The Supreme Court on Monday denied pre-arrest bail to a man accused of assaulting his spouse at home. The top court commented that a husband will be primarily liable for the injuries caused to his wife in the matrimonial home, even if the same are inflicted upon her by his relatives.
This was man’s third and woman’s second marriage.
The couple got married in 2017 and a child was born to them a year later. In June 2020, the woman filed a complain with Ludhiana police, after an alleged brutal assault by her husband, father-in-law and mother-in-law on account of growing dowry demands.
When the husband’s lawyer Kushgara Mahajan persisted for a bail for his client, CJI SA Bobde heading the bench said,
What kind of a man are you? She alleges that you were about to kill her by strangulation. She alleges that you forced a miscarriage. What kind of man are you to use a cricket bat to beat up your wife?
It does not matter whether it was you (husband) or your father who allegedly used the bat to assault her. When injuries are inflicted on a woman in a matrimonial home, the primary liability is on the husband.
Punjab & Haryana High Court Observations
The Punjab & Haryana High Court had also refused anticipatory bail to the husband basis the complaint given by wife, which briefly read as below:
On June 12, 2020, husband and father-in-law armed with a cricket bat gave merciless beatings to the wife. The mother-in-law was also a party to the same. After thrashing her, the husband attempted to strangulate her, while the father-in-law put a pillow on her face to choke her. After the incident, the woman was thrown on the road, from where her father and brother took her for a medical examination.
The complaint also stated that the woman had two miscarriages on earlier occasions, on account of assault in her matrimonial home.
High court had analysed the MLR report which indicated multiple injuries on the body of the woman, some also inflicted with blunt weapon.
The high court had refused to grant anticipatory bail since prima facie evidence indicated violence on the wife by her husband and in-laws.
- The courts are best equipped to analyse material facts on record before granting or refusing bail
- Unlike women’s rights activists, we do not believe in giving clean chit to every man basis media report
- If the husband and his family are guilty of the alleged accusations, law must take its own course
- However, can a husband be made liable for any action of his relatives over the wife?
- Surely, one can make him responsible to protect his spouse at his home, but blanket statements like “primary liability of the husband” can be prone to misuse in the future
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