Woman cannot prosecute her live-in partner for cruelty: Kerala High Court

Published - July 11, 2024 07:39 pm IST - KOCHI

The Kerala High Court has observed that a man who was not a legally wedded partner of a woman cannot be prosecuted for the offence of cruelty under Section 498 (A) of India Penal Code (IPC) as he does not come under the definition of husband in the section.

Justice A Badharudeen made the observation recently while quashing a case registered against a live-in partner on a complaint of a woman. The court observed that the term “husband” means a married man, a woman’s partner in marriage. Thus, the marriage was the constituent which takes the woman’s partner to the status of her husband. Marriage means a marriage in the eye of the law. Thus, without legal marriage, if a man becomes a woman’s partner, he will not be covered by the term ‘husband’ under Section 498(A) of IPC.

The allegation against the man was that, while the woman was maintaining a live-in relationship with the accused, during the period from March 13, 2023, to August 20, 2023, at his house, he mentally and physically harassed her. The petitioner argued that the relationship between the accused and the woman was a live-in relationship and that they were not married. 

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