By Shikha Sreenivas
The Bombay High Court has granted bail to a man who was charged with abetting his wife’s suicide for allegedly taunting her over not knowing English or cooking properly.
The single-judge bench of Justice AM Badar said that the incident disclosed the “hypersensitivity” of the wife, and taunting was just the “ordinary petulance and discord in matrimonial life”. So, he said, the incident “cannot be said to satisfy the requirement of ingredients of offence of cruelty”.
“Rude and uncultured behaviour as well as perfunctory abuses are mundane matters,” the Judge said, “and would not attract the rigours of section 498A of the IPC.”
Firstpost reported several incidents where Indian courts have had a casual attitude towards domestic abuse even if it manifests as emotional abuse and mental trauma. Such as when the Gujarat High Court ruled in 2015 that the taunting of in-laws is mundane, and not cruelty.
A trial court had punished Mehta, the husband, with imprisonment for 13 years when he contended that the evidence against him was “lacunae”, or insufficient to hold him guilty of the charges. The dispute that triggered the deceased wife’s suicide, according to the prosecution, was having made “kaccha chapati” which was a ‘trivial’ matter to invoke the harsh response of her in-laws calling her brother and parents to their home.
The language in these cases are usually scattered with the same vocabulary — “mundane”, “trivial”, and now “hypersensitivity”. Or, perhaps the solution is to be the “surrendered wife” like this BBC personal essay, which carries the same message that history has carried for women: ‘Surrender, you can’t control anyone but yourself.’ So if the behaviour of your spouse disturbs you, surrender, as opposed to being hypersensitive.