Sunday, June 26, 2011

Mistress can't be booked under 498A

AHMEDABAD: A woman cannot charge her husband's mistress with domestic violence and torturing for not fulfilling dowry demands. Gujarat high court (HC) has observed this while quashing such complaints in two different cases recently.

In 2007, Neeta Makwana from Bhavnagar booked her husband Bhadresh Makwana, his relatives and Shweta Desai under section 498A of Indian Penal Code apart from leveling other accusations of beating and causing insult to provoke breach of peace. Shweta was roped in the complaint by Neeta because she was her husband's girlfriend and on account of their illicit relationship, Bhadresh was allegedly harassing and torturing her.

In a similar case from Bhavnagar only, Jaya Maru filed a complaint against her husband Devji, his three relatives and Roshni Makwana. The complainant claimed that Roshni was her husband's girlfriend and at her instigation, her husband ill-treated her and took away her property in the form of gold and silver ornaments.

Both the cases are being heard by local trial courts. Meanwhile, Shweta and Roshni approached the HC by way of filing petitions and requested the court to cancel the FIRs against them. Justice S R Brahmbhatt heard the case and ordered to drop charges against these women and observed that section 498A will naturally not be applied to these women because they do not happen to be in relation with the husbands of respective complainants. Therefore, they do not have to undergo the rigmarole of criminal trial so far as 498A is concerned.

In quashing other charges against the women, the HC noted that other offences mentioned in the FIR might have been influenced by the so-called illicit relationship. The complaints do not mention any specific incident in connection with other charges. Hence permitting trial against them will amount to unnecessarily subjecting them to rigors of criminal prosecution, which will be counter productive.

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