The Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court comprising Justice Sunil B Shukre and Justice CW Chandhwani has recently refused to quash the FIR registered under Section 498A after observing that mental cruelty can be committed by relatives even if they are residing separately.
The bench was hearing a petition filed by relatives who were booked under Sections 498-A, 323, and 524 of IPC and Sections 3 and 4 of the Domestic Violence Act.
Advocate DV Mahajan argued that specific allegations made against any of the applicants has no material showing that they had resided together with the husband and the wife. Further, none of the applicants fall within the definition of relatives to attribute to them any such cruelty as is complemented under Section 498-A of the IPC.
Advocate SM Godeshwar, however, argued that there is sufficient material, which would necessitate framing of the charge against the applicants and that they should be put on trial as there are specific allegations made against each of the applicants, which prima facie amount to cruelty within the section.
The court while rejecting the argument that relatives were not residing together observed that “Such being the nature of mental cruelty, it is not necessary that it must take place in the physical presence of persons and that it can be handed out even from a distant place. Here, in this case, for meting out mental cruelty to non-applicant no. 2, of course, in prima facie way, these applicants seem to have employed modern means of communication i.e. telephone etc. and on many occasions, they have also remained present in the company of non-applicant no. 2. Therefore, this is not a case where the applicants, by virtue of their separate residence, could be presumed to not have treated non-applicant no. 2 in a cruel manner."
The court said the application filed was an abuse of the process of law and imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 on the applicant while dismissing it.
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