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Drinking alcohol is not cruelty to wife, rules court

Saturday, 11 January 2014 - 8:40am IST | Agency: dna

Couple first met on a matrimonial site and got married in 2005; wife broke up after six months, accusing him of cruelty.

Falling in love with a woman on a matrimonial site proved costly for Kumar Taranand Zha, a Mira Road resident, after he was accused of cruelty and put behind bars along with his elderly parents.

However, a  Thane court recently acquitted him, holding that his ‘offence’ — consuming alcohol — did not amount to cruelty against his wife.

Zha, 35, a marketing manager with a crockery exporting firm met Reena Sharma, a resident of Ahmedabad, on a matrimonial site and instantly fell head over heels in love with each other. The couple got married on January 17, 2005. However, six months later, the union broke down with Sharma leaving Zha to live with her parents in Ahmedabad. Sharma had claimed that Kumar — who drinks alcohol— failed to mention it on the site. She also accused him of demanding dowry and assault.

On March 25, 2009, Zha, his parents, brother and brother-in-law were arrested by the Mira Road police under section 498A (Husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty) and 406 (intentional breach of trust) and 34 (common intent) of the Indian Penal Code. They were remanded in police custody for four days.

But, Zha had a reason to smile when he was acquitted of all charges by Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC) UB Kalapagar of the Thane Court. Kalapur dismissed Sharma’s allegations as baseless and false. “The court order clearly states that drinking is not cruelty. I earned Rs25,000 at the time and the ground for demanding dowry was not established. She had alleged that I snatched cash from her purse, but the court said that the money was earned by me. The court also observed that my parents were dragged into the case for no reason, said Zha.

“After I was arrested I could not face my parents, leave alone society. I was taunted and called a wife-beater. Even my friends distanced themselves from me. The court order has given me relief and I can now face the world head on,” said Zha.

“I want to forget this incident like it was a nightmare, but it’s a lesson learned. Thousands of husbands are being trapped for many years in such cases,” he said.

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