Madhya Pradesh HC: Paramour of Mother-in-Law not Family Member within Ambit of Section 304-B of IPC

domestic violence abuse women harassment law insider

Mitali Palnitkar

Published on: March 10, 2022 at 18:17 IST

The Gwalior Bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court held that the paramour of Mother-in-law of Deceased would not come within the ambit of Section 304-B of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

This is because he cannot be considered to be a family member of husband of Deceased for the purpose of Sections 304-B and 498-A of Indian Penal Code.

Justice Anand Pathak was dealing with a Criminal Revision preferred by the Applicant. He challenged a Trial Court Order, wherein it framed charged against him for Offences punishable under Section 304-B read with Section 109 of Indian Penal Code.

According to the Prosecution, the Deceased was harassed at her matrimonial home. She committed Suicide within 7 months of her marriage by Hanging. A First Information Report was registered against her Mother-in-law, Husband and paramour of her Mother-in-law (Applicant).

The Prosecution filed a Charge-sheet for Offences under Sections 304-B, 120-B and 34 of Indian Penal Code, and Section 34 of Dowry Prohibition Act. Thereafter, the Trial Court framed Charges against the Applicant as mentioned above.

However, the Applicant argued that the Trial Court erred in framing Charges against him as he did not fall within the category of blood relations and family members of the husband of the Deceased.

Also, he stated that he never abetted or instigated the Deceased or any relative of husband of the deceased for demanding Dowry.

He further contended that he could not be held Liable merely based on the allegation of being a paramour of the Mother-in-law of the deceased. He placed reliance of the Supreme Court decision in State of Punjab Vs. Gurmit Singh.

The Supreme Court held that the Applicant may not be tried under Section 304-B read with Section 109 of Indian Penal Code.

However, it stated that the Trial Court has the liberty to reframe the charge as per law after exploring if any Incriminating Material exists against the Applicant for Offence under Section 306 read with Section 109 of Indian Penal Code or other related Offences.

Thereafter, it shall ensure that appropriate Charges are framed.

Also Read: Violence against women and Marital Rape


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