Mumbai: If a married woman is asked to do household work for the family, the same cannot be equated to the work of a maid servant and would not amount to cruelty, the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court said while quashing a case lodged by a woman against her estranged husband and his parents for domestic violence and cruelty.
A division bench of Justices Vibha Kankanwadi and Rajesh Patil, on October 21, quashed the First Information Report lodged against the man and his parents.
The woman, in her complaint, had alleged she was treated properly for a month after marriage, but thereafter, they began treating her like a maid servant.
She also claimed her husband and his parents, a month after the marriage, started demanding Rs 4 lakh to buy a four-wheeler. In her complaint, the woman said she was then subjected to mental and physical harassment by her husband over this demand.
The HC, in its order, noted the woman had merely stated she was harassed but had not specified any such act in her complaint.
"If a married lady is asked to do household work definitely for the purpose of the family, it cannot be said it is like a maid servant. If she had no wish to do her household activities, then she ought to have told it either prior to the marriage so that the bridegroom can rethink about the marriage itself or if it is after marriage, then such problem ought to have been sorted out earlier," the court said.
It further said mere use of the words harassment 'mentally and physically' is not sufficient to attract Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code unless such acts are described.
"Unless those acts are described, it cannot be concluded whether those acts amounted to harassment or subjecting a person to cruelty," the HC order stated.
The omnibus allegations the wife made against the husband would not attract the offence under the provision, the court said, and allowed the petition filed by the husband and his parents seeking to quash the case.