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BACKGROUND OF THE CASE

  • In the case of Samaul Sk. vs The State of Jharkhand (2021), the respondent, Hena Bibi, claimed to be the legally married wife of the appellant.
  • The appellant in the case was already married, and his relationship with the respondent was illicit in nature. The respondent submitted that on the instigation of the first wife, the appellant began mentally and physically torturing the respondent. This torture compelled the respondent to return to her parents’ home.
  • In 2014 the Appellant was held guilty and sentenced to 3 years of rigorous imprisonment along with a fine for Rs.10,000/- by the Court of Sub Divisional Judicial Magistrate (‘SDJM’), for offenses under section 498A of the Indian Penal Code.
  • The section addresses cruelty to a woman caused by her husband or any relative of the husband. Under this section, the ambit of cruelty includes any danger to the woman’s mental or physical health.

APPEALS TO HIGHER COURTS

  • The appellant filed for a ‘Criminal Revision’, provided under Section 397 of the Criminal Procedure Code, against the order of the SDJM. It can be filed in a higher court to check the correctness of a lower court’s decision. This application was dismissed, both by the first court of appeal and later by the High court.
  • When the case reached the Supreme Court, the appellant submitted that he was willing to pay compensation of Rs.3.00 lakhs to the respondent and her children, and requested a six-month period to raise the money. The respondent agreed to this.

SUPREME COURT’S DECISION

  • The Hon’ble Supreme Court stated that since the appellant shows remorse and willingness to compensate the respondent, they would not interfere in an arrangement that is beneficial to the second wife and children.
  • The court observes; “The object of any criminal jurisprudence is reformative in character and to take care of the victim.” In the given case they do not wish to obstruct an arrangement which is agreeable to all.
  • This compensation offered by the appellant aligns with the provisions of section 357 of the CrPC, the purpose of which is to compensate the loss of the victim from the fine obtained from the wrongdoer.
  • The court notes that the Appellant has completed 7 months of his sentence and the court is open to reducing it if he pays the respondent within the 6-month period. If the appellant fails to pay the same, he will be required to complete the original 3-year sentence.

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