MISUSE OF SECTION 498A IPC: A LEGAL TERRORISM
The Author of this blog is Ms. Megha Garg of SGT University, Gurgaon
of law is social engineering. Therefore, it has to cater the needs of changing
society according to changing situations. Sometimes, the very provisions of law
which are meant to be reformative become a source of harassment.
is a country where Rites and customs have played a major role of the society.
In which dowry was one of the practices prevailing in our society from long
period. Initially, this practice was treated as blessing but it took an ugly
turn and turned into a curse for the society because the women fell prey of the
greed of their husbands and of his family. Moreover, this practice became a
cause of harassing the women and causing mental as well as physically cruelty.
Thus, for the protection of women, the Government of India inserted Section
498A under IPC by the Amendment Act 1983. But, with the rise of education,
financial security, and modernization, women started using this section as a
weapon rather than a shield. In the recent scenario, there are cases seen where
women misuse Sec 498A of IPC and by filing case against her husband and her
in-laws which was not intended by the legislature. It has been found that the motives
behind filing false cases under sec. 498A are as follows:
Wife wants to teach a lesson to husband or
Wife wants easy divorce.
Wife cannot adjust in husband’s family.
Wife wants to get a huge amount as alimony.
Wife having illicit relationship.
of curbing the evil of dowry and cruelty towards woman, the misuse of these
provisions is adversely affecting the very foundation of society i.e. the
family. The family comes to an end as soon as complaint is lodged and
cognizance is taken by police.
non bailable, this law is having tendency to make arrest of all accused
including senior citizens, minors, sister in laws, brother-in-laws even without
investigation and may be without any fault on their part. Lawyer and police too
joined the work for bargain and the husband is just reduced to an ATM machine.
Supreme Court of India and various High Courts time and again showed their
concern over misuse of anti dowry laws.
Devi v.Ramesh Chand & Ors,
the Court held clearly that there was misuse and exploitation of the provisions
to such an extent that it was hitting at the foundation of marriage itself and
proved to be not so good for the health of society at large. The court believed
that authorities and lawmakers had to review the legal provisions to prevent
such from taking place.
Supreme Court of India in Sushila Sharma v. Union of India,
held the misuse of sec. 498A IPC as LEGAL TERRORISM.
v. State of Punjab,
the Apex Court observed as:” For the fault of the husband , in laws or other
relatives in all cases cannot be involved. The acts attributed to such persons
have to be proved beyond reasonable doubt and they cannot be held responsible
by mere conjectures and implications. The tendency to rope in relatives of the
husband as accused has to be curbed.”
case of State v. Srikanth
The Karnataka High Court observed as, “ Roping in of the whole family including
brothers and sister-in-law has to be depriciated unless there is specific material against
these persons, it is down right on the part of the police to include the whole
of the family as accused”.
Kumar v. State of Bihar,
the Court observed that as sec. 498A is cognizable and bailable, it is more
often used as a weapon rather than shield by wives which results in harassment
of husband and his relatives without any prima facie case. Thus, the Court laid
down certain guidelines which the police officer must followwhile making arrest
under section 498A IPC and that arrest must be based on reasonable satisfaction
that allegation is genuine. Moreover, Magistrate must be careful while ordering
detention that it should not be a casual or mechanical detention.
Parwana Khaoon v. State of Bihar,the
sister-in- law and brother-in-law of the deceased wife challenged the
conviction in the Supreme Court. The court observed that the appellant in the
case is not even reside at the place of mishap and the evidences were not
sufficient to prove the charge beyond reasonable doubt. Therefore, the court
acquitted them and held that Court must guard against false implication of the
Supreme Court laid down comprehensive guidelines in Rajesh Kumar v. State of
to curb the misuse of Sec. 498A of IPC. These directions include:
The constitution of Family Welfare Committee
to submit the report on complaint made under Sec 498A IPC and referred by the
police or Magistrate. No arrest can be made till report is sent by the
Appointment of investigating officer to
investigate the complaints under Sec. 498A IPC.
If the settlement is reached, then District
and Session Judge are empowered to dispose of the proceedings including closure
of criminal cases if the dispute primarily related to matrimonial discord.
Bail application can be decided on the same
day if that is filed with atleast one day’s notice to Public Prosecutor or the
Personal appearance of all the family members
specially the members who are out of station may not be required.
the Court clearly said that this direction will have no application to the
offences which involves tangible physical injury or death.
development in this chain was made by the Supreme Court of India in the case of Social Action Forum for Manav
Adhikar & another v. Union of India. In this case a writ petition was filed under
sec 32 of the Constitution of India. The petitioner contended that we cannot
ignore that a number of women suffer from violence at the hands of husband and
their relatives and the accusation that sec. 498A is being misused is not
supported by any concrete data on such misuse.
After referring to the directions, the Supreme Court concluded that
Family welfare Committees and their duties are not in accordance with the
provisions of Cr. P.C. 1973 and the same is declared impermissible. Further,
the court modified the direction related to settlement that if settelment is
arrived at, the parties can approach the High court under Sec. 482 of Cr.P.C.
consequence of false charges under Sec 498A of IPC is very destructive. The
parents and relative of husband are labeled with criminal records even if the charge
is a false one. Sometimes, an innocent husband who out of frustration and shame
choose to commit suicide. As it is non compoundable offence, case cannot be
withdrawn and thus chances of living together again become negligible. The life
of parents of husband who got arrested turns into hell. A dignified life turns into a shameful life.
As the offence is non bailable and cognizable, the man does not get a chance to
get justice even if he is innocent and it is rightly said that justice delayed
is justice denied. Therefore, the law makers must suggest some way of making
this section unbiased towards every individual and such that the guilty is
punished and the person wronged is provided with justice.
have to understand that criminal cases and non bailable offences like sec 498Aare
not a joke like ordering PIZZA. Criminal cases are there for punishing
criminals. It is not a money earning tool.
This section has created biggest problem in a current scenario for men as they are being discriminated and such laws are being misused by women and there is a need of amendment in section 498A so as to protect men and for punishing women misusing the same. Thus, there is a need for providing safety to the innocent men in the society from the frivolous filing of cases under Section-498A. As of now, there is no law to provide shield and remedy to men from such exploitation.
 II (2003) DMC 328
 AIR 2005 SC 309
2000 Cri. L.J. 2993
 2002 Cri. L.J. 3065
 (2014) 8 SCC 273
 (2017) 6 SCC 792
 (2017) SCC online SC 821
 (2018) 10 SCC 443