Sec-498 A I.P.C. – Its Use And Misuse
To start with first we have to look that what this word marriage means. ‘Marriage is the voluntary union for life of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.’ It is a social institution where husband has the responsibility to take care and maintain his wife. He cannot neglect his duties. But on this great institution a stigma called ‘dowry’ still exists. Women are ill-treated, harassed, killed, divorced for the simple reason that they didn’t brought dowry.
For safeguarding the interest of woman against the interest of woman against the cruelty they face behind the four walls of their matrimonial home, the Indian Penal Code,1860(herein after referred to as I.P.C.) was amended in 1983 and inserted S.498A which deals with ‘Matrimonial Cruelty’ to a woman.
Matrimonial Cruelty in India is a cognizable, non bailable and non compoundable offence. It is defined in Chapter XXA of I.P.C. under Sec. 498A as:
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 her to cruelty shall be punished with imprisonment for a term, which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to a fine.
Explanation – for the purpose of this section, "cruelty" means:
(a) any wilful 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 demands for any property or valuable security or is on account of failure by her or any person related to her to meet such demand.
The section was enacted to combat the menace of dowry deaths. It was introduced in the code by the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1983 (Act 46 of 1983). By the same Act section 113-A has been...