In the first place, this is a good news for all men or husbands out there who are facing divorce cases where ‘impotency’ is cited as a reason for separation! In a landmark ruling, the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court has ruled that calling a person ‘impotent’ amounts to defamation and it adversely reflects his manhood. The court announced this ruling while dismissing a woman’s application for discharge from the criminal proceedings against her on husband’s complaint.
Citing section 500 (punishment for defamation) of the Indian Penal Code, the High Court held that use of such word, impotent, constitutes the offense of defamation.
The ruling of the court, as reported by the Times of India, reads:
“Prima facie, the word ‘impotent’, when understood in a plain and grammatical sense, reflects adversely upon person’s manhood and has a tendency to invite derisive opinions about him from others. Therefore, its usage and publication as contemplated under Section 499 (damage to reputation) would be sufficient to constitute the offense of defamation under Section 500 (punishment for defamation) of IPC.”
Calling the woman’s allegations as defamatory in character, and amounts to cause harm or injury on husband’s reputation, the judge reportedly said,
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“Reading her allegations without adding/subtracting anything from it, one gets an impression that it’s defamatory in character and has been, prima facie, calculated to cause harm or injury to husband’s reputation. It also gives an impression that apparently, it has been made with consciousness about the repercussion that such a statement would have on his life.”
The landmark ruling comes over the case of a couple, who has a daughter, whose relations got strained after the wife left for matrimonial home and later filed a divorce case in family court, which granted the daughter’s interim custody to father. The wife challenged this order in High Court where she raised aspersions on her husband’s potency and capacity to engage into a physical relationship.
Disturbed over her allegations, the husband lodged a complaint against his wife and in-laws for defamation and offenses under Section 500 and 506 (Punishment for criminal intimidation) of IPC. The Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC) then instituted an inquiry and after receiving wife’s statement and examining witnesses, he issued orders to register crime against wife under Section 500 and 506 in 2017.
Meanwhile, it is believed that the ruling would help a lot of men or husbands facing divorce cases where ‘impotency’ was often cited as one of the reasons by wives for separation along with dowry, domestic violence, and harassment.