The cruelty against women is not a new issue, this social evil has been in our
society over the years.
Cruelty itself means behaving like a n animal with someone, beating and
harassing someone. Cruelty against women is commonly seen in Indian society.
Every single minute a woman, girl becomes the victim of cruelty against her
either by her own family or by a closely known person. Some stereotypes men even
take pleasure in beating, harassing women as they think it's the symbol of
So in order to put an end to this the law of our country had made
section489-A in the Indian penal code that particularly dealt with cruelty
against women. This section is truly a blessing for the women who are actually
dealing with the cruelty . But in the light of recent scenarios the section489-A
of Indian penal code has been used by some disgruntled women just to harass
their husband or their relatives to make money out of it.
The section489-A of
Indian penal code that is made to provide justice and security to women, to save
them from cruelty is being used as a weapon to harass husbands and other family
members. In this research paper the misuse of this law is elaborated upon and a
critical analysis is being done.
Judicial interpretations have been discussed to give a clarity about this
law and its misuse. This law needs to be amended in a way that these loopholes are being taken
care of. in order to make Sec 498A more effective, we must implement a new policing approach,
such as the victim empowerment model.
Section 489-A of the Indian penal code was enacted in 1983 to save women against
the cruelty done by her husband or other relatives . The offence of matrimonial
cruelty is defined under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code
(IPC), which was added to the IPC by an amendment in 1983. Section 498A of the IPC is a
punitive provision that works in conjunction with other articles in the Code of Civil Procedure
to have a deterrent effect. The offence is non-bailable (you must appear in court and obtain bail
from the judge), non-compoundable (the complaint cannot be withdrawn), and cognizable
(arrests without investigation or warrants) on a complaint submitted to the police officer by the
victim or designated relatives. Indian Penal Code 498A, passed by the Indian Parliament in
1983, is a criminal law and not a civil law which is defined as follows:
"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.
The section provides an explanation that elaborates the meaning of cruelty as
- Any willful conduct which is of a nature as is likely to drive the woman
to commit suicide or
to cause grave injury or danger to her life, limb, or health (whether physical
or mental) of the
- 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.
498A can only be used by the wife/daughter-in-law or a relative of the wife/daughter-in-law.
The majority of cases in which Sec 498A is invoked turn out to be fake, since they are merely
blackmail attempts by the wife (or her close relatives) in the face of a difficult marriage. In the
majority of situations, a 498A complaint is followed by a demand for a large sum of money
(extortion) in order to settle the issue outside of court.
Essential Elements Of This Section;
For the commission of an offence under Section 498-A, following necessary
to be satisfied:
This section's bare perusal points out that the word 'cruelty' covers the
occurrence of the following act:
- The woman must be married;
- She must be subjected to cruelty or harassment; and
- Such cruelty or harassment must have been shown either by the husband of
or by the relative of her husband.
- any willful behavior which might lead a woman to suicide or cause serious damage
- danger to life, limb, or life;
- a woman's health (mental or physical);
The harassment of a woman in the event of such harassment, with a view to
her or any other person related to her to fulfil an illegal requirement for any
property or valuable things.. Kinds of cruelty covered under this section includes following:
Misuse of the section489-A by disgruntled women to harass their husband:
- Cruelty by vexatious litigation
- Cruelty by deprivation and wasteful habits
- Cruelty by persistent demand
- Cruelty by extra-marital relations
- Harassment for non-dowry demand
- Cruelty by non-acceptance of baby girl
- Cruelty by false attacks on chastity
- Taking away children
Misuse of Section 498A is no longer a myth. In India's last 20 years of criminal law reform, a
recurrent argument levelled against laws dealing to violence against women has been that
women exploit such laws. In various precedents, married woman have filed a falsified
accusation using Section 498A of the IPC and formed her husband as a result of the regulation.
