Karnataka High Court quashed a criminal complaint filed against a husband by a wife wherein she alleged that he refused to have physical relations with her as he watches spiritual videos of Brahamakumari and claimed that it amounts to cruelty under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code.
The single-judge bench comprising Justice M Nagaprasanna allowed the petition filed by a husband and his parents. Justice Nagaprasanna quashed the complaint that the wife filed within 28 days of their marriage.
“Neither the complaint nor the summary charge sheet narrates any factum/incident that would become an ingredient of Section 498A of the IPC. The only allegation is that he is a follower of Brahmakumari, always was watching videos of one sister Shivani, a Brahmakumari; gets inspired by watching those videos, always told that love is never getting physical, it should be soul to soul. On this score, he never intended to have a physical relationship with his wife. This would undoubtedly amount to cruelty due to non-consummation of marriage under Section 12(1)(a) of the Hindu Marriage Act and not cruelty as is defined under Section 498A of the IPC,” the bench said.
The High Court bench noted that the family court has granted them a decree of divorce over the allegations of non-consummation of marriage.
The bench held, “On the same basis, criminal proceedings cannot be permitted to be continued. The proceedings if permitted to continue would degenerate into harassment, become an abuse of the process of law, ultimately result in miscarriage of justice.”
They got married in December 2019 and their relationship started getting sour immediately after the marriage. The wife registered two proceedings which include one under Section 12(1)(a) of the Hindu Marriage Act and another under Section 498A of Indian Penal Code. She sought annulment of marriage under Hindu Marriage Act on the grounds of cruelty.
The wife stated that the husband was a Brahamakumari follower and whenever she tried to approach him for physical relations, he used to refuse her.
The bench said, “Cruelty would mean any willful conduct which is of the nature as is likely to drive a woman to commit suicide or cause grave injury or danger to the life of the woman. The other part is harassment, where such harassment is with a view to coercing her or any person related to her to meet any unlawful demand. The section itself punishes the husband or the relative who subjects a woman to such cruelty. A perusal at the complaint would indicate no ingredient of any cruelty.”
“Insofar as accused 2 and 3/mother-in-law and father-in-law are concerned, the complaint or the summary of the charge sheet on the face of it, does not make out an iota of ingredient of Section 498A of the IPC…A perusal at the complaint would indicate no ingredient of any cruelty by the in-laws i.e., father-in-law and the mother-in-law and it is an admitted fact that the parents never stayed with the couple. In the teeth of such facts, if further proceedings are permitted to continue against the parents, it would become an abuse of the process of law,” the bench added.