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498A IPC PDF Print Email

Question: What is 498A I.P.C.?
Answer: 498A. 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 pun-ished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine.
For the purpose of this section, “cruelty” means—
(a) any wilful 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; or
(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.]

Punishment—Imprisonment for 3 years and fine
Cognizable if information relating to the commission of the offence is given to an officer in charge of a police station by the person aggrieved by the offence or by any person related to her by blood, marriage or adoption or if there is no such relative, by any public serv¬ant belonging to such class or category as may be notified by the State Government in this behalf
—Triable by Magis¬trate of the first class

Question: What is Willful Conduct ?
Answer: Referring to acts which are intentional, conscious, and directed toward achieving a purpose. Some willful conduct which has wrongful or unfortunate results is considered "hardheaded," "stubborn" and even "malicious." Example: "The defendant's attack on his neighbor was willful." The willful conduct implies the inherent presence of a motive to treat the woman with cruelty.

Question: Why was it required?
Answer: Historical, religious and social compulsions made women virtual slaves to men folk. Centuries of maltreatment and oppression resulted in the total loss of their separate identity and individuality. They are harassed, tortured and ill-treated. The lure of making easy money has led to outrageous demands for dowry. Brides are harassed and burnt alive if they do not bring sufficient dowry. Many girls commit suicide to save their parents from humiliation. Some choose to remain unmarried. Domestic violence crimes committed against women are a staggering number. Until the 1970's, domestic violence has been seen as "family matters" and the criminal justice system has sought to keep accountability for these crimes in the home rather than using the legal system as a deterrent. Sec 498A I.P.C. was introduced in 1983 aiming at domestic violence and harassment for dowry, this provision defines cruelty, physical or mental, within a marriage and act as deterrent to stop or reduce the no. of victims of domestic violence.

Question: When did it come into existence?
Answer: It came into existence on 25-12-1983.
Question: Can we file a complaint about the harassment by the husband & in-laws prior to the date it came into existence? Answer: This section will not be attracted to the case where the alleged act of cruelty towards the wife took place prior to 25-12-1983.

Question: What is the limitation period of 498A I.P.C.?
Answer: LIMITATION,. A bar to the alleged right of a plaintiff to recover in an action, caused by the lapse of a certain time appointed by law; or it is the end of the time appointed by law, during which a party may sue for and recover a right. It is a maxim of the common law, Sec 468 Cr.P.C. stipulates that except as otherwise provided elsewhere in this code ,no court shall take cognizance of an offence of the category specified in sub –section (2) after the expiry of the period of limitation. (2) Three years if the offence is punishable with imprisonment for a term exceeding one year but not exceeding three years. For the purpose of this section, the period of limitation, in relation to offence which may be tried together, shall be determined with reference to the offence which is punishable with the more severe punishment or, as the case may be.

Question: Is there any provision of law which gives the relaxation in the limitation period?
Answer: Yes, Section 473 Cr. P. C stipulates that any court may take cognizance of an offence after the expiry of the period of limitation, if it is satisfied on the facts and in the circumstances of the case that the delay has been properly explained or that it is necessary so to do in the interest of justice.

Question: What kind of harassment or cruelty can be reported?
Answer: As interpreted in the section 498A Cruelty is of the kind that there must be danger to life, limb or health( bodily or mental) or a reasonable apprehension of it also the intention on the part of one to injure another is an essential element of cruelty, to drive the woman to commit suicide or the harassment of the woman where such harassment is with the 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. As cruelty has not been defined either in any Indian or in English law and thus all the law on cruelty is judge made law. It’s scope is kept open as the type and manner of cruelty change in accordance with the time.

Question : Who can file the complaint U/S 498A I.P.C.?
Answer: The Complainant herself or her relative and any other person having the authority letter signed by her can file a complaint on her behalf.

Question: Does 498A exist after seven years of the marriage?
Answer:As it is not mentioned anywhere in the section 498A IPC that it must be within seven years of marriage so this is not correct and a woman can file a complaint at any stage of her marriage but she has to remember the limitation period of the section as mentioned earlier.

