A sessions court in Mumbai recently granted anticipatory bail to a Malabar Hill senior citizen couple, aged 75 and 80. This old couple has been accused of ill-treatment by their estranged daughter-in-law. While granting bail to the duo, the court noted :
Talking sarcastically by in-laws is a part of the wear and tear of married life.
In 2018, the complainant woman, now 30 year of age, got married to her Dubai-based school friend. A few days before the marriage, she was preparing her documents for the marriage to be registered. However, this is when her family realized that her to-be-husband was not the biological son of the accused old couple, but their domestic help. The South Mumbai residents had later adopted the boy and raised him.
Allegations By Daughter-in-Law
The woman argued that her in-laws did not gift her with anything at the time of wedding. Rather, it was her parents who invested Rs 1.5 crore and gave her diamond and gold jewellery. The complainant further stated that she was prohibited from touching the refrigerator, and was given stale food and made to sleep in the living room.
The woman also accused her in-laws of not allowing her to visit her maternal home. Whenever the woman would discuss the matter with her husband, he would allegedly ask her to adhere to his parents. According to the estranged daughter-in-law, her husband gave her 15-kgs of dry fruits when he returned from Dubai. The woman alleged that when she returned to her matrimonial home, her mother-in-law weighed the package before accepting it.
The prosecution also added that the woman’s jewelry was in the custody of her in-laws and husband.
Advocate representing the in-laws stated that the woman was fully aware of her husband being an adopted child. Moreover, the woman shared the roof with her in-laws only for 10-days after the wedding.
The defense also stated that both families had equally invested towards the wedding expenses.
Arguing further, the lawyer representing senior citizens said that his clients were oblivious of the FIR and only became aware of it after their accounts were blocked. They also declined to be in possession of any jewelry with them.
The old couple is also on the list put together by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists of people who had offshore entities. An investigation under this is still going on, and the daughter-in-law pressed this as one of the grounds for the court to reject her in-laws’ plea for bail.
The court, on the other hand, refused her argument and observed,
There may be a probe pending under ICIJ, which has no concern while deciding the application.
The court recorded that this was an independent crime, and said,
It is not shown if any crime is registered against the applicants for alleged involvement. So at this juncture, there is no need to get impressed by the proceedings.
Sessions Court Order
Special Judge Madhuri A Baraliya stated that the woman’s allegation against her in-laws were “general in nature”. The court remarked,
Talking sarcastically and taunting to the first informant (daughter-in-law) by the in-laws is the wear and tear of the married life, which every family witness.
The court concluded,
For those allegations, the custody of the applicants who are old aged 80 years and 75 years respectively, is not required with the police.
The woman also stated that her in-laws could possibly escape to Dubai. Thus, although the court granted pre-arrest bail to the old couple, it ordered them to submit their passports with police.
As for the recovery of the daughter-in-law’s ornaments, the probe agency had already frozen the in-laws’ accounts.
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