The Supreme Court on Thursday gave a verdict that having an extra-marital affair is not a crime. The SC mentioned a man can not be jailed for three years just for having an extra-marital affair. The apex court also told that a man cannot be held guilty if his wife committed suicide after knowing of his another relationship.
A bench comprising Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Amitava Roy said, “Extramarital relationship, per se, would not come within the ambit of Section 498-A (husband or his relative subjecting a woman to physical or mental cruelty can be imprisoned for three years) of the IPC. It would be an illegal or immoral act, but other ingredients are to be brought home so that it would constitute a criminal offence.”
The judgment was made after a woman committed suicide after knowing her husband’s extra-marital affairs and the other woman due to humiliation too committed suicide.
The tragedy of the man’s life didn’t end there. Later, the man’s alleged lover’s mother and brother also committed suicide.
The court acquitted the man who was convicted of abetting his wife’s suicide and sentenced to four years in jail. The bench pronounced there was no evidence to show that he mentally or physically ill-treated his wife.
SC acquitted the man of all charges including section 306 (abetment to suicide) of IPC added by the Karnataka High Court and trial under section 498A of IPC.
The bench said, “To explicate, solely because the husband is involved in an extra-marital relationship and there is some suspicion in the mind of wife, that cannot be regarded as mental cruelty which would attract mental cruelty for satisfying the ingredients of Section 306 of IPC.”
The bench added that if the prosecution proved the extra-marital relationship, unless some other evidence brought to establish that such degree of mental torture would compel a woman to commit suicide, a man cannot be guilty under Section 306 (a man held guilty of abetting a suicide can be jailed for 10 years) of IPC.