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Roshni B.. (For justice and dignity)     06 April 2011

Public opinion sought on bailability of dowry offences

Public opinion sought on bailability of dowry offences


New Delhi, Mar 29 (PTI)


Amid divergent views on making offences under Section 498 A relating to cruelty on women for dowry bailable, the Law Commission today issued a consultation paper seeking opinion of the public on the vexed issue.


Following observations made by the Supreme Court and various High Courts and representations received from different quarters, the Home Ministry had recently requested the Law Commission to consider whether amendments to Section 498 A were required to check the alleged misuse of the provision.The Commission, which advises government on complex legal issues, will use the opinions from public, NGOs and Bar Councils to firm up its views before submitting the report on the ticklish issue.Section 498 A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) allows the police to arrest the husband and in-laws of a woman for subjecting her to cruelty.


The offences under the Section are cognisable, non-compoundable and non-bailable.The apex court had recently observed that a serious re look of the provision is warranted by the Legislature."It is a matter of common knowledge that exaggerated versions of the incidents are reflected in a large number of complaints.

The tendency of over-implication is also reflected in a very large number of cases," the SC observation has been quoted by the Law Commission.According to the paper, the apex court took note of the common tendency to implicate husband and all his immediate relations." misuse of the provision, a new legal terrorism can be unleashed," the SC had said.But at the same time, several views have been expressed in support of maintaining status quo, including that by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, the Commission has noted.


Those favouring status quo suggest that Section 498 A has been specifically enacted to protect a vulnerable section of the society, which has been subjected to cruelty and harassment. The social purpose behind it will be lost if the rigour of the provision is diluted.


The misuse can be curtailed within the existing framework of law. For instance, the Home Ministry can issue 'advisories' to state governments to avoid unnecessary arrests and to strictly observe the procedures laid down in the law governing arrests.Section 498 A was introduced in 1983 to protect married women from being subjected to cruelty by the husband or his relatives. A punishment extending to 3 years and fine has been prescribed.The expression 'cruelty' has been defined in comprehensive terms to include inflicting physical or mental harm to the body or health of the victim with a view to coerce her or her relations to meet any unlawful demand for any property or valuable security.


 25 Replies

Arup (UNEMPLOYED)     06 April 2011

it should be bailable.

Jamai Of Law (propra)     06 April 2011

To summarise:

Such a change would affect adversely other beneficiaries rather than women plaintiffs/victims!!



"The social purpose behind it will be lost if the rigour of the provision is diluted."


"The apex court had recently observed that a serious re look of the provision is warranted by the Legislature."It is a matter of common knowledge that exaggerated versions of the incidents are reflected in a large number of complaints." "


 --------- Is there data to support it? Where is the specific credible data to support above mere observations?


in 498a ................ Statistics shows that :-

Not even 1% cases result in conviction

Out of remaining 99% not even 0.01% cases result in charges 'disproved' and plaintiff reprimanded.

And remaining 98.99% or more  cases result in aquital as charges 'unproved'  (due to lack of evidence. It can't conclude that plaintiff was the mischievous! or that defendent got away even though a culprit! )  and out of those again most of the cases are 'compromised'  due to prolonged litigation.



Read the above statistics carefully!

I believe the SC is already biased and made a general comment without substantial data.


The real story is as follows :-


(although the law which wasn't in fact helping the plaintiff women in any way!!! and rather) the law in fact was helping and boosting the legal Industry  and investigating agencies and generating a good employment for them!!



Hence I am suprised that the legal machinary themselves are on the verge of demolishing the green pastures!!  Is 498a the only law which is has loopholes to be misused by govt agencies rather than plaintiffs?  Then repeal all such laws.



The least solace, to plaintifss, from this law was that ---"it was like a 'panecea of collateral damage' to hapless women plaintiffs.


It was like "If you can't return my stree-dhan and jewels etc back ........ then it's better it goes into gutters,............ but you shouldn't also get the benefits of it!! ....................... Spend money on police, bail, lawyers if you don't want to give me back what was my property!!"  This law was like  'seedhi ungali se ghee nahi nikalta hai to......' 


And at the end ............. the women plaintiffs were getting their entitlements partially at least !! (around 50-60% of the total .... remaining was going to lawyers,  police , judiciary etc etc as a commission!!  (a big list .. witnesses, postmans, doctors !!) used to squeeze out some 20-30% and husbands used retain some 10-20% of it as a compensation for 'time spent in custody etc etc'





3 Like

Roshni B.. (For justice and dignity)     06 April 2011

good observation


1 Like

Arup (UNEMPLOYED)     06 April 2011

Is 498a the only law which is has loopholes to be misused by govt agencies rather than plaintiffs? 


