Relevance of Section 498 (A) In The Women's Life | Husband or Relatives Subjecting Women To Cruelty


Husband or relative of husband subjecting women to cruelty




Women are the most vulnerable class of society. they can be coerced easily by her husband or his relatives. She can be subjected to mental torture or the physical one. This section protects women against dowry demand or any kind of cruelty a woman is subjected to.



According to Section 498A of Indian Penal Code whoever, being the husband or the relative of the husband of a woman, subjects’ woman to cruelty shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 3 years and shall also be liable to fine. According to this section, cruelty means any wilful conduct which might drive the woman to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to life, limb or health (whether mental or physical) to the woman; or



Harassment of the woman to coerce her or any person related to her, to meet any unlawful demand for any property or any valuable security is cruelty.



The relative of the husband must include relatives by blood, marriage, or adoption. In the case of Vijeta Gajra v. State of NCT Delhi AIR 2010 SC 2712 the hon,ble Supreme Court held that foster sister is not a relative of a husband by blood, marriage, or adoption and cannot be tried for an offence under Section 498A of IPC.



In the case of Polavarpu Satyanarayana v. Soundaravalli, the petitioner challenged the definition of ‘cruelty’ as arbitrary and delightfully vague and ultra vires of the Fundamental Right to equality under Article 14 of the Constitution. The court held that though the word ‘cruelty’ cannot be precisely defined there is no such vagueness in its meaning and is not ultra vires of the constitution.



In another case of Vungarala Yedukondalu v. State of Andhra Pradesh, the court held that Section 498A applies even where person inflicts such cruelty and harassment as to lead his mistress to commit suicide.



In the case of Inder Raj malik v. Sunita malik (1986), Cr LJ 1510 the Delhi High Court held that a person can be convicted both under Section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1956 as well under Section 498A of IPC because it does not create any situation for double jeopardy.



One can be punished under both the Acts, the mere demand for dowry is punishable under the Dowry Prohibition Act while Section 498 of IPC punishes an act of cruelty caused to married women. It inter alia punishes such demands of property or valuable security from the wife or her relatives as are coupled with cruelty to her.  



 Women in Indian society are often harassed for the demand of dowry, and due to this many women commit suicide due to mental or physical torture, which she is subjected to by her husband or the relative of husband. So, the object of Section 498A is to protect women from cruelty or harassment inflicted on them. This section protects women as a shield from such tortures and husband and his relatives can be put behind the bars for their acts.






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