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Sarcasm, taunting by in-laws wear and tear of married life, Mumbai judge observes

The court was hearing the application of a couple, aged 80 and 75, who were seeking anticipatory bail in a case of mistreating their daughter-in-law.

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Mumbai: A sessions court recently granted anticipatory bail to a Mumbai couple accused of mistreating their daughter-in-law, saying taunting by in-laws is something that every family witnesses as part of the “wear and tear” of married life.

The court was hearing the application of a couple, aged 80 and 75, seeking anticipatory bail fearing arrest by the Malabar Hill Police station under Indian Penal Code sections related to subjecting a woman to cruelty by her husband or his relative; cheating and dishonesty; criminal breach of trust; voluntarily causing hurt; and criminal intimidation.

“It is shown that the first informant stayed for very short period with the applicants. Talking sarcastically and taunting to the first informant by the in-laws is the wear and tear of the married life, which every family witnesses. For those allegations the custody of the applicants who are old aged 80 years and 75 years respectively, is not required with the police,” said judge Madhuri Baraliya in the order dated 16 December.

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The case

The 30-year-old woman, the first informant in the case, got married to her school friend, now based in Dubai, in 2018. Just a few days before the wedding, she found out that her husband was actually the biological child of the domestic help and was adopted and raised by her in-laws.

Among other things, she alleged that her in-laws did not gift her anything, made her sleep in the living room, did not allow her to touch the fridge and gave her stale food to eat, prohibited her from visiting her mother, and also that her father-in-law saw her with an “evil eye”.

The woman also said her mother gifted her gold and diamond ornaments worth Rs 1.51 crore at the wedding. The prosecution alleged that the woman’s in-laws and husband are in custody of this jewellery and are not giving her information about the lockers.

The woman also alleged that her in-laws were on the list of people with offshore entities that was put together by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), and argued that their anticipatory bail application should be rejected on these grounds.

Judge Baraliya, however, said, “There may be any probe pending under ICIJ against the applicants which has no concern while deciding the present application…”

The accounts of the applicants have already been frozen, the judge observed while granting anticipatory bail. She, however, ordered the couple to deposit their passports with the Malabar Hill police station.

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