The Supreme court had clearly stated that a woman who had faced cruelty from her martial home has the right to file the dowry harassment case under section 498IPC against in-laws and husband from the place where she is sheltered currently. This is a relief to victims of dowry harassment. The bench was chaired by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi. The order has relaxed the section 177 of CrPC that strictly mandates to file dowry harassment case in courts within the jurisdiction of crime occurred. According to Section 177 in The Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973, Ordinary place of inquiry and trial. Every offence shall ordinarily be inquired into and tried by a Court within whose local jurisdiction it was committed. The new Judgment was made based on the previous ruling of SC, “whether a case of cruelty on account of dowry harassment punishable under Section 498A of the IPC can be registered, investigated and punished in a jurisdiction different from the one from which the aggrieved spouse has been forced out on account of such harassment”.
The appeal has been filed by Rupali Devi who file the dowry harassment case from her place of residence. This appeal has been dismissed by Allahabad High Court. But supreme court accept the appeal by stating that the horrifying memories of the marital home would continue to haunt her that amounts to continued cruelty.The Court stated that “The adverse effects on the mental health in the parental home, though on account of the acts committed in the matrimonial home, would, in our considered view, amount to commission of cruelty within the meaning of Section 498A at the parental home. The consequences of the cruelty committed at the matrimonial home results in repeated offences being committed at the parental home”.
The section 498A states that Husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty.—Whoever, being the husband or the relative of the husband of a woman, subjects such woman to cruelty shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine. Explanation.—For the purpose of this section, “cruelty” means—
(a) any wilful conduct which is of such a nature as is likely to drive the woman to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to life, limb or health (whether mental or physical) of the woman; or
(b) harassment of the woman where such harassment is with a view to coercing her or any person related to her to meet any unlawful demand for any property or valuable security or is on account of failure by her or any person related to her to meet such demand.
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