Law Commission Report
243rd Report on Section 498A IPC
GOVERNMENT OF INDIA
Section 498A IPC
Section 498A IPC
Sl. No. Title Page Nos
1. Introduction 1-3
2. Judicial decisions 3-8
3. Some data regarding Prosecutions u/s 498-A 9-10
4. Arguments: Pro & Contra 10-11
5. The Triple Problem 12-13
6. View of National Commission for Women 13
7. The Approach and views of the Commission broadly 14-16
8. Compounding the Offence 16-19
9. Domestic Violence Act 19-21
10. Responses - an overview 21-23
11. Diagnosis of the problem and reasonable solution 23-25
12. Power of Arrest - a balanced approach 25-27
13. Analysis of the provisions relating to arrest and the duty of 27-33
14. Certain guidelines / prescriptions to mitigate misuse 33-35
15. Home Ministry's advisory and further action to be taken 35-37
16. Amendment of Section 41 Cr.PC by the addition of sub- 37
17. S, 358 of Cr.PC - raising the compensation limit 37-38
17-A Punishment for misuse - no specific provision necessary. 38
18. State's obligation to take care of estranged women in 38-40
19. Summary of Recommendations 40-43
Annexure - I 44-50
Annexure - II 51-57
Annexure - III 58-73
Annexure - III-A 74
Annexure - III-B 75-81
Annexure - III-C 82-85
Section 498A IPC
1.1 Keeping in view the representations received from various quarters and
observations made by the Supreme Court and the High Courts, the Home
Secretary, Government of India through his D.O. letter dated 1st September,
2009 requested the Law Commission of India to consider suggesting
amendment, if any to s.498A of Indian Penal Code or other measures to check
the alleged misuse of the said provision. Thereafter, in the case of Preeti Gupta
vs. State of Jharkhand, (2010) the Supreme Court observed that "serious re-
look of the entire provision is warranted by the Legislature. It is a matter of
common knowledge that exaggerated versions of the incident are reflected in a
large number of complaints. The tendency of over-implication is also reflected
in a very large number of cases". Copy of the Judgment has been directed to
be sent to the Law Commission and Union Law Secretary for taking appropriate
steps. The Law Commission of India after intense deliberations released a
Consultation Paper-cum-Questionnaire which is attached to this report as
1.2 S.498A was introduced in the year 1983 to protect married women from
being subjected to cruelty by the husband or his relatives. A punishment
extending to 3 years and fine has been prescribed. The expression 'cruelty' has
been defined in wide terms so as to include inflicting physical or mental harm
to the body or health of the woman and indulging in acts of harassment with a
view to coerce her or her relations to meet any unlawful demand for any
property or valuable security. Harassment for dowry falls within the sweep of
latter limb of the section. Creating a situation driving the woman to commit
suicide is also one of the ingredients of 'cruelty'. The offence under s.498A is
cognizable, non-compoundable and non-bailable. The section is extracted
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 punishable with
imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and shall also
be liable to fine.
Explanation.-For the purpose of this section, "cruelty" means-
(a) any willful conduct which is of such a nature as is likely to
drive the woman to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or
danger to life, limb or health (whether mental or physical) of
(b) harassment of the woman where such harassment is with a
view to coercing her or any person related to her to meet any
unlawful demand for any property or valuable security or is
on account of failure by her or any person related to her to
meet such demand."
1.3 Several enactments and provisions have been brought on the statute
book during the last two or three decades to address the concerns of liberty,
dignity and equal respect for women founded on the community perception
that women suffer violence or deprived of their constitutional rights owing to
several social and cultural factors. Meaningful debates and persuasions have
led to these enactments. The insertion of Section 498A IPC is one such move
and it penalizes offensive conduct of the husband and his relatives towards the
married woman. The provision together with allied provisions in Cr. P.C. are so
designed as to impart an element of deterrence. In course of time, a spate of
reports of misuse of the section by means of false / exaggerated allegations and
implication of several relatives of the husband have been pouring in. Though
there are widespread complaints and even the judiciary has taken cognizance
of large scale misuse, there is no reliable data based on empirical study as
regards the extent of the alleged misuse. There are different versions about it
and the percentage of misuse given by them is based on their experience or
ipse dixit, rather than ground level study.
2. Judicial decisions
2.1 In the case of Preeti Gupta Vs. State of Jharkhand1 (supra) decided in
2010, the Supreme Court observed that a serious relook of the provision is
warranted by the Legislature. The Court said: "It is a matter of common
knowledge that exaggerated versions of the incidents are reflected in a large
number of complaints". The Court took note of the common tendency to
implicate husband and all his immediate relations. The Supreme Court
directed the Registry to send a copy of judgment to the Law Commission and
Union Law Secretary so that appropriate steps may be taken in the larger
interests of society. In an earlier case also - Sushil Kumar Sharma Vs. UOI2
(2005), the Supreme Court lamented that in many instances, complaints under
s.498A were being filed with an oblique motive to wreck personal vendetta and
observed. "It may therefore become necessary for the Legislature to find out
ways how the makers of frivolous complaints or allegations can be
AIR 2010 SC 3363
2005 6 SCC 281
appropriately dealt with". It was also observed that "by misuse of the
provision, a new legal terrorism can be unleashed".
2.2 Various High Courts in the country have also noted that in several
instances, omnibus allegations are made against the husband and his
relations and the complaints are filed without proper justification. The need to
exercise caution in the case of arrest of the husband and his relatives has been
stressed while observing that by such a step, the possibility of reconciliation
becomes remote and problematic. In some of the cases, directions were given
by the High Courts for regulating the power of arrest and for taking necessary
steps to initiate conciliatory effort at the earliest point of time. Reference may
be made in this context to the decision of Delhi High Court in Chandrabhan Vs.
State (order dated 4.8.2008 in Bail application No.1627/2008) and of the
Madras High Court in the case of Tr. Ramaiah Vs. State (order dated 7.7.2008
and 4.8.2008 in MP No.1 of 2008 in Crl. O.P. No.10896 of 2008). In the former
case, it was observed that "there is no iota of doubt that most of the complaints
are filed in the heat of the moment over trifling fights and ego clashes. It is also
a matter of common knowledge that in their tussle and ongoing hostility, the
hapless children are the worst victims". The following directions were given to
the police authorities:
i) "FIR should not be registered in a routine manner.
ii) Endeavour of the police should be to scrutinize complaints carefully
and then register FIR.
iii) No case under section 498-A/406 IPC should be registered without
the prior approval of DCP/Addl. DCP.
iv) Before the registration of FIR, all possible efforts should be made for
reconciliation and in case it is found that there is no possibility of
settlement, then, necessary steps should, in the first instance, be
taken to ensure return of sthridhan and dowry articles to the
v) Arrest of main accused be made only after thorough investigation has
been conducted and with the prior approval of the ACP/DCP.
vi) In the case of collateral accused such as in-laws, prior approval of
DCP should be there on the file."
The other directions given were :-
The Delhi Legal Services Authority, National Commission for Women,
NGOs and social workers working for upliftment of women should set up a
desk in Crime Against Women Cell to provide them with conciliation services,
so that before the State machinery is set in motion, the matter is amicably
settled at that very stage. The need to explore the possibility of reunion and
conciliation when the case reaches the Court was also stressed. In conclusion,
it was observed that in these matters, the parties themselves can adopt a
conciliatory approach without intervention of any outside agency.
2.3 In an earlier judgment of Delhi High Court in the case of "Court on its
own in Motion vs. CBI", reported in 109 (2003) Delhi Law Times 494, similar
directions were issued to the police and courts regarding arrest, grant of bail,
conciliation etc. It appears that these procedural directions issued by the High
Court are being followed in Delhi as stated by senior police officers of Delhi,
though according to the version of some lawyers, there are many instances of
violation at the police station level. It is to be mentioned that after the order in
Chander Bhan's case, (supra), the Commissioner of Police of Delhi issued
Standing Order No.330 of 2008 compiling the "Guidelines for Arrest" as laid
down by the Supreme Court and Delhi High Court. The judgments relevant to
Section 498-A and the directions issued therein were referred to in the
Standing Order. It is learnt that the practice of obtaining the permission of
ACP/DCP level officers before effecting arrest of husband/relatives is being
followed in Delhi. In many States, according to information received by the
Chairman of this Commission, there are no systemic guidelines and there is no
regular monitoring of this type of cases by the higher officials. Ad-hoc
practices and procedures are in vogue.
