Archive for the '498A Quash' Category

SC Explains Section 188 – Thota Venkateswarlu Vs. State of A.P

Thota Venkateswarlu Vs. State of A.P. through Principal Secretary

ALTAMAS KABIR, J.

1. This Special Leave Petition is directed against the judgment and order dated 27th August, 2008, passed by the High Court of Andhra Pradesh at Hyderabad in Criminal Petition No.3629 of 2008 dismissing the Petition filed by the Petitioner under Section 482 Criminal Procedure Code (‘Cr.P.C.’ for short) for quashing the proceedings in Complaint Case No.307 of 2007 pending before the Additional Munsif Magistrate, Addanki. This case raises certain interesting questions of law and to appreciate the same, some of the facts are required to be reproduced.

2. The Petitioner, Thota Venkateswarlu, was married to the Respondent No.2, Parvathareddy Suneetha, on 27th November, 2005, as per Hindu traditions and customs in the Sitharama Police Kalyana Mandapam, Ongole, Prakasam District, Andhra Pradesh. At the time of marriage 12 lakhs in cash, 45 sovereigns of gold and 50,000/- as Adapaduchu Katnam is alleged to have been given to the Accused Nos.1 to 4, who are the husband, the mother-in-law and other relatives of the husband. According to the Respondent No.2, the Petitioner left India for Botswana in January 2006 without taking her along with him. However, in February, 2006, the Respondent No.2 went to Botswana to join the Petitioner. While in Botswana, the Respondent No.2 is alleged to have been severely ill-treated by the Petitioner and apart from the above, various demands were also made including a demand for additional dowry of 5 lakhs.

On account of such physical and mental torture not only by the Petitioner/husband, but also by his immediate relatives, who continued to demand additional dowry by way of phone calls from India, the Respondent No.2 addressed a complaint to the Superintendent of Police, Ongole, Prakasam District, Andhra Pradesh, from Botswana and the same was registered as Case (Crl.) No.25 of 2007 under Sections 498-A and 506 Indian Penal Code (‘I.P.C.’ for short) together with Sections 3 and 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1986, by the Station House Officer, Medarametla Police Station, on the instructions of the Superintendent of Police, Prakasam District. Upon investigation into the complaint filed by the Respondent No.2, the Inspector of Police, Medarametla, filed a charge-sheet in CC No.307 of 2007 in the Court of the Additional Munsif Magistrate, Addanki, Prakasam District, under Sections 498-A and 506 I.P.C. and Sections 3 and 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act against the Petitioner and his father, mother and sister, who were named as Accused Nos.2, 3 and 4. The learned Magistrate took cognizance of the aforesaid case and by his order dated 19th February, 2007, ordered issuance of summons against the accused.

3. The cognizance taken by the learned Magistrate was questioned by the Petitioner and the other co-accused before the Andhra Pradesh High Court in Criminal Petition Nos.3629 and 2746 of 2008 respectively and a prayer was made for quashing of the same under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The High Court by its order dated 27th August, 2008, allowed Criminal Petition No.2746 of 2008 filed by the Accused Nos.2 to 4 and quashed the proceedings against them. However, Criminal Petition No.3629 of 2008 filed by the Petitioner herein was dismissed. The present Special Leave Petition is directed against the said order of the High Court rejecting the Petitioner’s petition under Section 482 Cr.P.C. and declining to quash Complaint Case No.307 of 2007 initiated against him.

4. The submissions made by the learned counsel for the Petitioner before this Court have raised certain important questions which warrant the attention of this Court.

5. It has been submitted on behalf of the Petitioner that as will appear from the complaint made by the Respondent No.2 to the Superintendent of Police, Ongole, Prakasam District, Andhra Pradesh on 22nd March, 2007, no grounds had been made out therein to continue with the proceedings in India, having regard to the provisions of Section 188 Cr.P.C., which provides as follows :- “188. Offence committed outside India – When an offence is committed outside India- (a) by a citizen of India, whether on the high seas or elsewhere; or (b) by a person, not being such citizen, on any ship or aircraft registered in India. he may be dealt with in respect of such offence as if it had been committed at any place within India at which he may be found: Provided that, notwithstanding anything in any of the preceding sections of this Chapter, no such offence shall be inquired into or tried in India except with the previous sanction of the Central Government.”

6. Learned counsel urged that Section 188 Cr.P.C. recognizes that when an offence is committed outside India by a citizen of India, he would have to be dealt with as if such offence had been committed in any place within India at which he may be found. Learned counsel, however, laid stress on the proviso which indicates that no such offence could be inquired into or tried in India except with the previous sanction of the Central Government [Emphasis Supplied]. Learned counsel submitted that in respect of an offence committed outside India, the same could not be proceeded with without previous sanction of the Central Government and that, accordingly, even if any of the offences was allegedly committed inside India, trial in respect of the same could continue, but the trial in respect of the offences committed outside India could not be continued, without the previous sanction of the Central Government.

