Live-In partner of Woman Cannot be Prosecuted for Cruelty As Husband: Kerala High Court

Kochi: A woman’s live-in partner, who is not legally married, cannot be prosecuted for cruelty as a husband under Section 498A of the IPC, ruled the Kerala High Court.

The Kerala High Court on Thursday gave this ruling while quashing the legal actions against the petitioner who was the live-in partner of the complainant woman.

“Thus, it appears that in order to attract an offence punishable under Section 498(A) of IPC, the most essential ingredient is, subjecting a woman to cruelty by her husband or relative/relatives of the husband. The term ‘husband @ hubby’ means a married man, a woman’s partner in marriage. Thus, marriage is 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’ for the purpose of Section 498(A) of IPC,” ruled the Kerala High Court.

The complainant woman alleged that she suffered mental and physical harassment at the hands of the man from March 2023 to August 2023 while they were in a live-in relationship.

The court stated that a man, who was a woman’s partner without legal marriage, cannot be prosecuted under Section 498A.

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