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Protection of Women from Dowry Harassment

Protection of Women from Dowry Harassment

India is the place where a woman is considered to be a symbol of goddess Lakshmi and Sarswati, where laxmi is for wealth and Sarswati for knowledge. The place where we have given such respect to women, at the same time woman has to face violence, right from birth to death. Even after the marriage, women have very fewer rights on their own. Marriages here now is not a sacred affair, but it had turned into the business due to dowry system. Dowry system also reduces the position and status of women. Dowry refers to an amount of cash or money which is given as a gift by the bride's father to his daughter. This system is acting as the biggest evil in modern society. Dowry demand is the lust for money which husband seek from the bride's family. In a case when a bride or her family fails to fulfil the demand, the bride suffers through domestic violence, mental and physical trauma.

With the increase of dowry death and domestic violence, the need arose to address this issue in an effective way. With the object to prevent and provide protection to women against dowry death and domestic violence, an amendment in Indian penal code (IPC) was done.  New section 498A under Chapter XX-A, Of Cruelty by Husband or In-laws on 26th December 1983, was introduced.

Definition of 498A:

 According to this section, Husband or In-laws of a woman subjecting her to cruelty, Whoever, being the husband or In-laws of the woman, subjects such woman to cruelty shall be pun­ished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine. It is cognizable and non- bailable offence, which means only through magistrate or by court bail can be granted.

Cruelty here means, cruelty is the main ingredient or we can say essential for the offence committed under section 498A. Cruelty here should be caused by a husband or by in-laws. According to the section, cruelty is a willful conduct which can drive a woman to commit suicide or cause grave injuries, danger to the life of women, physical and mental abuse.  Here, harassment of women with the view to pressurize her or even her relatives for any demand of property or dowry is also considered as cruelty.

The inclusion of 498A: How and Why

Sometimes, a person tends to misuse the freedom provided to them by law. 498A provides protection against cruelty which is caused to women by her husband or by In-laws, but now many incidents can be seen where 498A is been misused by women. They are exploiting the legal safeguard to their advantage. Supreme Court now have full awareness about the fact that the provision of 498A is being misused by many women.

Now many male activists are fighting for the rights that can safeguard them from such false allegations.

Reasons for misuse:

Arrest without any proof or investigation: This section provides more voice to women. Just on the mere complaint of wife police arrests the husband and relatives without any evidence and investigation.  Section 498A is a non-bailable offence, which allows punishing the accused by imprisonment even before the establishment of offence.  When a women file a case of dowry harassment against her husband and relatives, an FIR is filed. The accused thus taken to police custody and imprisonment or fine levied depending upon the degree of crime.

Arrogant nature and rise in feminism:

Now a day's feminism is at peak, it's good that women want a position in society and they need equal rights. But some pseudo-feminists are also present in society who are misusing the law. The feeling of superiority has taken over women, not understanding, short temper nature, all this makes them ruthless to take such decision like filing case against their husband.

Feasible Law for women:

In such cases, women even do not attend the court proceedings, and the court asks no question from them. But in the case of a man he has to attend all the proceedings and has to suffer through mental and emotional trauma. In front of society, he becomes an offender without committing the crime.

As it is always said that great power comes with great responsibility and one should not misuse the power vested upon them.  The false complaint problem by men are increasing day by day, and even SC is taking a few steps to make things better for men. A recent court judgment states that if allegations framed by the wife against her husband found to be false, that would constitute a ground for divorce.

Problem in settling with In-laws:

Within the change in society, it's been observed that the value of relations is decreasing. Women to whom you are married may have an issue to live with your parents or maybe she will have a problem with your parent's lifestyle. The freedom she was having before her marriage, she wants that even after marriage. Which for a husband becomes difficult to give. Restriction of a husband may lead her to take such step.

Greed for money:

A better lifestyle has been a need of every person now. Money can be earned either by hard work or by shortcuts. After the divorce court orders husband to give alimony as settlement, which can be money or property. In many cases, wife gets the huge amount of Alimony to settle the divorce case. For the sake of that better lifestyle wife drags their husband to court.

SC in its judgment on July 27, 2017, Rajesh Sharma and others versus State of U.P and Anr.

Has issued new guidelines in a direction to prevent the misuse of Section 498A (IPC)

Increase in the misuse of 498A has attracted the lawmakers to take some strict actions upon those who all using 498A as Brahmastara. A person who is been trapped in such a case needs to know his rights to safeguard himself and his family. LawzGrid is a legal platform which provides you legal consultation form the best lawyers who are already experienced with dealing in such cases. The complexity of such a case can be handled only by an experienced lawyer.

If you have any questions or you are facing such issue feel free to contact LawzGrid for consultation.



Suwaiba Malik, BA LLB (Hons.) Graduated from University of Kashmir Department of Law. Presently working with LawzGrid a part of Karmasquare as an In-House Lawyer and a Content writer. It is well known that “ignorantia juris non excusat” meaning ignorance of law is no excuse. Following this rule, I desire to educate people about law and by writing various blogs and articles I aim at making legal knowledge easily available so that they become aware about their rights and liabilities.

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