A man cannot be convicted on charges of instigating his wife to commit suicide just because he criticised her for being dark, ruled the Madras High Court here today.
Justice M Sathyanarayanan of the High Court’s Madurai Bench, allowing a petition filed by Paramasivam against a lower court order, said, “Criticising the wife for being dark in colour does not amount to harassment or torture, and it cannot be said that the husband instigated the wife to commit suicide.” The Judge acquitted him of the charges.
Mr Paramasivam’s wife Sudha was found dead on September 12, 2001.
A lower court in Tirunelveli District, in Tamil Nadu’s deep south, had convicted Paramsivam and sentenced him to seven years’ imprisonment, on charges of instigating his wife to commit suicide. He was also sentenced to three years imprisonment under the Dowry Harassment Act on October 27, 2006. He had then filed an appeal against the conviction and sentence in the High Court.
The counsel for the petitioner submitted that describing the wife as “dark coloured” is not instigating her to commit suicide. Hence that could not be the ground for convicting a person.
He had asked money for starting a business and that was not harassment. The petitioner had a car and had asked money for repairing the car and doing business, and that too he had asked his wife to get back the money he had given to his father-in-law. This was not dowry harassment, the counsel said.