SC slams wife beating, says not accepted social norm

While a sessions court in Karnataka thought that "one or two beatings is not the kind of cruelty that could drive a woman to commit suicide", the Supreme Court on Thursday deprecated all kinds of "insensitivity" shown by people as well as judges towards crimes against women.

Appealing for no-tolerance towards any sort of physical violence on women, the apex court said that "mindset" of people, including that of the judges, must change to make sure that the protection granted to women by the Constitution and other laws are proved "meaningful".

In a judgment, a Bench led by Justice Aftab Alam reprimanded the trial court judge for making certain observations that suggested that "giving one or two beating was not cruelty to drive the deceased to commit suicide".

The trial court had acquitted the man of the penal charges after noting that there was no concrete evidence to suggest his actions forced his wife to end life in 2002. The Karnataka HC however sent the man to jail for five years for abetting her suicide.

Expressing "anguish" over the insensitivity shown by sessions judge, the Bench said, "The tenor of the judgment suggests that wife beating is a normal facet of married life. Does that mean giving one or two slaps to a wife by a husband just does not matter? We do not think that that can be a right approach. It is one thing to say that every wear and tear of married life need not lead to suicide and it is another thing to put it so crudely and suggest that one or two assaults on a woman is an accepted social norm," said the court.

The Bench upheld the five-year jail term for the accused.

Hearing PILs on fast-track courts today

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