The Patna High Court held that abusing a wife saying “Bhoot” (ghost) and “Pisach” (demon) does not come within the veil of cruelty.

The Court held thus in a criminal revision preferred against an order by which the Additional Sessions Judge, Fast Track Courts upheld the order of convicting and sentencing the husband to suffer rigorous imprisonment for one year under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

A Single Bench of Justice Bibek Chaudhuri observed, “The learned Advocate for the Opposite Party No. 2 seriously urged that abusing a person saying “Bhoot” and “Pisach” itself is an act of cruelty. This Court is not in a position to accept such argument. In matrimonial relation, especially in failed matrimonial relations there are incidents where both the husband and wife abused each other saying filthy language. However, all such accusations do not come within the veil of “cruelty”.

Senior Advocate Sharvan Kumar appeared on behalf of the petitioners while APP Asha Kumari and Advocate Anand Kumar appeared on behalf of the opposite parties.

Factual Background -

The petitioners were sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for one year each for the offence punishable under Section 498A of IPC and rigorous imprisonment of six months with fine of Rs. 1,000/- each for the offence punishable under Section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961. The opposite party i.e., wife had filed a complaint case before the Chief Judicial Magistrate against the husband and family members. It was alleged that the parties got married in 1993 and the wife was subjected to physical and mental torture for one Maruti Car at her matrimonial home. The wife expressed her inability to provide the said car but she was brutally assaulted by the accused persons.

A Panchayati was held where her matrimonial relations agreed to keep her with full dignity and honour, however, they did not follow the decision. The wife sent letters to her father disclosing that if the demands of accused persons are not fulfilled, they would kill her. Hence, a complaint was filed accusing the petitioners of dowry related harassment and cruelty. Ultimately, the accused were convicted by the court and hence, approached the High Court. The counsel for the opposite party submitted that the petitioners used to abuse her saying “Bhoot” and “Pisach” which is a form of immense cruelty.

The High Court in view of the facts and circumstances of the case noted, “The prosecution come up with a case of harassment with a view to coerce her to meet unlawful demand of dowry. In the instant case, prosecution states that the accused persons / Petitioners demanded a Maruti Car. There was Panchayati between the parties. The parties went on abusing each other on various issues before lodging of the complaint under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code but there is no document prior to the lodging of the complaint to show that the contesting Petitioners personally demanded a Maruti Car and on non-fulfillment of such demand, the daughter of the de facto complainant was subjected to cruelty.”

The Court added that the case under 498 A of the IPC is the outcome of personal grudge and differences between both the parties in this case.

“Coming to the facts of this case and upon perusal of the contents and entire materials on record, it is revealed that omnibus allegation was made against the Petitioners. The complainant alleged that all the accused persons harassed her and brutally tortured her on demand of a Maruti Car”, it said.

The Court further noted that no specific distinct allegation has been made against either of the petitioners herein, i.e., none of the petitioners have been attributed any specific role in furtherance of general allegations made against them and this simply led to a suggestion wherein one fails to ascertain the role played by each accused in furtherance to the offence.

Accordingly, the High Court allowed the instant revision and quashed the judgment and order of conviction.

Cause Title- ABC & Anr. v. The State of Bihar & Anr.


Petitioners: Senior Advocate Sharvan Kumar, Advocates Vishal Kumar, and Dinesh Maharaj.

Opposite Parties: APP Asha Kumari, Advocates Anand Kumar, and Ravi Bhardwaj.

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