Telangana High Court: In a case where the offences alleged against the petitioners under Section 498-A of the Penal Code, 1860 (IPC) and Sections 3 and 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 (the Act), the Court opined that objecting the husband (Petitioner 1) from taking care of his parents (Petitioner 2 and 3) would amount to cruelty and consequent to the grant of divorce by the Family Court. Facts of the Case

The wife filed a written complaint stating time of marriage. It was alleged that the dowry demand continued even after the marriage and later, she was knocked out of the house. After a period, there was reconciliation, and she joined her husband and his parents, but the demand of dowry continued.

It was contended by the husband that she deserted her husband, and her husband filed an application for restitution in 2015 and an application for divorce in 2017 as she failed to join him. She was away from her husband since 2015 and chose to file a complaint in 2019 after a grant of divorce in 2018 by the Family Court. It was also contended that there were no specific allegations against the petitioners, therefore, the charge sheet filed under Section 498-A of the IPC and Sections 3 and 4 of the Act should be quashed.

Analysis, Law and Decision

  1. The Family Court examined witnesses and considered the events that transpired between the wife and her husband and found that the wife was not willing to join the company of her husband, thus, the restitution application was closed in 2017.

  2. The Court found that the husband was subjected to cruelty and the wife had made up her mind not to cooperate in leading peaceful conjugal life and insisted that her husband should stay away from his parents. Thus, in the present circumstances, when the wife deserted her husband, it amounted to cruelty and divorce was granted by the Family Court.

  3. The present complaint was filed nearly 8 months after the divorce was granted by the Family Court and the only allegation against the petitioners was that the husband had asked for additional dowry of Rs. 2 lakhs. Moreover, when the wife deserted her husband in 2015, there was no explanation for the delay of nearly four years in filing the criminal complaint and the husband and the wife never lead marital life thereafter.

  4. The main reason found by the Family Court in divorce proceedings was that the wife was aggrieved by the fact that her husband was taking care of his parents. Therefore, the allegation of demand for additional dowry appeared to be made up as no specific instances of such demand or confrontation were made in the complaint or the statements of the witnesses during the investigation.

  5. The husband had a bound duty to take care of his parents and the wife objecting to her husband taking care of his parents would amount to cruelty and consequent to the grant of divorce by the Family Court.

Thus, the Court held the criminal complaint filed by the wife under section 498-A of the IPC deliberate and was filed to harass the petitioners.

[Jadi Prasad v. State of Telangana, 2022 SCC OnLine TS 2554, decided on 1-11-2022]

Advocates who appeared in this case :

Smt. B. Rachana Reddy, Advocate, for the Petitioner(s);

S. Sudershan, Additional Public Prosecutor, for the the Respondent(s).

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