Karnataka High Court quashes Section 498A IPC case filed against husband for not consummating marriage

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The Karnataka High Court recently quashed proceedings under Section 498A (cruelty to women) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) initiated against a husband by his wife for failing to consummate their marriage as he was a follower of the sisters of the Brahmakumari Samaja [Aiyappa MB v. State of Karnataka].

Justice M Nagaprasanna said that while the facts of the case clearly amounted to cruelty as a ground for divorce, criminal proceedings could not be allowed to continue.

“Finding no ingredient even against the husband, the proceedings if permitted to continue would degenerate into harassment, become an abuse of the process of law and ultimately result in miscarriage of justice,” the order stated.

The Court further found that no case was made out against the parents-in-law either, who never even stayed with the couple.

The petitioner had moved the Court seeking quashing of the case against him for the offence of cruelty as well as offences under the Dowry Prohibition Act.

The marriage between the petitioner and the complainant fell apart quickly and the wife only stayed in the matrimonial home for 28 days.

She simultaneously instituted the instant criminal case against the husband as well as another plea under the Hindu Marriage Act seeking annulment of marriage on the ground of cruelty.

The latter was allowed by the concerned court in November 2022.

The petitioner in this case argued that the allegations did not fulfil requirements set out under Section 498A.

However, the complainant claimed that whenever she approached him, he was always watching Brahmakumari sister videos. She also claimed that he always told her that he is not interested in a physical relationship.

No other allegation with regard to demand of dowry was made against the husband.

Taking these facts into account, the Court noted that the grievances of the petitioner against her husband were trivial in nature.

“In matrimonial cases, the Apex Court has time and again directed that unless the offences are found albeit prima facie, such proceedings should not be permitted to continue,” the Court added.

Therefore, the petition of the husband was allowed and the criminal case against him was quashed.

Advocate MRC Manohar represented the petitioner while the respondents were represented by HCGP KP Yashodha and Advocate KS Karthik Kiran.

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