NEW DELHI - Paramours of married woman beware! The Supreme Court has ruled that a man having an affair with a married woman and unwittingly driving her husband to end his life out of humiliation is liable to be held guilty of abetting the suicide.
A vacation bench of Justice Mukundakam Sharma and Justice B.S. Chauhan ruled thus while endorsing an Andhra Pradesh High Court ruling convicting and jailing Guntur resident Dammu Sreenu for three years.
According to the verdict, delivered May 28 but only released Tuesday, Sreenu had an affair with his neighbour Bitra Nagarjuna Rao’s wife, who abandoned her husband. This had resulted in Rao committing suicide Jan 8, 1996.
Rao suspected his wife’s relationship with Sreenu and he questioned her, which resulted in a fight between the two.
Rao also called up her father and asked him to take her away for counseling to save the marriage.
But Sreenu visited Rao’s house Jan 1, 1996 and confessed about the relationship. He also said he would continue the affair as long as the woman did not abandon him.
As the affair was confirmed, Rao told his brother and other relatives that “it would be better to die as he felt very much insulted and humiliated”. He later committed suicide.
After the matter was reported to the police, both Sreenu and Rao’s wife were arrested and tried on charges of driving Rao to commit suicide.
The magisterial court held both guilty of abetting Rao’s suicide and ordered a five year jail term for each of them, which was reduced to three years by a sessions court on an appeal.
On appeal, the Andhra Pradesh High Court reduced the sentence of Rao’s wife to one year but retained the three-year jail term for Sreenu.
The Supreme Court upheld the high court’s ruling.