This judgement lays down the true interpretation to the word ‘cruelty’ mentioned under section 498A and explains the two limbs of the said section. Along with it, the judgement also lays down that the prosecution should explain beyond doubt that the ingredients of section 306 are satisfied.
K.V. Prabhu v/s. State of Karnataka
Criminal Appeal Nos. 1138-1139 of 2016
Before the Honourable Supreme Court of India
Coram: Justice Deepak Mishra, Justice Amitava Roy
Advocate for appellant: Mr. S.R. Singh
Advocate for the respondent: Mr. V.N. Raghupathy
Decided on: November 22, 2016.
Brief Facts: The marriage between appellant and the deceased were solemnised on 12.10.1997. Appellant alleged to have relation with Deepa D/o Ashwathamma. Deceased could not beat this and committed suicide on 20th August 2004. A FIR was launched by the father of the deceased and the Investigation Officer (IO) vide section 161 of Indian Penal Code, 1960, recorded the statement of witnesses. In the charge sheet the appellant was accused of section 201, 302 and 498 of IPC and section 3 of Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961.
Procedural History: The trial court acquitted the accused for section 302 but convicted for other two offences. In the appeal, his conviction was annulled under section 3 of the 1961 Act. In the appeal by the state, the accused was found guilty under section 306 of IPC and sentenced 4 years of imprisonment, fine of Rs. 50,000/-; to the father of victim with default clause of Rs. 45,000/-. The accused after various appeals is now convicted under section 306, 498A of Indian Penal Code.
Issue: Whether the conviction under section 498A & Section 306 is legally justiciable in this context?
Arguments on behalf of the accused: Held that High Court has erred in appreciating the evidence to sustain the conviction under section 498A, because there was no torture or demand of dowry. According to him, the High Court has relied upon the second limb of 498A and claimed offence under section 306 of IPC.
Arguments on behalf of the respondent:has supported the High Court judgement on the basis of the evidence held by the father, neighbors, and investigating officers.
Held: In the instant case, the seed of suspicion will not amount to constitute the offence or establish guilt under section 306 of Indian Penal Code and extra marital affair, per se, do not constitute cruelty as mentioned under section 498A. The appeal is allowed and the conviction under section 306, 498A is set aside.