2.4 The directives given by the Madras High Court in the case of Tr. Ramiah
are as follows:
i) Except in cases of dowry death/suicide and offences of
serious nature, the Station House Officers of the All Women Police
Stations are to register F.I.R. only on approval of the Dowry
Prohibition Officer concerned.
ii) Social workers/mediators with experience may be
nominated and housed in the same premises of All Women Police
Stations along with Dowry Prohibition Officers.
iii) Arrest in matrimonial disputes, in particular arrest of
aged, infirm, sick persons and minors, shall not be made by the
Station House Officers of the All Women Police Stations.
iv) If arrest is necessary during investigation, sanction
must be obtained from the Superintendent of Police concerned by
forwarding the reasons recorded in writing.
v) Arrest can be made after filing of the final report
before the Magistrate concerned if there is non-cooperation and
abscondance of accused persons, and after receipt of appropriate
order (Non-Bailable Warrant).
vi) Charge sheet must be filed within a period of 30 days
from the date of registration of the F.I.R. and in case of failure,
extension of time shall be sought for from the jurisdiction
Magistrate indicating the reasons for the failure.
vii) No weapon including lathis/physical force be used while
handling cases at the All Women Police Stations.
viii) Complainants/victims should be provided with adequate
security/accommodation at Government Home and interest of the
children must be taken care of.
ix) Stridana properties/movables and immovable to be restored
at the earliest to the victims/complainants and legal aid may be
arranged for them through Legal Services Authority for immediate
redressal of their grievances."
2.5 Pursuant to this order, the Director-General of Police, Tamil Nadu,
issued a circular to the effect that the said orders of the Court should be
strictly followed. In the further order dated 4.8.2008, the Court observed that
when the I.O. seeks remand of the accused, the Magistrate must examine the
necessity therefor and the remand should not be ordered mechanically on the
mere request of the I.O. The Magistrate should be satisfied that sufficient
grounds exist for directing remand. Further, the Court deprecated the practice
of conducting lengthy panchayats in police stations.
2.6 As regards the decisions of Delhi and Madras High Courts referred to
above, there are a few comments which we consider appropriate to make. The
decisions make the offence practically bailable by reason of various
qualifications and restrictions prescribed. The decision of Madras High court
goes to the extent of saying that arrest can be made only after filing of the final
report before the Magistrate and on the basis of non-bailable warrant issued by
the Magistrate. Whether this judicial law-making based on experience and
expediency of restraining the power of arrest in matters arising out of
matrimonial problems, is legally sound is one question that arises. Secondly,
whether the registration of FIR can be deferred for sometime i.e., till initial
investigation and reconciliation process is completed, is another point that
arises. In Bhajan Lal's case3, the Supreme Court observed, "It is therefore,
manifestly clear that if any information disclosing a cognizable offence is laid
before an officer in charge of a police station satisfying the requirements of
Section 154(1) of the Code, the said police officer has no other option except to
enter the substance thereof in the prescribed form, that is to say, to register a
case on the basis of such information."
2.7 However, in a recent case of Lalita Kumari v. State of Uttar Pradesh 4, the
question whether a police officer is bound to register the FIR when a cognizable
offence is made out or he has the discretion to conduct some kind of
preliminary inquiry before registration of FIR, has been referred to a larger
bench of Supreme Court in view of the apparent divergence in views. The law
on this point is therefore in an uncertain state. In this situation, the police in
various States have to follow the law laid down or directives issued by the
respective High Courts in regard to registration of FIR till the law is settled by
the Supreme Court. Shri Amarjit Singh, ld. Member of the Commission has
suggested that except in cases of physical violence, the FIR need not be
registered instantaneously without any enquiry being made. Whether there
should be a legislative provision in this regard specifically with reference to
F.I.Rs under S, 498-A is a matter on which a fresh look could be taken after
the Supreme Court interprets the relevant Sections in the above case.
State of Haryana v. Bhajan Lal, AIR 1992 SC 604
AIR 2012 SC 1515
3. Some data regarding Prosecutions u/s 498-A
3.1 The complaint of over-implication noticed by the Courts is borne out by
the statistical data of the cases under S,498A. According to informations
received from the Hon'ble High Courts (during the year 2011), 3,40,555 cases
under Section 498-A IPC were pending trial in various courts towards the end
of 2010. There were as many as 9,38,809 accused implicated in these cases.
This does not include cases pertaining to Punjab and Haryana (statistics not
available). The implication of the relatives of husband was found to be
unjustified in a large number of decided cases. While so, it appears that the
women especially from the poor strata of the society living in rural areas rarely
take resort to the provision, though they are the worst sufferers. However,
according to Delhi Police officials, with whom the Commission had interacted,
women from poor background living in slums are also coming forward to file
3.2 According to the statistics published by National Crime Records Bureau
for the year 2011 (Table4), 3,39,902 cases under S,498A were pending trial in
various courts at the end of the year and 29,669 cases under S,304-B of IPC.
The conviction rate in S,498A cases is 21.2% and in S,304-B cases, it is 35.8%.
Number of cases reported under S,498A in the year 2011 are 99,135 and
during the two previous years, they were 94,041 and 89,546. Thus, there is
slight increase (about 5%) in the reported cases every year. As stated earlier,
many cases go unreported. The statistics relating to reported incidents may
not therefore furnish a reliable comparative indicator of the actual incidence of
crimes in the States. For instance, when compared to other cities, the
percentage share of incidents reported under S, 498-A is the 2nd highest in
Delhi. It may be because that the percentage of reporting is apparently high.
The dowry-death cases (S,304-B) reported during the years 2009-11 are: 8,383,
8,391 and 8,618. There is a view-point that if the offence under S,498A is
made bailable or non-cognizable, it will cease to be a deterrent against cruelty
inflicted on married women and the dowry-deaths may increase.
3.3 As noticed earlier, the conviction rate in respect of the cases under
s.498A is quite low - it is about 20%. It is learnt that on account of
subsequent events such as out-of-court settlement, the complainant women do
not evince interest in taking the prosecution to its logical conclusion. Further,
ineffective investigation is also known to be one of the reasons for low
4. Arguments: Pro & Contra
4.1 The arguments for relieving the rigour of s.498A by suitable amendments
(which find support from the observations in Court judgments and Justice
Malimath Committee's report on Reforms of Criminal Justice System) are:
The harsh law, far from helping the genuine victimized women, has
become a source o blackmail and harassment of husbands and others.
Once a complaint (FIR) is lodged with the Police under s.498A/406 IPC, it
becomes an easy tool in the hands of the Police to arrest or threaten to
arrest the husband and other relatives named in the FIR without even
considering the intrinsic worth of the allegations and making a preliminary
investigation. When the members of a family are arrested and sent to jail,
with no immediate prospect of bail, the chances of amicable re-conciliation
or salvaging the marriage, will be lost once and for all. The possibility of
reconciliation, it is pointed out, cannot be ruled out and it should be fully
explored. The imminent arrest by the Police will thus be counter-
productive. The long and protracted criminal trials lead to acrimony and
bitterness in the relationship among the kith and kin of the family.
Pragmatic realities have to be taken into consideration while dealing with
matrimonial matters with due regard to the fact that it is a sensitive family
problem which shall not be allowed to be aggravated by over-
zealous/callous actions on the part of the Police by taking advantage of
the harsh provisions of s.498A of IPC together with its related provisions in
CrPC. It is pointed out that the sting is not in s.498A as such, but in the
provisions of CrPC making the offence non-compoundable and non-
4.2 The arguments, on the other hand, in support of maintaining the status
quo are briefly:
S.498A and other legislations like Protection of Women from Domestic
Violence Act have been specifically enacted to protect a vulnerable section of
the society who have been the victims of cruelty and harassment. The social
purpose behind it will be lost if the rigour of the provision is diluted. The
abuse or misuse of law is not peculiar to this provision. The misuse can
however be curtailed within the existing framework of law. For instance, the
Ministry of Home Affairs can issue 'advisories' to State Governments to avoid
unnecessary arrests and to strictly observe the procedures laid down in the law
governing arrests. The power to arrest should only be exercised after a
reasonable satisfaction is reached as to the bona fides of a complaint and the
complicity of those against whom accusations are made. The "Crime Against
Women Cells" should be headed by well trained and senior lady police officers.
These steps would go a long way in preventing the so-called misuse. Side by
side, steps can be taken to effect conciliation between the spouses in conflict
and the recourse to filing of a charge-sheet under s.498A shall be had only in
cases where such efforts fail and there appears to be a prima facie case.
Counselling of parties should be done by professionally qualified counsellors
and not by the Police. These views have been echoed among others by the
Ministry of Women and Child Development.
