The Madhya Pradesh High Court, Jabalpur Bench has recently observed that there is no indication of the word ‘valid marriage’ in Section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code.

The petitioner had challenged the FIR registered against him under Section 498-A of the IPC.

A Single Bench of Justice Nandita Dubey while dealing with a writ petition held, “Though it is an admitted position that complainant/respondent No.4 was already married and had a living spouse, when she contracted the second marriage with petitioner, however, there is no indication of word ‘valid marriage’ in Section 498-A of I.P.C. The language used therein is ‘husband or relative of husband’.”

The Bench further held that the above-stated words not only rope in those who are validly married but also anyone who has undergone some or other form of marriage and thereby assumed for himself the position of husband.

Advocate D.K. Tripathi appeared on behalf of the petitioner while Advocate Sanjeev Singh appeared for the respondents.

Facts of the Case –

A complaint was lodged by the complainant that some dispute occurred with her husband due to which her husband went away with their son. Despite the search, he could not be found, and therefore, the petitioner being the constable was handed the search warrant of him. The petitioner went along with the complainant to search for the child and by making a false promise of marriage, established a physical relationship with her and thereafter refused to marry her.

When a complaint in this regard was made to the Superintendent of Police, the petitioner and complainant were married in Arya Samaj Mandir. However, it was alleged that the petitioner and his mother treated the complainant with cruelty and refused to give her the status of wife. Hence, the FIR was registered regarding the same.

The High Court after hearing contentions of both parties asserted, “Whether the offences are made out is a matter of trial and at this stage, I am not inclined to exercise the inherent powers to stifle a legitimate prosecution, when the investigation is still pending, nor is it proper for the Court to look into the material brought by the petitioner as the acceptability or veracity of such documents is a matter of trial.”

The Court, therefore, decided not to interfere in this matter as no ground for quashing the FIR was made out.

Accordingly, the Court dismissed the petition.

Cause Title- Abhishek Singh v. State of M.P. & Ors.

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