In the Matter at hand Kantharaju v State The petitioner allegedly started harassing the complainant and brutally torturing her after learning that she had paralysis a few years after being married. She further claimed that the petitioner threatened to burn her on fire and that she had been forcibly taken from her marital home.
The petitioner claimed that the trial court and the appellate courts erred by failing to consider the fact that the complainant is the second wife, which precludes the accusation of cruelty.
Observation by Court
The Karnataka High Court Single-judge Justice S. Rachaiah ruled that if the husband and wife’s marriage is null and void, the offence under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code cannot be sustained. She also stated that because a second wife of a man is not recognized as a legally wedded wife, she is not eligible to file an application against her husband or in-laws for abuse under Section 498A of the IPC.
The Court ruled that the second wife’s lawsuit against her husband and her in-laws is unmaintainable. As a result, it overturned one Kantharaju’s conviction after concluding that the complainant was the petitioner’s second wife and that their marriage was consequently invalid.
The High Court said The prosecution must show that the complainant is either the petitioner’s legally wedded wife or that her marriage to him is valid. The lower courts should have relied on the testimony that was the second wife until it is proven that she is the petitioner’s lawfully wedded wife. The complaint made against the petitioner for the offence under Section 498A of the IPC shouldn’t have been taken seriously as she is deemed to be the petitioner’s second wife.
The Court cited witness testimony and concluded that it was obvious that the complainant was the petitioner’s second wife. The High Court concluded that the lower courts erred in this area when they applied the law and the principles and set aside the judgement of the lower court and ruled in favour of the petitioner.
CASE NAME – Kantharaju v State CRIMINAL REVISION PETITION NO. 1372 OF 2019