----    a few others are there. but 498a famous for misuse, not only in india but also abroad.

Arup (UNEMPLOYED)     06 April 2011

generating a good employment for them!!


---   very good observation by sc. touched the reality.

498a used for harasing the husband & in laws.

arrest of husband and in laws fulfill this purpose.

after fulfil this purpose - who cares whom, let the complainee 'state authority' - to go to hell.

Ravikant Soni (LAWYER IN JAIPUR)     06 April 2011

is Latest amendments in Sec 41 of Cr.P.C. not sufficient for the purpose.

I thing now not to worry about apprehansion of arrest. 

Ravikant Soni (LAWYER IN JAIPUR)     06 April 2011

Now it become another catagory between Bailable and Non bailable matters after amendments in sec 41 of Cr.P.C.

wifebetrayed (service)     06 April 2011

Ravi sir,

what do u mean

Now it become another catagory between Bailable and Non bailable matters after amendments in sec 41 of Cr.P.C. Can police arrest with any acutal evidence just based on complaint from wife.

Sreenivas V (S/W)     06 April 2011

Hi All,

Looks like this is for all the new cases on how to deal for 498A in futue cases. Is there any other amendment for the existing cases which are there in courts since many years. How long the existing 498A cases will be there in courts.

"generating a good employment for them!! " I strongly believe in this. For this reason it is doubtful how the amendments will take shape. The Police are making a lot of money in these 498A cases.

I see some saying many laws are misused why people are talking about 498A only. Here the people who are talking are being suffering with these false 498A and for this reason they will talk about 498A only. If there is a topic on which someone talks on which law they are suffereing then they will mention about that law.

Whenever a person faces problems then only they think on that, and generally will not bother about others.

1 Like

Avnish Kaur (Consultant)     06 April 2011

498a is greatest law created by fools in parliament to eradicate the social evil of marriage.

Bhartiya No. 1 (Nationalist)     07 April 2011


Misuse and low conviction rate shows inefficiency and corruption of our investigation agencies/law machinery/weak or useless judicial system.. And its' objective is being defeated.  making bailable or any dilution will make it teethless.

1 Like

Rohit (Private)     07 April 2011

Respected Sirs

Let's provide our opinion against 498A misuse to the govt seeking public opinion, this is the time to act. it came after so long time when govt is in move to do some amendments.

Lets all our male brothers should send this letter.

Peace and be unite.

Best of Luck


hema (law officer)     07 April 2011

I submit that Section 498-A shall be bailable offence.

It does not have any thing to do with misuse of Section 498-A or not.  I strongly opine that "misuse of Section 498-A" has been propogated out of proportion.  And also I do not believe the low conviction rate of Section 498-A projected by male rights activists is not at all believable.  For authenticity of my statement, please refer the statistics released by National Crimes Record Bureau for the year 2009.  The conviction rate is low but not as low as projected by some vested interests.  There are several reasons for low convictions under Section 498-A and some of them have been explained by Bharatia No.1 in above post.   Besides, compromise reached between estranged couples also always shown as non-conviction of the case, even though the case has not reached to verdict stage.

But, here, the question raised is that whether Section 498-A shall be bailable or not?  It should be bailable offence. It is not for the reason that the alleged offenders belong to middle class and the innocent accused will lose their reputation in the society.  The offenders of this section belong to all the strata of society, not just middle class.  Refer recent diplomat's episode in U.K.  It should be bailable for the reason that it is a criminal offence and in criminal offence, the basic principle is "bail-NOT JAIL".  State shall not put any person behind the bars till the conviction is made by the due process of law.  There are certain exceptions for this basic principle.  If the offender is alleged of the offence of heinous crime and if he is enlarged, there is a chance of his repeating the crime, there is a scope of creating hurdle in the investigation, tampering the evidence, stalking and threatening the complainant / witnesses, then only bail can be rejected. 

If the accused in Upahar case, BMW case, Bhopal gas tragedy get bail  and in one of these cases accused was escorted by chartered flight to Delhi and sent to his native country U.S. by the State itself, then such State cannot deny the bail to the 498-A accused.

My aim is not at all to protect those husbands and their relatives, who perpetrate the physical and mental harassment against the wives, but to uphold the right of accused to enjoy their liberty till the conviction, if they are not creating any obstacles in investigation and trial proceedings. 

2 Like

Bhartiya No. 1 (Nationalist)     08 April 2011

Exactly, above  are  the reasons why some sections are made non bailable. Most of the times Bail  boost the morale of wrong doers / accused. 

The intention and objective of the laws made are good. And it is rightly observed that misuse is being blown/propagated  out of proportion, and being highlighted mindlessly. 

Without the opinions of women's, any dilution will be against the principle of natural justice. So women's voice must be heard.

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