The queen of controversial judgments, Justice Pushpa Virendra Ganediwala observed that demanding money from the wife is a vague term and cannot be considered as harassment under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code.
The Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court acquitted the man who was accused of `abetting his wife’s suicide after the nine years of 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,” noted Justice Ganediwala and acquitted the accused, Prashant Jare.
Relying on Jare’s conduct, Justice Ganediwala mentioned that the accused 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 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,” observed Bombay High Court.
The two had married in 1995 and the wife died by suicide in 2004. Following the incident, the deceased father had lodged a complaint against the in-laws of his daughter accusing them of harassing the deceased for dowry.
A Yavatamal Session Court had convicted Jare under the charges of abetment to suicide on April 2, 2008. He was convicted under Sections 306 (abetment to suicide) and 498A (husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty) of the Indian Penal Code. He was sentenced to three years in prison under IPC Section 306 and one year under Section 498A of IPC. The family members of the accused were acquitted.
He had challenged the session court order in Bombay High Court. Justice Ganediwala also pointed out that the minor daughter of the couple had deposed before the 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,” the order said.
Justice Ganediwala recently gave back-to-back controversial judgments which forced SC collegium to withdraw her recommendation as the permanent judge of Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court. She will continue to serve as an additional judge in Bombay High Court for one or two more years.
On January 19, Justice Pushpa Ganediwala acquitted a 39-year old man while observing that groping the breasts of a minor girl without removing her top doesn’t come under the definition of ‘sexual assault’ under the POCSO Act. The order was later stayed by the Supreme Court. Three-member SC collegium decided to withdrew her name’s recommendation after her second judgment in which she acquitted another 50-year old man while observing that unzipping pants and holding hands of a minor girl don’t come under the definition of ‘sexual assault’ under the POCSO Act.