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Demanding cash from wife not harassment: HC acquits man in suicide abetment case | India News


NAGPUR: Demanding money from the wife is a “vague term” and can’t be considered harassment as per Section 498A of the IPC, the Nagpur bench of Bombay high court has ruled while acquitting a man who was accused of abetting wife’s suicide nine years after their marriage.
“The evidence is with regard to a quarrel between husband and wife where he used to beat her for money. The demand of money is a vague term and in absence of other particulars to establish the link, the offence of harassment, as contemplated under Section 498A, isn’t made out,” Justice Pushpa Ganediwala said while allowing petitioner Prashant Jare’s appeal for acquittal earlier this month.
Relying on his conduct, Justice Ganediwala inferred that he was more interested in his wife’s company than letting go of her. “From time to time, he brought her back from her father’s place (after their fights) and also issued notices for restitution of conjugal rights. Moreover, he took her to the hospital and refused to hand over her body to her father for the funeral,” she said.
Justice Ganediwala’s recent verdicts have courted controversy with the Supreme Court staying one of the orders and also withdrawing recommendation to the Centre, proposing her elevation as a permanent judge.
She had ruled that groping breasts of minor without removing her clothes isn’t a sexual offence. She then held that opening the zip of pants by a man in front of a minor, holding her hands and asking her to sleep in bed with him also did not amount to sexual offence. In another case, she held that a man on his own cannot rape a woman without any scuffle. In all these cases, she acquitted the accused from charges framed under the Pocso Act.
The marriage between the couple was solemnized in 1995. However, she died by suicide on November 12, 2004. The deceased’s father lodged a complaint at Darwha police station alleging that his daughter was harassed by the husband and in-laws for not getting dowry.
The Yavatmal sessions court convicted Jare on April 2, 2008, under Sections 306 (abetment to suicide) and 498A (husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty) of IPC. He was awarded three years behind bars for the first offence and one year for the second, which he challenged in the HC.
His family members were acquitted by the court. Justice Ganediwala pointed out that their minor daughter deposed before police that she was present when the incident took place and Jare had beaten her mother and also forced her to consume poison. “However, the prosecution, surprisingly, registered the case as suicide,” she wrote in the order.



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