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Husband can be jailed u/s 498A IPC for extra marital affair
Nakkeeran Vs State
Crl.R.C. No. 333 of 2014
About/from the judgment:
According to the High Court, if a husband’s extramarital relationship causes serious domestic discord between the married couple, he can be convicted of causing mental cruelty to his wife under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and sentenced to imprisonment.
This ruling was passed while confirming Nakkeeran, alias Jeroan Pandi’s conviction by a trial court in Tiruvannamalai district in November 2011. However, the judge reduced the sentence from two years to six months of rigorous imprisonment.
The Court ruled:
Considering all the factors cumulatively, I hold that the action of the petitioner/accused in having extramarital relationship, which has further caused grave mental trauma and affected the mental health of PW.1, leading to serious circumstances, in conjunction with the act of PW.1 being forced to leave the matrimonial home, would amount to cruelty to her within Section 498(A) of IPC.
Though it was argued on behalf of the convict that the Supreme Court in K.V. Prakash Babu versus State of Karnataka (2016) held that extramarital relationships in and of themselves do not amount to subjecting a wife to mental cruelty, the judge stated that the verdict must be read in its entirety.
In that decision, the Supreme Court ruled that simply because a person was involved in an extramarital relationship and there was some suspicion in the wife’s mind, it could not be considered mental cruelty to attract the offence of abetment of suicide under Section 306 of the IPC.
The Supreme Court stated in the same decision that the concept of mental cruelty is dependent on the social strata of the people involved, their individualistic perception, and their level of endurance and sensitivity. The court stated that while it would be difficult to generalise, it could be appreciated based on the facts of each individual case.
Taking cues from those observations, Justice Chakravarthy stated that the convict’s extramarital relationship had been proven through prosecution witnesses in the case before him. The police had produced a birth certificate for a child born from this relationship.
Taking all of the factors into account, the Court concluded that the accused’s action in having an extramarital relationship, which has caused grave mental trauma and has affected PW1’s mental health, would undoubtedly amount to cruelty to her under Section 498A of the IPC.
Read the Judgment
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