The cases of Section 498-A have to be seen from various angles to understand its full impact in on indian society. First from judicial point of view. so far judges are concerned, the conviction rate of eighteen per cent (not two per cent as some male supporters suggest on this forum time and again in a belief that if a lie is told hundreds of times it becomes truth) is normal in criminal proceedings. The judiciary is seeing similar less convictions in almost all criminal cases. Either they may be murder, robbery, rape, kidnapping, attempt to murder, abetment to suicide, bride-burning deaths etc. The conviction rate is so low despite there is ample proof of comission of offence (dead body in murder case, medical evidence in rape, eye withnesses in kidnapping and robbery cases, again dead body in abetment of suicide and bride burning etc.). There are innumerable reasons for less conviction in these cases. The foremost among them are the corrupt and equally ineffecient investigative system (police), the corrupt and equally inefficient prosecution, the long trials, connivance between the prosecution (sometimes complainant's advocate) with the defence counsel etc. So, less conviction of Section 498-A cases will not make the indian judiciary to believe that most of these cases are false (This I am commenting despite Justice Dalveer Bhandari's remarks in his judgment in "preeti Singh versus State of Jharkhand).
Now, let us see the view point of women (complainants) qua S.498-A cases. Most of them are not interested for a full fledged trial for the reasons as mentioned by Princess. So, they go for compromise / settlement. It does not at all mean that their complaints are false. They know at the end of the trial, if the husband and his relatives are convicted they go to jail and it does not solve an iota of problems with which she is surrounded. The first problem is that her parents spent huge amounts out of meagre savings to get her married. It may be for dowry, marriage expenses or for forced show-off in the society. She cannot recover the amount by just convicting the husband and his relatives for their misdeeds. Her efforts would always be to recover the lost amount as much as possible, so that it can be ploughed for younger sister's marriage or for her and her child's future maintenance. There is neither civil law nor criminal law to recover marriage expenses. Next, after marriage, she has lost her virginity, which is the most valuable thing in indian psyche. A brand name of "divorcee" or "estranged but not divorced wife" degrade her value in marriage market. If she has a child out of this marriage, it is most difficult thing for her to get a suitable another marriage. The damages that caused out of this marriage cannot be compensated in terms of money in the present prevailing Indian Law. So, in filing Section 498-A on genuine grounds of cruelty, she would resign to go for compromise / settlement after recovering some damages for losing the virginity and for facing the future life as divorcee etc. So, women prefer to go for settlement instead of full trial in section 498-A cases, as at the end of the day, mere conviction of the criminals will not minimize her financial and social miseries, but if it is a settlement at least some monetary compensation can be achieved. So, even at the time of filing Section 498-A, a woman's mind is not there wholly to take revenge or to convict him and to send him jail. Some Ravinder Kumar was telling in his above post that as the cases are false revenge intention will not be there in the wife. He is utterly wrong. In criminal proceedings, the complainant's revenge is not the driving force. It is State's intention to deliver justice to the State which received injury (complainant is only an instrument, the real injury is caused to State as per criminal jurisprudence) pushes it to hold full fledged trial.
Section 498-A from the angle of the husband is quite different. Most of the husbands and his relatives in Indian Society really do not believe that the acts perpetrated by them against their wives are not harassment. They, from the bottom of the heart, do not believe they are criminals. Our society mixed with medieval culture and advanced capitalist system moulded our mindsets in a peculiar way. A mother in law aged between 55 to 60 years (wanted to take rest in her life from her gruelling domestic chores through out her life) expects that DIL will help her in domestic chores. DIL, who is a working woman, cannot match her expectations. The male members, due to medieval culture, do not have the habit of sharing domestic work with the female members. Then there are conflicts. It is only an example. Several reasons are there for indian society to develop matrimonial disputes. Men and women are not treated equally. Taking the tradition as source, It is unilaterally decided Matrimonial homes are the places, where husband and his family reside. It gives great resentment in the wife from the day one of marriage. Even though she cannot break the tradition, she develops grievance. DIL, even though, a working woman, is expected to work just like ox (excuse me for gender injustice) in the kitchen after doing her out sider jobs. Her income is another bone of contention. In a nutshell, husband and his relatives, some times knowingly and some times unknowningly harass the wife either physically or mentally (most of the men do not believe that there is any thing which is called mental harassment). Such men, if wife files section 498-A case, think it only a method to extort money from him. He believes that the allegations are false but are put against him and his relatives to extort money. So, even if he goes for settlement, he believes that the allegations are false.
Finally from public view. Indian society is never kind enough to women, even though it appears to project women as godesses, they nevery treated women as equal human beings with equal capabilities and aspirations. Often we see on this forum some scoundrels argue that women are physically weak and they cannot match the men and that is why they shall not ask the equal treatment. These very scoundrels licked the boots of britishers for 200 years for their physical strength. Now also, I ask these scoundrels, would they become servants of Americans, because physically they are stronger than our Asians. In this century mental power is the most dominant power and given the equal opportunity women become equal as they have equal mental power.
Lastly, in criminal law, there are two methods to abruptly end the prolonger trial. The first method is compounding the offences. If the parties accept to settle the matter, in respect of certain offences, the court allow the parties to compound the offences. It does mean, that the accused is culprit and he wants to pay fine and compensation and the case will be closed. By compounding offence, you cannot say the allegation is either false or not. some times, the accused, even though innocent, to avoid prolonged trial, may accept his offence to settle the matter. Some times, the accused, really offender, to avoid prolong trial, may accept his offence to settle the matter. In such cases, you cannot say that the allegations are false or not. But in the case of Section 498-A, the offences are not compoundable. Hence, in such settlerments, you cannot say that the allegations are false, as the complainant took compensation and allowed the accused to go away scot free. Similarly, in the case of pleabargaining, the offender admits his offence and accepts lesser punishment or pay fine.( Some times, even though he knows he is innocent, he pleads bargaining to avoid prolonged trial). Such plea bargaining is also not permissible in matrimonial offence.
At the end, mere settlement does not make the allegations false or true. Only full pledged trial can decide the matters to some extent.