Karnataka High Court: Non-Family Members Exempt from Section 498A IPC Charges

LI Network

Published on: February 19, 2024 at 15:35 IST

The Karnataka High Court has made a significant observation, stating that individuals who are not family members cannot be implicated under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Justice K Natarajan, presiding over the case, highlighted the crucial point that Accused No.9, who is not a family member or an in-law, cannot be charged under Section 498A of the IPC.

The Court suggested that alternative sections, such as Section 109 or 114 of the IPC, dealing with abatement or instigation, may be applicable, but emphasized that proceeding against Accused No.9 for the offense under Section 498A of the IPC would not be sustainable.

The case originated from allegations made by the complainant against Accused No.1, her husband, who was accused of demanding and accepting dowry.

The complainant claimed that there were demands for dowry and lavish gifts from Accused No.1’s family, leading to marital discord. Furthermore, Accused No.1 was alleged to have had an extramarital affair with Accused No.9, causing mental harassment to the complainant. The legal proceedings ensued after a complaint was filed, resulting in a police investigation and the subsequent filing of a charge sheet.

The petitioners, represented by Counsel Sudharshan L, argued that there were no specific allegations against them, and the focus of the case was primarily on Accused No.1.

They contended that including Accused Nos.2 to 8 in the charge sheet amounted to false implication and an abuse of the legal process.

The defense also emphasized that Accused No.9, being a childhood friend of Accused No.1, should not be implicated under Section 498A of the IPC as she was not related to the complainant as an in-law.

The Court, after careful consideration, concluded that there was no material against Petitioners No.1 to 8 for committing any offenses or abatement under Section 498A of the IPC, as the provision itself pertains to prosecution against in-laws or the husband.

Regarding Accused No.9, the Court deemed the affair between Accused No.1 and Accused No.9 as adultery, making a criminal case or FIR registration for an offense punishable under Section 497 of the IPC untenable, citing a judgment by the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court.

As a result, the criminal petitions were quashed by the Court in line with its findings.

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