Mar 11, 2022

5 things you didn’t know about Cruelty by Husbands

The Bombay High Court has said that nowadays, it has become a habit to make vague accusations of cruelty against a husband’s family members. In its order, the Court said that when a husband or his relatives are accused of being cruel to his wife, the accusation should be carefully examined by the Court to find out if there is a legal offence.

  1. Can a husband be punished for cruelty against his wife?

Yes, Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code says that if a woman’s husband or husband’s relatives are cruel to her, they can be punished.

  1. What is cruelty?

Cruelty by the husband or by his relatives can refer to:

(a) Any intentional behaviour which is likely to cause serious injury to the life or health (mental or physical) of the wife. This includes any deliberate behaviour which might probably drive the wife to commit suicide.

(b) Harassment of the wife in order to force her or her relatives to fulfil any unlawful demand for property. This includes any harassment that may happen as a result of the wife not agreeing to the demand.

  1. Punishment for cruelty

If a husband exhibits cruelty against his wife, he can be punished with imprisonment of up to 3 years and a fine. The husband’s relatives can also be punished if they engage in cruel behaviour towards his wife.

  1. Cruelty and dowry death

A married woman’s death is considered to be a ‘dowry death’ if:

  1. a) the woman dies before she has completed 7 years of marriage; and
  2. b) her death is caused by burns, bodily injuries or in other unusual circumstances; and
  3. c) it is shown that soon before her death, the woman suffered from cruelty or harassment by her husband or his relatives in connection with any demand for dowry.

In cases of dowry death, it is assumed that the woman’s husband or his relatives have caused her death.

  1. Punishment for causing dowry death

Anyone who is responsible for dowry death can be punished with imprisonment of at least 7 years, which may extend to life imprisonment.

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