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Day-to-Day Disagreements Between Spouses Not Considered ‘Cruelty’ Under Section 498A IPC, States Calcutta High Court

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Published on: 01 September 2023 at 12:40 IST

The Calcutta High Court in Jalpaiguri has emphasized that the concept of cruelty under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) differs from the routine conflicts encountered by married couples.

The court asserted that sweeping and general accusations cannot serve as a basis to establish a crime under Section 498A.

In a recent ruling by Justice Sugato Majumder, the appellant’s conviction under Section 323 IPC for causing harm to his wife was upheld, but his acquittal under Section 498A IPC was ordered.

The court highlighted that the trial court had erred in concluding the appellant’s guilt under Section 498A.

The appellant had been convicted under Sections 498A and 323 IPC after his wife accused him of subjecting her to torture over dowry demands and attempted murder, allegedly orchestrated by the appellant and his mother.

The appellant argued that the complainant failed to provide substantial evidence to support the charges.

While the state contended that the trial court carefully considered all evidence before arriving at its decision, the Calcutta High Court examined the criteria necessary to establish an offense under Section 498A.

The court noted inconsistencies in the complainant’s account of the purported ‘torture’ inflicted by her husband.

The court’s observations included:

  1. Lack of specific instances of torture, assault, or harassment.
  2. Absence of details regarding when and how the alleged torture occurred.
  3. Contradictions between the complainant’s claim of impending murder and the accounts of two eyewitnesses who rescued her, indicating that the appellant wasn’t present.
  4. Medical reports showing minor injuries, such as bite marks, but not specifying the timing or nature of any mistreatment.
  5. Incongruities in the elder brother’s testimony, who mentioned alcohol-related assaults by the appellant but didn’t mention any financial demands.

Based on these observations, the court quashed the conviction under Section 498A but upheld the appellant’s conviction and sentence under Section 323 IPC.

The court instructed the appellant to pay the fine within fifteen days.