Section 498 A, illicit relationship causes cruelty

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Question asked on: 24/03/2017

My husband used to give me threats to face grave consequences if I disclose his illicit relationship. He has an illegal relationship with some women of easy virtue; therefore, he is giving such threats. I became immensely frustrate out of such threats, therefore, decided to end my life. I have two young children so I cannot take such a harsh step and leave my children in poverty.

However, I have left my matrimonial home because of constant threats and outrageous behaviour of my husband. My in-laws are very kind nature person. Therefore, I don’t want to tell that truth. Can I file a cruelty case against him?

Advised by: Shivendra Pratap Singh,

Certainly you can file complaint against him for the offence of cruelty. The act of cruelty is punishable under section 498 A of Indian Penal Code (IPC). Your husband has been giving threats with the purpose to shut your mouth so his act is amount to cruelty under section 498 A.

Cruelty is a willful conduct of husband which is likely to cause grave injury or danger to life. In your case he intentionally giving such threats therefore creates danger to your life. He knows that you can disclose his illicit relationship therefore he has been giving such threats.

In Laxman Ram Mane vs. State of Maharashtra, (2010) 13 SCC 125 it is held by the Supreme Court that:

“An illicit relationship of a married man with another woman would clearly amount to cruelty within the meaning of Section 498-A.”

You have been facing mental distress because of such threats. Such illicit relationship may cause mental harassment as well as mental distress. You have to prove that such threats may cause grave injury or danger to life, limb or health either mental or physical.

You can also adduce some evidence that such illicit relationship has ruined your marital life therefore you have lost companionship, affection, love or sexual relationship.

In Pinakin Mahipatray Rawal v. State of Gujarat, (2013) 10 SCC 48 the Supreme Court has opined that

“Marital relationship” means the legally protected marital interest of one spouse to another which include marital obligation to another like companionship, living under the same roof, sexual relation and the exclusive enjoyment of them, to have children, their upbringing, services in the home, support, affection, love, liking and so on.

In Gananath Pattnaik v. State of Orissa [(2002) 2 SCC 619 the Supreme Court has held that

“Cruelty as defined in section 498 A IPC does not necessarily require physical harm. Even mental torture or abnormal behavior may amount to cruelty or harassment in some cases.”

In Pinakin Mahipatray Rawal v. State of Gujarat, (2013) 10 SCC 48 the Supreme Court has opined that

Mental cruelty indeed varies from person to person. It depending upon the intensity and the degree of endurance. If such act causes mental trauma, harassment or torture to the wife then definitely it amounts to cruelty.

You can file complaint under section 200 of the code of criminal procedure in order to initiate criminal proceeding against your husband. If you have evidence like some intimate photographs etc. then it will establish your case. If you filed complaint along with sufficient evidence then the court will immediately take cognizance and issue process against your husband.

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Shivendra Pratap Singh

Advocate, Lucknow

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