Mumbai: 'Questioning Woman's Cooking Skills Not Cruelty On Part Of In-Laws,' Bombay High Court Declares

Mumbai: 'Questioning Woman's Cooking Skills Not Cruelty On Part Of In-Laws,' Bombay High Court Declares

The in-laws, including the husband's brothers, used to taunt the woman, saying that she didn't know how to cook and that her parents had not taught her anything, said the complaint.

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Monday, January 15, 2024, 06:31 PM IST
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Commenting that a woman doesn't know how to cook does not constitute “cruelty” under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) section 498A, observed the Bombay High court, while quashing a complaint filed by a woman against her in-laws. The IPC provision states that whoever, being the husband or the relative of the husband of a woman, subjects her to cruelty shall be punished with imprisonment extending up to three years, and shall also be liable to fine.

According to the complainant, she was driven out of her matrimonial home just five months after her marriage in 2020. In the meantime, the in-laws, including the husband's brothers, used to taunt the woman, saying that she didn't know how to cook and that her parents had not taught her anything, said the complaint. Mentioning that she tied the nuptial knot in July 2020, the woman alleged that her husband was “unable” to consummate the marriage till the time she was expelled from the house in November.

The in-laws had approached the high court, seeking quashing of the case filed against them by the Sangli police in January 2021. They were booked under the IPC sections pertaining to cruelty, intentional insult to provoke breach of peace and criminal intimidation.

Underlining that petty quarrels do not amount to cruelty against a woman, the high court said that a wilful conduct to drive the woman to attempt suicide or to cause her grave injury or harass her for dowry should be prima facie established to constitute an offence under the IPC section 498A. “In the instant case, the only allegation levelled against these petitioners is that they had commented that the complainant does not know how to cook. Such a comment doesn't constitute ‘cruelty’ within the meaning of the explanation to the IPC section 498A,” said a division bench of Justices Anuja Prabhudessai and Nitin Borkar.

The court clarified that to prove an offence of cruelty, it has to be proved that the woman was subjected to cruelty continuously or persistently or at least in close proximity of time of lodging the complaint. Consequently, it quashed the FIR and the chargesheet against the in-laws.

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