The Indian Supreme Court has ruled a husband or a relative cannot be convicted of harassing a woman if the complaint is made a considerable amount of time after the alleged act. A bench of Justices Mukundakam Sharma and B S Chauhan passed the ruling while setting aside the conviction and three-year sentence imposed on Manju Ram Kalita, a resident of Assam fs Kamrup district. The SC while quashing the charge against Kalita under Section 498 (harassment of wife by husband or relatives), however, upheld his conviction for bigamy (IPC 494). The bench noted that in the present case, the complaint was lodged three years after the alleged harassment and hence cannot be sustained.
The SC also stated that :
“10. It is settled legal proposition that if the courts below have recorded the finding of fact, the question of re-appreciation of evidence by the third court does not arise unless it is found to be totally perverse. The higher court does not sit as a regular court of appeal. It’s function is to ensure that law is being properly administered. Such a court cannot embark upon fruitless task of determining the issues by re-appreciating the evidence. This Court would not ordinarily interfere with the concurrent findings on pure questions of fact and review the evidence again unless there are exceptional circumstances justifying the departure from the normal practice. The position may undoubtedly be different if the inference is one of law from the facts admitted and proved or where the finding of fact is materially affected by violation of any rule of law or procedure”
Here is the judgment: MANJU RAM KALITA – Vs- Assam – 2009