How to prove a false 498A Case?


February 14, 2020
By Advocate Chikirsha Mohanty



Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, is massively being misused by several women for their benefit leading to frivolous lawsuits and a lot of inconvenience to the innocents.

At some point in time, undeniably, women are quite more victimized as compared to the men in society and are subject to cruelty and harassment post their marriage by their husbands or their parents. However, on the other hand, men are the victims when the case of false accusations comes into the picture.

When the guiding principle under the rules of procedure which says, “Let a hundred guilty be acquitted but one innocent shouldn’t be convicted” is brought into consideration we all might come to the conclusion that no one must be falsely accused or acquitted, whatever the case may be.

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What is Section 498A?

Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 deals with the violence a woman is subjected to post her marriage by her husband or her in-laws or by any relative of her husband. This section was introduced in the year 1983 to protect a married woman from harassment which is dowry-related or from cruelty by her husband or the relative of her husband. Section 498A empowers a married woman to lodge a case against her husband or his parents in case of any mental, physical or psychological activity that counts as harassment or cruelty. It is one of the most controversial sections of the IPC. 

This section was made and brought into practice for the protection of women from domestic violence but some women are falsely accusing their in-laws and are filing false cases against them for obtaining undue benefit. Over the past couple of years, there have been several false cases filed under section 498A and several innocent people have been tangled into inane legal proceedings that have led to a waste of time, resources and efforts for many people.
 

What does Cruelty mean?

Cruelty in its wider sense means:

  1. Any willful conduct or behavior which is of such nature that it compels a married woman to commit suicide or to cause grave injury to herself or poses a danger to her life, limb or health (either physical or mental) or;
     

  2. Harassment of the married woman when it is done with the intention of wrongfully forcing her or any person related to her to meet any unlawful demands for say, any property or any other valuable security, etc.

 

There are various kinds of cruelty included in this section. They are:

  1. Cruelty by persistent demand
     

  2. Cruelty by extra-marital relations
     

  3. Cruelty by non-acceptance of a baby girl
     

  4. Cruelty by vexatious litigation
     

  5. Harassment for non-dowry demand
     

  6. Cruelty by false attacks on chastity
     

  7. Taking away children
     

  8. Cruelty by deprivation and wasteful habits
     

 Punishment under Section 498A

If the husband of a married woman or any of his relatives is accused of subjecting a married woman to cruelty or any physical, mental or psychological act that amounts to harassment, must be sentenced to a term in the prison which may extend to 3 years and shall also be liable to fine.

Consult: Top Criminal Lawyers in India
 

Guaranteed rights under Section 498A

If any woman has been harassed on demand of dowry or threatened for the same before, after or during the marriage, her husband and his relatives can be subjected to punishment under section 498A.

Section 498A empowers the women with a right to file a complaint his husband or his folks under this section of the IPC in a case where she is being subject to cruelty or any sort of physical, mental or psychological ordeal which counts as harassment.

Since the offense committed under this section is cognizable i.e. the arrest of the accused may take place without an arrest warrant and non-bailable i.e. the accused has no right to be released on bail, it guarantees an immediate conviction of the accused.
 

Need for Section 498A

Indian Courts have been using section 498A to safeguard the married women from marital cruelty and harassment. There are several uses of this law such as:
 

  1. Most of the cases registered under this section are usually related to dowry. So, there is a dire need for laws like these to protect women from matrimonial cruelty.
     

  2. In many cases, women are also mentally harassed and there are no laws to make good the loss caused to them because of the mental torture by their husbands or his relatives. Acts like these help the women to get justice and protect themselves from such kind of odds.
     

  3. Women are continuously forced, tortured, threatened and abused for unlawful demands by their husbands and their relatives. This section remains as a self-defense weapon with them against such offenses committed against them.
     

  4. The punishment granted to the accused under this section always has a deterrent action and discourages every other person who might, at any point in the future, commit any such offense against his wife.
     

Consult: Top Criminal Lawyers in India
 

Misuse of Section 498A

Section 498A was brought into force by the lawmakers to protect the interest of married women and also to protect them from cruelty at their matrimonial home. In simpler words, it was given a shape of law to protect women from domestic violence. But the current facts and figures suggest that it is widely being misused by the women for their benefit and hence causing a nuisance to the innocents. That is the reason why this section remains the most fiercely debated section of the IPC.

The Supreme Court of India has given a second name to Section 498A which is “Legal Terrorism”. In most cases of misuse, it was acknowledged that the misuse of the very law was done by urban and educated women for their selfish needs. Also, in most of the cases filed under this section, the husband along with his relatives is prosecuted.