7. On behalf of the Respondents it was urged that a part of the alleged offences relating to the Dowry Prohibition Act did appear to have arisen in India, even at the initial stage when various articles, including large sums of cash and jewellery were given in dowry by the father of the Respondent No.2. It was submitted that since a part of the cause of action had arisen in India on account of alleged offences under Sections 3 and 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1968, the learned Magistrate trying the said complaint could also try the other offences alleged to have been committed outside India along with the said offences. Reliance was placed on the decision of this Court in Ajay Aggarwal vs. Union of India & Ors. [(1993) 3 SCC 609], wherein it had been held that obtaining the previous sanction of the Central Government was not a condition precedent for taking cognizance of offences, since sanction could be obtained before trial begins.

8. The question which we have been called upon to consider in this case is whether in respect of a series of offences arising out of the same transaction, some of which were committed within India and some outside India, such offences could be tried together, without the previous sanction of the Central Government, as envisaged in the proviso to Section 188 Cr.P.C.

9. From the complaint made by the Respondent No.2 in the present case, it is clear that the cases relating to alleged offences under Section 498-A and 506 I.P.C. had been committed outside India in Botswana, where the Petitioner and the Respondent No.2 were residing. At best it may be said that the alleged offences under Sections 3 and 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act occurred within the territorial jurisdiction of the Criminal Courts in India and could, therefore, be tried by the Courts in India without having to obtain the previous sanction of the Central Government. However, we are still left with the question as to whether in cases where the offences are alleged to have been committed outside India, any previous sanction is required to be taken by the prosecuting agency, before the trial can commence.

10. The language of Section 188 Cr.P.C. is quite clear that when an offence is committed outside India by a citizen of India, he may be dealt with in respect of such offences as if they had been committed in India. The proviso, however, indicates that such offences could be inquired into or tried only after having obtained the previous sanction of the Central Government. As mentioned hereinbefore, in Ajay Aggarwal’s case (supra), it was held that sanction under Section 188 Cr.P.C. is not a condition precedent for taking cognizance of an offence and, if need be, it could be obtained before the trial begins. Even in his concurring judgment, R.M. Sahai, J., observed as follows :-

“29. Language of the section is plain and simple. It operates where an offence is committed by a citizen of India outside the country. Requirements are, therefore, one – commission of an offence; second by an Indian citizen; and third — that it should have been committed outside the country.”Although the decision in Ajay Aggarwal’s case (supra) was rendered in the background of a conspiracy alleged to have been hatched by the accused, the ratio of the decision is confined to what has been observed hereinabove in the interpretation of Section 188 Cr.P.C.

The proviso to Section 188, which has been extracted hereinbefore, is a fetter on the powers of the investigating authority to inquire into or try any offence mentioned in the earlier part of the Section, except with the previous sanction of the Central Government. The fetters, however, are imposed only when the stage of trial is reached, which clearly indicates that no sanction in terms of Section 188 is required till commencement of the trial. It is only after the decision to try the offender in India was felt necessary that the previous sanction of the Central Government would be required before the trial could commence.

11. Accordingly, upto the stage of taking cognizance, no previous sanction would be required from the Central Government in terms of the proviso to Section 188 Cr.P.C. However, the trial cannot proceed beyond the cognizance stage without the previous sanction of the Central Government. The Magistrate is, therefore, free to proceed against the accused in respect of offences having been committed in India and to complete the trial and pass judgment therein, without being inhibited by the other alleged offences for which sanction would be required.

12. It may also be indicated that the provisions of the Indian Penal Code have been extended to offences committed by any citizen of India in any place within and beyond India by virtue of Section 4 thereof. Accordingly, offences committed in Botswana by an Indian citizen would also be amenable to the provisions of the Indian Penal Code, subject to the limitation imposed under the proviso to Section 188 Cr.P.C.

13. Having regard to the above, while we see no reason to interfere with the High Court’s decision to reject the petitioner’s prayer for quashing of the proceedings in Complaint Case No.307 of 2007, we also make it clear that the learned Magistrate may proceed with the trial relating to the offences alleged to have been committed in India. However, in respect of offences alleged to have been committed outside India, the learned Magistrate shall not proceed with the trial without the sanction of the Central Government as envisaged in the proviso to Section 188 Cr.P.C.

14. The Special Leave Petition is disposed of accordingly.

………………………………………………………J. (ALTAMAS KABIR)

………………………………………………………J. (CYRIAC JOSEPH)

………………………………………………………J. (SURINDER SINGH NIJJAR)

New Delhi,

Dated: 02.09.2011.

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SC Explains Conditions For The Quash Of An FIR – 2009

This is a 498A case, Sundar BabuVs State Of Tamil Nadu (CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 773 OF 2003) – 2009.

Here are the conditions under which an FIR can be quashed:

1  Where the allegations made in the first information report or the complaint, even if they are taken at their face value and accepted in their entirety do not prima facie constitute any offence or make out a case against the accused.

2  Where the allegations in the first information report and other materials, if any, accompanying the FIR do not disclose a cognizable offence, justifying an investigation by police officers under Sec.156(1) of the Code except under an order of a Magistrate within the purview of Sec.155(2) of the Code.

3  Where the uncontroverted allegations made in the FIR or complaint and the evidence collected in support of the same do not disclose the commission of any offence and make out a case against the accused.

