Government plans to amend anti-dowry harassment law

Section 498A was introduced in early eighties to protect married women from being subjected to cruelty.

New Delhi | Published:March 15, 2015 1:01 pm

Plans are afoot to amend a criminal law that will allow compromise and settlement between husband and wife at the onset of trial in dowry harassment cases, a move that comes after frequent misuse of the provision to trouble men and their near relatives.

Under the proposal, Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code will be made a compoundable offence with the permission of the courts as suggested by the Law Commission and Justice Malimath Committee.

“A draft note for the Union Cabinet seeking to amend Section 498A of the IPC, making it compoundable, has been sent to the Law Ministry for drawing up the draft bill,” a Home Ministry official said.

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Now, the offence is non-compoundable and non-bailable which provides for immediate arrest of the accused. Conciliatory effort by the warring sides is virtually impossible.

A husband or his family members are presumed to be guilty till they prove their innocence in the court. The guilty is punishable with a jail term of up to three years.

There have been allegations that in many cases, husbands and their relatives are often charged with false dowry harassment cases by their wives or her family members when some marital problems arise.

If the offence is made compoundable, misuse of the law may come down hugely as there would be scope for initiating conciliation proceedings and out-of-court settlement.

Permission from a court will be a guarantee against attempts where a wife may be compelled into a compromise by her husband or in-laws, the Home Ministry official said.

Now, if a dowry harassment case is proved wrong or proved that the law is misused, only Rs 1,000 penalty is slapped. But the amendment provides for a Rs 15,000 fine.

Another new section is expected to be inserted to allow an accused to escape jail by paying a penalty.

Opposing the move to dilute the anti-dowry provision of the law, senior Supreme Court lawyer Indira Jaising said it is a law which gives relief and protection to harassed woman and it should be continued.

“Violence against women is a violation of human rights. There is no compromise of that. I would disagree with the government move,” Jaising said.

The Supreme Court had in a judgement in 2010 said as it stood now, the law had become a “weapon in the hands of disgruntled women”. It had also observed that serious re-look of the entire provision is warranted by the Legislature.

“It is a matter of common knowledge that exaggerated versions of the incident are reflected in a large number of complaints. The tendency of over-implication is also reflected in a very large number of cases,” the apex court had said.

Section 498A was introduced in early eighties to protect married women from being subjected to cruelty by the husband or his relatives involving newly-married brides.

A spate of dowry deaths in Delhi and elsewhere led to a campaign by some leading women members of Parliament pushing the government to bring the amendment.

A punishment involving imprisonment of up to three years is provided in the present law. The expression ‘cruelty’ has been defined in wide terms so as to include inflicting physical or mental harm to the body or health of the woman and indulging in acts of harassment with a view to coerce her or her relations to meet any unlawful demand for any property or valuable security.

The Law Commission recommended that the offence under Section 498A should be made a compoundable offence with the permission of Court.

Justice Malimath Committee on Criminal Justice Reform also recommended that it should be made compoundable as well as bailable.

Last year, the Home Ministry had asked all state governments to be judicious in slapping Section 498A of IPC in matrimonial disputes as the provision may be used as “weapons rather than shields by disgruntled wives”.

In an advisory to the states and union territories, the Ministry had asked them to instruct their police officers not to automatically arrest a person when a case under Section 498-A of the IPC is registered but to satisfy themselves about the necessity for arrest under the parameters laid down flowing from Section 41, CrPC (When police may arrest without warrant).

