Spending more time with friends or coming home late are not sufficient to convict a husband for the offence punishable under Sec.498-A IPC.

So the act of returning home late alone will not amount to cruelty under section 498-A of IPC but the reason for coming late or the act of the husband after coming home late might amount to cruelty based on the situation. The court of law does not convict a person just for carrying out a mere act rather the intention (mens rea) of doing the act is considered important. Mens rea speaks about the intention of the person to commit a crime.

The Supreme Court in the judgment reported as 1998(1) Recent Criminal Report 581 SC observed that if husband has the habit of returning home late at night, it is insufficient to establish the initial ingredient of cruelty for the purpose of Sec.498-A IPC.

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