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)
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;
(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,
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



22 Responses to “What Is IPC 498A?”

  1. 1 manpreet May 6, 2008 at 11:49 am

    Iam suffering with irritation of my husband. he always abusing me in the name of my parents. he afraid me that he divourced me & also said to my parents for dowry. Plz help & save from this cruel person


  2. 2 havepenwillwrite May 7, 2008 at 3:20 am

    Dear Manpreet:

    From what you’re indicating, it looks like you’ve acquired your husband’s symptoms of irritation, and are laboring through it. “Hubbyirritidytis” is quite a common ailment usually airborne, transmitted by non-corporal contact to the spouse. To my knowledge, this not at all a rare strain so do not be unnecessarily alarmed if he mistakes you for his in-laws and addresses you by their names. Quite a few in-laws that I know DO have colorful names that may sound abusive, y’know.

    I surmise from your statement, “he afraid me that he divourced me …”, you are indicating that he is extremely fearful of you and is, therefore, either contemplating divorce or has already divorced you. Either way, the issue of Dowry shouldn’t arise because, whether it is offered, demanded, requested, or conceded to, it is still illegal just like prostitution. Let me put it this way without involving the statutes: If the bride’s and groom’s moral standards preclude prostitution, the same standards should apply to Dowry. After all, isn’t Dowry essentially an agreed upon price for a commodity in the meat market?

    I am at a loss as far as what you expect from your appeal to the general Blog community. Would you like a few thousand protesters to show up on your doorstep with picket signs? Or do you expect your breadwinner (i.e., your hubby) to be lynched so you could enjoy your widowhood status (since “Sathi” is outlawed)?

    But all kidding aside, despite the murdered English, for a person with sufficient computer savvy to find your way to this 498A Blog, I think you have more than adequate competence to facilitate an independent decision sparing us with time wasted.

    For the record, there certainly ARE some low-life slimeballs out there who rightfully deserve the entire 498A Suppository inserted where the sun don’t shine! But there are also a vastly disproportionate multitude of female opportunists (and their covetous families) that would qualify for an exceedingly enhanced colonic treatment.

    Divorce should be the last option unless you are harboring some covert tactical expectations. Have an honest, good faith try at counseling thru’ neutral, respected elders. Desist from name calling and mud slinging: the one finger you point at others, there are THREE pointing toward yourself and one UP toward the heavens! Besides, some secrets are best kept within the family (whether or not you remain together).

    Most relationships can be patched up with mature compromise: mutual “give and take”. But if you truly cannot resolve your differences (or are unwilling to do so), split the sheet and go your separate ways and demand YOUR LAWFUL ENTITLEMENTS WITH DIGNITY and don’t back down! This is the makings of a true feminist – and we will stand behind you! But on the other hand, if you are into chicanery and making a mockery of marriage and your own self worth, go the route of other marital opportunists. You’d be just one more harlot that gives feminists a bad name. Nothing we can’t handle!


