13 Sep 2022 7:01 AM GMT
A criminal quashing petition has reached the Andhra Pradesh High Court requiring it to examine whether a Transgender woman can file a complaint for dowry harassment under Section 498A of IPC.The petition contends that a plain reading of section 498A makes it clear that complaint with allegations under this section should be made by a 'woman' and hence, a complaint under this provision by...
A criminal quashing petition has reached the Andhra Pradesh High Court requiring it to examine whether a Transgender woman can file a complaint for dowry harassment under Section 498A of IPC.
The petition contends that a plain reading of section 498A makes it clear that complaint with allegations under this section should be made by a 'woman' and hence, a complaint under this provision by a transgender complainant is not sustainable in law.
The petition seeks to quash a criminal complaint registered against the Petitioner by a transgender woman, claiming to be his wife.
Taking cognizance of the matter, a Single Bench directed a stay of all proceedings in the pending criminal complaint on the file of Additional Munsif Magistrate Court, for eight (8) weeks.
"The matter needs consideration," it said.
Section 498A specifies that if cruelty and harassment are shown to be inflicted upon a married woman by her husband or by any relative of her husband, such husband, or such relatives of the husband, shall be punished. The punishment is imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine. The nature of the definition in the statute is such that it can be invoked only against the husband and husband's relatives because it recognizes the gendered nature of the crime.
In the instant case, a transgender woman filed a complaint alleging that her partner's parents harassed her by implicating false cases on her. While planning to have a test-tube baby, her partner visited his parents one day and never returned. The complainant tried contacting him on his phone and through his parents, but she could not. After enquiry on his whereabouts, she learned that his parents had locked him in the house and were trying to send him out of India to keep him away from the complainant, the complaint stated.
It is alleged that a few days later, she received a message from her husband advising her to run away; otherwise, his parents might kill her. She also received abuse and obscene comments, and threats of kidnapping her, it is claimed. She made a complaint at the police station, which registered an FIR under Section 498A read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code and Section 4 of the Dowry (Prohibition) Act.
In this quashing plea, the petitioner submitted that as per de facto complainant, the petitioner left her and in such circumstances, the provisions of Section 498-A of IPC and the provisions of Sections 3 & 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act are not attracted.
It is also submitted that the complaint does not constitute any offence under S. 498A of IPC and S. 4 of DPA, as there are no prima facie allegations pertaining to dowry and cruelty.