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Illicit relationship is not a criminal act: Court

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New Delhi: An illicit relationship can become a ground for seeking divorce but it would not travel beyond the realm of being an immoral act to the territory of a criminal act, a Delhi court has observed.

The observation of the court came while acquitting a man of the charge of abetting suicide of his wife, who allegedly hanged herself due to his extra-marital affair.

“The act of the accused in having illicit relationship may show his disloyalty to his wife. It may be betrayal of faith but would not travel beyond the realm of being an immoral act to the territory of a criminal act inviting punishment under penal statute.

“It could have certainly given rise to his wife to seek divorce but will not fall within the ambit of section 306 (abetment of suicide) of IPC,” Additional Sessions Judge Manoj Jain said.

The court, while absolving the accused, also said that the allegation that he had an illicit relationship “was not proved to the hilt”.

“In the case in hand, though factum of extra-marital does not stand proved to the hilt yet even if the same is assumed, such conduct, in itself, will not take the case of prosecution anywhere near the ‘abetment’,” it said while granting benefit of doubt to the accused.

According to prosecution the woman had allegedly committed suicide in 2011, after she found out about her husband’s extra-marital affair within one year of their marriage. The complaint was lodged by the woman’s brother who also claimed that his sister was regularly beaten up by the accused.

The court said there has to be some additional evidence on record to show that he compelled his wife to commit suicide leaving no other option for her, adding, “Such evidence is clearly lacking here.”

The court also observed that even if the “alleged extra- marital relationship, which if proved, could be illegal and immoral, nothing had been brought out by the prosecution to show that the accused had provoked, incited or induced the wife to commit suicide.”

The police said, a complaint was received on May 16, 2011 that the woman, who had married the accused against the wishes of her family, had died after hanging herself at her residence within one year of her marriage.

It was alleged that said she was ill-treated by the accused, who had an illicit relationship with another girl.

The prosecution, while blaming the accused for compelling his wife to take her life, said that in the context of Indian culture and tradition, if any wife comes to know about husband’s extra-marital relation, it can certainly disturb and spoil her mental peace.

The accused was charge sheeted for the offence of abetment of suicide to which he pleaded not guilty and denied all the allegations levelled against him.