Question: Why there is no immediate registration of the F.I.R.?
Answer: Registration of the F.I.R. is not the only solution in the marital disputes, the focus should be on the principle that people are capable to resolve their own disagreements if given the right support. We should work on parties to help them arrive at a solution to satisfy their interests. Most relationships are important to maintain intact .Family, friendships and social relationships of long standing are often soothed and become closer as a result of mediation. The mediation process encourages the parties to assume personal responsibility for their respective roles in the disagreement. It’s not blaming the other side but rather accepting ownership for the things contributed or done to create the disagreement. Mediation usually provides a quicker, more cost effective and more satisfactory outcome than legal litigation. It may take months and sometimes years to resolve a disagreement in court, mediation can be paced according to the parties’ needs and schedule. This results in a higher likelihood of compliance with the mutual agreement since parties are usually more likely to comply with a solution to which they agreed. Marriage is a sacred ceremony the main purpose of which is to enable the young couple to settle down in life and live peacefully. But little matrimonial skirmishes suddenly erupt which often assume serious proportions resulting in commission of heinous crimes in which elders of the family are also involved with the result that those who could have counseled and brought about rapprochement are rendered helpless on their being arrayed as accused in the criminal case. There are many other reason which need not be mentioned here for not encouraging matrimonial litigation so that the parties may ponder over their defaults and terminate their disputes amicably by mutual agreement instead of fighting it out in a court of law where it takes years and years to conclude and in that process the parties lose their “young” days in chasing their “cases” in different courts.

Question: How is the jurisdiction of the 498A I.P.C. decided?
Answer: The crime of 498A I.P.C. must be committed at that place. The relevant Provisions of Criminal Procedure Code are as under:177. Ordinary place of inquiry and trial Every offence shall ordinarily be inquired into and tried by a Court within whose local jurisdiction it was committed.178. Place of inquiry of trial (a) when it is uncertain in which of several local areas an offence was committed, or(b) Where an offence is committed partly in one local area and partly in another, or(c) Where an offence is a continuing one, and continues to be committed in more local areas than one, or(d) Where it consists of several acts done in different local areas, it may be inquired into or tried by a Court having jurisdiction over any of such local areas. (e) 179. Offence triable where act is done or consequence ensues -When an act is an offence by reason of anything which has been done and of a consequence which has ensued, the offence may be inquired into or tried by a court within whose local jurisdiction such thing has been done or such consequence has ensued.
184. Place of trial for offences triable together - where(a) the offences committed by any person are such that he may be charged with, and tried at one trial for, each such offence by virtue of the provisions of Section 219, Section 220 or Section 221, or(b) the offence or offences committed by several persons are such that they may be charged with and tried together by virtue of the provisions of Section 223, the offences may be inquired into or tried by any Court competent to inquire into or try any of the offences.
It is therefore held that in an offence under Section 498A, IPC, the place where the wife is forced to take shelter has the jurisdiction to try the offence under Section 498A, IPC. (Gauhati High Court Bina Dey And Ors. vs Pratibha Dey (Baidya) on 10 April, 2003)

Question: How is it different from Dowry Prohibition Act 1961?

Answer: In section-4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act 1961, it is the demand of dowry which is punishable whereas under sec-498A I.P.C. demand of dowry coupled with cruelty is punishable and as such these two offences are distinct. A person can be prosecuted for both the offences punishable under the said two sections.

Question: What is stridhan?
Answer: Under Hindu sucession Act, there is no distinction between the gifts received by her from relatives or strangers and at any stage of her life, and all gifts that she receives will be her absolute property. Ornaments received by her at the time of her marriage are ordinarily her stridhan property. The gifts made to the girl before, during and after the marriage by the father, mother and brother present-in-law of the girl are the part of the Stridhan. Section 27 and Section 14 of the Hindu Succession Act do not abolish the concept of Stridhan. She is the absolute owner of such properties and can deal with it in any manner she likes.

Question: Can I file a complaint in PWDVAct 2005 along with 498A?
Answer: Yes, you can file a complaint in PWDV Act 2005 along with the 498A IPC as mentioned in the Sec-36 PWDV Act 2005 the provisions of this act shall be in addition to, and not in derogation of the provisions of any other law for the time being in force. The Police continue to play their role under existing laws & take appropriate action (investigation , arrest etc.) for cognizable offences under IPC-like grievous hurt, rape, dowry death,498A IPC etc.

Question: Why 406 I.P.C. is also found along with 498A I.P.C.?
Answer: As study of section 498A I.P.C. will be half backed if section 406 I.P.C. is ignored because inherently section 406 I.P.C. is also a form of cruelty and there was no need to bring it under the definition of section 498A I.P.C. as this offence already existed in the I.P.C. before the existence of 498A.

Question: Why was section 113A introduced in the Evidence Act.1872?
Answer: Under section 7 of the Criminal Law (second Amendment ) Act, 1983,section 113A was inserted in the Indian Evidence Act,1872 to achieve the desired results of prevention of dowry, basically women is a silent sufferer, the court may presume a fact ,it shall regard such fact as proved, unless and until it is disproved or may call for proof of it, when a presumption operates in favour of a Party, the burden of proof is on the opponent.

Question: What should I do if the harassment still continues after conciliation and returning to my matrimonial house?
Answer: If the harassment continues after reconciliation you can reopen your previous complaint for further course of action as desired by you.