4.3 Further, it is pointed out that a married woman ventures to go to the
Police station to make a complaint against her husband and other close
relations only out of despair and being left with no other remedy against
cruelty and harassment. In such a situation, the existing law should be
allowed to take its own course rather than over-reacting to the misuse in some
cases. There is also a view expressed that when once the offending family
members get the scent of the complaint, there may be further torture of the
complainant and her life and liberty may be endangered if the Police do not act
swiftly and sternly. It is contended that in the wake of ever increasing crimes
leading to unnatural deaths of women in marital homes, any dilution of Section
498-A is not warranted. Secondly, during the process of mediation also, she is
vulnerable to threats and harassment. Such situations too need to be taken
5. Thus, the triple problems that have cropped up in the course of
implementation of the provision are:(a) the police straightaway rushing to
arrest the husband and even his other family members (named in the FIR), (b)
tendency to implicate, with little or no justification the in-laws and other
relations residing in the marital home and even outside the home, overtaken by
feelings of emotion and vengeance or on account of wrong advice, and (c) lack
of professional, sensitive and empathetic approach on the part of the police to
the problems of woman under distress.
6. View of National Commission for Women
6.1 The view point of National Commission for Women represented by
Member-Secretary placed before the Parliamentary Committee on Petitions
(Rajya Sabha) (report presented on 07.09.2011) has been summarized in the
report of the Committee as follows:
(i) Section 498A, IPC, provisions of the Dowry Prohibition Act 1961
and the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005
have an element of commonality and need to be harmonized and
(ii) Police should in the interest of the protection of the constitutional
rights of a citizen ensure that no arrest should be made without a
reasonable satisfaction after some investigation as to the
genuineness and bonafide of a complaint and the need to effect
(iii) Creation of Mahila Desks at police station and Crime Against
Women (CAW) Cell, at least at the district level which would
specifically deal the complaints made by women. When a wife
moves to file a complaint to a women cell, a lot of persuasion and
conciliation is required. The Legal Service Authorities of the States
/ UTs, National Commission for Women, NGO and social workers
should set up a desk in CAW Cell to provide conciliation services to
the women so that before the state machinery is set in motion the
matter is amicably settled at that every stage;
(iv) In case of matrimonial disputes, the first recourse should be
effective conciliation and mediation between the warring spouses
and their families and recourse of filing charges under Section
498A, IPC may be resorted to in cases where such conciliation fails
and there appears a prima facie case of Section 498A of IPC and
other related laws; and
(v) Counseling mechanism envisaged under the PWDVA should be
implemented by State Governments and counseling of parties
should be done only by professionally qualified counselors and not
by the police. The police may consider empanelling professional
counselors with CAW Cells.
7. The Approach and views of the Commission broadly
7.1 The Commission is of the view that the Section together with its allied
Cr.PC provisions shall not act as an instrument of oppression and counter-
harassment and become a tool of indiscreet and arbitrary actions on the part of
the Police. The fact that s.498A deals with a family problem and a situation of
marital discord unlike the other crimes against society at large, cannot be
forgotten. It does not however mean that the Police should not appreciate the
grievance of the complainant woman with empathy and understanding or that
the Police should play a passive role. S.498A has a lofty social purpose and it
should remain on the Statute book to intervene whenever the occasion arises.
Its object and purpose cannot be stultified by overemphasizing its potentiality
for abuse or misuse. Misuse by itself cannot be a ground to repeal it or to take
away its teeth wholesale. The re-evaluation of Section 498-A merely on the
ground of abuse is not warranted. Besides that, while courts are confronted
with abusive dimensions, sometimes very visibly in Section 498A prosecutions,
we cannot close our eyes to a large number of cases which go unprosecuted for
a variety of reasons.
7.2 Section 498-A has to be seen in the context of violence and impairment
of women's liberty and dignity within the matrimonial fold. Mindless and
senseless deprivation of life and liberty of women could not have been dealt
with effectively through soft sanctions alone. Even though values of equality
and non-discrimination may have to gain deeper roots through other social
measures, the need to give valuable protection to vulnerable sections of women
cannot be negated.
7.3 While the Commission is appreciative of the need to discourage
unjustified and frivolous complaints and the scourge of over-implication, it is
not inclined to take a view that dilutes the efficacy of s.498A to the extent of
defeating its purpose especially having regard to the fact that atrocities against
women are on the increase. A balanced and holistic view has to be taken on
weighing the pros and cons. There is no doubt a need to address the misuse
situations and arrive at a rational solution - legislative or otherwise, while
maintaining the efficacy of law. While we acknowledge diverse points of view,
some with extreme emphasis and connotations, the point to be noted is that
the value to be attached to the rights of women are no less than the value to be
attached to the family as a unit and vice-versa. The challenge before the
community is to ensure the promotion of both values. The emphasis should
therefore be on wise moderations without overlooking the need and relevance of
the retention of penal sanctions necessary to protect and promote women's
rights and interests.
7.4 There is also a need to create awareness of the provisions especially
among the poor and illiterate living in rural areas who face quite often the
problems of drunken misbehavior and harassment of wives. More than the
women, the men should be apprised of the penal and other provisions of law
protecting the women against harassment at home. The easy access of
aggrieved women to the Taluka and District level Legal Service Authorities
and/or credible NGOs with professional counsellors should be ensured by
appropriate measures. There should be an extensive and well-planned
campaign to spread awareness on right lines. Presently, the endeavour in this
direction is quite minimal. Visits to few villages once in a way by the
representatives of LSAs, law students and social workers is the present
7.5 There is an all-round view that the lawyers whom the aggrieved women
or their relations approach in the first instance should act with a clear sense of
responsibility and objectivity and give suitable advice consistent with the real
problem diagnosed. Exaggerated and tutored versions and unnecessary
implication of husband's relations should be scrupulously avoided. The correct
advice of legal professionals and the sensitivity of Police officials dealing with
the cases are very important, and if these are in place, undoubtedly, the law
will not take a devious course. Unfortunately, there is a strong feeling that
some lawyers and police personnel have failed to act and approach the problem
in a manner ethically and legally expected of them.
8. Compounding the Offence
8.1 There is preponderance of opinion in favour of making the offence under
S,498-A compoundable with the permission of the court. Even those
(individuals, officials and organizations) who say that it should remain a non-
bailable offence, have suggested that the offence should be made
compoundable, subject to the permission of court. Some States, for e.g.,
Andhra Pradesh have already made it compoundable. The Supreme Court, in
the case of Ramgopal v. State of M. P. in SLP (Crl.) No. 6494 of 2010 (Order dt.
July 30, 2010), observed that the offence under S, 498-A should be made
compoundable. However, there is sharp divergence of views on the point
whether it should be made a bailable offence. It is pleaded by some that the
offence should be made bailable at least with regard to husband's relations and
in respect of the cases failing under second part of the Explanation Clause (b)
to Section 498-A.
8.2 As regards compoundability, the Commission has given a comprehensive
report (237th Report) under the title of "Compounding of IPC Offences". The
Commission recommended that the offence under Section 498A should be
made a compoundable offence with the permission of Court. The Commission
has suggested the inclusion of the following sub-section in S,320 Cr.PC:
After the application for compounding an offence under S.498A of
Indian Penal Code is filed and on interviewing the aggrieved woman,
preferably in the Chamber in the presence of a lady judicial officer or a
representative of District Legal Services Authority or a counsellor or a close
relation, if the Magistrate is satisfied that there was prima facie a
voluntary and genuine settlement between the parties, the Magistrate shall
make a record to that effect and the hearing of application shall be
adjourned by three months or such other earlier date which the Magistrate
may fix in the interests of Justice. On the adjourned date, the Magistrate
shall again interview the victim woman in the like manner and then pass
the final order permitting or refusing to compound the offence after giving
opportunity of hearing to the accused. In the interregnum, it shall be open
to the aggrieved woman to file an application revoking her earlier offer to
compound the offence on sufficient grounds.
The relevant part of Commission's report is furnished in Annexure-II.
8.4 In the 154th Report of the Law Commission also, there was a clear
recommendation to make the offence compoundable. Justice Mallimath
Committee on Criminal Justice Reform also recommended that it should be
made compoundable as well as bailable. The Committee of Petitions (Rajya
Sabha) in the report presented on 7.09.2011, observed thus at para 13.2 under
the heading "Making the offence under Section 498A IPC compoundable":
"The Committee notes that the offence under Section 498A IPC is
essentially a fallout of strained matrimonial relationship for which there
might be various considerations. Since there can be various causes
leading to an offence under Section 498A, IPC and parties to the marriage
could be responsible for the same in varying degrees, it would be
appropriate if the remedy of compromise is kept open to settle a
matrimonial dispute. In this context, the Committee feels that in case of
any marital discord which has reached the stage of a complaint under
Section 498A, IPC, it would be better if the parties have the option of a
compromise whereafter they can settle down in their lives appropriately for
a better future rather than diverting their energies negatively by pursuing
litigation. The Committee recommends to the Government to consider
whether the offence under Section 498A, IPC can be made compoundable."