4  Where, the allegations in the FIR do not constitute a cognizable offence but constitute only a non-cognizable offence, no investigation is permitted by a police officer without an order of a Magistrate as contemplated under Sec. 155 (2) of the Code.

5  Where the allegations made in the FIR or complaint are so absurd and inherently improbable on the basis of which no prudent person can ever reach a just conclusion that there is sufficient ground for proceeding against the accused.

6   Where there is an express legal bar engrafted in any of the provisions of the Code or the concerned Act (under which a criminal proceeding is instituted) to the institution and continuance of the proceedings and/or where there is a specific provision in the Code or the concerned Act, providing efficacious redress for the grievance of the aggrieved party.

7  Where a criminal proceeding is manifestly attended with mala fide and/or where the proceeding is maliciously instituted with an ulterior motive for wreaking vengeance on the accused and with a view to spite him due to private and personal grudge.

Here is the judgment: SC-FIR-498A-Quash – 2009

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Justice Dhingra Explains Section 482 Of IPC (HC Quash Petition)

The courts have always been reluctant to quash a case under Section 482 IPC.

I have written about it here: Understanding High Court Quash Petitions (Section 482 Of CrPC)

The best explanation of the view of the courts, in my opinion, has been given by Justice Dhingra.

This is what he says:

“While exercising powers under Section 482 of the Cr. P.C. the Court has to keep in mind that it should not ordinarily embark upon an enquiry whether the evidence in question is reliable or not or whether on a reasonable appreciation of it accusation would not be sustained. This is a function of the Trial Court. Though the judicial process should not be an instrument of oppression or needless harassment but the Court should be circumspect and judicious in exercising discretion and should take all relevant facts and circumstances in consideration before issuing process under Section 482 lest the Section becomes an instrument in the hands of accused persons to claim differential treatment only because the accused persons can spend money to approach higher forums. This Section is not an instrument handed over to an accused to short circuit a prosecution and bring about its sudden death. “

Here is the judgment I pulled this from : Justice Dhingra Explains Section 482

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A Gujarati Guide To Surviving IPC 498A

This is a translated, though slightly older version of the popular Guide To Surviving IPC 498A.

Download the pdf here:

A Gujarati Guide To Surviving IPC 498A (pdf)

All the supporting material in the form of judgments, etc, in English, are here:

The 498A Survival Kit

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SC-Maintenance From Parents In Law Cannot Be Claimed By DIL – 2008

Here is the judgment: SC-Maintenance Cannot Be Claimed By DIL – 2008

Parents-in-law can’t be forced to maintain daughter-in-law:

The Supreme Court has ruled that a woman, if neglected by her husband, cannot eye her mother-in-law’s property for getting maintenance. Maintenance of a married woman is her husband’s personal obligation and the property in her mother-in-law’s name can never be the subject matter of the obligation to maintain a daughter-in-law even after the death of her husband, said a Bench comprising Justices S B Sinha and V S Sirpurkar. A woman lawyer, who had filed several cases against her parents-in-law in Chincholi, Karnataka, had even taken recourse to litigation to see that their property was auctioned for getting the maintenance she was entitled to from their son. Disapproving the extra-legal arguments taken by her and deprecating the trial court and the Karnataka High Court overstretching the law as well as their jurisdiction to go by her pleadings, the Bench said a woman could seek attachment of properties only if her husband had a share in it. This means, if the parents-inlaw’s properties were self-acquired and not inherited, then their daughter-in-law could institute suits seeking attachment of those properties which stood in the name of her husband and not against those owned by his parents. Referring to the plea of the daughter-in-law, Sonalben, the Bench said she might be entitled to maintenance from her husband and the decree in her suit could only be against his properties. “The decree, if any, must be executed against her husband and only his properties could be attached for that but not of her mother-in-law,” said Justice Sinha, writing the judgment for theBench. Referring to the HC order, which was challenged by mother-in-law Vimlaben, the apex court said it suffered from “total non-application of mind” and was “wholly unsustainable”.”

The said orders might have been passed only on consideration that Sonalben is a harassed lady, but the fact that Vimlaben is also a much harassed lady was lost sight of (by the HC),” the Bench said. Directing release of the attached properties to Vimlaben, the court directed Sonalben to give Rs 50,000 to her mother-in-law as cost of litigation.

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AP HC Acknowledges The Abuse Of 498A – 2007

Here is a great judgement from Justice Swaroop Reddy Of the AP HC. He basically acknowledges the abuse of 498A going on in the country and in the state.

