SC: No 498A Convictions In Case Of Delay

The Indian Supreme Court has ruled a husband or a relative cannot be convicted of harassing a woman if the complaint is made a considerable amount of time after the alleged act.  A bench of Justices Mukundakam Sharma and B S Chauhan passed the ruling while setting aside the conviction and three-year sentence imposed on Manju Ram Kalita, a resident of Assam fs Kamrup district. The SC while quashing the charge against Kalita under Section 498 (harassment of wife by husband or relatives), however, upheld his conviction for bigamy (IPC 494). The bench noted that in the present case, the complaint was lodged three years after the alleged harassment and hence cannot be sustained.

The SC also stated that :

“10. It is settled legal proposition that if the courts below have recorded the finding of fact, the question of re-appreciation of evidence by the third court does not arise unless it is found to be totally perverse. The higher court does not sit as a regular court of appeal. It’s function is to ensure that law is being properly administered. Such a court cannot embark upon fruitless task of determining the issues by re-appreciating the evidence. This Court would not ordinarily interfere with the concurrent findings on pure questions of fact and review the evidence again unless there are exceptional circumstances justifying the departure from the normal practice. The position may undoubtedly be different if the inference is one  of law from the facts admitted and proved or where the finding of fact is materially  affected by violation of any rule of law or procedure”

Here is the judgment:  MANJU RAM KALITA – Vs- Assam – 2009



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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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