8.5 These observations and recommendations of the Parliamentary
Committee reinforces the view taken by the Law Commission in 237th Report
which is annexed herewith (Annexure II). In the 111th report of the
Department related Standing Committee on Home Affairs on the Criminal Law
Amendment Bill, 2003 (report of 2005), the Committee categorically
recommended that the offence under Section 498-A should be made
compoundable. The Committee of Petitions (Rajya Sabha), recommended that
the offence under Section 498A should continue to be cognizable and non-
bailable while "strongly recommending" that "the ill-effects and miseries of the
provision should be checked." The Committee observed further: "the Committee
fears that failure to do so may leave no option except to dilute the law by making
the same non-compoundable and bailable." Certain measures to check misuse
were suggested which will be referred to at the appropriate juncture.
9. Domestic Violence Act
9.1 In the context of the issue under consideration, a reference to the
provisions of Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 (for short
PDV Act) which is an allied and complementary law, is quite apposite. The
said Act was enacted with a view to provide for more effective protection of
rights of women who are victims of violence of any kind occurring within the
family. Those rights are essentially of civil nature with a mix of penal
provisions. Section 3 of the Act defines domestic violence in very wide terms. It
encompasses the situations set out in the definition of 'cruelty' under Section
498A. The Act has devised an elaborate machinery to safeguard the interests of
women subjected to domestic violence. The Act enjoins the appointment of
Protection Officers who will be under the control and supervision of a Judicial
Magistrate of First Class. The said officer shall send a domestic incident report
to the Magistrate, the police station and service providers. The Protection
Officers are required to effectively assist and guide the complainant victim and
provide shelter, medical facilities, legal aid etc. and also act on her behalf to
present an application to the Magistrate for one or more reliefs under the Act.
The Magistrate is required to hear the application ordinarily within 3 days from
the date of its receipt. The Magistrate may at any stage of the proceedings
direct the respondent and/or the aggrieved person to undergo counseling with
a service provider. 'Service Providers' are those who conform to the
requirements of Section 10 of the Act. The Magistrate can also secure the
services of a welfare expert preferably a woman for the purpose of assisting
him. Under Section 18, the Magistrate, after giving an opportunity of hearing to
the Respondent and on being prima facie satisfied that domestic violence has
taken place or is likely to take place, is empowered to pass a protection order
prohibiting the Respondent from committing any act of domestic violence
and/or aiding or abetting all acts of domestic violence. There are other powers
vested in the Magistrate including granting residence orders and monetary
reliefs. Section 23 further empowers the Magistrate to pass such interim order
as he deems just and proper including an ex-parte order. The breach of
protection order by the respondent is regarded as an offence which is
cognizable and non-bailable and punishable with imprisonment extending to
one year (vide Section 31). By the same Section, the Magistrate is also
empowered to frame charges under Section 498A of IPC and/or Dowry
Prohibition Act. A Protection Officer who fails or neglects to discharge his duty
as per the protection order is liable to be punished with imprisonment (vide
Section 33). The provisions of the Act are supplemental to the provisions of any
other law in force. The right to file a complaint under Section 498A is
specifically preserved under Section 5 of the Act.
9.2 An interplay of the provisions of this Act and the proceedings under
s.498A assumes some relevance on two aspects: (1) Seeking Magistrate's
expeditious intervention by way of passing a protective interim order to prevent
secondary victimization of a complainant who has lodged FIR under s.498A. (2)
Paving the way for counseling process under the supervision of Magistrate at
the earliest opportunity.
10. Responses - an overview
10.1 As many as 474 persons, organizations/institutions and officials (listed
in Annexure-III) have sent their responses to the Consultation Paper-cum-
Questionnaire. A broad analysis of these replies are given in Annexure III-A.
Some of the important and typical responses are compiled in Annexure III-B.
As many as 244 Judicial Officers from various States including Registrars and
Directors of Judicial Academies and Officials (most of them are Police Officers)
and members of legal academia have sent their responses. 100 of them
suggested that the offence should be made bailable. However, 119 of them have
clearly stated that it should remain non-bailable. Among the 24
organizations/institutions, 12 of them pleaded for bailability and 5 have
expressed the view that it should remain non-bailable. Among the individuals,
a vast majority of them suggested that it should be made bailable. Some have
expressed an extreme view that the Section should be repealed or it should be
made gender neutral. There are three Non-Resident Indians among the
representationists - two of them individuals and the other an organization.
They consider it as a harsh law against husbands and it shall be revisited.
The tales of woes and harassment caused on account of false complaints have
been narrated in many representations while pleading that the complainant
woman should be made accountable for such false and frivolous complaints.
Some State Governments and Union Territories also gave their suggestions.
Their views are compiled in Annexure III-C. Most of the respondents including
those who are not in favour of change emphasized the need for verification of
facts by way of preliminary/initial investigation and not to rush through the
process of arrest. The need to facilitate reconciliation through counseling and
mediation at the earliest stage has been stressed by a large number of
respondents. The active participation of Legal Service Authorities as a
facilitator of conciliation and mediation processes and the need for closer
coordination between the police and LSAs in this regard has also been pointed
out by many of them. It is also stated that LSAs can play a greater role in
spreading awareness in the rural areas.
10.2 The Chairman of the Commission in the company of Vice-Chairman and
other ld. Members and officials of the Commission had occasions to interact
with Judicial Officers of various ranks (including lady judges). In such
Conferences, the general consensus was that the offence under Section 498-A
should be made compoundable with the permission of the Court and it should
continue to remain non-bailable. At the same time, they expressed some
concern over complaints filed with false allegations or over implication and
stressed on the duty of Police to act with sensitivity and responsibility in
matters of this nature. So also, the plight of the aggrieved women who go to the
Police Stations and who in a state of emotion and confusion tend to file
complaints with exaggerated versions has been highlighted. Senior Police
Officers in Delhi have stated that the percentage of misuse is minimal and
most of the complaints are quite genuine though at times the complaints are
instigated to make some exaggerated and untrue allegations. They gave details
of the practices that are being followed by Delhi Police especially in regard to
conciliation by qualified counselors. They have also highlighted the problem
caused by NRI women filing dual complaints i.e., in Delhi under S, 498-A as
well as the relevant laws in force governing domestic violence in the country
where they last resided with the accused husband. In regard to misuse
dimensions, there were different versions from the Police Officers in some other
States. There was a divided opinion among the lawyers and judges (who
attended the Conferences) at Visakhapatnam (A.P.), Chennai, Aurangabad and
Bengaluru on the question whether it should remain non-bailable. However,
the lawyers, both men and ladies in one voice stated that it should be made
compoundable and reconciliation process should be put in place without loss
of time. The same was the opinion expressed at the conferences in Judicial
Academies in several States.
11. Diagnosis of the problem and reasonable solution
11.1 That Section 498A has been misused in many instances admits of no
doubt. This has been taken judicial notice of in several cases. The
Parliamentary Committee has also adverted to this aspect. The inputs received
by the Law Commission and the representations made to the Home Ministry.
also confirm this fact. However, there is no reliable data to reveal the extent of
abuse or misuse. The data/information reveals that urban and educated
women are mostly coming forward to file the complaints under this section.
The data also reveals that in most of the cases, apart from the husband, two of
his relations (especially in-laws) are being prosecuted. At the same time, the
Commission feels that misuse arising from exaggerated versions and over
implication should not by itself be a ground to dilute the provision by making
it bailable. Depriving the police of the power to arrest without warrant in order
to have proper investigation would defeat the objective of the provision and may
be counter-productive. The element of deterrence will be irretrievably lost, once
it is made bailable. It is to be noted that the misuse did not flow from the
section itself but the roots of misuse were grounded on the insensitive police
responses and irresponsible legal advice. The victim/complainant deprived of
her cool and objective thinking, quite often, unwittingly signs a complaint
containing such exaggerated or partially false allegations. By the time she
realizes the implications thereof, it would be too late.
11.2 In the Commission's view, the misuse could be minimized by taking
such measures as would ensure the strict observance of the law governing
arrest as evolved in D.K. Basu's case and incorporated in the statute i.e., in
Chapter-V of Cr. P.C. The police at present either overact or adopt indifferent
attitude in many a case. They are expected to act with due sensitivity and
with the realization that they are dealing with an alleged offence arising out of
strained matrimonial relations and that nothing should be done to disrupt the
chances of reconciliation, or to cause trauma to the children. While launching
of investigation - preliminary or otherwise, without delay is desirable, the
arrest and such other drastic measures should not close the doors for
reconciliation and amicable settlement. The Law Commission has already
recommended that the offence under Section 498-A should be made
compoundable. This is the minimum that could be done to promote the
restorative, not merely penal goal of the law. It may be noted that even under
the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, a specific provision is enacted
providing for conciliation at the earliest on the intervention of Magistrate.
