A single bench of Justice Johnson John said that there is no satisfactory evidence for any cruelty or harassment of the wife because of her failure to meet any demand for dowry. The evidence from the side of the prosecution that the wife feared or apprehended that her husband will beat her if in case she fails to bring money for the construction of the house, is not sufficient to constitute the ingredients of cruelty or harassment contemplated under Section 498A IPC.
“It is well settled that minor quarrels between the spouses in ordinary life because of difference of opinion or mere sporadic incidents of ill-treatment are not sufficient to establish the offence under Section 498A of IPC,” the court said.
“There is no evidence in this case to show that the deceased has made any complaint against the accused prior to her death regarding the ill treatment or manhandling before any of the authorities and if in fact, she had suffered manhandling either physical or mental, definitely she would have given a proper complaint before the concerned authorities,” the court said.
It found that the prosecution had suppressed material evidence regarding the treatment of the wife in the hospital and it is clear from the facts and circumstances that she sustained burn injuries when her sari accidentally caught fire, while she was boiling milk in the kitchen after dressing for attending a marriage function. In view of the hostility between the accused and her family members, for permitting the mother of the accused to enter the new house with the lighted lamp and in the absence of satisfactory evidence regarding cruelty or harassment, the accused is entitled for the benefit of reasonable doubt.
The court took note of the fact that the prosecution had not taken the dying declaration of the deceased. It also found that the prosecution had not produced treatment records nor examined the doctor who treated the deceased. Additionally, the HC stated that the prosecution had also suppressed material evidence regarding accidental death.
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