This article is written by Varsha Chauhan, B.com LLB(3rd year) from Banasthali University, Rajasthan
Cruelty against woman after the wedding is unstoppable increasing as days rolling. Therefore, Section 498-A was added within the Indian legal Code by the criminal law (second amendment) Act, 1983, to stop torture to a women by her husband or his relatives in reference to unreasonable demand of dowry. The act of harassment by a husband and his relatives who harass or torture the wife to coerce her or her relatives to satisfy unlawful demands of dowry would amount to cruelty for the aim of this section. It also gives wide discretion to the courts within the matters of awarding punishment.
The said section is read as follows-
Section 498-A.- Husband or relative of husband of a lady subjection her to cruelty.-
This section says, whoever being either the husband of a lady or the relative of the husband of a lady, subjects such lady to cruelty shall be punished with imprisonment for a term extending up to 3 years and shall even be susceptible to fine. This section punishes a husband of a lady or relatives of her husband subjecting her to cruelty.
This section contemplates that-
1. Offender must be either the husband of a lady, or
2. a relatives of the husband of a lady, and
3. The offender must subject woman to cruelty.
The concept of cruelty used within this section has two-fold dimensions-
1. It is a willful conduct of such a nature as to drive a women to commit suicide or any danger to life, limb or physical or mental state of a lady, and
2. It is a harassment of a lady with a view to coerce her and any of her relatives in account to meet unreasonable demand.
In Inder Raj Malik v. Sumitra Malik,1986 Cr Lj 1510, it was alleged by the wife that she was being continuously threatened by her in laws that her son would be taken away unless she met the demands of the accused by way of compelling her parents to sell their property, it was held that such threats come, within the purview of section 498-A, I.P.C.
In jagdish Chander v. State,1988 Cr Lj 1048(P&H), it was held that drinking habits of the husband and his coming late at midnight haven’t been held to amount to cruelty.
In Pawan Kumar v. State of Haryana ,AIR 1998 SC 958, the Supreme Court held that Cruelty or harassment under Section 498-A need not be physical , and mental torture in a grave case would be sufficient for conviction.
Meaning of Relatives:-
The meaning of the word ’relative’ would rely upon the character of the statute. It principally includes a person related by blood marriage or adoption. In reference to relatives of husband under section 498-A, I.P.C, it would include father, mother, husband or wife, son, daughter, brother, sister, grandson or granddaughter of an individual or the spouse of somebody.
A Girl friend or a concubine of the husband would be a ‘relative’ under purview of this section- living with another woman after the wedding could also be an act of cruelty on a part of the husband for the aim of judicial separation or dissolution of marriage but the identical would attract the wrath of section 498-A. Moreover section 498-A Being a penal provision must be a given strict construction. Therefore a girlfriend or concubine of husband can’t be charged under Section 498-A, I.P.C.
In U. Suvetha v. State by Inspector of Police,2009 Cr Lj 2974 (SC), Supreme Court has been held that a girlfriend or concubine of the husband of the victim is not the relative within the meaning of Section 498-A as penal statute is to be strictly interpreted and thus cannot be charged for the offence under this section.
Need of Section 498A
Women have always been subject to cruelty by male dominated society. This section helps women to fight back against her husband or his relatives. Woman feel they’re being heard. there’s plenty of need for laws like these in a very country like India –
90% cases are always associated with dowry. Woman are continuously forced, tortured, threatened or abused by her in-laws to fulfill unwanted demand for something . The Section 498A of the IPC helps one lady to approach the court of law and punish the wrongdoer.
In many cases, the lady are subject to mental cruelty. there’s no law which might help the girl to ease the mental pain caused to her. Acts like these help woman in every possible ways.
No matter if the laws are misused, they cannot be off from the Indian legal code. because the laws can always be amended. there’ll be sure loopholes but always a provision are often added to rectify the issues.
Compounding of Offence-
The courts have permitted compounding of the offence under this Section. Where a wife condoned the cruelty of her husband, they were permitted to compound the case although during a separate civil petition for restitution of legal right by the husband against his wife allegation of cruelty wasn’t proved.
How Cognizance is to be taken-
The court ruled that since Section 498-A of I.P.C doesn’t be chapter XX but under XX-A, section 198-A of the Crpc, 1973 permits a court to require cognizance of the offence punishable under Section 498-A upon a police report of Facts which constitute the offence.
Constitutionality Of Section 498-A-
The Supreme ruled in one in every of the case that merely because there’s possibility of misuse of the offence of cruelty to wife under this section isn’t a ground to carry this provision as unconditional. And also held that mere factum of unnatural death in matrimonial home within seven years of marriage isn’t sufficient to convict the accused under this section until prosecution proved certainly that deceased was subjected to cruelty in reference to dowry demand. and also the court held that Section 498-A constitutional on the idea that it doesn’t confer arbitrary powers and offers wide discretion to the courts in matters of awarding punishment.
Cruelty against woman after the wedding is unstoppable increasing as days rolling. Therefore, Section 498-A was added within the Indian legal Code by the criminal law (second amendment) Act, 1983. Women have always been subject to cruelty by male dominated society. This section helps women to fight back against her husband or his relatives. Woman feel they’re being heard. there’s plenty of need of such laws for helping woman’s to raise voice against crime. No matter if the laws are misused, they cannot be off from the Indian legal code. because the laws can always be amended. there’ll be sure loopholes but always a provision are often added to rectify the issues.
Indian penal code book- author(Prof. T. Bhattacharya)
Indian penal code book- author(Prof.S.N. Misra)
Bare Act-Indian Penal code,1860(45 of 1860)
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