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Jharkand High court slams the verdict against cruelty.


Conviction under Section 498A IPC: The primary issue was the appeal by Sanjay Kumar Rai against his conviction under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for cruelty towards his wife, Neelam Devi, who was suffering from cancer.

Challenge to Acquittal: Neelam Devi’s father, Ram Kripal Singh, challenged the acquittal of her in-laws, Sulochana Devi, Manju Devi, and Anju Devi, as well as her brother-in-law, Bhageshwar Roy, in connection with the alleged mistreatment and dowry-related harassment.

Allegations of Cruelty: The court had to examine whether the failure to provide proper medical aid to Neelam Devi, allegedly to pressure her for dowry, amounted to cruelty under Section 498A IPC.


The High Court, in its judgment, reasoned as follows:

  • The court upheld Sanjay Kumar Rai’s conviction, stating that the failure to provide adequate medical assistance to one’s spouse to enforce dowry demands falls within the definition of cruelty under Section 498A IPC.
  • Neelam Devi’s complaint highlighted that she was subjected to torture by her in-laws and brother-in-law due to dowry demands. However, the court found her allegations to be broad and vague, lacking specific details and evidence of injuries caused by them.
  • The court noted that Neelam Devi’s husband refused to get her cancer treated, claiming her father had not provided sufficient dowry for her medical expenses. This refusal to provide medical aid was seen as a form of cruelty.
  • The prosecution failed to provide compelling evidence regarding the exact nature and timing of the alleged torture by the in-laws, resulting in the court upholding their acquittal.


  • The husband, Sanjay Kumar Rai, argued against his conviction under Section 498A IPC, likely contending that he was not responsible for the alleged dowry-related cruelty.
  • Neelam Devi’s father, Ram Kripal Singh, argued that her in-laws and brother-in-law should not have been acquitted and that they were responsible for the mistreatment and dowry harassment she endured.


The Jharkhand High Court upheld Sanjay Kumar Rai’s conviction under Section 498A IPC, as it deemed the failure to provide medical assistance to Neelam Devi, due to alleged dowry demands, as a form of cruelty. However, the acquittal of the in-laws and brother-in-law was upheld due to the lack of specific evidence supporting the allegations of mistreatment. The judgment clarified the legal stance on cruelty within the context of dowry-related harassment in India’s legal framework.

Written by — Athi Venkatesh

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