Section 498-A is a cognizable offence under the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and was brought into the IPC in the year 1983 to curb the menace of cruelty to married women for want of dowry, which often led to their deaths. It makes it a crime to be cruel to your wife or to your relative's wife. The law explains that "cruelty" means anything that is done on purpose, and either causes serious harm to the woman or makes the woman want to kill herself. It also strengthens the laws against dowry or payment made by the bride's family to the husband's family. It makes it a crime to harass a woman to try to make her family pay a dowry.
The law allows for imprisonment of up to 3 years and for a fine.
The law is criticized. The critics of the law say it allows a woman to ask the police to arrest her husband without evidence or investigation, and that women have abused the law in domestic disputes. Others say it provides important support to women who are vulnerable from abusive husbands. The Supreme Court of India expressed its concerns over the misuse of section 498-A and termed it "Legal Terrorism".
References[change | change source]
- "Section 498A in The Indian Penal Code". indiankanoon.org. Retrieved 2018-10-18.
- "Amend dowry law to stop its misuse, SC tells govt". The Times of India. 17 August 2010. Archived from the original on 7 July 2012.
- Why Women need 498A, Economic & Political Weekly, vol. XLIX no. 29 (July 2014)