SC to examine whether kicking daughter-in-law amounts to cruelty
New Delhi: Setting aside its own verdict, the Supreme Court on Thursday decided to hear afresh the issue whether kicking daughter-in-law amounts to an offence of cruelty punishable under Section 498A of IPC.
Allowing a curative petition by the National Commission for Women (NCW), a bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir also "restored" the matter for de novo (fresh) hearing.
The Supreme Court in its order of July 27, 2009 had set aside the summoning order of March 21, 2005 passed by the trial court against a woman's husband, father-in-law and mother-in-law on the allegation of cruelty and breach of trust.
The mother-in-law was also accused of kicking the daughter-in-law.
Though NCW was not party in the case, it moved a curative petition, saying that the apex court's finding that kicking does not amount to cruelty, but some other offence, has far-reaching ramifications.
"We allow the curative petition filed by NCW and set aside the judgement passed by this court on July 27, 2009 and recall that judgement," the bench also comprising justices P Sathasivam and G S Singhvi, said.
A curative petition is the last remedy available in the apex court after the dismissal of review and main petitions. A curative petition is rarely allowed by the apex court.
While seeking response of the parties on the curative petition, the bench said, "The question determining the locus standi of the NCW in filing the case can be taken by the appropriate bench".
Senior advocate U U Lalit, appearing for the mother-in- law of the woman, had questioned the locus standi of NCW in filing the curative petition saying it was not a party in the case.
However, while allowing NCW's plea to intervene in the matter, the bench referred to the law governing the NCW which empowers it to take up the cases of violation of provisions of the Constitution and of other laws relating to women with the appropriate authorities.
Further, the bench noted the provision in the National Commission for Women Act, 1990, enables NCW to look into complaints and take suo moto notice of matters relating to women on various issues.