12. Power of Arrest - a balanced approach
12.1 Power of arrest vested with the Police Officer in a cognizable offence is no
doubt a potent weapon to enforce the penal provision. However, this weapon
should be sparingly drawn out of its sheath and wielded only if necessary. It
shall not be used at the whim and fancy of the I.O. or be treated as a panacea
for checking such offences. The attitude to arrest first and then proceed with
the rest is despicable. Mechanical, casual and hasty application of the power
of arrest is counter-productive and negates the fundamental right enshrined in
Art. 21. Such attitude is at the root of misuse of S. 498A. The provisions in
Cr.PC regulating and channelizing the power of arrest should act as guiding
star to the police and their spirit and purpose should be foremost in their
minds. Overreach is as bad as inaction. The need for caution in exercising the
drastic power of arrest in the context of cases u/s 498-A has been emphasized
time and again by the Courts and the parliamentary Committee. Similarly, the
need to keep the doors for reconciliation open and to restore the family ties if
possible has also been highlighted in many judgments and even in statutory
provisions dealing with matrimonial disputes and domestic violence. Arbitrary
and indiscriminate arrests are an anathema to the rule of law and values of
criminal justice. In the context of Section 498-A complaints, it tends to become
a handy tool to the police officers who lack sensitivity or act with oblique
motives. The objective of the provision is not better subserved by viewing
arrest as the most effective tool. Arrest pending investigation or thereafter
should never be viewed as a well deserved punitive measure and it should be
exercised on an objective appraisal of the statutorily laid down conditions and
12.2 The value of proportionality permeates the newly introduced provisions
relating to arrest. If these provisions are scrupulously followed, the potential
for arbitrary action on the part of police is minimized. Needless to say that
the power of arrest is coupled with the duty to act reasonably. S. 498-A admits
of various degrees of cruelty which can be broadly categorized as less serious
and more serious. Uniformity of approach in exercising the power of arrest is
bound to result in undue hardship and unintended results.
12.3 It is apposite at this juncture to recall the following significant
observations made in Joginder Kumar's case: "The horizon of human rights is
expanding. At the same time, the crime rate is also increasing. Of late, this Court
has been receiving complaints about violation of human rights because of
indiscriminate arrests. How are we to strike a balance between the two? A
realistic approach should be made in this direction. The law of arrest is one of
balancing individual rights, liberties and privileges, on the one hand, and
individual duties, obligations and responsibilities on the other; of weighing and
balancing the rights, liberties and privileges of the single individual and those of
individuals collectively; of simply deciding what is wanted and where to put the
weight and the emphasis; of deciding which comes first the criminal or society,
the law violator or the law abider; of meeting the challenge which Mr. Justice
Cardozo so forthrightly met when he wrestled with a similar task of balancing
individual rights against society's rights".
12.4 The need to balance personal liberty with law enforcement has been
stressed in Nandini Satpathy's case5 by quoting Lewis Mayers: The paradox has
been put sharply by Lewis Mayers: "To strike the balance between the needs of
law enforcement on the one hand and the protection of the citizen from
oppression and injustice at the hands of the law-enforcement machinery on the
other is a perennial problem of statecraft. The pendulum over the years has
swung to the right".
13. Analysis of the provisions relating to arrest and the duty of police
13.1 Now, let us analyse the provisions relating to arrest in Chapter-V and
evolve some guidelines as to how the police is expected to act when a FIR
disclosing an offence u/s 498-A is received.
AIR 1978 SC
13.2 Section 41, Cr. P.C., as recast by Act 5 of 2009, lays down certain
conditions and restrictions for arresting a person without an order from the
Magistrate and without a warrant. There are three situations dealt with by
Section 41. Clause (a) speaks of a person committing a cognizable offence in
the presence of a police officer. He can be arrested straight away. We are more
concerned with clauses (b) and (ba). Clause (ba) relates to power of arresting a
person against whom credible information has been received that he has
committed a cognizable offence punishable with imprisonment for a term which
may extend to more than seven years or with death sentence. Thus, the more
serious cognizable offences are within the ambit of clause (ba). The conditions
for arrest without warrant as set out in clause (ba) are (i) receipt of credible
information of cognizable offence; and (2) on the basis of such information, the
police officer 'has reason to believe' that the such person has committed the
offence. The preceding clause (b) governs cognizable offences punishable with
imprisonment for a term extending to seven years6. More stringent conditions
for arrest have been laid down in Cl.(b). A reasonable complaint' or 'a credible
information' or 'a reasonable suspicion' that a person has committed a
cognizable offence triggers the application of this part of section 41. In such a
case, the power of arrest is subject to two conditions which operate
cumulatively. First the police officer should have 'reason to believe' on the
basis of such complaint, information, or suspicion that a person has
committed the offence. Apart from the condition of formation of reasonable
The punishment prescribed by S,498A is imprisonment extending to three years and fine.
belief on the basis of the complaint or information, the police officer has to be
satisfied further that the arrest is necessary for one or more of the purposes
envisaged by sub-clauses (a) to (e) of clause (ii) of section 41(1)(b). For ready
reference, the said sub-clause (ii) is extracted hereunder:-
(ii) the police officer is satisfied that such arrest is necessary -
(a) to prevent such person from committing any further offence; or
(b) for proper investigation of the offence; or
(c) to prevent such person from causing the evidence of the
offence to disappear or tampering with such evidence in any
(d) to prevent such person from making any inducement, threat
or promise to any person acquainted with the facts of the case
so as to dissuade him from disclosing such facts to the Court
or to the police officer; or
(e) as unless such person is arrested, his presence in the court
whenever required cannot be ensured,
and the police officer shall record while making such arrest,
his reasons in writing.
These conditions are in the nature of mandatory prescriptions to be
followed by the police officer before resorting to the drastic power of arrest. The
conditions in other clauses of Section 41 are not relevant for our purpose and
hence not discussed.
13.3 When a suspect is arrested and produced before a Magistrate for
extension of police custody, the Magistrate has to address the question whether
specific reasons have been recorded for arresting the person and if so, prima
facie, those reasons are relevant and secondly a reasonable conclusion could at
all be reached by the police officer that one or the other conditions stated above
are attracted. To this limited extent, there could be judicial scrutiny at that
stage. If this scrutiny is there, the wrong committed by the police officer -
intentionally or unwittingly, could be reversed at the earliest. In Section 498-A
cases, it is not too easy to reach the satisfaction that one or more of the clauses
in Section 41 are attracted. What could be achieved by custodial interrogation
could very well be achieved by interrogating the accused in the course of initial
or preliminary investigation. The husband and other male relations can be
called upon to appear before the I.O. on the specified date as laid down in
Section 41-A. The I.O. cannot proceed on the assumption straightaway that
arrest is the best way to extract truth, especially in matrimonial offences. He
must always bear in mind that arrest is not the rule and it should be resorted
to only on the satisfaction of the conditions statutorily prescribed. There are
reports that many arrests in S. 498-A cases are made by police on extraneous
considerations or without proper application of mind. At the same time, there
are also reports that the complaints under section 498-A do not receive serious
attention of police and the victim is always viewed with suspicion. Such police
inaction too has to be disapproved.
13.4 The Explanation to Section 498-A which defines cruelty is in two
parts. Clause (a) of the Explanation deals with aggravated forms of cruelty
which cause grave injury. Firstly, wilful conduct of such a grave nature as is
likely to drive the woman to commit suicide falls within the ambit of clause (a).
The second limb of clause (a) lays down that willful conduct which causes
grave injury or danger to life, limb or health (whether mental or physical) of
the woman is to be regarded as 'cruelty'. Dowry related harassment is within
clause (b) of the Explanation. When the FIR coupled with the statement of the
victim woman discloses cruelty of grave nature falling within clause (a), the
police officer has to act swiftly and promptly especially if there is evidence of
physical violence. In the first instance, proper medical aid and the assistance
of counselors shall be provided to the aggrieved woman and the process of
investigation should start without any loss of time. The need for arresting the
husband may be more demanding in such a situation in a case of cruelty
falling under clause (b). We are adverting to this fact in order to make it clear
that our observations earlier do not mean that under no circumstances, the
power of arrest shall be initially resorted to or that the I.O. should invariably
postpone the arrest/custodial interrogation till the reconciliation process
comes to close. We would like to stress that the discretion has to be exercised
reasonably having due regard to the facts of each case. Of course, the
conditions subject to which the power of arrest has to be exercised should
always guide the discretion to be exercised by the police officer. While no hard
and fast rule as to the exercise of power of arrest can be laid down, we would
like to point out that a balanced and sensitive approach should inform the
decision of the I.O. and he shall not be too anxious to exercise that power.
