Patna High Court: Calling Wife 'Bhoot' or 'Pishach' Not Cruelty in Matrimonial Disputes

Patna HC rules calling wife 'bhoot' or 'pishach' not matrimonial cruelty. Verdict quashes IPC 498-A conviction of Sahdeo Gupta & Naresh Kumar Gupta.

The Patna High Court clarified that a husband's request for financial support from the wife's family for their child's upbringing isn't dowry under the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961. The ruling came in a revision plea by a husband convicted under IPC Section 498A.

In this case, the couple married in 1994 and had three children. The wife claimed that three years after their daughter's birth in 2001, the husband and his relatives demanded Rs.10,000 from her father for the girl's care.

The court examined the Dowry Prohibition Act and noted that demands for child maintenance don't meet its dowry definition. Section 498A of the IPC, addressing cruelty against married women, was also considered. While it doesn't explicitly mention dowry, court precedents confirm that harassment for any unlawful demand can be cruelty.

After reviewing the case and relevant laws, the court concluded that the husband's request for child maintenance wasn't dowry. It emphasized the need for continuous cruelty to establish a Section 498A charge.