Here are some excerpts:

  • 8. Before parting with the petition, I feel it desirable to observe that there is rampant misuse of S.498-A IPC. False complaints are given against kith-and-kin of the husband, including the married sisters and their husbands;unmarried sisters and brothers and married brothers and their wives. There are instances where even young children, aged below ten years, were also implicated in the offences of this nature. My experience, while sitting in matrimonial Bench revealed that several families are ruined; marriages have been irretrievably broken down and chances of reconciliation of spouses have been spoiled on account of unnecessary complaints and the consequent arrest and remand of the husbands and their kith-and-kin. To discourage this unhealthy practice, it is desirable that anticipatory bail is granted very liberally in all cases of S.498-A IPC, particularly when the petitioner/accused is not the husband of the complainant and when the allegations are not very specific and prima facie do not inspire confidence.
  • 9. Section 498-A IPC is incorporated by the Legislature basically in the interest of women and to safe guard them from harassment. But, it has become somewhat counter productive. In several cases, women are harassed, arrested and humiliated on the complaints given under section 498-A IPC. The truth or otherwise of the allegations is subject to proof. For giving complaint absolutely no authentic and prima facie material like medical evidence is required, but on such complaints, in several cases, number of women are being arrested. In cases of arrest of married young women, they might face problems from their husbands and in-laws; in case unmarried women are arrested their marriage prospects would be badly affected and if government servants are arrested their service prospects are affected. In the present case, only one woman is the alleged victim; but at least four women might have to go to jail even before trial, effecting their reputation, subjecting them to rude treatment at Police Station etc.
  • 10.Only in cases where, strong and authentic evidence like letters written by the accused-husband to the spouses or their parents etc., are available and where there is sufferance of serious injuries or death of the victim only, perhaps, it is desirable to refuse anticipatory bail, that, too, for the accused-husband. Another important aspect is in this type of cases; there is no chance of witnesses turning hostile or being influenced by the accused, as the witnesses would invariably be the kith-and-kin of the alleged victim like herself and her parents etc.These aspects have to be kept in view, while dealing with the cases of anticipatory bail/bail in cases of offences involving section 498-A IPC.

Here is the judgment:  AP HC Acknowledges The Abuse Of 498A

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SC Clarifies Sections 406 And 498A – 2007

Excerpts:

  • According to Section 406 I.P.C., the offence of criminal breach of trust is committed when a person who is entrusted in any manner with the property or with any dominion over it, dishonestly misappropriates it or converts it to his own use, or dishonestly uses it, or disposes it of, in violation of any direction of law prescribing the mode in which the trust is to be discharged, or of any lawful contract, express or implied, made by him touching such discharge, or wilfully suffers any other person so to do. Thus in the commission of the offence of criminal breach of trust, two distinct parts are involved. The first consists of the creation of an obligation in relation to the property over which dominion or control is acquired by the accused. The second is a misappropriation or dealing with the property dishonestly and contrary to the terms of the obligation created. (See: The Superintendent & remembrancer of Legal Affairs, West Bengal Vs. S.K. Roy )
  • We are convinced that the allegation of misbehaviour on the part of appellant Nos.1 and 2 and the demand of Rs. 50,000/- and V.C.R. by them made by the complainant in her subsequent statement, dated 4.4.1995, was an after thought and not bona fide. Section 498A I.P.C. was introduced with the avowed object to combat the menace of dowry deaths and harassment to a woman at the hands of her husband or his relatives. Nevertheless, the provision should not be used as a device to achieve oblique motives. Having carefully glanced through the complaint, the F.I.R. and the charge-sheet, we find that charge under Section 498A I.P.C. is not brought home insofar as appellant Nos. 1 and 2 are concerned.

Here is the judgment: SC Clarifies 406 And 498A-2007

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Fudging Data-19,000 Frivolous 498A Cases: Renuka Choudhry In Parliament

You can read about her obfuscation of facts here:

http://desicritics.org/2008/03/16/091618.php

FULL TEXT: 

GOVERNMENT OF INDIA
MINISTRY OF WOMEN AND CHILD DEVELOPMENT

LOK SABHA
UNSTARRED QUESTION NO 193
ANSWERED ON 16.11.2007

FALSE IMPLICATION IN DOWRY DEATH CASES

193. SHRI RAGHUVIR SINGH KAUSHAL
Will the Minister of WOMEN AND CHILD DEVELOPMENT be pleased to state:-
(a) whether the Law Commission has suggested not to acquit the
accused of dowry death on flimsy grounds;
(b) if so, the details thereof and the action taken thereon;
(c) whether the Government is aware of false or willful implications
in dowry cases; and
(d) if so, the reaction of the Government alongwith the action taken
thereon?

ANSWER
MINISTER OF THE STATE OF THE MINISTRY OF WOMEN AND CHILD DEVELOPMENT
(SHRIMATI RENUKA CHOWDHURY)
(a)&(b) Law Commission of India has submitted in October, 2007 its
202nd Report on “Proposal to amend Section 304-B of Indian Penal
Code” in which recommendations have been made relating to dowry
deaths. The Report is available on the website of Ministry of Law and
Justice, Law Commission of India. Department of Legal Affairs has
forwarded a copy of the Report to Ministry of Home Affairs for
examination/implementation.

(c) The following data for the country has been furnished by National Crime Records Bureau, Ministry of Home Affairs for the period 2004-06:-

Under Section 304-B IPC (Dowry death)

No. of cases registered: 21431
No. of cases declared false on account of mistake of fact or law: 974

Under Section 498-A IPC (Cruelty by husband or relatives of husband)

No. of cases registered: 179568
No. of cases declared false on account of mistake of fact or law:
19013

Under Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961

No. of cases registered: 11300
No. of cases declared false on account of mistake of fact or law: 615

(d) It is for the investigating and prosecuting authorities in the States to deal with any false complaint relating to dowry.

