According to the Karnataka High Court, the absence of a physical relationship after marriage constitutes cruelty under section 12(1)(a) of the Hindu Marriage Act rather than under section 498A of the IPC because the marriage has not been consummated. The court’s decision comes as it throws out a case alleging cruelty against a man and his parents under section 498A. The couple apparently barely lived together for 28 days before getting married in December 2019. A complaint was made in February 2020 by the wife. Although the in-laws were also the target of the complaint, the wife’s major complaint was against the husband, a devotee of Brahmakumari.
According to reports, the husband is accused of watching videos of certain Brahmakumari sister Shivani. The wife allegedly said that the husband would tell her he was not interested in physical relationship and that love is not getting physical relationship and should have soul to soul love.
On the opposing side, the in-laws were accused of pressuring for dowry during the marriage and influencing their son to do the same. The wife’s plea resulted in a similar hearing, where the family court invalidated the marriage. The highest court observed that this decision was based on the argument that the husband and wife had no physical intimacy. In a petition to the higher court, the husband and his parents raised doubts about the charges brought against them under IPC section 498A and section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act.
The Karnataka high court acknowledged the fact that the parents did not live with the couple. Furthermore, the court highlighted that neither the chargesheet nor the wife’s complaint described any incident or event that would qualify as an element of IPC section 498A during the 28 days the couple resided together. Justice M Nagaprasanna stated that the only complaint was that the husband had no intention of engaging in a physical relationship with his wife.