‘A few physical assaults not a case of cruelty’

NEW DELHI: One or two instances of physical assault, even if found to be true, cannot make for a case of cruelty, a trial court has said, while discharging the in-laws of a woman in a dowry harassment case.

The court’s observations came while rejecting a woman’s revision petition challenging a magisterial court’s order freeing her brothers-in-law and a sister-in-law of the offences under sections 498A (cruelty), 406(criminal breach of trust) with 34 (common intention) of the IPC and under Dowry Prohibition Act.

The woman’s husband, who is also arrayed as an accused in the case, has been declared as a proclaimed offender. Observing that there were no specific allegations against the in-laws which could prima facie show that they used to torture and harass her, additional sessions judge Pulastya Pramachala said, “One or two instances of physical assault, even if found to be true, can’t make out a case of cruelty for the purpose of satisfying unlawful demand.”

The court also said that the cruelty or torture, as contemplated in section 498A of IPC denotes to a “continuous process” and the ingredients of the offence were not satisfied in the present case.

It further said that to prove the offence, it is required to be established that the torture or harassment caused to the complainant was to such an extent so as to drive her to commit suicide or to cause grave injury to her.

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