[Breaking] Husband’s right to extramarital relationship accepted

The question came before the Honourable Supreme Court in Ghusabhi Raisangbhai Chorasiya v. State of Gujarat, was that, whether husband’s extramarital relationship amounts to cruelty within the meaning of Section 498A, of IPC? A Division Bench of the Supreme Court comprising of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice S.J Mukhopadhayay, observed that, if husband has developed some intimacy with another, during the subsistence of marriage and failed to discharge his marital obligations, as such would not amount to “cruelty”, within the meaning of Section 498A, but it must be of such a nature as is likely to drive the spouse to commit suicide to fall within the Explanation to Section 498-A IPC.

Any wilful conduct which is of such a nature as is likely to drive the woman to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to life, limb or health whether mental or physical of the woman amounts to cruelty. Or in other words, cruelty means harassment of the woman where such harassment is with a view to coercing her or any person related to her to meet any unlawful demand for any property or valuable security or is on account of failure by her or any person related to her to meet such demand.

By virtue of Section 498A of Indian Penal Code (IPC), whoever, being the husband or the relative of the husband of a woman, subjects such woman to cruelty shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend upto three years and shall also be liable to fine.

This was a case, where one of the appellant was convicted under Sections 498A, 306, 201 and 114 of Indian Penal Code, where his wife committed suicide after she came to know about the extramarital affair. Accordingly, the question, whether husband’s extramarital relationship amounts to cruelty, placed before the Supreme Court.

However, court in the light of its earlier judgement in Pinakin Mahipatray Rawal v. State of Gujarat, observed that, if the extramarital relationship of a husband is of such nature where, is likely to drive the wife to commit suicide, then it would fall under the ambit of Explanation appended to Section 498A.

Read Full Judgement of Ghusabhi Raisangbhai Chorasiya v. State of Gujarat decided on 18-02-2015

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