Void marriage – no defence against the complaint under Section 498-A of the Penal Code: J&K High Court

Void marriage – no defence against the complaint under Section 498-A of the Penal Code: J&K High Court

The Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Reema Aggarwal vs Anupam and others, (2004) 3 SCC 199 has held that the objective behind incorporation of Section 498A is to prevent harassment to a woman who enters into a marital relationship with a person and later on, becomes a victim of the greed for money. A person who enters into a marital arrangement cannot be allowed to take a shelter behind a smokescreen to contend that since there was no valid marriage the question of dowry does not arise. Such legalistic niceties would destroy the purpose of the provisions.

Replying on the law laid down in the Reema Aggrawal’s case which was subsequently reiterated in the case of A. Subash Babu vs State of A.P and another, (2011) 7 SCC 616 and declared to be a law binding on all courts in terms of Article 141 of the Constitution of India, the High Court of J&K vide its judgment dated 23.12.2020 delivered in the case of Karnail Chand and others vs State of J&K & Ors held that even if the respondent was not the legally wedded wife of the petitioner-accused, still he and his relatives-other accused, could be prosecuted for an offence under Section 498-A on the basis of allegations made in the FIR which prima facie constituted an offence under the said provision.