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498A IPC report can't be used as weapon to teach lesson to in-laws to settle scores with husband
Dr Ramkeshwar Singh Vs Smt Sheela Singh
FAM No. 94 of 2013
About/from the judgment:
The High Court observed that the report u/s 498-A IPC cannot be used as a weapon to teach a lesson to the entire family of the husband to settle a matrimonial score with the husband.
The Court observed thus while granting a decree of divorce to the husband after noting that there was an irretrievable break-down of marriage that was beyond repairs.
The case in brief
Essentially, the Husband had moved to the High Court in an appeal against the judgment and decree passed by the Family Court Bilaspur whereby his seeking divorce u/s 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 was dismissed.
It was his case that his wife had lodged an FIR under 498-A IPC against the appellant-husband as well as his aged parents, unmarried sister, and brothers, however, all of them were acquitted of the charges by the trial court in 2006.
In the FIR, it was alleged that she has treated with cruelty for demand of Rs.1 lakh coupled with a further allegation that his husband (appellant) had illicit relations with a lady. Before the family court, she alleged that since she was treated with cruelty, therefore, the Husband was not entitled to a divorce.
However, it was the primary contention of the husband that false accusations were made by the wife and having made the report with false allegations, the appellant and his entire family members were forced to face a criminal trial which lowered his reputation in the society.
It was further submitted that the trial Court had accepted the contention of the husband in a finding that after the notice of divorce was received, the wife had falsely inculpated the husband and other family members, and eventually, it was held that no offence u/s 498-A of IPC is made out.
Remarking on the act of the wife to file a 498-A IPC complaint containing false allegations, the Court observed thus:
"Certainly it will have an adverse effect on the social standing of a family as it results in isolation of a person who faced criminal trials because of the false accusations made by the other spouse. Therefore, before making such allegations, regard must be had to social status, educational level of the parties, and the society they move in, otherwise, such allegations would amount to cruelty."
The Court further noted that in the instant case, apart from the appellant-husband, his entire family members were inculpated, however, in the acquittal judgment of the Court, it was categorically found that the allegations were patently false.
As such, the Court underscored that when the finding has been arrived at about the conduct of the respondent who leveled false accusations against the appellant, it would lead to show "Cruelty" on her part.
"The appellant is a Doctor and as stated during the course of the hearing, the respondent-wife is a private teacher. Therefore, facing a criminal case would always castigate a stigma in Society. The report u/s 498-A of the IPC cannot be used as a tool to teach a lesson to the family members of the husband as it may adversely affect the future prospects of a young professional and it may take long time to fill up the gap. Therefore, we are of the opinion that false accusations made by the wife against the entire family members under section 498-A would amount to mental cruelty and such conduct of respondent-wife which inflicts upon the appellant-husband such mental pain and suffering would make it not possible for her to live with the appellant-husband," the Court further held as it granted a decree of divorce in favor of the husband.
However, the appellant was directed to pay maintenance of Rs.15000/- per month as alimony to his wife.
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