Friday, August 27, 2010

Girlfriend can't be called kin, says HC

And we need a high court judgment to tell us this… after supreme court reportedly has already said so… Bharat Mahan… raho pareshaan!

TNN, Aug 27, 2010, 01.39am IST

MUMBAI: With live-in relations being accorded sanctity by law, can a girlfriend be a relative, the Bombay high court  wondered on Thursday. The court was hearing an application filed by a woman, Sunita, who had been named in a dowry harassment case. She had been dragged into the case filed by another woman, who claimed that Sunita was her husband's girlfriend and had accused her of cruelty.

A division bench of Justice A M Khanwilkar and Justice U D Salvi, in an interim order, stayed the criminal charges in the case against her till further orders.

Section 498 A of the Indian Penal Code deals with cruelty to a married woman by her husband or his relatives. The cruelty could also be for failing to meet the unlawful demands of property or valuable security. Cruelty could refer to the conduct of a husband or in-laws that is likely to drive a woman to commit suicide or cause grave injury to herself.

Earlier, the Supreme Court, in a landmark order, had said that a girlfriend cannot be treated as a "relative'' in a 498 A case. The apex court had held that a concubine or a mistress cannot be charged under Section 498A. By no stretch of imagination can a girlfriend or even a concubine... be a relative. The word relative brings within its purview a status that can be conferred either by blood or marriage or adoption, the SC bench had remarked.

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