Section 498A Indian Penal Code and Extent of its Misuse

Author: Khushi Kabra, Student, Institute of Law, Nirma University, India



After marriage, a women lives with her husband and his family and is expected to receive love, affection and care and not the harassment and cruelty. The women being true to Indian traditions quietly suffer all the hardships and insults without any complaints only to make her marriage successful. But then, when her suffering crosses the tolerance level she may even commit suicide. This is because for the Indian woman marriage is a sacred bond and she tries her best not to break it. Thus, Section 498A of Indian Penal Code was enacted to penalize the offensive and cruel conducts of the husband and his relatives towards the married woman and to address the concerns of liberty, dignity and equal respect for women founded on the community perception that women suffer violence and are deprived of their constitutional rights due to several social and cultural factors. But often in many cases, it has been seen that this provision is misused by women. Women take advantage of this section to send the husband and his relatives to jail under the purview of this section by lodging a false FIR of cruelty and harassment against husband and relatives of the husband. In order to curb such misuse, the Supreme Court in various cases has laid down several guidelines which seek to promote the idea of fairness to both the parties. Also, the Law Commission in its 243rd report has issued various directions to curb the misuse. Furthermore, the Malimath Committee in its report on Reforms on Criminal Justice System laid down the various loopholes in the existing system and also suggested various reforms.

Keywords: IPC, Sec 498, Misuse of Law, Directions of Supreme Court, Malimath Committee.


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