Misuse of 498A

498A

We are talking about Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code which reads:

“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. The offence is Cognizable, non-compoundable and non-bailable.

This law has been misused by women and her family members, more than any other law in India. Thousands of families have been destroyed by misuse of the said law. How?

If a woman’s demands are not met by her husband or her in-laws, she directly files a false complaint in the Police Station and the husband and his family members are immediately put behind bars. The said offence is non-compoundable and non-bailable, which means nobody but the court can quash the complaint or FIR and give bail to the accused person.

So much so that in July 2014, the Hon’ble Supreme Court had to issue directions that Police should not automatically arrest husband and his family members on receipt of complaint from any woman. The local magistrate has to allow arrest of the accused. The Hon’ble Court had observed, “The simplest way to harass is to get the husband and his relatives arrested under this provision. In a quite number of cases, bed-ridden grand-fathers and grand-mothers of the husbands, their sisters living abroad for decades are arrested.”

Read a post from a website offering legal support to various people.

“Throughout my marriage which is 1.5 years old – the 6 months that we were together, I was subject to torture – mental as well physical by my wife. She did not even let me consummate the marriage. So I left her to her per-marital home out of fear of my own safety. She filed a false domestic violence case 6 months ago which is dragging till date because of many reasons. She first said she wants to divorce and asked for a heft sum. Now she says she wants to stay with me and will never leave me (although that does not seem to be an option any longer as I am just too scared for my and my parents’ safety). I am confused. What should I do? The law seems to totally favor women. Is there some way out for me?”

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