  3. 3 M.T.Moorthy December 13, 2008 at 9:54 am

    my self and my family also victim of this case, pl help us


  4. 4 ram kumar October 3, 2010 at 9:21 am

    dear sir

    mera naam ram hai mari shadi ko approx 10 years ho gaye hai mari wife ek character less women hai hamari shadi ko 10 yrs ho gaye hai but hamey koi baccha nahi hua hai. shadi ke 3 saal baad sae meri wife ke bhut logo se illegal relation rehey but main use bhut nibhaya but ek saal phely vo ek ladkey ke saath ghar se bhag gayi maine uskey doondeney ke liye police ko inform kiya or therir di uskey 4 din baad mery parivar valo ne use ddond liya vo apney saat mainey jamin baki thi uske sarey paisey bhi le gaayi.maine use ghar reka liye uskey khuch din baad vo dubara ek ladkey ke saath chali gayi ur uska bhai vo ladka or tno mil kar mujhey persan karney lagey or 5 lakh mangtey the nahi to dowery ka case laganey ki baat karety they tab manie talak ka dava dal diya jab maine talak ka case dale diya uskey baad usney poice main complent ki kyoki police ki sara matter peta tha to vha fir nahi huai but sie ab usney mary or marey parivar ke against 156/3 main 498a or 3/7 ipc acjm ke yaha case dal diya hai jismey ghavai chal rahi hai or saath hi 125ipc bharn posad ka case dal diya hai .isliye sir main ye janan chata ho ki ab main kya karo ab mery pass khuch bhi nahi hai or na hi main kahi nukari karta ho or vo mery saery paise laker bhag gayi hai uska bhai bhi mila hua hai…..sir please mujhay advaise karey kya shadi ke 10 yers bad or adult women bhi ye case derz kara shakti hai sir please help me i am very depress.


  5. 5 sylvia martin February 7, 2011 at 10:29 am

    Dear Sir,
    I am being beated by my brother who is not giving the share of my property of my parents.
    we have a partition deed, but my mother is totally against daughters and supports son for every thing.my mother has given gift deed to son after father death without me and my sister consent.
    kindly help me and give me an idea


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    Sir,I am a Govt. Employee employed as a Clerk in my Office.After five month of our arranged marriage my parents including my unmarried brother and my married sister(whom my parents kept within our family despite of putting her with widow mother-in-law & husband) was trying to put my wife against me by telling different mistakes like taking lone/credit of money, wrong decision(which was actually right and done collectively by all . Certainly my wife use to inquire me after coming back from my Office.I bothered it few month and trying to make them understand that whatever they discussed with her(new member) they should discussed in front of me. Then the behavior of our family members has been changed. tThey started misbehaved with my wife after when I am in the office.I noticed after few days.Whenever I asked to mom regarding their “bahu” they complained against her.My younger brother back home with drunken state every day.I along with my wife objected and my mother used to take it in unpleasant ways and in absence of me it’s repercussion fall on my wife. Day by day she was going towards frustration. As a result she miscarriage her first issue.In this circumstances my parents and my brother then pressurizing me to spend money going out my earning and my father total salary in his hand. I refused instantly. After a hot conversation of two three phage we stopped talking and I reduced my monthly contribution because my wife became pregnant and my expenditure increased. After spending four month with poor food intake and when I saw my brother assaults my wife in front of me, threaten me and my parents remained silent, I immediately send my wife in a safest place and I continue stay with my parents.Now my father forced me to want Rs. One lac from me and at the same time transfer land-house property to him otherwise he killed me. Plz advice me what should I do…….
    Can I lodge a complain through 498,IPC


  9. 9 escape_victim498a November 24, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    Dear Brothers…
    Be frank don’t hurry to marry any INDIAN women….(498A a trap for men)

    If want to marry, then study woman character, education background, religious attitude, and her family…. especially parents character.

    Even you met very nice woman/family, definitely in future any problem happened….so all husband must very cautious about wife…..don’t reveal all secret and very personal matter with wives…

    Always keep proof……if you getting gift/ dowry from girl family…must
    make a recordical proof and sign with girl and girl parents….


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  15. 15 puja shyam October 15, 2014 at 9:24 am

    my husband has extramarital affairs ,already filed a divorce case against me.i dont want a divorce.i had also claimed for maintainence.can i claim for 498 case now?


  16. 16 Anand Anupam April 10, 2015 at 2:02 am

    My uncle is also subject to extortion of 498A his wife; “she is a control freak” she wants to control her husband, in every possible way or say she wants him to be a slave.


