Tuesday, December 9, 2014

False cruelty cases ruining marriages: SC

The Supreme Court on Monday said false complaints under Section 498A of Indian Penal Code against innocent in-laws alleging cruelty and harassment at matrimonial homes were increasingly making the husbands adamant not to take back their wives.

"For no fault, the in-laws, especially old parents of the husband, are taken to jail the moment a false complaint is filed against them by a woman under Section 498A. By roping in in-laws without a reason and for settling a score with the husband, the false and exaggerated 498A complaints are causing havoc to marriages," said a bench of Chief Justice H L Dattu and A K Sikri.

These comments assume significance as it has been a trend with the apex court to seek response from the husband on a mere mention of a petition by a woman in matrimonial disputes. The court also readily transfers a matrimonial case to a place convenient to the wife, brushing aside protests from the husband.

No arrests under anti-dowry law without magistrate's nod, SC says

Dismissing a woman's petition, who had appealed against a trial court's decision not to permit her lead evidence against the two brothers of her husband, the CJI said, "There is an increasing hardening of stand among husbands, whose parents had been arrested in false 498A cases, not to take back the wife. They say they are willing to give her all the property, they will take care of the children's education and marriage but will not take her back."

The CJI added, "They take a plea before the court that they may have committed a mistake but for that punishing their old parents on a false complaint was not condonable. The false complaints under Section 498A are ruining marriages."

When the counsel said the court's observations might be true in some cases, the bench retorted, "It is true in most cases." But the court was quick to clarify that it was not giving a certificate to erring in-laws.

The court had some advice for women who file complaints under Section 498A. "When you file complaints under Section 498A, be circumspect and truthful. Do not drag old parents if they had no role in causing any harassment to you. You unnecessarily involve old people in your complaint, you end up ruining the marriage," it said.

Recently, the Supreme Court had ruled that even a single false dowry complaint against the husband and in-laws was sufficient ground for courts to grant decree of divorce to annul the marriage.

Allowing dissolution of marriage between K Srinivas and K Sunita last month, the court had said, "We unequivocally find that the respondent-wife had filed a false criminal complaint, and even one such complaint is sufficient to constitute matrimonial cruelty. We accordingly dissolve the marriage of the parties."

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