I have a legal query regarding Section 376C. Can a husband file a complaint U/s 376C & 497 IPC against a senior employee of the company in which the complainant’s wife is employed on the ground that the senior employee seduced his wife to have illicit relationship with her without his consent or connivance?
Answer: Yes, the husband can file the complaint in such a case both under Section 376C IPC (“Sexual intercourse by a person in authority”) and Section 497 IPC (“Adultery”).
In fact, for an offence of adultery under Section 497 IPC, as per the provisions of Section 198 of Cr.P.C. [read sub-section (1) and (2) together] the only competent person allowed under law to file complaint is husband. Nobody other than husband can file complaint for offence under Section 497 IPC. Relevant extracts of Section 198 Cr.P.C. are reproduced below:
“198. Prosecution for offences against marriage.— (1) No Court shall take cognizance of an offence punishable under Chapter XX of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860) except upon a complaint made by some person aggrieved by the offence:
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(2) For the purposes of sub-section (1), no person other than the husband of the woman shall be deemed to be aggrieved by any offence punishable under Section 497 or Section 498 of the said Code:
Provided that in the absence of the husband, some person who had care of the woman on his behalf at the time when such offence was committed may, with the leave of the Court, make a complaint on his behalf.”
For offence under Section 376C IPC (“Sexual intercourse by a person in authority”), the complaint can be filed by any person, including the husband since the law does not restrict the right of any person in this regard. However, if the husband files a complaint for this offence committed against his wife, for the case to succeed in court during trial (or even at the time of discharge application, if any, filed by accused), wife’s evidence may be crucial. Therefore, it may be of importance that the wife supports the complaint lodged by the husband. But, the fact remains that law allows the husband to file complaint under Section 376C IPC committed against his wife.