In its recent judgement, Karnataka High Court has held a woman accountable for defamation for alleged false allegations levelled by her on her husband in a matrimonial dispute.
The parties to the proceedings had matrimonial differences many years ago and separated. Eventually the husband sought for restitution of conjugal rights. To defend herself, the wife filed her statement of objections making certain defamatory allegations against the husband, which she was unable to establish. Some of the allegations made by wife are stated as below:
- Husband used to consume liquor and assault the wife at night
- Husband used to insist her to dance naked in the presence of his friends
- Husband was acting as a pimp for his friends
In her cross examination later, the wife changed her statement with regards to using the term ‘pimp’ for her husband, but now said that he had illicit relationship with other women and was also bringing male persons at home.
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The Hon’ble Family Court allowed the petition for restitution and held that the allegations made by the wife were not established.
Trial Court Proceedings
Based on the judgement of the Family Court, the husband then filed a criminal complaint for defamation against the wife before the Hon’ble Magistrate. After a trial, the Magistrate convicted the wife sentencing her to simple imprisonment of 1-month and with a fine amount of Rs 5000.
The wife subsequently challenged the judgement of the Magistrate before the Hon’ble Sessions Court, which was also rejected.
High Court Proceedings
The wife then filed a Criminal Revision petition before the Hon’ble High Court, seeking to set aside both the orders. The husband subsequently filed a Revision petition seeking enhancement of the punishment imposed by the Magistrate.
Karnataka High Court had a detailed hearing and discussion on various aspects and was upheld the orders passed by both the Courts, accepting that the offence of defamation was committed.
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With regards to the punishment which was both monetary and a month in jail, the Court looked at the circumstances of the case and modified the punishment to the extent of paying an enhanced fine amount. The court noted:
The fine amount of Rs 5,000 imposed by the Trial Court and confirmed by the learned Session Judge’s Court, is modified and enhanced to Rs 15,000 with a default sentence of Simple Imprisonment for one month, in case the accused fails to pay the fine amount within sixty days from today.
Wife was represented by Advocate Ashish Krupakar, while husband was represented by Advocate Ashok Patil and Smt. P.V. Kalpana, Amicus Curiae.
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