Husband asking wife to drop case against him does not amount to domestic violence, says Bombay HC
The Bombay high court (HC), while hearing the pre-arrest bail application of a Pune resident, held that there was nothing wrong in a married man insisting that his wife drop a case of rape and sexual assault which she lodged against him before marriage. The court said that the man had fulfilled his promise of marriage, but the wife insisted on persecuting him even after marriage by lodging a 498A case against him, hence, he deserved to be granted pre-arrest bail in the domestic violence case.
A bench of justice Sarang Kotwal was informed by advocate Shivraj Kunchge that his client was married to the woman who had lodged a complaint of rape against him in 2017. In 2018 his client was arrested and released on bail in January 2019, on the condition that he would not contact the woman. However, in September 2019 the woman acceded to his clients’ proposal and they got married. In March 2020, the woman lodged a domestic violence case against the man (her husband).
According to the first information report (FIR), after marriage, the couple stayed together in a house provided by the woman’s mother till December 2019. The FIR states that during the period, the man assaulted the woman and kept insisting that she withdraw the rape case against him. Thereafter the woman went to her mother’s house where the husband visited her till March 2020, after which, he stopped visiting her, thus prompting the registration of the domestic violence case against him on November 23, 2020.
While seeking pre-arrest bail, Kunchge submitted that the domestic violence FIR had no allegations attracting ingredients of section 498A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The emphasis was on the previous case for which some proceedings are going on and the applicant is already granted bail in that case. He, therefore, submitted that the applicant’s custody in this particular case is not necessary.
Additional public prosecutor SH Yadav for the state, however, opposed the application and stated that the FIR did mention instances of domestic violence against the man, hence the application should be rejected.
After hearing the submissions, justice Kotwal observed, “Obviously, if both of them are married, the applicant would expect that his wife would not have any accusations against him. That by itself may not amount to the offence described under section 498A of IPC. Apart from this allegation, there are hardly any allegations attracting section 498A of the IPC. The applicant is already granted bail in an earlier case registered at Kondhwa police station. His custodial interrogation on the basis of these allegations is not necessary. The applicant deserves the protection of anticipatory bail.”