It is increasingly evident that the mere fact of an “illicit affair” is not “cruelty” within the meaning of the first limb of Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. While discussing Alienation of Affection Tort Actions, I had mentioned Pinakin Rawal v. State of Gujarat, (2013) 10 SCC 48 (“Pinakin”) – a lesser known judgment authored by the PETA Man of the Year 2014, Hon’ble Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan. Following Pinakin, in Ghusabhai Raisangbhai Chorasiya v. State of Gujarat, [Criminal Appeal No. 262 of 2009] (“Ghusabhai”) it has been reiterated that though an extra-marital relationship may be “illegal and immoral” – in the absence of some “other acceptable evidence on record” that can establish such “high degree of mental cruelty” (that Section 498A envisages), the Explanation to Section 498A which includes cruelty to drive a woman to commit suicide, would not be attracted. Ghusabhai & Pinakin heralds novel jurisprudence that is favourable to men and their habits. We still wait though for the one woman, who instead of committing suicide, will file an Alienation of Affection Tort Action. The results shall be markedly different.
'The Last Word' seeks to include not only wise and witty sayings of the judges but also curiosities of lawyers and the law. This blog is not of obligation but of delight. I frankly confess my ignorance of much that ought to be included from overseas jurisdictions; and I utter a gentle prayer that those who know better would lighten my darkness. I am confident that I am not alone in my refusal to believe that the law is tedious or that the Indians really like all their law dull. For all that has escaped these percipient eyes, mea culpa maxima. History, after all, has many cunning passages, contrived corridors and issues.