Section 498A of IPC- The Definition & Our Courts Opinion

Section 498A IPC 

Section 498A of IPC- The Definition & Our Courts Opinion
Section 498A of IPC- The Definition & Our Courts Opinion

[Read 498A Quash Judgments]

Section 498A of IPC- The Definition & Our Courts Opinion

Section 498A of IPC - Husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty.—Whoever, being the husband or the relative of the husband of a woman, subjects such woman to cruelty shall be pun­ished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine. Explanation.—For the purpose of this section, “cruelty” means—
  1. a)  any willful conduct which is of such a nature as is likely to drive the woman to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to life, limb or health (whether mental or physical) of the woman;
  1. b)  harassment of the woman where such harassment is with a view to coercing her or any person related to her to meet any unlawful demand for any property or valuable security or is on account of failure by her or any person related to her to meet such demand.

Section 498A of IPC- Legally, is an offense, which is:

  • Section 498A IPC -Cognizable: Offences are divided into cognizable and non-cognizable. By law, the police are duty-bound to register and investigate a cognizable offense. Cognizable does not mean that the police can arrest you upon the filing of the FIR. They are required to investigate as a first step. Section 498A IPC is a cognizable offense.
  • Section 498A IPC - Non-Bailable: There are two kinds of offenses, bailable and non-bailable. 498A is non-bailable. This means that the magistrate has the power to refuse bail and remand you to judicial or police custody.
  • Section 498A IPC - Non-Compoundable: A non-compoundable case cannot be withdrawn by the petitioner. 498A is non-compoundable.

Our Courts Visions about Section 498A of IPC Law- Judicial Pronouncements

  1.   The Bombay High Court had observed that it is not every harassment or every type of cruelty that would attract Section 498A IPC. Beating and harassment must be to force the bride to commit suicide or to fulfill illegal demands.
  1.     A similar view was taken by the Punjab and Haryana High that offense under Section 498-A IPC would not be made out if beating given to the bride by husband and his relations was due to domestic disputes and not on account of demand of dowry.
  1. In Manju Ram Kalita vs State Of Assam on 29 May 2009, the Supreme Court of India held that Cruelty has been defined by the explanation added to the Section itself. The elements of cruelty so far as clause (a) is concerned, have been classified as follows :
  • Firstly any `willful' conduct which is of such a nature as is likely to drive the woman to commit suicide; or 
  • Secondly, any `willful' conduct which is likely to cause grave injury to the woman; or 
  • Third any `wilful' act which is likely to cause danger to life, limb, or health, whether physical or mental of the woman.

[Read 498A Quash Judgments]

  1. The Supreme Court observed that harassment to constitute cruelty under explanation (b) to Section 498A IPCmust have nexus with the demand of dowry and if this is missing then as a result case will fall beyond the scope of Section 498A IPC.
  1. The Madhya Pradesh High Court considered opinion that even if the entire allegations are considered on their face value but there is no specific allegation against any of the persons including (husband and relatives), as a result, it would not be proper to compel those persons to face the agony of criminal prosecution.
  1. The Delhi High Court considered opinion that there should be more than one act than only it will constitute harassment and when there are no such allegations that there were series of action to which the complainant was subjected with a view to extracting dowry either from her or her parents or relations it will not come under explanation (b) of Section 498A IPC. and when the allegations made in the complaint are vague, unspecified and improbable as no date, time, or place of any incident is given, as a result, it will not attract the offense under Section 498A IPC.

[Read 498A Quash Judgments]

  1. The various courts considered the opinion that the married sisters and other relatives of the husband of the complainant who is living separately in their own houses at different locations would not come down simultaneously to the matrimonial home of the complainant and subject the complainant to demand of dowry and the consequent cruelty. As a result, this ground is taken by various courts that if the charge against those relatives is not prima facie made out and there is no grave suspicion to summoned such an offense available on record to put them to trial.
  1. Patna High Court in CR. MISC. No.4306 of 2015 dt.20-09-2019. It was held that each and every demand does not fall within the mischief of unlawful demand as explained in Section 498A I.P.C. 
  1. In the case of Appasaheb & Anr. Vs. State of Maharashtra reported in 2007 AIR SCW 456. The demands for money were for meeting the urgent financial needs of the family and for meeting urgent domestic expenses. As a result, the Hon’ble Supreme Court held that it was not a dowry demand. 

[Read 498A Quash Judgments]

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Conclusion: The article explains Section 498A of IPC- The Definition & Our Courts Opinion which helps in understanding the definition of the 498a law and the opinion of courts when it will be applicable. Understanding this will further help in preparing for your fight against section 498A misuse.


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