What is 498 - A Indian Penal Code

WHAT IS SECTION 498-A OF INDIAN PENAL CODE (I.P.C)

So, let me start my article by explaining the word “Cruelty” because the essence of the offence in section 498A, IPC is cruelty.

Before going into the penal definition let us see the common definition of cruelty which can come to any lay man persons mind. The word cruelty in common English acceptation denotes a state of conduct which is painful and distressing to another.

Now, if we take section 498-A into hands then it provides that the cruelty must be of the nature of:

1. Any willful conduct as was likely to drive women

  1. To commit suicide
  2. Cause grave injury or danger to her limb, either mental and physical

2. Harassment of women

  1. With a view to coerce her to meet unlawful demand for property or valuable security,
  2. Or an account of the failure of women or by any of her relations to meet the unlawful demand,

So, by reading this we get to know that the cruelty can be of two types (A) Physical Cruelty or (B) Mental Cruelty.

CRUELTY MAY BE PHYSICAL OR MENTAL

It is difficult to straightjacket the term cruelty by means of definition, because cruelty is relative term. That is the reason why the Hon’ble Apex court of this country observed that “what constitutes cruelty for one person may not constitute cruelty for another”.

Mental Cruelty

Mental cruelty is a state of mind and feeling with one of the spouses due to behavior or behavioral pattern by the other. Mental cruelty is the conduct of other spouses which causes mental suffering or fear to the matrimonial life of the other. Therefore the term cruelty postulates the treatment of one spouse to another with such cruelty as to cause a reasonable apprehension in one spouse mind that it would be harmful and injurious for the petitioner to live with the other party.

Physical Cruelty:

Physical violence is that involves contact intended to cause pain, injury, other physical suffering or bodily harm.

ATTRACTION OF SECTION 498-A

As to attract section 498A, the prosecution has to establish the willful conduct on the part of the accused and that conduct is of such a nature as it likely to drive the wife to commit suicide. Hence, the cruelty has to be of such gravity as is likely to drive women to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to life, limb or health.

If cruelty is by itself established and the fact of committing suicide is also established, it would not be sufficient to bring home the guilt of committing cruelty. A reasonable nexus had to be established between the cruelty and the suicide in order to make good the offence of cruelty. Suppose the suicide is established it has further to be established that it was occasioned on account of cruelty which was of sufficient gravity so as to lead a reasonable person placed in circumstances to commit suicide.

So the demand of dowry also attract the penal provision as contained in section 498-A. Although section itself does not specifically speak about of a dowry demand, but it speaks about the unlawful demand for In the property and valuable articles. The explanation (B) of section 498-A talks about the “harassment of the women where such harassment is with a view to coercing her or any person related to her to meet any unlawful demand of any property or valuable security or in account of failure by her or any person related to her to meet such demand”

As I already said there is no word like Dowry in whole face of section 498-A then the question arises as to how the unlawful demand is equal to demand of dowry. For getting this answer we need to read the defiantion of dowry which is being provided under section 2 of “Dowry prohibition Act” 1961.

Under section 2 of “Dowry prohibition Act”  the word Dowry means any property or valuable security given or agreed to given either directly or indirectly (A) by one party to a marriage to other party  to the marriage, (B) or by the parents of the either party to the marriage or by any other person, to either party to the marriage or to any other person, at or before marriage.

IN LAST THE INGREDIENTS OF SECTION 498-A

1. A Women must be married
2. She must be subjected to cruelty
3. Cruelty must be of the nature of:

Any willful conduct as was likely to drive women:

  • To commit suicide,
  • Cause grave injury or danger to her limb, either mental and physical

Harassment of women

  • With a view to coerce her to meet unlawful demand for property or valuable security,
  • Or an account of failure of women or by any of her relations to meet the unlawful demand,

Women was subjected to cruelty by :

  • Husband of the women,
  • Or by any relative of the husband.

Mens Rea - The explanation to section 498A defining cruelty starts with a words: “and willful conduct” thus mens rea (wrong intention of a person) is an essential ingredient of the offence under the section.

For constituting an offence under section 498-A of IPC, the ingredients must be held to be existing.

 

Aman chawla 
on 03 December 2018
Published in Criminal Law
Views : 290
Other Articles by - Aman chawla
Report Abuse









×

  LAWyersclubindia Menu