Kicking daughter-in-law is not cruelty

Apex court observation

While dismissing the allegation of kicking as cruelty, a bench of Justices S B Sinha and Cyriac Joseph said: “Allegations that appellant No. 2 (mother-in-law) kicked the respondent with her leg and told her that her mother to be a liar may make out some other offence but not the one punishable under Section 498A (cruelty)’’ of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

“Similarly, her allegations that the mother-in-law poisoned the ears of her son against the respondent; she gave two used lady suits of her daughter to the complainant and has been given perpetual sermons to the complainant could not be said to be offences punishable under Section 498A.

Even threatening that her son may be divorced for the second time could not bring out the offence under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code,’’ the Court said.

‘Breach of trust’

The bench said that if the mother-in-law took away the gifts given to the couple at the time of marriage, it amounted to “breach of trust” as specified under Indian Penal Code’s Section 406. 

It said “even threatening that her son may be divorced for the second time could not bring out the offence under section 498(A) of the Indian Penal Code”.

Monica, the second wife of a South Africa-based businessman Vikas, had filed a petition before the apex court seeking action against her husband, father-in-law Bhaskar Lal Sharma, mother-in-law and other family members on charges of cruelty in her matrimonial home in Congo.

Vikas is managing director of the family-managed export company since 1994 with businesses in Delhi, Bangkok, Shanghai, Brussels, Johannesburg, Kinshasa, Lubumbashi, Congo and Uganda.

Monica and Vikas were married at Sanatan Dharam Mandir Hall in New Delhi on January 16, 2004.

Vikas claimed that he obtained a decree of divorce on July 8, 2003 passed by the Civil Court in Lubumbashi, Congo.


He had two children, born on April 23, 1999 and July 8, 2000, respectively from his first wife.

On November 21, 2005, Monica filed a criminal complaint under Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code (cheating) against Vikas and Sharma.

She alleging that the facts relating to Vikas’ first marriage and divorce, particularly the fact that the first wife had obtained divorce on the ground of cruelty was not disclosed.

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