HYDERABAD: The Hyderabad High Court has held that ‘second wife’ has got the right to lodge a dowry harassment case against her husband. The court dismissed a petition filed by N Tirupati Reddy seeking quashing of the case lodged by his wife under Section 498 (A) of IPC. He questioned her locus standi on the ground that she was not the legally wedded wife but only a ‘second wife’.
On the other hand, the respondent wife claimed that the petitioner had married her with the consent of his first wife as she was critically injured in a fire accident. He was paid `2 lakh in cash and given a piece of land worth `1 lakh at the time of marriage by her parents. Justice U Durga Prasad Rao, while relying upon the judgment of the Supreme Court in A Subash Babu vs State of AP case, said that the petitioner cannot seek for quashing of the proceedings only on the ground that the complainant is his second wife.
Earlier, in the Subash Babu case, a single judge of the AP High Court had quashed the complaint lodged by a second wife holding that ‘second wife’ is not a ‘wife’ as marriage of second wife is void and she is not entitled to lodge complaint for commission of offence under Section 498A of IPC. The matter then reached the Supreme Court which had held that “after examining the scope of Section 498A of IPC, a person who enters into the marital arrangement cannot be allowed to take shelter behind the smokescreen of contention that since there was no valid marriage the question of dowry does not arise.”