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Mumbai HC: Hubby Can Be Jailed Despite Patch-Up

The Mumbai HC may have taken the first step in the right direction of blunting this extortion racket called Sec 498A Of The IPC. A 498A wife files the case to force the hubby to settle and then prays the HC for a quash.

To understand what I am saying, read this:

The Abuse Of The Benevolence Of The Courts In 498A Cases

You can also read about this NRI doctor whose sister was jailed for a month and released after the NRI paid up the demanded cash. Indira Jaising was instrumental in getting his sister arrested.

You can read about it here: NRI doctor fleeced for 40 Lakhs

If this is not extortion, then what is ?

Here is the news article: Mumbai HC: Hubby Can Be Jailed Despite Patch-Up

Here is the 107 Page judgment:  Mumbai HC Judgement: Hubby Can Be Jailed Despite Patch-Up

Here is the graphic:

Timeline

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The Comprehensive Guide To Surviving IPC 498A

The Survivor’s Guide To IPC498A has been renamed, rewritten and divided into an introduction and 3 chapters.

Chapter one contains comprehensive excerpts from Supreme Court and High Court judgments that describe your rights and the limits on the powers of the police. Please read it to defend yourselves effectively.

Here is the link to the same document and supporting material:

A Guide To Surviving IPC 498A

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What Is IPC 498A?

The Supreme Court has stated that: Consequences of cruelty which are likely to drive a woman to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to life, limb or health, whether mental or physical of the woman is required to be established in order to bring home the application of Section 498A IPC.”

Here is the link to the pdf: What Is Section 498A Of The Indian Penal Code?

Here is the same in text:

People don’t know what Section 498A of the IPC is nor do they know what to do when a 498A case is registered against them. For starters, 498A is a criminal offence that came into existence to combat domestic violence and protect women from dowry harassment.The history of this law runs as follows. In the 1980s, the incidences of ‘dowry deaths’ were steadily rising in India. A dowry death is the murder of a young woman; committed by the in-laws, when she was unable to fulfill their coercive demands for money, articles or property, categorized as dowry. Organizations across the country pressurized and urged the government to provide legislative protection to women against domestic violence and dowry. The objective was to allow the state to intervene rapidly and prevent the murders of young girls who were unable to meet the dowry demands of their in-laws. As a result of the intense campaigning and lobbying, significant amendments were made in the Indian Penal Code, the Indian Evidence Act and the Dowry Prohibition Act, with the intention of protecting women from marital violence, abuse and dowry demands. The most important amendment came in the form of the introduction of Section 498A in the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
The text of the law is given below:
Indian Penal Code – Section 498A, IPC
Introduced in the Penal Code by Criminal Law (Second Amendment) Act of 1983
(Act No. 46 of 1983)
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 punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine.
Explanation: For the purposes of this section, “cruelty” means
(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;
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.
Analysis of the section shows that this law deals with four types of cruelty:
Any conduct that is likely to drive a woman to suicide,
Any conduct which is likely to cause grave injury to the life, limb or health of the woman,
Harassment with the purpose of forcing the woman or her relatives to give some property,
or
Harassment because the woman or her relatives are either unable to yield to the demand for more money or do not give some share of the property.
Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, is a criminal offence. It is a cognizable, non-bailable, and non-compoundable offence.
Unfortunately, the formulation of this law left a host of loopholes for exploitation and abuse.
20+ years later, if a family has an estranged `Bahu’ (daughter in law) in their family, the entire family can be jailed under Section 498A of the IPC, based on a complaint in the police station. The objective of the ‘Bahu’ and her parents is to subject the family to an ordeal designed to break their will and ensure that they give in to whatever demands put forward.

This law exposes families who belong to the middle and upper middle classes of society and NRIs, as these segments of society are vulnerable to legalized extortion by corrupt agencies of the government.
There is no way to avoid a 498A from being filed, unless the family is very well connected or somehow manage to make her realize that it is not in her long term interest to change a domestic dispute into a criminal offence.
A typical case will go on for 3 to 7 years.
From the people you talk to and from the online portals you visit, you will learn that this is a criminal law to combat domestic violence and dowry harassment etc, etc, etc. I’ll ignore this and cut to the chase.
In its present form,

498a is an extortion racket

In legal terms, 498A is an offence, which is:

  • Cognizable: Offences are divided into cognizable and non-cognizable. By law, the police are duty bound to register and investigate a cognizable offence. 498A is a cognizable offence.
  • Non-Bailable: There are two kinds of offences, bailable and non-bailable. 498A is non bailable. This means that the magistrate has the power to refuse bail and remand a person to judicial or police custody.
  • Non-Compoundable: A non-compoundable case, e.g. Rape, 498A etc, cannot be withdrawn by the petitioner. The exception is in the state of Andhra Pradesh, where 498A was made compoundable.