  17. 17 Nargis khan November 12, 2016 at 2:20 pm

    Sir,may ek middle gharana ki ladki hu sadi 3 Saal huhi hai mera pati ek ladki se najayej rista rakhte hai boolne bolta hai ke may jaysa hu oisa hi rahungi isme apko rahna hai raho ya talak lelo,lekin may talak nahi Lena chahti hu our mera pati ek teacher hai isme koi kanuni tarika bataiye ke mere patiko us larkika pichha chhuraya jaye plz advice mr


  18. 18 uday January 3, 2017 at 6:59 am

    We got married on oct 2015 after marriage her father-in-laws and mother-in-laws inform to me dont go to honeymoon. then we had not gone to honeymoon. mother-in-laws and father-in-laws was saying come at home (my wife home). then i and my wife gone to my wife parent home. then are saying let her stay for for one week or come at january 2016. I told my parents i am busy at job and even train ticket is not available. I inform to her parent come at my home. they inform us we will send when we want to send. after some days i call to her parents they were not picking up phone. and also tried to call my wife but her mobile was switch off after some days i when to her parent home to give suprise for valentine days suprise. reaching her parent home door was locked. then again i tried to call my wife and her parents but phone was switch off. i dont when and where they had gone. parent home neigbours came to me and inform me from two they were not at home.and neighbour ask me who are you. i told to neighbour i am son -in-law. two three neighbours inform they didnt invited us for marriage even her close friend. i got shocked after listenng about this. Her told we already given invitation to neighbour and relative but they are busy.
    father-in-laws brother inform they didnt invited us for marriage. after that i came at home. i inform to my parent they also got shocked. then we had given complaint at police station. Police told have to give complaint at nearby police station at her parent home. after some days my wife call me & inform to me that her father was taken mobile. my wife should not call to me. then i asked where are you now told me i at madurai come take me from here. then i asked where are your parents . my wife inform they lefted me alone at relative madurai and her gone to at there home. she inform me my parent didnt given any money. she told i am not able to come. then i gone to madurai quickly and meeted to my wife and bring her at my home. after her parent started to call me and my wife. My wife told you dont pickup the call. after that her mother came at home after 4 months. to meet me and her daughter. I told my mother-in-law why you did like that where my father-in- laws, mother-in-laws inform he didnt came. At that time i told to my wife your mom came so far go and meet. it will be good. then my wife told dont want to meet mothers inform dont my come in future i and my husband living good. My mother-in-law lefted for my home. My wife started going to office also we were so happy watch movies at theatre, going to temple and having lunch and dinner on holidays. while going to office regularly suddenly my wife started vomitting, i and my family were happy we thought my wife is concieve. We have gone clinic twice a time and then doctor told you have admit hospital. I had taken to two hospital one of them they had not bed available and inform us to stay in queue. then i admitted to third hospital they directly admitted at hospital did ask anything past illness etc. I asked to hospital what happen to my wife. doctor told she have gastro and ulcer problem so thats why she is vomitting continously. Doctor inform us dont give anything to eat or juice drink on first day. next doctor told she stop vomitting you give her food & juice to drink. we started giving food. in hospital, last four day she was eating food and juice. also rooming at hospital. doctor was giving discharge at evening. Suddenly my wife was get suffocating and i asked to doctor twice to get check at earliest on fourth day but there no proper response from nurse and doctor. next day afternoon she got stroke but doctor didnt done blood test. they call psycathrist and asked to my wife personal question and doctor didnt inform to me. My wife told to Pyscathrist doctor not having any problem with in-laws and husband. when i came to meet my wife. she got stroke again and suddenly i taken action to transfer to other hospital and to doctor that you are not doing proper treatment give transfer letter. on last four day whenever i ask to doctor, he told she OK and fine. it will take sometime. after transfering to other hospital my wife is deaths with 12 hours. My father-in-laws given complaint 498a IPC. Please suggest what should i do. given complaint happen 3 month. Now police says on jan 2017 within two to three days. we call you to be available at court. Please suggest what should i do now.


  19. 19 Nirmal Kumar Ganguli October 28, 2018 at 5:41 am

    Very nicely explained the demerits of the act.


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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 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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November 2007

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