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Tge division bench was hearing a petition filed by the 80 and 75-year-old in-laws who were booked under Section 498A based on a complaint filed by their daughter-in-law.
The Bombay High Court recently observed that to prove an offence under Section 498A, the woman has to be subjected to cruelty continuously in close proximity to the time of lodging the complaint.
“It is well settled that to prove offence under Section 498-A, it has to be established that the woman has been subjected to cruelty continuously or persistently or at least in close proximity of time of lodging the complaint. Petty quarrels do not amount to cruelty,” the court said.
The division bench, consisting of Justice Anuja Prabhudesai and Justice NR Borkar was hearing a petition filed by the 80 and 75-year-old in-laws who were booked under Section 498A based on a complaint filed by their daughter-in-law.
The victim (complainant), who married the adopted son of the petitioners in 2018, lived with him in Dubai. However, when she returned to India, she stayed with her in-laws.
The woman complained that her mother-in-law used to instigate fights over trivial issues, and her father-in-law used to taunt her.
She further stated that her husband subjected her to both mental and physical cruelty.
The bench, in its order, noted that despite the high court passing an interim order, the investigating officer went ahead and filed a chargesheet.
“The arbitrary manner in which the investigating agency has investigated this case indicates that the action of the Investigating Officer was to overreach the order of the Court which cannot be countenanced and in fact needs to be deprecated,” the court said.
The high court further noted that due to the freezing of the account, the petitioners were compelled to beg and borrow from relatives.
“Furthermore, freezing of the bank accounts was manifestly arbitrary and against the mandate of law. By such drastic and high handed action, the Investigating Officer compelled the petitioner to beg and borrow money from their relatives for their survival and sustenance, striking at the very right to live with human dignity,” the bench noted.
The division bench also observed that despite there being no prima facie material to show the involvement of the petitioners in the commission of any cognizable offence, they have been dragged into a matrimonial dispute.
“In the absence of prima facie material, compelling an innocent person to approach the Court for discharge, quashing or to go through a trial and thereby subjecting him to mental trauma, humiliation, stigmatization and loss of reputation would imperil his personal liberty, which is sacred and sacrosanct. In the instant case, despite there being no prima facie material to show the involvement of the petitioners in commission of any cognizable offence, they have been dragged in a matrimonial dispute,” the court said.
Case title: ABC vs State of Maharashtra
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