There must be good and substantial reasons for arriving at the satisfaction that
imminent arrest is necessary having regard to the requirements of clause (ii) of
Section 41(1)(b) of Cr. P.C. In this context, the Commission would like to stress
that the practice of mechanically reproducing in the case diary all or most of
the reasons contained in the said clause for effecting arrest should be
discouraged and discontinued. The Head of Police department should issue
necessary instructions in this regard which will serve as a safeguard against
arbitrary arrests in S,498-A cases.
13.5 The investigating officers should remind themselves of the pertinent
observations made by the Supreme Court in Joginder Kumar vs. State of U.P.7.
After referring to the 3rd report of National Police Commission, the Supreme
Court placed the law of arrest in a proper perspective by holding:
"The above guidelines are merely the incidents of personal liberty
guaranteed under the Constitution of India. No arrest can be made
because it is lawful for the police officer to do so. The existence of the
power to arrest is one thing. The justification for the exercise of it is quite
another. The police officer must be able to justify the arrest apart from his
power to do so. Arrest and detention in police lock-up of a person can
cause incalculable harm to the reputation and self-esteem of a person. No
arrest can be made in a routine manner on a mere allegation of
commission of an offence made against a person. It would be prudent for a
police officer in the interest of protection of the constitutional rights of a
citizen and perhaps in his own interest that no arrest should be made
without a reasonable satisfaction reached after some investigation as to
the genuineness and bona fides of a complaint and a reasonable belief
both as to the person's complicity and even so as to the need to effect
arrest. Denying a person of his liberty is a serious matter. The
recommendations of the Police Commission merely reflect the constitutional
concomitants of the fundamental right to personal liberty and freedom. A
person is not liable to arrest merely on the suspicion of complicity in an
offence. There must be some reasonable justification in the opinion of the
officer effecting the arrest that such arrest is necessary and justified.
Except in heinous offences, an arrest must be avoided if a police officer
issues notice to person to attend the Station House and not to leave the
Station without permission would do. Then, there is the right to have
someone informed. That right of the arrested person, upon request, to have
someone informed and to consult privately with a lawyer was recognised
by Section 56(1) of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act, 1984 in England".
13.6 In Siddaram Satlingappa vs. State of Maharashtra8, it was observed:
AIR 1994 SC 1349; (1994) 4 SCC 260
AIR 2011 SC 312 (Para 123)
"The arrest should be the last option and it should be restricted to
those exceptional cases where arresting the accused is imperative in the
facts and circumstances of that case".
14. Certain guidelines / prescriptions to mitigate misuse
14.1 Certain Dos and Don'ts to the police personnel by the Head of the police
dept. in order to inculcate the sense of responsibility and sensitivity is the need
of the hour. The abuse of the provision by resorting to the power of arrest
indiscriminately should be checked at all cost. The following
prescriptions/guidelines shall be kept in view by the I.Os and be incorporated
in the Circular to be issued by the Head of Police Department.
14.2 The FIR has to be registered as per law if it discloses an offence and the
Police Officer has reason to suspect the commission of offence (as laid down in
Section 157). However, on the point of registration of FIR, the police officials
have to necessarily follow the decisions/directives of High Court on the point.
14.3 On receiving the FIR, the police officer should cross-check with the
complainant the correctness of the contents and whether she voluntarily made
all the allegations. For this purpose, she may be interviewed/questioned
preferably in the presence of a lady official or a respectable lady or a Counsellor
attached to a reputed NGO.
14.4 Then, without delay, the police officer must initiate the process of initial
investigation by visiting the house of the husband and have a first hand
account of the version of husband and other relations and take such measures
as may be necessary to ensure that the accused do not indulge in acts
calculated to endanger the safety and liberty of the complainant. Both sides
should be counseled not to precipitate the situation. Thereafter, steps should
be taken to refer the matter to the Mediation Centre if any or District Legal aid
Centre or a team of Counselors/conciliators if any attached to the Police
District. In the absence of professional counsellors, the SP of the District or the
DCP can form a team or panel of mediators/counselors. It may consist of IAS
or other Civil Service Officers (preferably lady officers) and lady IPS Officers
(unconnected to the case) or respected members of media, legal or other
professions. If the parties choose to have specified persons as
mediators/conciliators, they must be referred to such persons. The police may
obtain the report of mediators or conciliators within a maximum period of
thirty days and then, depending on the outcome, they may proceed further in
the matter. If the situation demands, investigation shall be completed and at
that stage, if custodial interrogation is found necessary for the relevant reasons
to be recorded in writing, the husband and others can be arrested on taking
the permission of DCP/SP level officer. Then I.O. shall also take such action as
is necessary to restore the valuable belongings of the complainant woman.
These rules or guidelines if followed would prevent misuse while fostering
a valued based approach.
14.5 In the case of Non-Resident Indians, it is reported that the passports are
seized when they come to India at the stage of investigation or they are sent to
the Passport Officer for passing an order of impounding. During the pendency
of the case in the Court, the prosecutor often requests the Court to direct
depositing of the passport as a condition for granting bail. This should not be
done in all cases mechanically as it will cause irreversible damage to the
husband/accused and he will be exposed to the risk of losing the job and the
visa being terminated. Ultimately, there may be amicable settlement and/ or
quashing of proceedings or acquittal/discharge but the damage has already
been done. The prospect of the accused remaining unemployed would not be in
the interests of both as the loss of earnings will have a bearing on the
maintenance claims of the wife, apart from depriving him of the means of
livelihood. The proper course would be to take bonds and sureties for heavy
amounts and the prosecution taking necessary steps to expeditiously complete
the trial. This aspect should also be brought to the notice of concerned police
officers by means of circulars issued by the DGPs.
15. Home Ministry's advisory and further action to be taken
15.1 In the Commission's view, the approach of Ministry of Home Affairs in
the Advisory issued by it in No.3/5/2008-Judl.Cell dt. 20th October, 2009 is
the correct approach and the instructions issued therein need to be reiterated
after convening a conference of DGPs of every State so that follow up circulars
will be issued by them for guidance of police officials within their jurisdiction.
This is what the Home Ministry said in the said Circular:
"To comply with the procedure as laid down In D.K. Basu's case, the
Hon'ble Supreme Court in its judgement dated 18.12.96 in CRL CWP
No.539/86 - DK Basu vs. State of West Bengal has stated that the power
of arrest without warrant should be exercised only after a reasonable
satisfaction is reached, after some investigation as to the genuinness and
bonafides of a complaint and a reasonable belief as to both the person's
complicity as well as the need to effect arrest. Therefore, in any
matrimonial dispute, it may not necessary in all cases to immediately
exercise the powers of arrest. Recourse may be initially taken to dispute
settlement mechanism such as conciliation, mediation, counseling of the
15.2 The views of the National Commission for Women (extracted in 140th
Report of the Rajya Sabha Committee on Petitions) substantially accords with
the instructions issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs in the advisory issued
15.3 We have indicated earlier what the police is expected to do (vide paras 13
supra). These aspects should also form the subject matter of the
Circular/Standing order to be issued by the DGPs/Police Commissoners
for the guidance of the police personnel. A mechanism to monitor the
observance of the guidelines/instructions should be put in place. Regular and
dedicated supervision by high level officers would go a long way in ensuring
enforcement of this provision on right lines.
15.4 In some States, as noticed earlier, there are directives of the High Courts
as to how the police should handle the complaints under Section 498-A. Based
on these directives, it is noticed that certain instructions have already been
issued by the DGPs. It is needless to state that the High Court's directives are
binding and a fresh circular cannot be issued by the DGP superseding the
instructions based on the High Court's judgment. In such a situation, the
proper course would be to apprise the High Court of the decision taken at the
conference of DGPs and to request the High Court to modify the directions
appropriately in the light of the decision taken so that there will be uniformity
in approach all over the country.
