Husband's extramarital relationship is not a cruelty that drives wife to suicide
The Supreme Court has held that solely because the husband is involved in an extramarital relationship, it cannot be regarded as a mental cruelty that could attract an offence under Section 306 of the IPC, abetting the wife to commit suicide.
The Court clarified that the husband's extramarital relationship could be a ground for other reliefs in a matrimonial issue before the Family Court and does not attract any other offence.
The Supreme Court set aside the offence charged by the police against the accused, abetting suicide. The judgment has far reaching consequence since if such cases exist in any court in India, the accused can approach the court concerned highlighting the judgment of the Supreme Court.
The judgment was delivered in the case of Prakash Babu from Karnataka, whose wife committed suicide alleging extramarital relationship of her husband. Moreover, the lady with whom he had an affair, unable to withstand the social ridicule, also committed suicide. The tragedy did not stop there, her mother and brother also ended their lives.
The police charged Prakash Babu with offences of murder and under the dowry prohibition act. The trial court acquitted him from the charge of murder but convicted him for two years under dowry prohibition act. The state government appealed in the High Court when it convicted him under the offence of abetting suicide. The accused then filed appeal in the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court meticulously examined the evidence in this case, including the deposition of the family members and came to the conclusion that there is absolutely no evidence with regard to any kind of cruelty or ill-treatment by the husband towards his wife.
The court set aside the judgment of the HC that convicted the accused for abetting suicide of his wife. All the other charges levelled by the police also were nullified and the accused was set free.
The Court said that it was true the wife developed suspicion about the husband. The seeds of suspicion eventually led to her suicide. But such an event will not constitute an offence under the IPC, abetting suicide.