The Jharkhand High Court has recently expressed concerns over the misuse of Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) by discontented wives, emphasizing that this legal provision is being wielded as a weapon rather than a shield. Justice Sanjay Kumar Dwivedi noted that these cases are often impulsively filed over minor disputes without adequate consideration.
Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code was introduced with the noble intention of addressing instances of cruelty by husbands or their relatives towards women. However, the court pointed out a significant rise in matrimonial disputes in recent years, leading to the misuse of this section by disgruntled wives.
The court further highlighted that minor marital disagreements sometimes escalate into severe allegations, falsely implicating family elders. In the case before the court, the petitioners, who were the in-laws of the complainant, argued that the allegations of torture against them were false since they were not even present at the location where the incident was claimed to have occurred.
The court noted that the petitioners resided in Hyderabad, while the alleged incident took place in Dhanbad. Moreover, the petitioners had an alibi; they were traveling on a train on the day of the alleged incident, raising doubts about the accuracy of the complaint.
Additionally, the court observed that the roles of the petitioners were not clearly defined in the case, and the accusations against them remained general and vague.
Expressing disappointment in the baseless filing of cases under Section 498A of the IPC, the court dismissed the entire criminal proceedings, including the order to take cognizance against the petitioners.
Advocate Ashma Khanam represented the petitioners, Advocate Sanjay Kumar Srivastava appeared for the State, and Advocate Soumitra Baroi represented the complainant.