Well-educated women realize that it is both cognizable and non-bailable, meaning that it can
be triggered by a woman's simple accusation, placing the male behind bars. Such "misuse"
claims were fiercely pushed by the police, civil institutions, politicians, and even High Court
and Supreme Court judges. But at the same time, there are no regulations in place to safeguard
men from the exploitation of women. Furthermore, section 498A of the IPC was misapplied in
each and every district court case.
The section has been misused by some women to harass their husbands or in-laws.
The court has seen a tremendous increase in such cases and around 90 percent of
the cases were found to be false where the plaintiff just wanted to harass or to
make money out of it.. The lawmakers drafted and put Section 498A into the legal
structure with the goal of safeguarding women from cruelty, harassment, and
However, when cross-investigations were conducted to test the validity of these laws, the number of acquittals was
higher than the number of convictions. As a result, the Supreme Court, which enacted 498A
with the intention of protecting women from cruelty, now views it as legal terrorism. Because
overuse of Section 498A weakens its genuine credibility. That is one of numerous reasons why
It is said to be an anti-male statute. Although there have been numerous complaints and even
large-scale misuse has been acknowledged by the courts, there is no credible empirical data on the degree of claimed misuse.
In case of, Savitri Devi v. Ramesh Chand & Ors
, the Hon'ble Court specifically
regulates the abuse connected with the manipulation of the laws to such an
extent that it was totally influenced by the influence of marriage itself and
thus found not to be intelligent for the welfare of the giant community. The
court considered that authorities and lawmakers had to review the case and the
legal provisions to prevent it from happening.
In the case of, Saritha v. R. Ramachandran,
the Court noted the reverse trend
and requested a non-cognizable and bailable offence from the Law Commission and
Parliament. However, it was the court's requirement to condemn wrongdoing and to
shield the victim from what happens once the victim becomes the abuser. Here is
what remedy the husband will have. On this ground, the lady gets to divorce her
husband and remarry or in the form of compensation may gain cash.
In the case of Anju v. Govt. of NCT of Delhi
, In the case, the wife of the
Petitioner challenged the order of the Lower Court, whereby the Court discharged
the charges against the respondents under section 498A/34 of the Indian Penal
In appreciating the facts of the case, the Court noted that in the FIR, the wife
of the Petitioner in one breath named all members of the family without any
specific role being assigned to any of them. Thus, no details were provided as
to when the recorded instances allegedly occurred, or any facts to substantiate
or corroborate the allegations against relatives of the spouse. The Court also
noted that the allegations against the respondents were fairly general and
The plaintiff did not mention a date, time, month, or year when she
was subjected to beating them. In view of the aforementioned facts and
circumstances of the case, the High Court of Bombay upheld the order of the Revisional Court and held that the Court had made no mistake in concluding that,
apart from the general and omnibus allegations that roped in all relations,
there is no recorded material to justify the framing of charges under Section
In the case of, Chandra Bhan v. State
, the Hon'ble Court introduced the steps to
prevent the misuse of this Section:
- FIR should not be regularly reported as such;
- Police endeavour should be to carefully screen complaints and then
- No case should be registered under section 498-A/406 IPC without the prior
authorisation of DCP / Addl. DCP;
Before FIR registration, all possible reconciliation efforts should be made and,
if it is found that there is no possibility of settlement, necessary steps
should be taken in the first instance to ensure that stridhan and dowry articles
are returned to the complainant;
The arrest of the key accused can only be made after a proper investigation and
with the prior approval of the ACP / DCP has been performed;
In the case of collateral accused such as in-laws, prior approval of DCP should
be there on the file.
In the case of, Sushil Kumar Sharma v. Union of India and others
, the Supreme
Court held that the purpose of the provision is to prevent a threat to the
dowry. But as the petitioner rightly satisfied that many instances have come to
light where the complaints are not bonafide and are filed with oblique motives.
In these cases, the acquittal of the accused will not wash out the ignominy
incurred during and before the court in any case. Adverse media attention also
contributes to the situation.
