on 12-07-2021]

Advocates before the Court:

Counsel for the Petitioners: Sri Naga Praveen Vankayalapati

Counsel for Respondent 1: Public Prosecutor

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