Tag Archives: Harassment of Wife

Cruelty Under Section 498-A – Prosecution Has to Prove Wilful Conduct

Cruelty under Section 498A means any willful conduct which is of such nature as is likely to drive the woman to commit suicide. It also means harassment of the woman where such harassment is with a view to coercing her or any person related to her to meet any unlawful demand for any property or valuable security or is on account of failure by her or any person related to her to meet such demand. Therefore, the prosecution has to prove a willful conduct, which is of such nature as is likely to drive the woman to commit suicide. No such willful conduct has been established because none of the witnesses have given evidence to have seen the Accused indulging in such willful conduct that could drive a woman to commit suicide. Moreover, if a woman is harassed, that harassment should be with a view to coercing her or any person related to her to meet any unlawful demand for any property or valuable security, or is on account of failure by her or any person related to her to meet such demand. Therefore, the prosecution has to prove that there was any unlawful demand for any property or valuable security by the Accused. None of the witnesses have stated that there was any such demand by the Accused. Therefore, the charge under Section 498A cannot stick. State of Maharashtra v. Anil Kurkotti, (2019) 3 HLR 823.

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Determination of Paternity—D.N.A. Test

In Bhabani Prasad Jena v. Convenor Secretary, Orissa State Commission for Women, (2010) 8 SCC 633, the court held as under:
“In a matter where paternity of a child is in issue before the court, the use of D.N.A. test is an extremely delicate and sensitive aspect. One view is that when modern science gives the means of ascertaining the paternity of a child, there should not be any hesitation to use those means whenever the occasion requires. The other view is that the court must be reluctant in the use of such scientific advances and tools which result in invasion of right to privacy of an individual and may not only be prejudicial to the rights of the parties but may have devastating effect on the child. Sometimes the result of such scientific test may bastardise an innocent child even though his mother and her spouse were living together during the time of conception.
When there is apparent conflict between the right to privacy of a person not to submit himself forcibly to medical examination and duty of the court to reach the truth, the court must exercise its discretion only after balancing the interests of the parties and on due consideration whether for a just decision in the matter, D.N.A. test is eminently needed. D.N.A. test in a matter relating to paternity of a child should not be directed by the court as a matter of course or in a routine manner, whenever such a request is made. The court has to consider diverse aspects including presumption under Section 112 of the Evidence Act: pros and cons of such order and the test of “eminent need” whether it is not possible for the court to reach the truth without use of such test.
In Goutam Kundu v. State of West Bengal, (1993) 3 SCC 418, it has been laid down that courts in India cannot order blood test as a matter of course and such prayers cannot be granted to have roving inquiry: there must be strong prima facie case and the court must carefully examine as to what would be the consequence of ordering the blood test. In Sharda v. Dharmpal, (2003) 4 SCC 493, while concluding that a matrimonial court has power to order a person to undergo a medical test, it was reiterated that the court should exercise such a power if the applicant has a strong prima facie case and there is sufficient material before the court. Obviously, therefore, any order for D.N.A. test can be given by the court only if a strong prima facie case is made out for such a course. Dipanwita Roy v. Ronobroto Roy, 2014 (6) AWC 6073.

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