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Not Cruel To Ask A Married Woman To Perform Household Tasks, Says The Bombay High Court

The Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court dismissed a case brought by a woman against her estranged husband and his parents for domestic violence and cruelty, stating that if a married woman is asked to do household chores for the family, that cannot be compared to the work of a domestic help and would not constitute cruelty.


The First Information Report or police case brought against the man and his parents was dismissed on October 21 by a division bench of Justices Vibha Kankanwadi and Rajesh Patil.


The woman said in her complaint that after being married, they treated her nicely for one month before treating her like a ‘maid servant.’


In its ruling, the high court noted that the woman’s complaint did not detail any specific instances of harassment, only that she was being harassed.


‘It cannot be stated that a married woman being requested to perform home duties solely for the benefit of the family qualifies as a female servant. If she didn’t want to perform her home duties, she should have disclosed this either before the wedding so that the bridegroom may reconsider getting married, or if it came up after the wedding, the issue could have been resolved sooner’ The judge stated.


Further, it stated that unless specific acts are mentioned, the phrase ‘harassment psychologically and physically’ alone does not constitute a violation of Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code.


The high court judgement noted that it was impossible to determine whether some actions constituted harassment or harsh treatment of a person without more details.


The court accepted the husband and his parents’ petition to dismiss the case, stating that the accusations the wife made against the husband would not constitute an offence under the clause.


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