Section 498-A being misused to implicate husband’s entire family: Bombay high court
Nowadays, women and their families have started making vague allegations against every member of the husband’s family, implicating everybody under Section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code, Bombay high court observed last week.
“Nowadays, it has become a tendency to make vague and omnibus allegations against every member of the family of the husband, implicating everybody under Section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code,” said a division bench of justices ZA Haq and Amit Borkar.
“Hence, it has become necessary for the courts to carefully scrutinise the allegations and to find out if the allegations really constitute an offence and meet the requirements of the law, at least prima facie,” the bench added, and struck down offence of matrimonial cruelty registered by the Nagpur Police against three persons under Section 498-A.
The bench struck down the first information report registered at Sakkardara police station in September 2012 against Shabnam Sheikh, her husband Arif and Shabnam’s sister Shamans, after noticing that the complainant, Dr Kausar Fatima, wife of Shabnam’s brother Shabbir, had levelled vague allegations against the three.
The bench struck down the offence against them after noticing that the complainant had alleged that they threatened her saying they were connected with higher authorities in the police and other departments, and taunted her for being of no use to her husband, despite being educated.
The high court said the vague statements and taunts cannot be said to constitute cruelty to a married woman, as contemplated under Section 498-A of the IPC.
The bench said the Supreme Court has time and again deprecated the tendency of using the criminal justice system as a tool for arm-twisting and to settle personal scores.
“In the present case, sisters-in-law and brother-in-law have been arraigned as accused without there being specific allegations as regards the nature of cruelty, as contemplated by Section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code,” said the bench.
“On overall reading of the FIR and the charge sheet, we are of the opinion that there are no allegations against the present applicants which constitute offences alleged against them and hence, we are of the opinion that continuance of present proceedings would amount to an abuse of process of law,” the bench added.