In actual terms, 498A is an offence, which is:

  • Cognizable: The police will register a 498A case since it is required by law, but they don’t investigate but go on to arrest people because of the money to be made in bribes from both sides in a 498A case.
  • Non-Bailable: Since bail is at the discretion of the magistrate, all sorts of games will be played to have families locked up while negotiations go on to settle the case. This may happen in cases where the magistrates are allegedly corrupt or, the public prosecutor and the cops are in cahoots.
  • Non-Compoundable: Though 498A is non compoundable, the courts are allowing the withdrawal of the case when the parties agree to reconcile or settle case. In real terms, if you pay up, the case goes away. If you don’t you’ll get stuck with a criminal case that will go on for years.

The other characteristics of this extortion racket are:

  • It is a law that fosters corruption and enables govt agencies like the police to violate Fundamental Rights.
  • It plays a role in gender based vote bank politics.
  • It denies justice to the real victims of dowry harassment.
  • It exposes innocent families to the evils of the corrupt Indian criminal justice system.
  • This is a law poisoning the lower judiciary by exposing it to corruption.
  • Above all, this is a gamble bound to fail if the accused choose to fight back.

Motives And Instigators:

Let’s start with the motives and instigators:

  • Money: The greatest of motivators. A 498A can lead to great terms for a fat cash settlement, or help her dad or sibling in their ventures, etc, etc.
  • Vengeance: Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. She will have her revenge and the family will collectively bear the brunt of it. The 498A Wives have a soft corner for their mothers -in law and sisters -in law. They may very well see the inside of a prison.
  • Guilt: She’s done something wrong, may have committed adultery and got caught in the act. She wants to cover it up with a dowry harassment case to garner sympathy and to provide cover for her guilt. It also puts her in a good position to negotiate a fat settlement and gain custody of kids, if kids are involved. 498A will be filed when paternity is in question. Don’t count on DNA evidence, as the courts do not/ or are reluctant to allow it. Indian law is still ruled by the evidence act from 1872.
  • She Is Just Not Into Her Husband: She may not like her husband and 498A is a convenient tool to get out of the marriage.
  • She Is A Control Freak: She wants to control her husband in every possible way. She may also want her husband to not support his parents and siblings in any fashion regardless of his ability to do so. She may want her husband to throw his parents out of their house. Her goal is to gain control of all aspects of his life, including finances and to break the bonds and responsibilities that tie him to his family. Her failure to do so will result in a 498A.
  • To Marry The Boyfriend: This is a new trend whereby she will file a 498A just to force her husband into settling the divorce with a chunk of cash and then go on to marry her boyfriend. They will use the cash to set up their “Chota Sa Ghar”, or their “Premiyon Ka Mahal” if the settlement is large enough.

498A is the perfect tool for extortion and/or to wreak vengeance on a family. The main ingredients that go into making it an extortion racket are:

  • The involvement of the corrupt, untrained, Indian police force in a domestic dispute.
  • The involvement of the overburdened and unregulated lower courts and the convoluted and lengthy Indian justice delivery system.
  • The non-enforcement of penalties (Section 182) for filing frivolous cases or for perjury.
  • Political/police influence from the other side. If this is a factor in your case, I kid you not; you are in for an ordeal that will require extra doses of fortitude, courage and patience to overcome.

All these factors will be used to leverage money out of a family or subject ther family to the kind of harassment that can only be defined as torture. It is no wonder that the Supreme Court (Sushil Kumar Sharma Vs. Union of India Writ petition(C) no.141 of 2005) has condemned 498A as “Legal Terrorism”, though ruling 498A constitutional.
To understand how to survive this ordeal read the contents of the link below:

A Guide To Surviving IPC 498A

END

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Justice Dhingra: Police Do Not Investigate In 498A Cases (Crl.Apl No. 696/2004)

News Flash

This judgment of Justice Dhingra led to the standing order from Delhi Police Commissioner YS Dadwal, prohibiting the arrests in 498A cases without the permission of the DCP (Jun/21/2008).

You can read about this here:  Delhi Police Commissioner: No 498A Arrests W/O Permission Of DCP

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Publication: Times Of India Delhi;
Date:Nov 2, 2007;
Section:Times City;
Page Number:5
HC: Wife can’t use failed marriage to harass in-laws
Abhinav Garg | TNN

New Delhi: Dismayed by the increasing misuse of anti-dowry laws, the Delhi high court has observed that failed marriages are ‘‘not a crime’’ and berated the tendency by women to see souring of matrimony as valid ground to get even with the husband and in-laws or to extract money.
‘‘A failed marriage is not a crime. However, provisions of section 498-A (cruelty by in-laws or husband) are being used to convert failed marriages into a crime and people are using this as a tool to extract as much monetary benefit as possible,’’ Justice S N Dhingra said on Thursday while acquitting the husband, in laws and ‘jethani’ of a woman who had alleged that they poured kerosene on her and set her on fire due to her inability to get dowry or secure an employment for her husband.
‘‘It must be acknowledged that marriages do fail and there is a mismatch not only in an arranged union but even in love marriages, which is discovered during the continuation of married life,’’ the judge remarked as it turned out that the harassment charge was slapped by the wife because she was unhappy with her husband’s unemployment and a life of penury.

