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jail act

Cruelty is the crux of Section 498-A of IPC. : Jharkhand High Court

Cruelty can take two forms: physical and emotional. The psychological impact of overt acts on the part of the husband or his relatives on the wife’s mental health; the mental stress and trauma of being driven away from the matrimonial home; and her helplessness to return to the same home for fear of being ill-treated are all factors that must be considered when interpreting the meaning of the term “cruelty” as used in Section 498-A of the Penal Code, this was referred by Justice Anubha Rawat Choudhary of the Jharkhand High Court in the matter of Amrendra Kumar vs The State Of Jharkhand [Cr. Revision No. 495 of 2012].

This order was passed for the facts that the challenged decisions are absurd, according to the learned counsel sitting on behalf of the petitioner, because the matter does not fall within the description of “cruelty” under either Explanation (a) or Explanation (b) of Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code. He contends that the charge of “cruelty,” as described in Explanations (a) and (b) of Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, is not present in this case.

He also cites Explanation (a) of Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, claiming that the said explanation is invoked only when the accused’s conduct is of such a nature that such ‘cruelty’ is likely to drive the woman to commit suicide or cause grave injury or danger to the woman’s life, limb, or health and that such cruelty could be mental or physical. Learned counsel contends that the learned courts below have not found that the petitioner’s conduct was such that it was likely to drive the complainant-wife to suicide or create grave injury or risk to her life, limb, or health. He goes on to say that the only charge in the Trial Court’s Judgment is that the petitioner did not conduct Gauna (second marriage) of the complainant and that this conduct was the reason for initiating a complaint case against him. He claims that the contested Conviction Judgment and Order of Sentence cannot be upheld in a court of law.

Learned counsel for the petitioner has placed reliance upon the judgment passed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of State of A.P. Versus M. Madhusudhan Rao, reported in (2008) 15 SCC 582. 

On the other hand, the learned counsel appearing on behalf of the opposing party—the State—has objected to the prayer, arguing that there are consistent findings recorded by the lower courts and that there is no scope for re-appreciation of the evidence before this Court in the revisional jurisdiction, and that, as a result, the conviction and sentence in the present case cannot be overturned. 

However, learned counsel has argued that this High Court’s revisional jurisdiction is relatively restricted and that the petitioner’s arguments do not require this Court to intervene in the revisional jurisdiction.

Court further relied on the case of Ramesh Kumar Bajaj reported in (2009) 1 JCR 684 and held in light of the foregoing discussions and findings, and taking into account all of the facts and circumstances of this case, this Court is of the considered opinion that the lower courts rendered well-reasoned judgments that took into account every aspect of the case and every argument advanced on behalf of the petitioner. Because there is no perversity or criminality in the contested convictions, no interference is required.

In terms of the sentence, this Court notes that the complaint was filed in 2007 and that nearly 14 years have passed; the petitioner has been subjected to the rigours of a criminal case for a long time, and the current offence appears to be the petitioner’s first offence, according to the trial court judgement. Furthermore, in light of the way in which the offence was committed, this Court is of the considered opinion that the facts and circumstances of the case do not warrant the petitioner’s receiving the maximum penalty.

As a result, this Court believes that the goals of justice will be served if the petitioner’s sentence is adjusted to some extent. As a result, the petitioner’s sentence is modified and reduced to rigorous imprisonment for a total of one year, with a fine of Rs.1,000,000.00 to be deposited by the petitioner before the learned court below within four months of the date of communication of this judgement to the learned court below. After proper identification, the fine amount is instructed to be remitted to the case’s complainant. In the event that the aforementioned deposit is not made.

If the petitioner does not pay the fine within the time limit, he will be sentenced to six months of simple jail. As a result of the aforementioned conclusions, the criminal revision petition is hereby dismissed with a sentence modification.

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