•  •  Dark Mode

Your Interests & Preferences

I am a...

law firm lawyer
in-house company lawyer
litigation lawyer
law student
aspiring student

Website Look & Feel

 •  •  Dark Mode
Blog Layout

Save preferences
An estimated 8-minute read

Inflicting cruelty on wife: Section 498-A IPC needs amendment

 Email  Facebook  Tweet  Linked-in

Introduction- A new chapter in the form of Chapter XX-A was added in the Indian penal Code, 1860 with only one section, Section 498-A by the Criminal law (Second Amendment Act), 1983 with the main object to keep a check over the rising instances of sufferings inflicted upon a woman which reads as under-

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.

Explanation- For the purpose of this section, "cruelty" means-

(a) any willful 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.

So, the cruelty can be proved on the part of husband and other in-laws when there is any willful conduct which is of such a nature as is likely to drive the woman to commit suicide whether mental or physical or when there is harassment at such a level which cannot be neglected in connection of any demand for dowry.

However, at its initial stage, the representative of our people have shown sensitivity while framing the laws for the sake of benefit of woman who is subjected to mental or physical cruelty. But, now the situation has been changed and there is an urgent need to bring necessary amendments in this regard, when the married woman has started using as a threatening instrument against her faultless in-laws also.

Section 498-A- Need for Amendment  Unwrapping facts about the present scenario, regrettably Section 498-A of IPC has been misused on an extensive scale, it may be because of westernization, depletion in moral values, not having power of tolerance and endurance, movement from joint family system to nuclear family, in sake of torturing husband and in-laws or to fulfill personnel motives.

There may be three possible situations in which amendment in Section 498-A can be regulated:-

  • Category 1- When the law is being kept intact.
  • Category 2- Abolition of Section 498-A from IPC and inserting it as a part of Domestic Violence Act, 2005.
  • Category 3- Making Section 498-A bailable and compoundable.
In all the above three categories, one point which is common is legalizing the process of counseling. It should be marked that, there should be no involvement of Advocates and NGOs at the time of counseling.

Category 1- When the law is being kept intact

It is very necessary to legalize Pre- Registration Counseling, as ours is a patriarchal society, the rate of possibility of compromise is very high at the initial stage only. If it will be legalized, then the real victim may approach to the police station without any threat and this will help to bring down the possibility of misuse, as both the parties will be able to present their views and actual facts and truth can be disclosed.

“There should not be ex-parte arrest at all. Both the parties should get equal chance of Audi Alteram Partem.”

Category 2- Abolition of Section 498-A from IPC and inserting it as a part of Domestic Violence Act, 2005

As instead of existence of two laws related to one social aspect only, it leads to its misuse and violation. Here, problem of duplicity of law arises. So, it will be a remarkable step to merge Section 498-A of IPC with Domestic Violence Act, 2005 respectively and to make certain strict laws. But a provision should also be added that if a case has been registered and after investigation it has been found to be fake, then severe punishment should be provided to that woman.

To provide adequate and proper justice, special courts can be established in which there will be 4 judges who are supplied with a counsel of different and highly qualified authorities like protection officer, investigation officer, service provider etc.

Category 3- Making Section 498-A bailable and compoundable

The major issue which arises is that whether it should be made bailable or not to serve its objectives in the best possible manner. The major role played in the act of cruelty is by husband and mother-in-law. But, in the present era, when FIR has been lodged, almost all the family members of on the husband side are involved even when they have no fault on their part. Section 498 of IPC should be divided into two clauses, 498-A should be not be made bailable and include husband and mother-in-law. On the other hand, 498-B should also be inserted in which all other family members should be included which can be made bailable and if a girl of eighteen years and above eloped with a boy by her own wish and then file an FIR in 498-A then it should also be made bailable.  But Section 498-B should also contain an exception that in case, investigation officer finds someone guilty among the family members, than he will also fall into the category of non- bailable respectively.Today, such fake and baseless cases have been filed because woman has been provided with absolute power. Burden of proof should be lie upon woman to prove that she has been subjected to cruelty by her in-laws. Parents of victim should try to solve the dispute through reconciliation.

 ·         Role of Legal Service Authorities-

In dealing with cases of 498-A, woman magistrate and woman advocates should be there, so there will be no scope of partiality and biasness, as they will be in a strong position to deal with such cases. And no permission from magistrate shall be required to arrest a person. Real facts should be studied and speedy trial should be there. Apart from it, Legal Service Authorities can play a vital role in providing justice to the victim who has been actually abused. To make further coordination between police and Legal Service Authorities, meetings can be held time to time. Some provisions or regulations can be brought into light to make them function together.

In real sense, victim who has been suffered severely is not able to lodge FIR because of the threat that in case, she will not be able to live with her in-laws and her parents are not in a position to take care of her.  It is a very crucial problem which is impliedly spreading its roots. Government should take certain measures to overcome it. For accomplishing this purpose, Nari Vikas Bhawan can be made where they have been provided jobs like sewing, household works etc. and should be provided meal two times per day at very nominal charges.

·         Spreading awareness-

It has been widely misused because high class women have knowledge about it and when they used to file FIR they get full support by her family. But the needy one, who is really suffering and wants care and attention, is not able to get justice due to lack of awareness. To aware more and more women victims about it, it is very necessary to give them preliminary knowledge at school level only, so that they can came to know about their rights and can sustain in a better environment. Apart from it, repudiated and dignified NGOs can start certain programmes and establish certain camps in rural areas for further development of women.

Establishment of Women Cell-

The most prominent step which can be taken is establishment of Women Cell in each district, so that the victim can get justice as soon as possible. They can conduct counseling on a small scale and can play a vital role in carrying out investigation process. They can also help the victim in other sense, like providing her a good environment, education etc and it will form a threat in the minds of in-laws which will lead to depletion in harassment and cruelty. Women Cell may include a woman constable, an investigation officer (female), a doctor and an educationalist.

·         Stridhan-

Regarding the problem of depreciation in Stridhanat police station, there is an urgent need to make certain strict regulations for it. When stridhan has been brought to the police station which includes a chair to a luxurious car or asset depreciates and covers a wide space in the police station. The woman should be made liable to carry those assets with her within two months it has been brought to the police station. After two months, the stridhan should be kept for auctionaire after the prior notice of seven days to the parties and deposit that amount to the government.

It is also necessary to observe society and social issues and factors. Cruelty is common amongst Muslim women and women living in rural areas. So, they should be treated with special care and attention. Apart from it, the woman who has been harassed and tortured should get justice and all her rights but in terms of fake cases, there should be punishment. Basic motto of Section 498-A is to impart proper justice which should not be moulded


“Basic aim of 498-A is to satisfy the need,

And not to fulfill one’s greed.”

Click to show 2 comments
at your own risk
By reading the comments you agree that they are the (often anonymous) personal views and opinions of readers, which may be biased and unreliable, and for which Legally India therefore has no liability. If you believe a comment is inappropriate, please click 'Report to LI' below the comment and we will review it as soon as practicable.