A violation of section 498A and its goals are on the rise because of the women frivolously making false accusations against their husbands and his relatives for absolutely trivial reasons like getting rid of them or simply causing harm or hurting the family. The abuse of this section is steadily taking place like a wildfire in the forest and the women misusing it most-often know that this section is cognizable and non-bailable and works in a completely hassle-free manner on the complaint of the woman to place the men behind bars. Many women misuse the provisions of this section to get a divorce from their husbands and remarry or even gain monetary compensation after divorce. Since the offense committed under section 498A is cognizable and non-bailable, it is a tough challenge for the wrongly accused men to protect themselves against the false accusations imposed on them by women. And in this way, women are taking the wrong advantage of the fact that they are referred to as the ‘weaker sex’ when compared to the men in the society and on the foundation of the rights ensured to them violate others’ rights.

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How to protect yourself from a false 498A case?

There’s a solution to every problem. Similarly, there’s a lot a falsely accused man can do to protect himself from the fabricated allegations against him under section 498A. A countersuit can be filed in such cases of false accusation under various sections of the IPC and CPC. The same has been described in the below mentioned points:

  1. A counter lawsuit can be filed by the man under Section 500 (Defamation) of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 for defamation. A case under this section can be filed in case a woman tries to malign the image of her husband and his parents by falsely accusing them under this section and dragging them to court or jail.
     

  2. A case under Section 120B (Criminal Conspiracy) of the IPC can be filed by the man for criminal conspiracy. In the case where the man finds that his wife is criminally conspiring against him or his family members, he can straight away file a counter case against her for the same under this section.
     

  3. Section 191 (Giving false evidence) of the IPC comes into the play when the man can start to smell something fishy and comes to know that the evidence which is being used against him is false. In such a case a man can allege that he’s being wrongfully framed in the case.
     

  4. Under the belief that the case filed under section 498A filed by the woman against her husband or his relatives is false, a counter lawsuit can be filed under section 227 (violation of condition of remission of punishment) of the IPC.
     

  5. In case the woman threatens to injure or harm her husband or his relatives, a counter-complaint under section 506 (Punishment for criminal intimidation) of the IPC can be filed in the court of law.
     

Procedure to be followed to procure protection in a false 498A case

The laws are always made with the aim of safeguarding the rights of the citizens of the country and to create a sense of discipline in the society but the people misuse them for obtaining undue benefits and hence cause nuisance and become a problem for innocent people. 

The procedure of protecting oneself from a fabricated case under section 498A is:

1. Collection of all the evidence and related documents: First of all, the person falsely accused must try to catch hold of all the corroborative evidence and documents related to the case. The accused must start compiling as much evidence as he can, such as:
 

  • Any conversation over the phone between the wife and the husband or his relatives, or any call recordings of the conversation or text messages.

  • Any proof that the wife has left her husband’s home at her own will.
     

2. Get legal advice: The aggrieved party, after having made all the possible efforts from his/her end, must seek legal advice from a criminal defense lawyer in the matter and do as the attorney guides him to do.

3. A Defamation case against the false 498A case can be filed: The falsely accused man can file a defamation case under section 500 of the IPC against the woman for maligning his and his relatives’ image by filing a false 498A case against them.

4. A case for Restitution of Conjugal Rights can be filed: In the case where the wife has walked out her husband’s house and is living in her parental house, a case against her for restitution of conjugal rights can be filed by the husband under section 9 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. Taking this step would add positively to the husband’s legal case.

5. File an FIR against the wife alleging her of falsely framing the man in a 498A case: An FIR can be filed against the wife alleging her of falsely framing the man in a 498A case or blackmailing him and his relatives or simply for causing them harm and hurting them.

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Whom to reach out for help?

 A case without evidence is no less than a body without a soul. Evidence is everything in the court of law and without evidence, no one and nothing can be proved right or wrong in the court of law.

The most instant help a man can get is by his own efforts of collecting all the evidence relevant in the case and to check with his attorney about how can their non-credibility be proved in the court of law.

Some other authorities may be of help to a man falsely accused under this section like “The Family Welfare Committees” which are available in every district and are made by the government for extending support to innocent people wrongfully charged under this section.

Every complaint lodged with these committees against the falsely fabricated cases under section 498A is looked into attentively and thus speedy trials are also ensured to the victim.
 
Conclusively, it can be said that pro-women laws should in no way become anti-man laws.



 

These guides are not legal advice, nor a substitute for a lawyer
These articles are provided freely as general guides. While we do our best to make sure these guides are helpful, we do not give any guarantee that they are accurate or appropriate to your situation, or take any responsibility for any loss their use might cause you. Do not rely on information provided here without seeking experienced legal advice first. If in doubt, please always consult a lawyer.


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