Calling wife ‘Bhoot’ and ‘Pishach’ not cruelty, abuse in failed marriages: Patna HC

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Calling wife “Bhoot” (ghost) and “Pishach” (flesh-eating demon) and use of ‘filthy language’ by husband in a failed marriage doesn’t amount to ‘cruelty’, observed the Patna High Court in a case. 

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A single-judge bench of Justice Bibek Chaudhuri observed that the use of filthy language doesn’t amount to ‘cruelty’ under Section 498A (cruelty towards wife by husband or his relatives) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The bench was hearing a petition filed by Shahdeo Gupta and his son Naresh Kumar Gupta, residents of Jharkhand’s Bokaro.

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The Patna Court observed in a case which was filed in 1994 by Naresh Kumar Gupta’s divorced wife in Nawada, her native place. The father-son-due took the case to High Court after they were slapped with rigorous imprisonment for a year by the Chief Judicial Magistrate, in 2008, and it was rejected 10 years later.

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The complainant accused the husband and father-in-law of physical and material torture to demand a car as a dowry. Later, the case was transferred from Nawada to Nalanda upon the father-son duo’s request. After the duo was awarded one year of imprisonment, the husband and wife were granted divorce by the Jharkhand High Court.

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What did the High Court say?

Opposing the petition filed before the Patna High Court, the divorced woman’s advocate pleaded that she was called “bhoot” and “pishach” by her in-laws, which was “a form of immense cruelty”. However, the court observed that it was “not in a position to accept such an argument”.

“In matrimonial relations, especially in failed matrimonial relations”, there have been instances of “both the husband and the wife” having “abused each other” with “filthy language”.

“However, all such accusations do not come within the veil of cruelty,” it said. The HC also observed that she had been “harassed” and “brutally tortured” by the accused but the complainant failed to make distinct “allegations against either petitioner”. Based on HC’s observation, judgements passed by the lower courts were quashed.

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Published: 30 Mar 2024, 10:02 PM IST

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