CASE ANALYSIS ON M.C. VERGHESE V. T.C. POONAN AND ANR., AIR 1970 SC 1876
In the instant case the respondent-husband had written three letters to his wife which were read by the Appellant. The Appellant then instituted a criminal case against the respondent alleging that the letters contained defamatory remarks against the Appellant himself. The Respondent defended the case by asserting that the letters are inadmissible as evidence in the Court of law by the virtue of Section 122 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 for it being a communication between husband and wife. Initially, the District Magistrate discharged the respondent-husband. On revision, the Court of Sessions set aside the order of District Magistrate. On appeal to High Court, the order of District Magistrate was restored. Thereafter, the Appellant approached the Supreme Court under Article 134 of the Indian Constitution. The Apex Court observed that in Indian Law husband and wife are treated as separate entities and no exception of English common law would per se apply on the Indian penal provisions. It was thus held by the Court that the letters sent by husband to his wife did not amount to “publication” and thus do not prima facie attract criminal liability under Section 499 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. Also, it was held that the letters are not admissible as evidence by the virtue of Section 122 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 for it being a marital communication while observing that any other proof may be given than those barred under Section 122 for proving the constitution of offence. It thus ordered the inception of trials before the District Magistrate as per the Indian Law.