Excerpts:

  • ” It is her own case that a container of 05 litres of kerosene oil was poured on her. 05 litres of kerosene oil is an enormous quantity of oil and if this quantity is poured on a person and fire is lit, he/she will immediately turn into a fire ball. Presuming that the complainant had extinguished the fire immediately by pouring a bucket full of water on herself and by tearing her clothes, in that case the unburnt kerosene oil would remain on clothes and she would have been profusely smelling of kerosene oil. Not only her clothes but her entire body would have been drenched with kerosene oil and her clothes would have been drenched with kerosene oil and water. It is not her case that when she was removed to hospital her clothes were changed or she was washed off and bathed, rather her allegations are that she was continuously beaten for two hours before having been removed to the hospital and she kept lying there for two hours in kerosene oil and water. It cannot be believed that on seeing a patient in such a condition, doctor would have closed his eyes and would not record the condition in the MLC. “
  • “Her husband was not a criminal neither it is alleged that he had any criminal background. A poor man who was starving for his survival and had to work as a labour from morning till evening for livelihood, could not have given threats to kill his own son and father-in-law. This story of threat seems to have been developed later on by the complainant in consultation with father. “
  • “The Courts must be very cautious during trials of such offences. In all these cases in the name of investigation, except recording statement of complainant and her few relatives nothing is done by police. The police does not verify any circumstantial evidence nor collect any other evidence about the claims made by the complainant. No evidence about giving of dowry or resources of the complainant’s family claiming spending of huge amounts is collected by the police. This all is resulting into gross misuse of the provisions of law.”
  • “From the entire documents and the testimony of the witnesses I come to the conclusion that it is an unfortunate case where the complainant by making false statement implicated the entire family in offenses of under Section 307 and 498 A IPC. The Trial Court was not cautious enough to even look to admitted documents on record before convicting the family on mere statement of an estranged wife. Trial Courts should guard themselves from being swayed by emotions. They should consider entire circumstances and should carefully analyze the entire evidence. Poverty should not be allowed to become a crime. Neither failed marriage be permitted to be a crime.”

Here is the judgment: Delhi HC: Wife Can’t Use Failed Marriage To Harass In-Laws

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Understanding HC Quash Petitions: Section 482 Of CrPC

The definitive guidelines under which a High Court can exercise its authority to quash a petition is given by the Supreme Court in the Bhajan Las Vs State Of Haryana, 21/11/1990, judgment. This judgment lays the ground rules for a HC to quash a criminal case.

Here is the link to the judgment from Judis:

http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/qrydisp.aspx?filename=7332
OR

SC: HCs Have To Be Cautious In ‘Dowry’ Cases

The best explanation of the view of the courts, in my opinion, has been given by Justice Dhingra.

This is what he says:

“While exercising powers under Section 482 of the Cr. P.C. the Court has to keep in mind that it should not ordinarily embark upon an enquiry whether the evidence in question is reliable or not or whether on a reasonable appreciation of it accusation would not be sustained. This is a function of the Trial Court. Though the judicial process should not be an instrument of oppression or needless harassment but the Court should be circumspect and judicious in exercising discretion and should take all relevant facts and circumstances in consideration before issuing process under Section 482 lest the Section becomes an instrument in the hands of accused persons to claim differential treatment only because the accused persons can spend money to approach higher forums. This Section is not an instrument handed over to an accused to short circuit a prosecution and bring about its sudden death. “

Here is the document that attempts to explain HC Quash Petitions (Section 482):

Understanding HC Quash Petitions: Section 482 Of CrPC

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Lisa Tsering: Indian Husbands Fall Victim to Dowry-Immigration Fraud

This is an article that highlights the plight of young Indian professionals, living abroad, known as NRIs. The radical Indian feminists depict these guys as dowry seeking, wife beating monsters, in short, as evil incarnate.

Here is the article: Indian Husbands Fall Victim to Dowry-Immigration Fraud

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Justice Dhingra Whacks A 498A Abusing Wife And Compulsive Cheat

Here is the news item from Indian Express:

Here is an excerpt: ““The counsel for the respondent (Asha) himself is unable to explain her conduct and why she falsely claims to be the daughter of Justice S N Bhargava…

“I consider she was out to misuse the name of Justice Bhargava to extort money by lodging false FIRs… She is an impersonator and a cheat.”

Here is the judgment: Justice Dhingra Whacks A 498A Abusing Wife And Cheat

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Allahabad HC Quashes A 498A And Chides The Wife – 2006

Here is this judgment: Allahabad/Lucknow HC Quashed A 498A And Chides The Wife

An excerpt:

  • “The sole purpose of a novel like story evolved by the informant and recited in her First Information Report is to take a revenge with him by getting him sent to jail and further placing him in sufferings with his eventual suspension. The Courts are to protect the valuable rights of not only a wife if she is victimized and maltreated with dowry demand but also a harassed husband who is also equal in the eyes of law and if a concocted attempt as the one in hand is made to place the husband in an awkward situation, certainly the Court must come to the rescue of such a husband in humiliation.”

-Allahabad/Lucknow HC, Writ Petition MB 528 of 2005, 10/01/2006

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Excerpts From Bail Orders And Judgments

I compiled a very short list of excerpts of what the courts around the country are saying about 498A and the impact on right to liberty.