16. Amendment of Section 41 Cr.PC by the addition of sub-section (3)
16.1 At the same time, in the interest of uniformity and certainty, it is
desirable that the essential guidelines are placed within legislative framework,
to the extent necessary. We therefore suggest that sub-section (3) may be
added to Section 41 of Cr.PC on the following lines:
(3): Where information of the nature specified in clause(b) of sub-
section(1) of Section 41 has been received regarding the commission of
offence under section 498-A of Indian Penal Code, before the police officer
resorts to the power of arrest, shall set in motion the steps for
reconciliation between the parties and await its outcome for a period of 30
days, unless the facts disclose that an aggravated form of cruelty falling
under clause (a) of Explanation to S, 498-A has been committed and the
arrest of the accused in such a case is necessary for one of the reasons
specified in clause (b) of Section 41.
16.2 We would like to add that this proposed sub-section is not something
materially different from the existing law and perhaps its utility lies in making
explicit what is really implicit in light of the peculiar problems related to
enforcement of S, 498-A. It is a procedural amendment which may act against
inappropriate use of provision while at the same time not diluting the
importance of life and liberty protection to women.
17. S, 358 of Cr.PC - raising the compensation limit
17.1 Another legislative change which the Commission recommends to
discourage false and frivolous complaints leading to the arrest and
prosecution of the suspect/accused is to amend Section 358 of Cr.PC so as to
raise the compensation from rupees one thousand to rupees fifteen thousand.
The words "not exceeding one thousand rupees" shall be substituted by the
words "not exceeding fifteen thousand rupees". This amendment is necessary
to check to some extent the false and irresponsible FIRs/complaints in
general, not merely confined to S, 498A. This is without prejudice to the
Provision in IPC (Section 211) under which falsely charging a person of an
offence is punishable.
17-A. Punishment for misuse - no specific provision necessary
The suggestion of some respondents (in some Articles also, such a
suggestion was made) that there must be a specific provision to punish women
who file complaints for extraneous reasons is rather misconceived. There is
no reason why only for S,498A cases, such a special provision shall be made.
In any case, the existing provisions, viz. S,182, 211 of IPC and S,250 of Cr.PC
can take care of malicious accusations etc, apart from Section 358 Cr.PC.
18. State's obligation to take care of estranged women in distress
One more important aspect on which attention should be bestowed by
the states and Union Territories is providing necessary aid and assistance to
the hapless women who having gone to the Police Station with a genuine
grievance and in a state of distress do not venture to go back to marital home
or even unable to stay with relatives. Either they do not have parents who can
take care of or maintain them during the period of trauma or there is
reluctance on the part of even close relations to allow her to stay with them
without hassles. The process of reconciliation and compromise may take
some time and there is no knowing what will be its outcome. Further, the
victim woman in distress would need immediate solace in the form of medical
assistance and a temporary abode to stay, apart from proper counseling. In
the circumstances in which she is placed, only the State or its
instrumentalities can take care of her immediate needs. At present, even in
cities, there are no Hostels and Shelter Homes worth mentioning which are
catering to the welfare of victimized women. Even if there are a few, no proper
facilities are in place. There are no Crisis Centres attached to Women Police
Stations even in major cities (excepting few) which can immediately provide
succour and relief to the women in distress. The Commission would therefore
like to emphasize the obvious that every Government should treat it as a
paramount obligation on their part to cater to the immediate needs of
victimized women leaving the matrimonial home and not in a position to stay
with their relatives for various reasons. The women who are worst hit if
assistance is not provided are those from the poor and middle class
background. The States should consider this problem on a priority basis and
initiate necessary steps to alleviate the suffering of women in need of help as a
part of the welfare goal ingrained in our Constitution.
19. Summary of Recommendations
19.1 Misuse of Section 498-A in many cases has been judicially noticed by the
apex court as well as various High Courts. This has also been taken note of by
Parliamentary Committee on Petitions (Rajya Sabha). However, misuse (the
extent of which is not established by any empirical study) by itself is not a
ground to abolish S,498-A or to denude the Section of its teeth. The social
objective behind the Section and the need for deterrence should be kept in view
while at the same time ensuring that the complaints filed with false or
exaggerated allegations out of ulterior motives or in a fit of emotion should be
19.2 The need to spread awareness of the provision and available remedies
especially in rural areas both among women and men is necessary and in this
regard the District and Taluka Legal Services Authorities, the media, the NGOs
and law students can play a meaningful role.
19.3 All endeavours shall be made for effecting reconciliation at the earliest
with the help of professional counsellors, mediation and legal aid centres,
retired officials/medical and legal professionals or friends and relations in
whom the parties have faith. An action plan has to be drawn up for forming
the panels in every district as well as extending necessary help to he aggrieved
women. The I.O. should refrain from participating in the conciliation process.
19.4 The law on the question whether registration of FIR could be postponed
for a reasonable time is in a state of uncertainty. Some High Courts have been
directing that FIR shall not be registered under S, 498A (except in cases of
visible violence, and the like) till the preliminary investigation is done and
reconciliation process is completed. The issue has been referred to a larger
Bench of Supreme Court recently. In this regard, the police has to follow the
law laid down by the jurisdictional High Court until the Supreme Court decides
19.5 The offence under S, 498-A shall be made compoundable, with the
permission of Court and subject to cooling off period of 3 months, as already
recommended by this Commission in 237thReport. The preponderance of view
is to make it compoundable.
19.6 The offence should remain non-bailable. However, the safeguard against
arbitrary and unwarranted arrests lies in strictly observing the letter and spirit
of the conditions laid down in Sections 41 and 41-A of Cr. PC relating to power
of arrest and sensitizing the Police on the modalities to be observed in cases of
this nature. The need for custodial interrogation should be carefully assessed.
Over-reaction and inaction are equally wrong. Police should take necessary
steps to ensure safety of the complainant and to prevent further acts of
19.7 The Home Ministry's Advisory dated 20th October 2009 on the subject of
"Misuse of Section 498-A of IPC" as well as the guidelines / additional
precautions set out in para 14 of this Report should be compiled and at a
conference of DGPs specially convened for this purpose by the Home Secretary,
they must be apprised of the need to follow the said principles and guidelines
and to issue circulars / standing orders accordingly. There should be a
monitoring mechanism in the police Dept. to keep track of S, 498A cases and
the observance of guidelines.
19.8 Without prejudice to the above suggestions, it has been recommended
that as set out in para 16 above, sub-section (3) shall be added to Section 41
Cr. PC to prevent arbitrary and unnecessary arrests. The legislative mandate
which is not materially different from the spirit underlying Sections 41 and 157
Cr. PC should be put in place in the interests of uniformity and clarity.
19.9 The compensation amount in Section 358 of Cr. PC shall be increased
from one thousand rupees to fifteen thousand rupees and this proposed
change is not merely confined to the Section under consideration.
19.10 The women police stations (under the nomenclature of Crimes Against
Women Cell) should be strengthened both quantitatively and qualitatively.
Well trained and educated lady police officers of the rank of Inspector or above
shall head such police stations. CWCs should be established in every district
with adequate trained personnel. Panels of competent professional counsellors
and respected elders / professionals who can counsel and conciliate should be
maintained by SP/SSP for every district. There shall be separate room in the
police stations for women complainants and the accused women in S, 498-A
19.11 Hostels or shelter homes for the benefit of women who would not like to
go back to marital homes should be maintained in cities and District
headquarters with necessary facilities. The assistance given to them shall be
treated as a part of social welfare measure which is an obligation of the welfare
19.12 The passport of non-resident Indians involved in Section 498-A cases
should not be impounded mechanically and instead of that, bonds and sureties
for heavy amounts can be insisted upon.
19.13 Above all, the need for expeditious disposal of cases under section 498A
should be given special attention by the prosecution and Judiciary.
[Justice (Retd.) P. V. Reddi]
[Justice (Retd.) Shiv Kumar Sharma] [Amarjit Singh]
29 August 2012
Annexure - I
[refer para 1.1of the Report]
LAW COMMISSION OF INDIA
Consultation Paper-cum-Questionnaire regarding Section 498-A
of Indian Penal Code
1. Keeping in view the representations received from various quarters
and observations made by the Supreme Court and the High Courts, the
Home Ministry of the Government of India requested the Law
Commission of India to consider whether any amendments to s.498A of
Indian Penal Code or other measures are necessary to check the alleged
misuse of the said provision especially by way of over-implication.
2. S.498A was introduced in the year 1983 to protect married women
from being subjected to cruelty by the husband or his relatives. A
punishment extending to 3 years and fine has been prescribed. The
expression 'cruelty' has been defined in wide terms so as to include
inflicting physical or mental harm to the body or health of the woman
and indulging in acts of harassment with a view to coerce her or her
relations to meet any unlawful demand for any property or valuable
security. Harassment for dowry falls within the sweep of latter limb of
the section. Creating a situation driving the woman to commit suicide is
also one of the ingredients of 'cruelty'. The offence under s.498A is
cognizable, non-compoundable and non-bailable.
