Case Number 

Criminal Appeal No. 71 of 2012


Hon’ble Justices Ranjan Gogoi, L. Nageswara Rao, Sanjay Kishan Kaul

Date of Judgment 

09 April 2019

Relevant Section 

Section 177 (CrPc), Section 178 (CrPc), Section 179 (CrPc), 498A (IPC)

Facts of the Case 

  • Marriage of petitioner and respondent: December, 1997

In December of 1997, the petitioner, who had her parents’ home in Deoria, Uttar Pradesh, married respondent no.2, who used to dwell in Mau with his family. Sufficient cash and dowry articles were given at the time of marriage, but the accused persons were not content and began harassing and maltreating the petitioner in her Sasural on account of a demand for Rs. 2 lacs in cash and a car. She told her father about it as well. Her father traveled to Mau and attempted to reason with the accused, who were resolute in their demand.

  • Petitioner gave birth to a child: 12 May, 1998

The petitioner gave birth to a son on 12.5.1998, who is now 7 years old. The petitioner’s harassment continued even after the birth of a son. When she became pregnant again, the accused admitted her to Dr. Saxena’s Ladies Clinic in Mau and forcibly terminated her.

  • Petitioner thrown out of Matrimonial home (Mau): July 2002

The petitioner was ejected from her matrimonial home in July 2002, and the accused individuals kept the male kid with them. Her father drove her to Deoria and tried unsuccessfully to appease the accused.

  • Petitioner went back to her matrimonial house: 14 April 2005

The accused persons, accompanied by certain Mau responsible persons, came to the petitioner’s house in Deoria on 14.4.2005 at about 4:00 p.m. for a compromise and expressed their desire to take the petitioner with them. After some hesitation, the petitioner returned to her sasural, but when she arrived, she discovered that a stranger woman was also living with the accused’s family, and upon more investigation, it was discovered that she was the petitioner’s husband’s second wife. When the petitioner objected, the accused beat her, locked her in a room, and forced her to sign blank papers.

  • Petitioner again turned out of Matrimonial house:27 May 2005

On 27.5.2005, the petitioner was kicked out of their house after signing divorce papers. The petitioner travelled to Deoria and told her father everything that had happened.

  • Petitioner lodged an F.I.R at Police Station Kotwali, Deoria: 17 September 2005

On September 17, 2005, petitioner filed an F.I.R. against respondent at Police Station Kotwali, Deoria, alleging violations of Sections 498A, 494, 313, and 504 of the Indian Penal Code.

Issues Raised

Rupali Devi vs. the State of Rajasthan has set a precedent for determining whether a woman forced to leave her matrimonial home due to acts of cruelty can initiate and access the legal process within the jurisdiction of the courts where she is forced to seek refuge with her parents or other family members.


The Hon’ble Supreme Court concluded that Section 178 offers an exception to the “ordinary rule” engrafted in Section 177 by allowing courts in another local area to take cognizance of the offense. In addition, if an offense committed in one locality is repeated in another, the courts in the latter location are competent to hear the case. If an offense is committed in another jurisdiction as a result of the consequences of a criminal act, the court in that jurisdiction is likewise competent to take cognizance under Section 179. As a result, if an offense is committed in part in one location and part in another, the exception to the “ordinary rule” would be attracted if the offense is a continuing offense or if the consequences of a criminal act result in an offense being committed at a different location, and the courts within whose jurisdiction the criminal act is committed would lose exclusive jurisdiction to try the offense.

The Supreme Court accepted the appeal and overturned the High Court’s acquittal. It found the respondent guilty of the offense punishable under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code and held that the courts in the location where the wife seeks refuge after fleeing or being driven from the matrimonial home due to acts of cruelty committed by the husband or his relatives also have jurisdiction to hear a complaint alleging commission of offenses under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code.

Critical Analysis

It is to be commended that the Supreme Court has said explicitly that women can file criminal charges related to cruelty from the location where they have sought refuge after leaving or being pushed out of their matrimonial home. The Supreme Court ruled that Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) covers both the wife’s mental and physical health. Even if a wife leaves her matrimonial home and returns to her parental home, the acts performed by the husband in the matrimonial home that constitute cruelty within the meaning of Section 498A can have negative consequences for her mental health in the parental home.

This Supreme Court ruling was necessary to prevent the rising number of cases of cruelty and domestic abuse directed at women, which result in suicides or serious injuries. The vulnerable women who are habitually beaten and tortured by their husbands and husband’s family members would be protected by the Hon’ble court’s decision.

This case analysis is written by Sanjana Suman student of Amity Law School, Amity University Jharkhand Ranchi.



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