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Manav Kalia (Arguing my own cases..)     14 October 2011

Can dowry case be filed after 7 years of marriage?

Read somewhere that there was SC ruling that dowry case after seven years of marriage is not applicable. Wife is threatening to file 498a after eight years. Any thoughts? Thanks..


 37 Replies



adv. rajeev ( rajoo ) (practicing advocate)     14 October 2011

It is right after 7 years wife cannot file dowry case.  I have not gone thru., any judgements.  It is very crystal clear that wife lead a life with the husband all the 7 years, now how come she files dowry case.  It is arguable point.  It can be argued very nicely.

If husband had harrassed his wife for dowry she could have filed a complaint immeidately, why she has to wait for 7 years.

Manav Kalia (Arguing my own cases..)     14 October 2011

Thanks @ rajeev and utpala. Wife has filed DV after seven years. In it are allegations of dowry harassment. She then has filed CAW complaint after eight years and is threatening 498a. Can she now file any dowry harassment case like 498a? Is 498a specific to dowry harassment?

Shonee Kapoor (Legal Evangelist - TRIPAKSHA)     14 October 2011

There is a diffirence between 304B, which states about Dowry Death and 498-a which is for dowry harassment.


304B can be filed only if there is a death. Which is applicable within seven years.

498-a can be filed at any time during the subsistance of a vaild marriage.

Same is the case with DV




Shonee Kapoor

2 Like

Manav Kalia (Arguing my own cases..)     14 October 2011

Thanks for the clarity @ shonee. Btw is dowry not the stuff given at time of or just after marriage? Can any harassment of money after marriage be termed as dowry? Not that I have asked for money after marriage even but that is her allegation.

ajay sethi (lawyer)     14 October 2011

i agree with shonee kappor that 498 a case can be filed at any time . the relevance of 7 year period is if wife dies within 7 years of marraige it is assumed that it was a dowry death and burden of proof is on husband to prove his innocence


The Supreme Court has ruled that demand for money and presents from parents of a married girl at the time of birth of her child or for other ceremonies, as is prevalent in society, may be deprecable but cannot be categorised as dowry to make it a punishable offence.

This means, if a daughter-in-law is being harassed for customary gifts by parents-in-law, then they could be booked under ordinary penal provisions but not under the tough anti-dowry laws providing stringent punishments.

Acquitting the parents-in-law of a woman who had accused them of harassing her for dowry, a Bench comprising Justices Arijit Pasayat and S Sathasivam took help of a 2001 judgment of SC to say that not all demands from the parents-in-law could be categorised as 'dowry' under the Dowry Prohibition Act. It said though the Act covers payment of money or articles during, before or after marriage by the girl's parent to her in-laws, the cash and presents given had to have a link with the marriage to become objectionable in law.

"Other payments which are customary payments, for example given at the time of birth of a child or other ceremonies as are prevalent in different societies, are not covered by the expression 'dowry'," said Justice Pasayat, writing the judgment for the Bench.

A Haryana trial court had continued the dowry harassment charges against the woman's husband while acquitting the parents-in-law, the married sister and brother of the husband. Though the high court allowed quashing of charges against the sister and brother, it said the parents-in-law were liable to be proceeded against.

The apex court said that when the trial court had held that an attempt had been made by the woman to rope in as many relatives of her husband as possible, the HC should have given some reasons while reversing a well-reasoned order.

It said judicial discipline demanded the HCs to give clear reasons when reversing a trial court order backed by facts. "Reasons substitute subjectivity by objectivity. The emphasis on recording reasons is that if the decision reveals the 'inscrutible face of the sphinx', it can, by its silence, render it virtually impossible for the courts to perform their appellate function or exercise the power of judicial review in adjudicating the validity of the decision," the Bench said.


cm jain sir (ccc)     14 October 2011

Shonee sir had said correctly dear mirage. I am facing the 498/a dowry harassment charges after 15 yrs. of marriage. Recently 498/a FIR is lodged againest Mafatlal family after 22 yrs of marriage so there is no time limit for 498/a.

Manav Kalia (Arguing my own cases..)     14 October 2011

I just got a wrist watch and six shirts from Wifes parents as seven birthday presents in seven years. That too I never asked for that. Also eight years back they spent two lacs on wedding. Again I did not ask them. Does that constitute dowry in any way?

Raj Kumar Singh (nil)     15 October 2011

no,dowry act itself reveals time limit 7years for filing case

asharam pandey (a.p.o.)     15 October 2011

yes,a case of sec-3/4 D.P. ACT or sec-498-a I.P.C. can be filed at any

time during  the valid  marrige. therte is no time limit for filing  of  case in sec-3/4 D.P.ACT OR 498-A I.P.C..

Nadeem Qureshi (Advocate/     15 October 2011

Dear Mirage

as per discussion it mu opinion that "7 years" time is not mention in this section

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.




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.]




