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Section 498A IPC: Complaint Need Not Be Filed By The Woman Subjected To Cruelty Herself: SC [Read Judgment]

Ashok Kini
30 April 2019 11:40 AM GMT
Section 498A IPC: Complaint Need Not Be Filed By The Woman Subjected To Cruelty Herself: SC  [Read Judgment]
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Complaint filed by the father of the woman subjected to cruelty cannot be said to be not maintainable

The Supreme Court has held that the Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code does not contemplate that complaint for offence under Section 498A should be filed only by women, who is subjected to cruelty by husband or his relative. In Rashmi Chopra vs. State of UP, the bench comprising Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice KM Joseph was considering the submission that since complaint is not...

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The Supreme Court has held that the Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code does not contemplate that complaint for offence under Section 498A should be filed only by women, who is subjected to cruelty by husband or his relative.

In Rashmi Chopra vs. State of UP, the bench comprising Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice KM Joseph was considering the submission that since complaint is not made by the woman, but filed by her father, it is not maintainable. It was dealing with an appeal against Allahabad High Court order refusing to quash the summons issued by the Magistrate in the complaint against husband and relatives, file under Section 498A and Section 3/4 of Dowry Prohibition Act, which also alleges other IPC offences.

The bench, referring to Section 498A IPC, rejected this contention and observed:

"There is nothing in Section 498A, which may indicate that when a woman is subjected to cruelty, a complaint has to be filed necessarily by the women so subjected. A perusal of Section 498A, as extracted above, indicates that the provision does not contemplate that complaint for offence under Section 498A should be filed only by women, who is subjected to cruelty by husband or his relative. We, thus, are of the view that complaint filed by respondent No.2, the father of Vanshika cannot be said to be not maintainable on this ground."

The crux of the complaint filed by the father is that the husband of his daughter started harassing her by "demanding additional dowry of one crore". There being no specific allegation regarding any one of the applicants except common general allegation against everyone clearly indicate that application under Section 156(3) Cr.P.C. was filed with a view to harass the applicants, said the court. The court also noted that, in divorce proceedings the couple had settled all issues between them including division of properties at the time when divorce proceedings were in progress at Michigan.

The bench finally quashed the complaint as well as summoning order insofar as offence under Section 498A IPC and Section 3/4 of Dowry Prohibition Act. However, the court said that the complaint shall proceed insofar as offence under Sections 323, 504 and 506 of IPC against husband and two other persons only.

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