Hence, the question is what remedial steps can be taken to discourage misuse of
the well-intentioned clause. Just because the provision is constitutional and
intra vires, it does not allow unscrupulous people to wreck personal vendetta or
unleash harassment. Thus, it may become necessary for the legislature to find
ways to deal appropriately with the makers of frivolous complaints or
allegations. Until then, under the current system function, the Courts have to
take care of the situation.
But new lawful terrorism can be unleashed by misuse of the provision. The object
of the law is to use a shield and not the arms of an attacker. There is no
question of the investigative agency and courts treating the allegations
lightly. In matters relating to dowry torture, death and cruelty, they can not
follow any straitjacket formula. It can not be lost sight that the ultimate aim
of any legal system is to reach the truth, punish the guilty and protect the
innocent. Some preconceived idea or perception has no scope.
strongly claims that the enforcement agencies and the courts begin with the
presumptions that the accused are guilty and that the plaintiff speaks the
truth. This argument is too broad and generalized. Some statutory presumptions
are drawn which are again reprehensible. It should be noted that the role of the
investigating agencies and the courts is a watchdog and not a bloodhound..
Suggestions and Conclusion:
The justice system must respond to domestic violence in a coordinated and systemic manner.
Despite the fact that Sec 498A is one of the most significant criminal law amendments
protecting women's rights, it is insufficient and we must remember that criminal law is a blunt
instrument, as it is extremely difficult to change police culture; even if the law considers
domestic violence against women to be a crime, the police may still fail to follow the law and
properly apply it.
As a result, in order to make Sec 498A and other criminal law remedies more effective, we must implement a new policing approach, such as the victim empowerment model
outlined above. It is necessary to develop a model that will implement pro-arrest processes and
social service networks at the police station in order to provide victims with alternative support
services. Most importantly, we must seek to improve standard and consistent policing, ensuring
that domestic abuse is taken seriously.
A research and development plan are urgently needed
to improve the current state of knowledge about the influence of legislative punishments on
domestic abuse. Simply passing an Act and scribbling it on legal paper does not guarantee that
its primary goal will be met.
If the laws against domestic abuse are to be enforced, the Court and legislation
In the light of the recent events, some suggestions to this act are as follows:
A speedy trial in 498A cases would not only assure restitution for innocent
people who were falsely accused, but it would also let the true donor
victims' concerns to be addressed quickly.
The number of fraudulent cases will decrease, but the number of actual
prosecutions will increase.
Because of their non-leasing behavior, 498 A are victims of unintentional
mistreatment. This region should be ransomed to prevent innocent young people,
pregnant sisters, and college students, from languishing in jail for weeks with
no one to blame.
If the married lady realizes she made a mistake and has to return home after filing a FIR, the
case cannot be dismissed. To save a lot of money on a wedding venue, this may be made
compoundable. In fact, where the couple want to dissolve their marriage by consensual divorce,
The continuation of criminal investigations is hampered.
Several incidents of men who have been assaulted by their spouses or in-laws have come to
light from all over the world. Because there is currently no organization that can make it
exceedingly easy for these busy people and their families to pay attention to their side of the
storey and establish a goal of reading ahead of the government. The current objective is to
establish family substance abuse centers across the country to aid those families who have been
In the understanding that most girls in the husband's family endure legal harassment, these
organizations should appropriately analyze critique without prejudice to the girl. No woman
should be able to make a criminal complaint against her in-laws for having extramarital affairs.
Furthermore, these organizations will investigate the misuse of the action and educate the
public about its consequences.
If a court decides that the charges levelled against the accused persons in connection with the
commission of an offence under section 498a of the IPC are false, the accused persons shall
face severe punishment. It will dissuade persons from returning to court with dirty hands and
hidden agendas. All officials who help in unjustly incriminating girls and their families should
face criminal charges.
Civil authorities scatter the investigation into these offences, and cognizance will be taken only
after the conclusion on the crime's execution is reached. The government should educate cops on the danger of its misuse�
Written By: Poonam
- BA LLB Ist Year - Punjab School Of Law, Punjabi