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  1. R
    RajKumarsingh
    Jan 25, 2017 at 5:18 am
    This law should make that no one can gojail without any jaanch, padtal. False allegations should get hard punished.
    Reply
    1. V
      Venkat
      Feb 1, 2017 at 12:15 am
      If there are false allegations, the wives should be jailed for double the term (6 years)
      Reply
      1. D
        Dr. Raj
        Jan 18, 2017 at 4:50 pm
        498 anti dowry law is haring so many ppl lt;br/gt;jf we come together we can send an agenda to govt u can contact me at lt;br/gt;rajabhi2004@gmail,com
        Reply
        1. S
          syed
          Mar 22, 2017 at 8:58 am
          498a is missuse from long time now gov knows,we should take action,we family people dont need this law,many family's been trouble,no good job from police,india its 21st century,what world we living,u all make a group and fight,we dont get anything with out a fight,i am a victim,i fight for justice,if no justice in my luck,i am sure naxal will help me,r i get help from naxal,i say all those victims dont lose hop,
          Reply
          1. S
            syed
            Mar 22, 2017 at 9:03 am
            I am on let me be a part of 498a family
            Reply
            1. A
              Anurag Singh
              Oct 1, 2016 at 11:27 am
              Well said !!! IPC 498A must be amend.
              Reply
              1. A
                Ashish Agarwal
                Jan 4, 2016 at 2:23 pm
                How can anyone be arrested without having been proved guilty? It seems Right to equality given by the consution is absolutely false in practice. Men have no rights in India. Men should be killed the moment they are borne in India. Arrest should happen only if someone is really found guilty. This law has destro the lives and dreams of so many males of India. More than 60,000 male suicides every year due to 498 A. This law must be repealed immediately. Now a days, this law is used by girls for making their husbands slaves and to separate them from their parents.
                Reply
                1. A
                  aroon
                  Nov 23, 2016 at 2:49 pm
                  Please finish 498a.
                  Reply
                  1. B
                    Bmsoni
                    Mar 26, 2016 at 6:12 pm
                    Please share peion stop extortion via 498a
                    Reply
                    1. M
                      Mohan
                      Mar 21, 2016 at 7:50 pm
                      Police department plays a major role they should get punished if it proves a false case.police insults and uses abuse words or even hits an husband infront of his wife this is too horrible they act like heros if any women comes and file a false complaint.how can a man live if this happens due to police support many women make their husband as a key doll or they rush to police stations. First we should cut the roots from where it starts.
                      Reply
                      1. M
                        Mohit
                        Dec 15, 2016 at 1:27 pm
                        Well analyzed and good points. Government should seriously consider these and amend the law to help many victims of false 498a case.
                        Reply
                        1. J
                          jakir
                          Feb 7, 2016 at 7:44 pm
                          False and ambitious ladies are misusing these Laws, they should be punished.Fuilty genuine case guilty should be punished.
                          Reply
                          1. K
                            kumar Atharva
                            May 6, 2016 at 3:18 am
                            I had been a victim of 498 A misuse but my lawyer helped me sort out through all the mess. I seeked help from an online Lawyer portal Lawsolva .Many key insights helped me to get through the litigation. 498 A is a biased law. Moreover now there is also news about 'marital rape ' to be included in the upcoming laws. I just hope that is not misused as the other dowry prohibition laws and 498 a are being misused.
                            Reply
                            1. K
                              kumar Atharva
                              May 6, 2016 at 3:08 am
                              The Dowry protection laws and especially 498 A has been misused majorly in the recent times.lt;br/gt;The women deserve protection in the society but not at the cost of harrment of men. This article in particular raises this issue in a realistic sense. There are a few precautions that can help people fight such injustice and misuse of laws. I found this article really informative Key insights can sure help people stay ready of such incidents.lt;br/gt;CHEERS :)
                              Reply
                              1. K
                                Kishore
                                Mar 22, 2016 at 6:49 am
                                Thank u all atleast now some thing is trying to get done by government and law makers to save innocent family against misuse of flase 498A,please this is a humble request to find a solution as soon as possible,because their are many persons and senior citizens who are getting mentally ill because of this unnecessary cases which being done only for the shake of money and seperate a person from their old age parents.please its a sincere request to all ,to place the law in such a way that both men and women cant misuse it and also punishment must be very very harsh who ever is found guilty of misuseing law and haring innocent people.but please see that proper counseling is being done by some well qualified person and in my view respectively community members or heads of community of their respective caste/..,of their respective places or where they are staying to take their views because they will have some news and behavior of the family members,its better to consult people around them also.please do it fast.thq
                                Reply
                                1. M
                                  mahesh
                                  Oct 12, 2016 at 11:26 am
                                  supreme court should completely eradicate 498a men old parents are suffering wife are taking advantage and misusing laws
                                  Reply
                                  1. A
                                    Anup
                                    Aug 30, 2016 at 4:55 pm
                                    Have approached a lot of NGO's earlier when I was in need of them to gain their support, went to an extent of writing PMO as well stating facts with all proofs that i had against my wife and in laws however not even a single soul came ahead for my rescue or help.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;With my Lawyer fighting the case on merit basis and today when am at a stage of getting justice i look back to my old days and pity myself. Please fight your own battle, these NGO's, Media friends and politicians will not come for your rescue or help. Been a year, lost my job, have limited money to spend on 7 legal cases that i had to file against my wife Rachana Dubey and her family of them with criminal intention of looting my hard earned money. Her 498 A from her ex husband is still on in Belapur court, Navi Mumbai and am her second BAKRA. lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Surprised, no supreme court guidelines were followed in my case when my FIR got registered in October, 2015 with all false dates and false allegations. I get to know about the FIR when my security guard read the newspaper article 'sandhyakal" stating that me and my family has harrased my wife. Vartak Nagar Police should be awarded for this.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Everyone knows that my case is a clear case of extortion where thru DV Rachana is demanding 125000 per month INR but no one wants to act on it. Police cannot give a false report for the fir filed. lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;What a IRONY in todays world, very soon we will have to launch a mard bachao aur beta bachao andolan and sit in Delhi for dharna.
                                    Reply
                                    1. E
                                      Edna
                                      Jan 11, 2016 at 1:15 pm
                                      the law may have helped in reducing the number of dowry harment cases as few cunning men would realize they could end up in jails, but there are many innocent men who are being dragged into it unnecessarily. The rule can be continued but if it is a false case then the wife and her family should pay in lakhs, in this way ythe law will not be misused. It is the duty of the police or whoever to thoroughly look into the matter and punish the guilty whether the husband or the wife
                                      Reply
                                      1. P
                                        praful srivastava
                                        Jan 9, 2016 at 5:19 am
                                        I think.... I'm running on this path.......
                                        Reply
                                        1. P
                                          praful srivastava
                                          Jan 9, 2016 at 5:21 am
                                          Kindly give me correct guidelines to safe my old age parents and relatives... Plz help me out
                                          Reply
                                          1. P
                                            pramod
                                            Mar 21, 2016 at 2:11 am
                                            definetly, the law should be there but it should not be gender base , this should be applied to girl family and girl too, some people have started looting money on breaking on engagements too as a engagement expense,
                                            Reply
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