A Mumbai Court has recently granted anticipatory bail to the in-laws accused of cruelty under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code while citing that talking sarcastically and taunting daughter-in-law is a part of married life and cannot be a ground to seek custody of aged in-laws.
Special POCSO Judge Madhuri Baraliya made the above observations during the hearing of a plea filed by Ramesh and Malavicka Dalal, the applicants aged 80 and 75, respectively. They sought anticipatory bail in relation to an FIR filed by their daughter-in-law alleging offenses under Sections 498A (cruelty by in-laws), 420 (cheating), 406 (criminal breach of trust), and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code against them and their son.
“Talking sarcastically and taunting to the first informant by the in-laws is the wear and tear of the married life, which every family witnesses. For those allegations the custody of the applicants who are old, aged 80 years and 75 years respectively, is not required with the police,” stated the court.
The Court also noted that the complainant stayed with the applicants only for a very short period.
Background of the Case
The complainant, a 30-year-old woman got married in 2018 to a Dubai-based school friend. The woman alleged that when she was preparing documents for the registration, a few days before the wedding, she realized that her husband was the biological child of the domestic help. The man had been adopted and raised by the elderly couple.
Thereafter, the woman alleged that her parents gave her diamond and gold jewelry worth Rs 1.5 crore but she did not get any gifts from her in-laws. The woman said that the accused did not allow her to touch the refrigerator and gave her stale food. She further claimed that the accused made her sleep in the living room and did not allow her to visit her mother, stated the sources.
When the woman complained about the same to her husband, he sarcastically asked her to obey his parents. The woman said that when she was returning from Dubai, her husband gave her 15 kilograms of dry fruits. When the woman returned to her in-law’s house, her mother-in-law weighed the package before accepting it.
The complainant, daughter-in-law, submitted that there was a probe pending against the applicants with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) which had frozen their accounts.
On the other hand, the defense argued that the expenses of the wedding had been split equally between both the families. He further submitted that the accused were not aware of the FIR and learned about it when their accounts were frozen.
The Court, however, was not impressed by that line of argument since the present FIR was an independent crime. “There may be any probe pending under ICIJ against the applicants which has no concern while deciding the present application,” stated the court.
The application was also opposed on the ground that Dalals may abscond from the jurisdiction of the court and move to Dubai where their son resides.
The Court, therefore, directed the applicants to surrender their passports to the police station while allowing them anticipatory bail.