The Andhra Pradesh High Court has said a girlfriend or concubine who is not related to a man by blood or marriage cannot be treated as the man’s relative under Section 498A IPC. The Court made the observation while granting a stay to the petitioner and directing the Investigating Officer not to take any coercive steps including her arrest in a case registered under Sections 498A and 114 IPC in Disha Women Police Station, SPSR Nellore District.
The petitioner is the second accused in the FIR and the allegation against her is that she is the girlfriend of the first accused, who is the husband of the complainant, and said to have developed illegal intimacy with the complainant’s husband.
Advocate Naga Praveen Vankayalapati, the counsel for the petitioner, sought quashing of the FIR mainly on the ground that only a relative of the husband connected by blood or marriage alone is liable for prosecution under Section 498A IPC and a girlfriend or concubine is not liable for prosecution under it as the petitioner is not relative either by blood or marriage to complainant husband.
Justice Cheekati Manavendranath found considerable weight in the contention of the petitioner. “It is now well-settled law that only a relative of a husband by blood or marriage is liable for prosecution under Section 498A IPC. Girlfriend or concubine, is not connected by blood or marriage, is not a relative of the husband for the purpose of Section 498A IPC,” the Court opined.
The court relied upon the Apex Court Judgment in the case of U.Suvetha Vs. state reported in ( 2009 ) 6 SCC 757 in which the Top Court held that persons who can commit an offense under Section 498A IPC are husband and relatives only. A girlfriend, being not a relative, cannot be charged under Section 498A IPC.
The Court observed that the petitioner could make out a strong case warranting interference of the Court to ascertain whether launching of criminal prosecution under Section 498 A IPC was legally sustainable and whether the FIR registered against her was liable to be quashed or not.
Therefore in light of those facts, the High Court ordered that there shall be a stay of further proceedings pursuant to registration of FIR, only in respect of the petitioner.
“The investigation against the other accused shall go on,” clarified the Court.