Setting aside a four-year-old verdict in a dowry harassment case, the Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to have a re-look at the issue of whether kicking a daughter-in-law would constitute cruelty under the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
A bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir allowed the National Commission for Women's (NCM) curative petition after its counsel Indu Malhotra contended that the 2009 verdict would have far-reaching ramifications. Malhotra argued that the SC verdict would become a precedent for high courts.
This is the second curative petition to be ever allowed by the apex court. In the first, a bench headed by Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan (since retired) had on April 21, 2004 allowed a curative petition and corrected a mistake that had led to wrongful detention of four accused in a 21-year-old murder case without any hearing. A curative petition is the last remedy available in the apex court after the dismissal of review and main petitions.
Allowing NCW's curative, the bench, comprising justice P Sathasivam and justice GS Singhvi, ordered: "We allow the curative petition filed by NCW and set aside the judgment passed by this court on July 27, 2009 and recall that judgment." A fresh bench would be constituted to hear the matter afresh.
In the present case, the SC had on July 27, 2009 set aside the summoning order of March 21, 2005 passed by a Delhi trial court against a woman's husband, father-in-law and mother-in-law on the allegation of cruelty and breach of trust. The mother-in-law was also accused of kicking the daughter-in-law.