Husband admonishing wife for extra marital affair does not amount to suicide abetment: Telangana High Court

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Court said that on the other hand, a wife having illicit relationship would in fact have an adverse effect on the husband who cannot sit silent in such a situation. 

The Telangana High Court recently observed that a husband's act of admonishing his wife for having illicit intimacy with another man will not, in any manner, amount to abetting her to commit suicide.

Abetment would be active instigation by doing acts that would compel a person to commit suicide, held a single judge bench of Justice K Surender. 

Court was dealing with a petition to quash criminal proceedings in a woman's death case. The plea was filed by the sister of the deceased woman's husband who along with two others had been made accused in the matter and all were facing prosecution for the offences under Sections 498-A and 306 of the Indian Penal Code.

The allegations against the petitioner and the deceased's husband were that they had harassed the deceased for her illicit relationship with another man and this had led her to commit suicide. 

The counsel for the petitioner argued that even if the prosecution case was accepted, no offence was made out under Section 498-A and Section 306 of IPC against the petitioner. 

He contended that admonishing the wife not to carry on with illicit intimacy with another man cannot be said to be abetting suicide or harassing her, therefore, the proceedings against the petitioner deserved to be quashed. 

On the other hand, the plea was opposed by the Additional Public Prosecutor who argued that under Section 113(A) of the Evidence Act presumption was against the husband and family members.

The high court noted that to attract cruelty, it has to be proved that the victim was physically or mentally harassed by willful conduct or harassed for additional dowry by the husband and relatives. Only such harassment would fall within the definition of cruelty under Section 498-A of IPC, said the court. 

Court highlighted that apart from the evidence that the deceased was being admonished for carrying on illicit intimacy, there was no other evidence to prove harassment. 

Court opined that on the other hand, a wife having illicit intimacy with another would in fact have an adverse effect on the husband and family, both personally and also in the society, and the husband cannot sit silent in such a situation. 

Therefore, while stressing that in the present case, the factum of illicit intimacy was not disputed, Court held that, therefore, it could not be said that the petitioner's act of asking the deceased to refrain from any illicit relationship could not, in any manner, amount to abetment under Section 107 of IPC.

Moreover, court noted that the petitioner, who was the deceased's sister-in-law was married and living separately at the time of the incident. 

Accordingly, court allowed the petition and quashed the proceedings against the present petitioner. 

Case Title: Smt. B.Nagamani v State of Telangana