Object of 498-A
The offence of cruelty by husband or relatives of husband (Section 498-A) was added in 1986 to curb the vise of subjecting women to coerce them or their relatives to meet unlawful demands for dowry. There is no doubt that the object of introducing section 498-A in the Indian Penal Code was to prevent the torture to a woman by her husband or by relatives of her husband. This section was added with a view to punishing a husband and his relatives who harass or torture the wife to coerce her or her relatives to satisfy unlawful demands of dowry.
No doubt there may be many deserving cases where women are being subjected to mental and physical cruelty at the hands of the avaricious in-laws. But such cases have to be distinguished from other cases where merely due to trivial fights and ego clashes the matrimony is facing disaster.
WHAT KIND OF OFFENCE IS 498-A
The offence under this section is cognizable if information relating to the commission of offence is given to an officer in charge of a police station by the aggrieved person or by any person related to her by blood, marriage or adoption or if there is no such relative, by any public servant belonging to such class or category as may be notified by the state government in this behalf.
The offence under this section is non-bailable, non- compoundable and triable by the Magistrate of the first class.
ESSTEINAL ACT FOR 498-A –
For making of charge against the husband or his relatives under section 498-A, must show the cruelty against the married woman. Here is cruelty means –
(a) Any willful conduct which is such a nature as is likely to drive the woman to commit the 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.
INTENTION OF THE LEGISLATIVE –
The Legislative intent is clear enough to indicate in particular reference to Explanation (b) of cruelty that there shall have to be a series of acts in order to be harassment within the meaning of Explanation (b). The letters by itself though may depict (show) a responsible conduct, would not, however , bring home the charge of section 498-A against the accused.
NON- COMPUNABLE OFFENCE –
Offence under section 498-A is non-compoundable. Here meaning of non-compoundable is matter cannot be compound the by the person who made the complaint against the husband or her in-laws in the trial court. Except the state of Andhra Pradesh all over the India that offence is non-compoundable. If at the any stage of the case, matter has been compromised between the parties then they have to file Quashing petition in Hon’ble High Court of the state for compunding the case.
PRECAUTION BEFORE FILLING THE COMPLAINT –
There is no iota of doubt that most of the complaints are filed in the heat of the moment over trifling fights and ego clashes. It is also a matter of common knowledge that in their tussle and ongoing hostility the helpless children are the worst victims. Before a wife moves to file a complaint with the Women Cell, a lot of persuasion and conciliation is required.
It has been noticed in diverse cases, where the brides and their family members in litigation find the doors of conciliation shut from the side of groom and his family members only on account of their having suffered the wrath of Police harassment first at the stage when matter is pending before crime against women cell and thereafter at the time of seeking grant of anticipatory or regular bail and then the ordeal of long drawn trial.