See if litigants wish to continue cases of cruelty by husband, his kin: HC

Updated on Feb 25, 2020 12:36 AM IST
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ByK A Y Dodhiya, Mumbai

In a bid to clear the backlog of appeals against acquittals in cases related to cruelty by husband or his relatives under section 498A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) between 2000 and 2006 and to save judicial time, a bench of the Bombay high court (HC) has directed its registry to prepare a list of such appeals and hand it over to the public prosecutor’s office.

The prosecutor’s office has been directed to ask police stations concerned to contact the complainants and their husbands and inquire if they wish to pursue the appeals, as in some cases the couples have settled their disputes amicably or have been divorced since.

The bench of justice KR Shriram, while hearing an appeal against the acquittal of a man in 2004 in such a case, was told neither the complainant nor the defendant were present for the hearing. The man had been accused of subjecting his wife to cruelty. However, a trial court had acquitted him, following which the state had filed an appeal against the order.

Observing that after a passage of time when the appeals come up for hearing, the parties often inform the court they have settled the matter amicably or got divorced, thereby making the appeals irrelevant. It added that some of acquittals pertain to crimes registered under only section 498-A, while some have other compoundable offences.

The court said there was a need to find out if the couples wanted to pursue the appeals, and hence directed the registry to make a list of all such appeals and hand it over to the prosecutor’s office.

The prosecutor’s office would then hand over the list to respective police stations and ask them to get in touch with both the sides to see if they want the state to continue to prosecute the appeal. The police have been directed to file a report with the statements of both the parties.

“In my view, this exercise would save substantial judicial time of the court,” the court said.

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