Section 498A: Taking custody of bride’s jewelry for reasons of safety and not cruelty under section 498A of the IPC

Keeping daughter-in-law’s jewelry for security reasons cannot constitute cruelty under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, the Supreme Court has said. A bench of judges Indira Banerjee and JK Maheshwari said failure to control an adult brother, live independently or give advice on how to adapt to one’s sister-in-law to avoid retaliation cannot amount to cruelty to the bride within the meaning of IPC Section 498A. .

Section 498 A refers to a woman’s husband or husband’s relative who subjects her to cruelty. The case was filed by a woman against her husband and in-laws for subjecting her to cruelty.

The Supreme Court’s submissions came during the hearing of an appeal against an order by the High Court of Punjab and Haryana rejecting a plea by a man seeking permission to return to the United States, where he is employed.

The high court had rejected the man’s request to leave the country as he was charged along with his older brother and parents under Sections 323 (wilful injury), 34 (common intent), 406 (criminal breach of trust), 420 (cheating) 498A and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code.

“Keeping jewelry for security reasons cannot constitute cruelty within the meaning of section 498A of the IPC.

“Failure to control an adult brother, living independently, or to counsel the plaintiff to adjust in order to avoid vindictive reprisals cannot constitute cruelty on the appellant’s part within the meaning of Section 498A of the ICC,” the seat of the Supreme Court said in a recent order.

He said the Complainant (daughter-in-law) gave no details of the jewelry that was allegedly stolen by her mother-in-law and brother-in-law.

There is not a whisper as to whether any jewelry is with the petitioner, he said.

“There is only a general omnibus allegation that all the defendants ruined the plaintiff’s life by false statements, cover-ups, etc.

“The appellant is not responsible for acts of cruelty or any other wrongful and/or criminal acts on the part of his parents or brother,” the Supreme Court said.

The high court said that given the nature of the allegations, it was unclear how and why the petitioner should have been detained in India. “In our view, the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Kurukshetra, erred in ordering the Appellant not to leave the country without the prior permission of the Court.

He said the allegations in the complaint against the prima facie petitioner do not disclose any violation under IPC Section 498A, which contemplates cruelty.