Madhya Pradesh High Court Rules That Forcing Wife to Stay at Parental Home for Dowry is Mental Cruelty

In a significant ruling, Justice G.S Ahluwalia of the Madhya Pradesh High Court stated that forcing a wife to stay at her parental home due to demands for dowry constitutes mental cruelty. The case involved Neeraj Saraf, Pankaj Saraf, and his wife Seema Saraf, who sought to quash an FIR registered against them at the Rewa Women’s Police Station for dowry harassment.

The complaint was filed by Shilpa, who married Satyendra Saraf in May 2017. Nearly four and a half years later, in November 2021, Shilpa accused her husband and the petitioners of demanding 20 tolas of gold and a Toyota Fortuner. She reported that they subjected her to physical abuse and eventually forcibly expelled her from their home on October 30 when the dowry demands were not met. Her parents were then informed and took her to her parental home.

Justice Ahluwalia highlighted that remaining silent to preserve marital life is a virtuous act and cannot be deemed a response to a divorce application. After receiving a notice of divorce, Shilpa felt that there was no scope for reconciliation, leading her to file the complaint.

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