Punishment—Imprisonment for 3 years and fine‑Cognizable if information relating to the commission of the offence is given to an officer in charge of a police station by the person aggrieved by the offence or by any person related to her by blood, marriage or adoption or if there is no such relative, by any public serv­ant belonging to such class or category as may be notified by the State Government in this behalf—Non-bailable—Triable by Magis­trate of the first class—Non-compoundable.





Demand for Dowry and Ill-treatment


(i) The wife petitioned for divorce on the ground of persistent demand made on her by her husband and in-laws. The High Court took the view that there was nothing wrong in these demands as money was needed by the husband for his personal use and in such a case wife should extend help. Reversing the judgment, the Supreme Court held that demand for dowry is prohibited under the law. That itself was bad enough; Shobha Rani v. Madhukar, AIR 1988 SC 121; see also Prakash Kaur v. Harijinderpal Singh, AIR 1999 Raj 46.


(ii) The husband and his parents were greedy people. Their desire for dowry was insatiable. They went on demanding dowry even after two years of marriage, and since the parents of wife could not meet these, they started ill-treating her with a view to coercing her parens to give dowry. The Delhi High Court held that this amounted to cruelty; Adarsh Parkash v. Sarita, AIR 1987 Del 203.


Demand for money


Demand for money after four years of marriage for a specific purpose, no where related to marriage demand but causing of harassment to deceased wife so much so that she was bound to end her life is sufficient for conviction under section 498A; State of Punjab v. Daljit Singh, 1999 Cr LJ 2723 (P&H).




No doubt drinking is a constituent of culture all over the world, and is almost a cult in certain societies. Yet, even here as elsewhere a habit of excessive drinking is a vice and cannot be considered a reasonable wear and tear of married life. No reasonable person marries to bargain to endure habitual drunkenness, a disgusting conduct. And yet it is not an independent ground of any matrimonial relief in India. But it may constitute treatment with cruelty, if indulged in by a spouse and continued, in spite of remonstrances, by the other. It may cause great anguish and distress to the wife who never suspected what she was bargaining for and may sooner or later find living together not only miserable but unbearable. If it was so, she may leave him and may, apart from cruelty, even complain of constructive desertion; Rita v. Brij Kishore, AIR 1984 Del 291.




Section 498A was added with a view to punishing husband and his relatives who harass or torture the wife to coerce her or her relatives to satisfy unlawful demands of dowry. The hyper-technical view would be counter productive and would act against interests of women and against the object for which the provision was added. There is every likelihood that non-exercise of inherent power to quash the proceedings to meet the ends of justice would prevent woman from settling earlier. That is not the object of Chapter XXA; B.S. Joshi v. State of Haryana,AIR 2003 SC 1386.


Section 498A vis-a-vis section 113 of Evidence Act


Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code or section 113A of the Indian Evidence Act has not introduced invidious classification qua the treatment of a married woman by her husband or relatives of her husband vis-a-vis the other offenders. On the other hand, such women form a class apart whom from those who are married more than seven years earlier to the commission of such offence, because, with the passage of time after marriage and birth of children, there are remote chances of treating a married woman with cruelty by her husband or his relatives. Thus, the classification is reasonable and has close nexus with the object sought to be achieved, i.e., eradication of the evil of dowry in the Indian social set-up and to ensure that the married women live with dignity at their matrimonial homes; Krishan Lal v. Union of India, 1994 Cr LJ 3472.


Unhappiness between husband and wife


Where the prosecution relied only on incident of unhappiness of deceased with her husband and the allegation was only in form of suggestion, it does not establish criminal offence under either or both of the charges, hence conviction under section 498A is improper; State v. K. Sridhar, 2000 Cr LJ 328 (Kant).


Wilful Conduct


The allegations against the husband were that he abused and beat his wife, forced her to have a common kitchen with a harijan family, accused her of adultery and of carrying in her womb someone else’s child, pressurizing her to agree for an abortion, and such other acts. This amounted to a wilful conduct of cruelty towards wife; Rishi Kumar v. State of Haryana, Criminal Appeal No. 335-B of 1985.

Shonee Kapoor (Legal Evangelist - TRIPAKSHA)     15 October 2011



You atleast got something. I have supported my out-laws month on month. Only when I refused to part with my hard earned money any further, I was charged with 498-a.


So don't worry, Truth will Triumph.


Satyamev Jayate,




Shonee Kapoor

1 Like

Manav Kalia (Arguing my own cases..)     15 October 2011

@ shonee and zeeshan, your outlaws claims must not be consistent with bank, PAN, IT records? In my case outlaws fraudulently claim ten lacs marriage expense which would make them IT evaders for sure. Wife claims I harassed her for money after marriage whereas I earned and fed her and her income got saved in the bank. Why don't the courts see various financial records of the parties before entertaining the marital disputes? Would save much time and harassment..

Manav Kalia (Arguing my own cases..)     15 October 2011

Point is @ zeeshan, that for example if outlaws cannot pay ten lacs according to their various financial records, and then in their cases they claim they spent ten lacs, why doesn't the court look at the financial records of the outlaws before even entertaining their case?

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