‘Holds motive is proved when the witnesses deposed that the deceased paramour had told them that he had illicit relationship with the wife of the accused.’
 Adultery is no longer a crime, thanks to the recent ruling by the Constitution bench of the Supreme Court of India. But does adultery motivate people to commit a crime?
Relationships are delicate matters and matrimonial relationships are built on trust. When the trust is broken by one partner, the other can go to extremes. Illicit relationships by husbands have made wives commit suicides and there are many cases in which the husbands are convicted for abetment of suicide by their wives. Similarly, there are cases of men who get cheated by wives who resort to crimes.
The Delhi High Court on Friday upheld the conviction of a man who was accused of killing his wife’s secret lover. The trial court had sentenced the man and another accused to life imprisonment.
The high court held that prosecution was also able to establish the existence of motive for the commission of the crime by the accused. For this, the court referred to testimonies of two persons who had deposed before the trial court that the deceased had told them that he had an illicit relationship with the wife of the accused.
“The verbal statement of the deceased made to PW1 and PW7 before his death is relevant to the circumstance of the transaction which resulted in his death. Since the death of the deceased has come into question in the present trial, the said statements made by the deceased Yogesh to PW1 and PW7 – with regard to his illicit relationship with the wife of A1-Virender,” the bench said referring to Section 32 of the Evidence Act.
The bench comprising Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice IS Mehta said this would also be covered by clause (3) of Section 32 of the Indian Evidence Act which makes those statements relevant which would expose him or would have exposed him to a criminal prosecution. It also observed: “The testimonies of PW1 and PW7, no doubt, by themselves do not establish the illicit relationship between Yogesh and the wife of A1- since the requirements of Section 60 of the Indian Evidence Act are not fulfilled. However, what has been established from the testimonies of PW1 and PW7 is that the deceased Yogesh had claimed that he had an illicit relationship with the wife of A1-Virender; that Virender had seen his wife and the deceased in a compromising position and; that on that account A1 Virender had given beatings to Yogesh– the deceased.”
The bench went on to observe: “The statement of the deceased to PW1 and PW7 that he had an illicit relationship with the wife of A1- Virender would have exposed him to a criminal prosecution under Section 497 IPC. We may observe that Section 497 IPC has been struck down by the Supreme Court now in W.P.(C.) No. Crl.A.1494/2014 Page 26 of 27 194/2017, titled Joseph Shine v. Union of India, vide judgment dated 28.09.2018. However, at the relevant point of time, the said provision was still in force and the deceased Yogesh had no reason to believe that the said provision would, in future, be declared to be unconstitutional.”