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498 AIPC (Dowry Laws in India)

Indian Penal Code – Section 498A, IPC
Introduced in the Penal Code by Criminal Law (Second Amendment) Act of 1983
(Act No. 46 of 1983)
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 purposes 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;
(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.
Analysis of the section shows that this law deals with four types of cruelty:
Any conduct that is likely to drive a woman to suicide,
Any conduct which is likely to cause grave injury to the life, limb or health of the woman,
Harassment with the purpose of forcing the woman or her relatives to give some property,
Harassment because the woman or her relatives are either unable to yield to the demand for more money or do not give some share of the property.
Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, is a criminal offence. It is a cognizable, non-bailable, and non-compoundable offence.
Unfortunately, the formulation of this law left a host of loopholes for exploitation and abuse.
20+ years later, if a family has an estranged `Bahu’ (daughter in law) in their family, the entire family can be jailed under Section 498A of the IPC, based on a complaint in the police station. The objective of the ‘Bahu’ and her parents is to subject the family to an ordeal designed to break their will and ensure that they give in to whatever demands put forward.
This law exposes families who belong to the middle and upper middle classes of society and NRIs, as these segments of society are vulnerable to legalized extortion by corrupt agencies of the government.
There is no way to avoid a 498A from being filed, unless the family is very well connected or somehow manage to make her realize that it is not in her long term interest to change a domestic dispute into a criminal offence.
A typical case will go on for 3 to 7 years.
From the people you talk to and from the online portals you visit, you will learn that this is a criminal law to combat domestic violence and dowry harassment etc, etc, etc. I’ll ignore this and cut to the chase.
In its present form,

In legal terms, 498A is an offence, which is:

  • Cognizable: Offences are divided into cognizable and non-cognizable. By law, the police are duty bound to register and investigate a cognizable offence. 498A is a cognizable offence.
  • Non-Bailable: There are two kinds of offences, bailable and non-bailable. 498A is non bailable. This means that the magistrate has the power to refuse bail and remand a person to judicial or police custody.
  • Non-Compoundable: A non-compoundable case, e.g. Rape, 498A etc, cannot be withdrawn by the petitioner. The exception is in the state of Andhra Pradesh, where 498A was made compoundable.

In actual terms, 498A is an offence, which is:

  • Cognizable: The police will register a 498A case since it is required by law, but they don’t investigate but go on to arrest people because of the money to be made in bribes from both sides in a 498A case.
  • Non-Bailable: Since bail is at the discretion of the magistrate, all sorts of games will be played to have families locked up while negotiations go on to settle the case. This may happen in cases where the magistrates are allegedly corrupt or, the public prosecutor and the cops are in cahoots.
  • Non-Compoundable: Though 498A is non compoundable, the courts are allowing the withdrawal of the case when the parties agree to reconcile or settle case. In real terms, if you pay up, the case goes away. If you don’t you’ll get stuck with a criminal case that will go on for years.

498a IPC is a legal terrorism  says Supreme Court of India:
See the whole blogs & Judgment here:

Quashing of Fir under 498a/406/34 ipc:
See the Blogs & Judgment Here:

Bail/Anticipatory Bail in 498aipc:
See the Blogs and Judgment Here:

FIR under 498a IPC after granting the Divorce by Foreign Court/USA Court, Can be quashed.
See the Blog and Judgment.