498a: cruelty only or cruelty for dowry demand ?


Hi tajobs/shonee/bharat/other gurus,

    

Please help me understanding that whether 498a can be filed for cruelty related to dowry demand or any kind of cruelty (i.e. mental or physical abuse). My mail questions are:

    

1) Is 498a related to cruelty related to dowry demand only.

   

2) If point 1 is not true, then can wife file 498a for general mental  and physical abuse?

     

3) If point 2  holds true then can wife file 498a only based on one or two incidence or she will file it for such (mental/physical abuse) repeatitive events.

   

I am getting confused due to the following judgement ( confusion highlighted with red color) as it seems 498a can be filed by below caluses defined in section 9a) or 9b) (not a and b):

    

  http://advocateseema.in/files/HCDelh498aAcquittal8.pdf

        

 

9. Section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code reads as under :-

? Husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to crueltyWhoever, 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 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.?

10. Under Explanation (a) the cruelty has to be of such a gravity as is

likely to drive a woman to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to

life, limb or health.

11. Explanation (b) to Section 498-A provides that cruelty means

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.

 

12. Explanation (b) does not make each and every harassment cruelty. The

harassment has to be with a definite object, namely to coerce the woman or any

person related to her to meet harassment by itself is not cruelty. Mere demand

for property etc. by itself is also not cruelty. It is only where harassment is

shown to have been committed for the purpose of coercing a woman to meet the

demands that it is cruelty and this is made punishable under the section.


 
Reply   
 
Advocate/Legal Consultant (rpchughadvocatesupremecourt@hotmail.com)

This is something that has baffled me. The Statute is very clear and unambigous. Both the explanations are not connected by 'And' and hence are not to satisfied. Even if one is satisfied the case should fall within the ambit of 498a. Both pertain to different kinds of cruelty. The first has got nothing to do with demand for dowry. Nor does the marginal heading or the heading of the part suggest the same. I don't know if there is a Supreme Court decision on this. 

 
Reply   
 



Thanks Bharat Sir,

Shonee ji in few of his replies, has stated that mere mental cruelty or physical abuse (which can be a normal wear and tear between a couple) does not attract 498a.

But looking at this judgement, it seems that wife can trap husband under 498a claiming only mental cruelty for any reason (causing suicidal thoughts to her, for an instance) without any dowry demand.

Please clarify.

 
Reply   
 
Advisory/Advocacy

Shonee correctly gave the statement...The emphasis was on "(which can be a normal wear and tear between a couple)"....

 

 

To attract criminal liability the cruelty mentioned in 498a should be grave in nature. Normal wear and tear does not attract criminal liability....

 

 

Regards

Chetan(dot)7679(at)gmail(dot)com


Total likes : 1 times

 
Reply   
 
Manager

Technically  yes, if it is not related to Dowry, it cant be under 498a but rather DV.

But what is the point of discussing all this - your question 'can she file 498a blah blah'

we all know the answer -"YES". She can file 498a even if you give your kidneys to ailing mother.

Police WILL register her case, sooner or later.

In my opinion, we can only, and certainly prepare for the aftermath - but cant really prevent a 498a.


Total likes : 1 times

 
Reply   
 

I agree to your  point but 'a normal wear n tear' for one person can be 'cruelty' for another as it depends upon the mental strength and the circumstance one/another is in so assuming that 498a can always be filed (and thus cannot be quashed) on such matrionial disputes 'without' any dowry demand.

 
Reply   
 

@harsh,

Let suppose one fine day, I had a (verbal) fight with my wife (and let say that continued for a week) and that made her upset and lead her to make suicide attempt, looking at this judgement, I can be convicted under 498a. Thus in a way she is not filing a false case and has all supporting facts to convict husband under 498a but that poor husband actually has not done anything bad to his knowledge. So if 498a is not related to dowry then how is it different to DV act?

 
Reply   
 
Advisory/Advocacy

I am sure there has to be some benchmark....

 
Reply   
 

There is a benchmark SC ruling that I read last year about the contention of cruelty in DV and 498a which describe what is part of cruelty in 498a section. That states not every harrassment attarcts section 498a but  a harassment of nature that leads to grave physical injury, likely to cause threat to life; or grave mental agony which drives a pettioner to try sucide

part (2) attracts all harrassment related to dowry but not to stridhan.

Hope I threw a bit of light from my reading.


Total likes : 1 times

 
Reply   
 

So to sum up 498a can be filed without any dowry related issues. One can assume if a wife can create ground for DV then she can very well file 498a.

 
Reply   
 

LEAVE A REPLY


    

Your are not logged in . Please login to post replies

Click here to Login / Register  



 

  Search Forum








×

Menu

Post a Suggestion for LCI Team
Post a Legal Query
Forensics & Evidence     |    x