This section was inserted to safeguard women from cruelty by husband and his
relatives in marital life. In our society marriage has a great significance.
According to article 16 of the universal declaration of human rights, marriage
means men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality
or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family.
They are entitled to
equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution. In marital
life many women are facing cruelty by husbands and their relatives. To safeguard
women from cruelty, section 498A of Indian penal code, was inserted by the
criminal law (second amendment) act, 1983.
Section 498A of Indian penal code, 1860
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.
for the purpose of this section, cruelty
- 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
- Harassment of the women 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.
Section 113A of Indian evidence act, 1872
Presumption as to abetment of suicide by a married woman – when the question is
whether the commission of suicide by a woman had been abetted by her husband or
any relative of her husband and it is shown that she had committed suicide
within a period of seven years from the date of her marriage and that her
husband or such relative of her husband had subjected her to cruelty, the court
may presume, having regard to all the other circumstances of the case, that such
suicide had been abetted by her husband or by such relative of her husband.
for the purposes of this section, cruelty
shall have the same
meaning as in section 498A of the Indian penal code (45 of 1860)
The mere fact that if a married woman commits suicide within a period of seven
years of her marriage, the presumption under section 113A of the evidence act
would not automatically apply. The legislative mandate is that where a woman
commits suicide within seven years of her marriage and it is shown that her
husband or any relative of her husband has subjected her to cruelty, the
presumption under section 498A of Indian penal code, may attract, having regard
to all other circumstances of the case, that such suicide has been abetted by
her husband or by such relative of her husband. The term the court may presume,
having regard to all other circumstances of the case, that such suicide had been
abetted by her husband would indicate that the presumption is
Section 198A of criminal procedure code, 1973
Prosecution of offences under section 498A of the Indian penal code –
shall take cognizance of an offence punishable under section 498A of the Indian
penal code(45 of 1960) except upon a police report of facts which constitute
such offence or upon a complaint made by the person aggrieved by the offence or
by her father, mother, brother, sister, or by her father’s or mother’s brother
or sister or with the leave of the court, by any other person related to her by
blood, marriage or adoption.
Period of limitation
As per section 468 CRPC, a complaint under section 498A IPC can be filed within
3 years of the alleged incident. However, section 473 CRPC, any court may take
cognizance of an offence after the expiry of the period of limitation, if it is
satisfied on the facts and in the circumstances of the case that the delay has
been properly explained or that it is necessary so to do in the interests of
It was the section inserted for the safeguard of women from cruelty. Although
it was used by many women for saving themselves from cruelty, some of the women
were misusing this section. It is to be noted that mostly women who were
misusing this section were educated and some were uneducated. Some of the cases
under this section were because of the instigation of parents of women and
sometimes it's due to the ego problems in marital life. Some of the women were
simply using this section for blackmailing husbands.
These are the some of the
reasons how this section was misused in modern days. It was the important
section inserted for the safeguard of women in this man dominated society. Many
women were misusing this section for their selfishness. Due to more false cases
the importance of this section is reduced.
It is more often used as a weapon
rather than shield by disgruntled wives. So everyone must have to know the
importance of the section and it should be used for the purpose it was inserted.
So it has to be used as a shield rather than a weapon.
A law is valuable, not because it is a law, but because there is
right in it.
Written By: Greeshma Reddy
- Law student.