Friday, December 8, 2023

S.498A IPC - Bail Condition That Husband Should Resume Conjugal Life With Wife Can't Be Imposed: Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court observed that while granting anticipatory bail to the accused husband under Section 498A of the IPC, a condition that the husband shall take his wife to his house and maintain and honour her, cannot be imposed.

A Division Bench of Justices Bela M. Trivedi and Satish Chandra Sharma was hearing the matter.

In the present case, the accused husband (appellant) had applied for anticipatory bail before the High Court of Jharkhand, Ranchi Bench. Though the High Court had granted bail to the husband, it imposed a peculiar condition. As per the same, the husband was required to take his wife to his home and maintain her with dignity and honour. For convenience, the same reads as follows:

Accordingly, the petitioner is directed to surrender in the Court within six weeks from today and in the event of his arrest or surrendering, he will be enlarged on bail on satisfying the trial court that the petitioner has taken the opposite party no.2 to his house at Bandra locality of Ranchi and keeping and maintaining her with full dignity and honour as his lawful wife.”

According to this, the husband again approached the High Court, praying for modification of the above order. In a petition filed (for modification of order), the husband contended that he had hired a house and was ready to maintain his wife. Per contra, the wife contended that she was willing to resume her marital life provided that her husband joined her in their own house. However, the High Court dismissed his plea while observing that the appellant is resolute in not resuming his life with his wife at his own house.

In view of the adamant attitude of the appellant in not resuming the conjugal life with the opposite party No.2 in the house of the appellant, where the opposite party No.2 was staying, his petition could not be considered.,” the High Court held.

Against this backdrop, the matter travelled to the Apex Court. The Court categorically opined that such a condition cannot be imposed while granting anticipatory bail. Additionally, this condition should not be a reason for rejecting the appellant's petition.

In our opinion, neither such condition should have been imposed by the High Court while granting an anticipatory bail, nor such could be a ground for rejection of the petition filed by the appellant.”

while setting aside the impugned order, the Court granted bail to the accused.

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