A sessions court here has upheld a magisterial court’s order framing charges of cruelty and theft against the husband and in-laws of a woman, saying there was no illegality in the order.
The court observed that there is no provision in law specifying a minimum time for a married woman to stay at her matrimonial home before making a complaint against her in-laws for the offence of cruelty and such an offence can be committed even during her stay for a few hours.
Additional Sessions Judge Sunil Gupta was hearing a revision petition filed by the woman’s husband and in-laws against the magisterial court’s order framing charges against them under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 498A (husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty) and 379 (theft).
According to the chargesheet, the husband, father-in-law and mother-in-law of the woman used to demand dowry from her and beat her up. The trio, along with her brother-in-law, forcibly snatched her jewellery and kept it with themselves, it said.
“It is settled law that at the stage of framing of charge, the court has to see as to whether a prima facie case is made out against the accused on the basis of the material on record. The court is not expected to minutely scrutinise the material on record at that stage to see if it is sufficient for conviction or not,” the judge said in a recent order.
Trashing the argument of the defence counsel that no harassment was possible as the complainant stayed at her matrimonial home for only 11 days, the court said there is no provision in law specifying any minimum time period for a married woman to stay at her matrimonial home before making a complaint against her in-laws for the commission of an offence under section 498A of the IPC.
“Such an offence can be committed even during a stay of a few hours only,” the court said.
It also noted that the magistrate had framed charges against the complainant’s brother-in-law under IPC section 379, which was assailed on the ground that the accused was differently-abled and hence, could not have committed the offence.
The court said whether the accused was physically capable enough to commit the alleged offence can be determined during the trial after evidence is led by both parties.
Dismissing the revision petition, the court said, “There is no illegality in the impugned order so as to justify interference.”
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