Before I go on, here is what the spokesperson for NCW has to say about amending 498A:
“The idea should be to see how the police system works, the concerned official out there should not lodge an FIR and arrest the groom and his side before investigating. These kind of shortcuts are mainly tainting the image of the prevailing law. The way uncles, aunts are also humiliated is not fair, we agree that they should not be booked until a full-proof investigation is carried out. Instead of amending the law we should try to improve our police system and investigating procedure,”

These excerpts below and in the accompanying pdf file are from Judis.nic.in. I attempted to find more from judgments from other courts, but it looks like the Supreme Court and the Delhi High Court are the two courts whose officers appear to do a great job in making the bail orders and judgments available online. These excerpts are pretty funny and they throw some light upon the idiocy that is this law. Here are some gems:

  • “The appellant has also filed a maintenance petition against her husband. What can she possibly get by prosecuting him as well as his family members? The appellant filed the criminal case under Section 498A etc. not only against her husband but also against her husband’s father, mother, brother, sister, etc. In exercise of our discretionary jurisdiction under Article 136, we are not inclined to interfere with the impugned Judgment of the High Court quashing the criminal case filed by the appellant. After all, the appellant will not get any benefit by sending her husband or his family members to jail. She is pursuing her maintenance case, and if she is so advised she can also file a suit for damages, which if filed will be decided on its own merits.”

-The Supreme Court Of India, Appeal (crl.) 188 of 2007, 12/02/2007

  • The sole purpose of a novel like story evolved by the informant and recited in her First Information Report is to take a revenge with him by getting him sent to jail and further placing him in sufferings with his eventual suspension. The Courts are to protect the valuable rights of not only a wife if she is victimized and maltreated with dowry demand but also a harassed husband who is also equal in the eyes of law and if a concocted attempt as the one in hand is made to place the husband in an awkward situation, certainly the Court must come to the rescue of such a husband in humiliation.”

-Allahabad HC, Writ Petition MB 528 of 2005, 10/01/2006

  • “Section 482 of the Cr.P.C. can be resorted to, in order to secure the ends of justice; it can be used, in given circumstances, to quash criminal proceedings. Lately, a tendency has emerged to set the criminal law into motion, either to settle scores, or to seek quick fix solutions to essentially civil disputes. This has been deprecated by the Supreme Court, (G. Sagar Suri Vs. State of U.P. AIR 2000 SC 754; Indian Oil Corporation Vs. NEPC Ltd., 2006(6) SCC 736) which has held that in such cases, the Court should invoke its power and quash criminal proceedings.”

-Justice Ravindra Bhat , Delhi HC, CRL.M.(C) No.5264/2005, 30.03.2007

  • “The criminal case against her in which she was accused was compounded by the petitioner on the basis of compromise. She is living with her husband. She wants to use criminal justice as a tool against the petitioners who are her sister-in-laws and mother-in-law. She wants to enjoy the company of the husband keeping other relatives on tenterhooks.

-Delhi HC, Crl. M.C. No. 8188-90/2006, 28.03.2007

Here are the rest of these gems in the pdf: Excerpts From Bail Orders And Judgments

_______________________________________________________

Supreme Court Judgments Needed To Battle 498A

The following are Supreme Court judgments which will help in fighting 498A.

SC Judgments on the rights of Indian citizens:

SC Judgments relating to the Indian Police:

SC judgments relating to marriage, divorce, DV Act, etc:

_________________________________________________

Extradition, Criminal Prosecution And International Child Abduction

This is a very nice article that explains quite a few things about extradition by a law office.

Here is the link:

Criminal Prosecution and International Child Abduction

____________________________________________________________

Stats On Domestic Violence Against Indian Men

Here is the link to the pdf: Stats On Domestic Violence Against Men

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Some Interesting Stats On Arrests Of Women

In 1930, the British govt arrested 17,000 women for their involvement in the Dandi Yatra (Salt March). During 1937 to 1947 (10 Years), they arrested 5,000 women involved in the freedom struggle. From 2004 to 2006, the govt of India arrested 90,000 women of all ages under 498A. On the average, 27,000 women per year are being arrested under this flawed law. These are stats from the NCRB.

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The content of this blog is copyrighted. You are required to obtain prior permission before locally hosting or reproducing online or in print, any or part of the content. You are welcome to directly link to the content from your site. Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape MyFreeCopyright.com Registered & Protected Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.

Disclaimer:

The family of the writer was tortured by the Indian Police in an attempt to extort over a $100,000 by holding them in custody for over a week. The police, in cahoots with the magistrate and the PP, did this due to the ridiculous allegations made in a 498A case by his embittered ex-wife. She filed the case years after he and his family had last seen her. Thousands of 498A cases are filed each year in India by women seeking to wreak vengeance on their husbands and in-laws. Enormous sums are extorted from intimidated families implicated in these cases by corrupt Indian police officers and elements of the Indian judiciary. The author and his family haven't bribed any public official nor have they given in to the extortion. This blog aims to raise awareness of due process in India. The content of this blog constitutes, opinions, observations, and publicly available documents. The intent is not to slander or defame anyone or any institution and is the manifestation of the author's right to freedom of expression – with all the protections this right guarantees.

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