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Rajan Salvi (Lawyer)     23 November 2009

Second wife can also file 498A, case.

 

11. It is also striking to note that the concept of "marriage" is liberally construed for the purpose of section 498A IPC in a recent celebrated decision of the Supreme Court in Reema Agarwal's case (2004) 3 SCC 199). It was held in the said decision that a liberal interpretation is to be given to the expression "marriage", bearing in mind the object of section 498A of IPC. While deciding the question as to who could be covered by the expression "husband" coming under section 498A IPC, it was held that the concept of marriage to constitute the relationship of "husband" and "wife" may require a liberal and different approach when the question of curbing a social evil arises. It was a case in which it was contended that he marriage between the husband/accused and wife/complainant was not legal in view of an existing earlier marriage of the husband and hence the accused/husband cannot be held liable under section 498A IPC as the husband of the complaint.
12. It is worthy to extract the relevant portion from Reema Aggarwal v. Anupam [2004) 3 SCC 199] as follows:
      "The concept of marriage to constitute the relationship of "husband" and wife" may require strict interpretation where claims for civil rights, right to property etc. may follow or flow and a liberal approach and different perception cannot be an anathema when the question of curbing a social evil is concerned………….. The absence of a definition of "husband" to specifically include such person who contract marriages ostensibly and cohabit with such woman, in the purported exercise of their role and status as "husband" is no ground to exclude them from the purview of Section 304-B or 498-A IPC, viewed in the context of the very object and aim of the legislations introducing those provisions".
13. On going through the facts of the case in the decision cited above, I find that the complaint in that case was filed by a "second wife" whose marriage with the accused/husband was not strictly legal in view of an earlier marriage of accused/husband. (Hers was also a second marriage) Despite this fact, the supreme Court held that the alleged "husband" is covered by section 498A IPC, giving a liberal interpretation to the term "marriage". Thus it follows that as per the dictum laid down in the said case, a compliant filed against the husband by such a "second wife" whose marriage is not legally valid is maintainable under section 498A IPC. If then, can such a second wife, supposing she is guilty of inflicting cruelty on the legally-wedded wife of her alleged husband be exonerated from a charge under the same section that too, on the ground of an invalid marriage?


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 8 Replies

Rajan Salvi (Lawyer)     23 November 2009

The above is an extract from a Judgment.

dhiraj choudhary (n/a)     23 November 2009

interesting development

N.K.Assumi (Advocate)     23 November 2009

Hello Rajan, after a long time. Its good to see you in the forum. Regarding your query, yes its very interesting and required debates. But the facts remain that in this country when it is to the disadvantage of husband the law is enforced against him, but when it is in terms of privilege, it is denied to him. consider this. If a mistress of a man commit sucide due to mental torture by the man he will still be covered by the section as declared by the Andhra Pradesh High court also.

1 Like

N.K.Assumi (Advocate)     23 November 2009

Hello Rajan, after a long time. Its good to see you in the forum. Regarding your query, yes its very interesting and required debates. But the facts remain that in this country when it is to the disadvantage of husband the law is enforced against him, but when it is in terms of privilege, it is denied to him. consider this. If a mistress of a man commit sucide due to mental torture by the man he will still be covered by the section as declared by the Andhra Pradesh High court also.

1 Like

Anish goyal (Advocate)     23 November 2009

Nice info sir

sunil pagare (lawyer)     23 November 2009

My client also filed the case & facts of the case are same Reema Agrawals case. Thanx  Ranjan this judgement is very useful.

1 Like

K. Rajendra Prakash (Advocate)     24 November 2009

Thanks Mr. Rajan.

V.V.RAMDAS (Advocate)     12 December 2009

Mr rajan, it is very very interesting situation. Thanks for your problem.


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