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How To Fight False Case under Section 498A, IPC  & Win !!!

498A

The provision of Section 498A of IPC deals with the cases of Domestic Violence but is considered gender bias as the provision assumes only women to be victims of such abuses and  the winds of transformation have altered their course, ushering in a new era of unprecedented change and evolution. Where at a time when laws were needed to protect women from the abuses in their families to a time when we see false cases being filed under Section 498A. This picture becomes clearer with the statistics of the National Crimes Records Bureau. In 2020, 111,549 instances were reported under section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, which addresses abuse by spouses and relatives. Out of these, police closed 5,520 cases claiming them as untrue; in total, 16,151 cases were closed by police due to falsehoods, factual or legal errors therefore it only caters to and offers this privilege to women. Going by the words Section 498A, IPC states that, “498A. Husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty. —Whoever, being the husband or the relative of the husband of a 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.

[1] Admin, “NCRB Report 2020” Voice For Men (September 30, 2021) https://voiceformenindia.com/ncrb-report-2020-crimes-against-women-cases-registered-v-s-false-conviction-vs-acquittal/ accessed November 29, 2023.

In recent times, Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code has been increasingly used by women in cases against their spouses, even when it may not have a direct connection to the main dispute. Several Court decisions and rulings emphasising the serious nature and severe consequences of Section 498A, where the offence is seen as non-bailable, non-compoundable, and cognizable, have instilled a sense of fear in innocent men unsure about how to prove their innocence in such situations.

498A

Steps To Fight A False Case Under Section 498A,IPC

Though Section 498A is a gender bias provision, there have been certain ambiguities kept intentionally in the provision that can be constructively used by the person accused under Section 498A. If a woman decides to take undue advantage of this provision and threatens to file a false complaint against you to further her interests, you have a list of legal options hereunder that can be used to protect against Section 498A of the IPC.

                            1. TAKE A DECISION FIRMLY

The initial and primary step ought to involve determining the cause of disruption within family dynamics. Once the reason is identified, endeavour to rectify it to the best of your ability. Should an irreparable breakdown occur, ensure that you are not the catalyst for the upheaval or disturbance within the family.

Upon firmly establishing that you are not the instigator of the issues, summon all your courage to contest the false complaint, FIR, or case.

2. COLLECT AND SAFEGUARD ALL PROOFS AND EVIDENCE THAT SUBSTANTIATE YOUR POSITION.

The primary focus should center on safeguarding evidence that contradicts the complainant’s claims, thus dismantling any malicious traps set. A method to gather such evidence involves mentally revisiting your experiences, maintaining focus as if watching a movie of your life, and pinpointing specific details, behaviours, or anomalies that connect the dots. Evidence may manifest in various forms: photographs, messages, chats, call recordings, CCTV footage, social media interactions, or any material showcasing a healthy relationship without any form of abuse from your end. This step holds critical importance, considering the potential for evidence tampering in cases of false accusations under Section 498A.

3. WILLINGNESS TO RESTORE THE MARITAL BOND

In scenarios where the wife has departed from the matrimonial residence without substantial justification, there exists the option to file a case seeking the court’s intervention to compel her return. This legal recourse, referred to as the “Restitution of Conjugal Rights,” is delineated under Section 9 of the Hindu Marriage Act.

498A

4. FILE A FORMAL COMPLAINT/ FIR AGAINST YOUR WIFE

If you think that the case is serious, you may go ahead with filing an official complaint or FIR against your wife for blackmailing and filing an FIR under the false claim of Section 498A. Though police have been seen to be reluctant to accept and file such FIRs, if the complaint is well drafted and without any flaws by a specialized lawyer, it has high chances of being accepted, and the police won’t be able to deny or reject it in any case.

5. DEFAMATION RESULTING FROM THE FALSE CASE UNDER SECTION 498A

Once you have been proven innocent in court, you can subsequently file a defamation case against your wife for damaging your reputation in society by filing a false case under Section 498A against you.

 

ANTICIPATORY BAIL:- REQUIRED OR NOT !!!

Prior to year 2014, Police had wide discretion to arrest the husband and his relatives in cases under Section 498A , IPC`1860 which led to the benevolent misuse of the powers and provision. However , taking note of blatant violation of powers by police , the Hon`ble Supreme Court of India issued guidelines in

ARNESH KUMAR VS STATE OF BIHAR (Crl. Appeal No. 1277/2014 , Supreme Court of India).

The guidelines so issued in the case of Arnesh Kumar v. State of Bihar aimed to curb arbitrary ,  and unnecessary arrests , particularly in cases related  to Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) .  These guidelines  were set to prevent the automatic arrest of individuals solely based on allegations under this Section.

 

Some of the key curbs in arrests due to the guidelines from the Arnesh Kumar case include:

Mandatory Investigation: Law enforcement agencies are required to conduct a preliminary investigation before making an arrest in cases related to Section 498A. This investigation is aimed at verifying the authenticity of the complaint and ensuring that there is credible evidence before resorting to arrest.

Discretion and Judgment: Police officers were directed to exercise discretion and judgment before making an arrest. Arrests should only be made when warranted by sufficient evidence or when there is a genuine need arising from the investigation.

Preventing Routine/ Automatic or Mechanical Arrests: The guidelines discourage routine or mechanical arrests based solely on allegations without proper verification or investigation. Arrests should be backed by substantial evidence or a genuine necessity.

 

Protection of Innocent Individuals: The guidelines aim to protect innocent individuals from arbitrary arrests and custodial harassment by ensuring a fair and just investigative process. This is achieved by discouraging arrests without proper verification of the allegations.

 

Overall, the curbs in arrest due to the Arnesh Kumar guidelines focused on promoting a balanced and cautious approach, preventing the misuse of Section 498A and safeguarding individuals from unwarranted arrests based solely on allegations without proper investigation or evidence.

After these guidelines, the Police officials are very much vigilant in 498A cases where arrests are to be made as they seek permissions form superior officials to arrest the husband or other relatives which makes then reasonable for such arrests and further reasons are recorded in writing for such arrests.

Going by the said analogy, in most cases under Section 498A, IPC , Anticipatory Bail is not advised.

 

DURATION

The duration of the case mainly depends on two factors, the first being, the merits of the case, that is, the reliability of the evidence presented before the Court from both sides, the allegations made by both parties against each other, procedures that are to be duly followed etc. and second being, the efficiency of the lawyers hired. If specialized lawyers who are well-reputed in this field are hired, it may not only decrease the pendency of the case but also increase your chances of winning.

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