3. In a recent case of Preeti Gupta v. State of Jharkhand, the
Supreme Court observed that a serious relook of the provision is
warranted by the Legislature. "It is a matter of common knowledge that
exaggerated versions of the incidents are reflected in a large number of
complaints. The tendency of over-implication is also reflected in a very
large number of cases". The Court took note of the common tendency
to implicate husband and all his immediate relations. In an earlier case
also - Sushil Kumar Sharma v. UOI (2005), the Supreme Court lamented
that in many instances, complaints under s.498A were being filed with
an oblique motive to wreck personal vendetta. "It may therefore become
necessary for the Legislature to find out ways how the makers of
frivolous complaints or allegations can be appropriately dealt with", it
was observed. It was also observed that "by misuse of the provision, a
new legal terrorism can be unleashed".
4. The factum of over-implication is borne out by the statistical data
of the cases under s.498A. Such implication of the relatives of husband
was found to be unjustified in a large number of decided cases. While
so, it appears that the women especially from the poor strata of the
society living in rural areas rarely take resort to the provision.
5. The conviction rate in respect of the cases under s.498A is quite
low. It is learnt that on account of subsequent events such as amicable
settlement, the complainant women do not evince interest in taking the
prosecution to its logical conclusion.
6. The arguments for relieving the rigour of s.498A by suitable
amendments (which find support from the observations in the Court
judgments and Justice Malimath Committee's report on Reforms of
Criminal Justice System) are: Once a complaint (FIR) is lodged with the
Police under s.498A/406 IPC, it becomes an easy tool in the hands of the
Police to arrest or threaten to arrest the husband and other relatives
named in the FIR without even considering the intrinsic worth of the
allegations and making a preliminary investigation. When the members
of a family are arrested and sent to jail without even the immediate
prospect of bail, the chances of amicable re-conciliation or salvaging the
marriage, will be lost once and for all. The possibility of reconciliation, it
is pointed out, cannot be ruled out and it should be fully explored. The
imminent arrest by the Police will thus be counter-productive. The long
and protracted criminal trials lead to acrimony and bitterness in the
relationship among the kith and kin of the family. Pragmatic realities
have to be taken into consideration while dealing with matrimonial
matters with due regard to the fact that it is a sensitive family problem
which shall not be allowed to be aggravated by over-zealous/callous
actions on the part of the Police by taking advantage of the harsh
provisions of s.498A of IPC together with its related provisions in CrPC.
It is pointed out that the sting is not in s.498A as such, but in the
provisions of CrPC making the offence non-compoundable and non-
7. The arguments, on the other hand, in support of maintaining the
status quo are briefly:
S.498A and other legislations like Protection of Women from
Domestic Violence Act have been specifically enacted to protect a
vulnerable section of the society who have been the victims of
cruelty and harassment. The social purpose behind it will be lost if
the rigour of the provision is diluted. The abuse or misuse of law
is not peculiar to this provision. The misuse can however be
curtailed within the existing framework of law. For instance, the
Ministry of Home Affairs can issue 'advisories' to State
Governments to avoid unnecessary arrests and to strictly observe
the procedures laid down in the law governing arrests. The power
to arrest should only be exercised after a reasonable satisfaction is
reached as to the bona fides of a complaint and the complicity of
those against whom accusations are made. Further, the first
recourse should be to effect conciliation and mediation between the
warring spouses and the recourse to filing of a chargesheet under
s.498A shall be had only in cases where such efforts fail and there
appears to be a prima facie case. Counselling of parties should be
done by professionally qualified counsellors and not by the Police.
7.1 These views have been echoed among others by the Ministry of
Women and Child Development.
7.2 Further, it is pointed out that a married woman ventures to go to
the Police station to make a complaint against her husband and other
close relations only out of despair and being left with no other remedy
against cruelty and harassment. In such a situation, the existing law
should be allowed to take its own course rather than over-reacting to the
misuse in some cases.
7.3 There is also a view expressed that when once the offending family
members get the scent of the complaint, there may be further torture of
the complainant and her life and liberty may be endangered if the Police
do not act swiftly and sternly. It is contended that in the wake of ever
increasing crimes leading to unnatural deaths of women in marital
homes, any dilution of Section 498-A is not warranted. Secondly, during
the long-drawn process of mediation also, she is vulnerable to threats
and torture. Such situations too need to be taken care of.
8. There is preponderance of opinion in favour of making the said
offence compoundable with the permission of the court. Some States,
for e.g., Andhra Pradesh have already made it compoundable. The
Supreme Court, in a recent case of --*---, observed that it should be
made compoundable. However, there is sharp divergence of views on the
point whether it should be made a bailable offence. It is pleaded by some
that the offence under s.498A should be made bailable at least with
regard to husband's relations.*Ramgopal v. State of M. P. in SLP (Crl.)
No. 6494 of 2010 (Order dt. July 30, 2010.
8.1 Those against compoundability contend that the women especially
from the rural areas will be pressurized to enter into an unfair
compromise and further the deterrent effect of the provision will be lost.
9. The Commission is of the view that the Section together with its
allied CrPC provisions shall not act as an instrument of oppression and
counter-harassment and become a tool of indiscreet and arbitrary
actions on the part of the Police. The fact that s.498A deals with a family
problem and a situation of marital discord unlike the other crimes
against society at large, cannot be forgotten. It does not however mean
that the Police should not appreciate the grievance of the complainant
woman with empathy and understanding or that the Police should play a
10. S.498A has a lofty social purpose and it should remain on the
Statute book to intervene whenever the occasion arises. Its object and
purpose cannot be stultified by overemphasizing its potentiality for abuse
or misuse. Misuse by itself cannot be a ground to repeal it or to take
away its teeth wholesale.
11. While the Commission is appreciative of the need to discourage
unjustified and frivolous complaints and the scourge of over-implication,
it is not inclined to take a view that dilutes the efficacy of s.498A to the
extent of defeating its purpose especially having regard to the fact that
atrocities against women are on the increase. A balanced and holistic
view has to be taken on weighing the pros and cons. There is no doubt a
need to address the misuse situations and arrive at a rational solution -
legislative or otherwise.
12. There is also a need to create awareness of the provisions
especially among the poor and illiterate living in rural areas who face
quite often the problems of drunken misbehavior and harassment of
women folk. More than the women, the men should be apprised of the
penal provisions of law protecting the women against harassment at
home. The easy access of aggrieved women to the Taluka and District
level Legal Service Authorities and/or credible NGOs with professional
counsellors should be ensured by appropriate measures. There should
be an extensive and well-planned campaign to spread awareness.
Presently, the endeavour in this direction is quite minimal. Visits to few
villages once in a way by the representatives of LSAs, law students and
social workers is the present scenario.
13. There is an all-round view that the lawyers whom the aggrieved
women or their relations approach in the first instance should act with a
clear sense of responsibility and objectivity and give suitable advice
consistent with the real problem diagnosed. Exaggerated and tutored
versions and unnecessary implication of husband's relations should be
scrupulously avoided. The correct advice of the legal professionals and
the sensitivity of the Police officials dealing with the cases are very
important, and if these are in place, undoubtedly, the law will not take a
devious course. Unfortunately, there is a strong feeling that some
lawyers and police personnel have failed to act and approach the
problem in a manner morally and legally expected of them.
14. Thus, the triple problems that have cropped up in the course of
implementation of the provision are:(a) the police straightaway rushing to
arrest the husband and even his other family members (named in the
FIR), (b) tendency to implicate, with little or no justification, the in-laws
and other relations residing in the marital home and even outside the
home, overtaken by feelings of emotion and vengeance or on account of
wrong advice, and (c) lack of professional, sensitive and empathetic
approach on the part of the police to the problem of woman under
15. In the context of the issue under consideration, a reference to the
provisions of Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 (for
short PDV Act) which is an allied and complementary law, is quite
apposite. The said Act was enacted with a view to provide for more
effective protection of rights of women who are victims of violence of any
kind occurring within the family. Those rights are essentially of civil
nature with a mix of penal provisions. Section 3 of the Act defines
domestic violence in very wide terms. It encompasses the situations set
out in the definition of 'cruelty' under Section 498A. The Act has devised
an elaborate machinery to safeguard the interests of women subjected to
domestic violence. The Act enjoins the appointment of Protection
Officers who will be under the control and supervision of a Judicial
Magistrate of First Class. The said officer shall send a domestic incident
report to the Magistrate, the police station and service providers. The
Protections Officers are required to effectively assist and guide the
complainant victim and provide shelter, medical facilities, legal aid etc.
and also act on her behalf to present an application to the Magistrate for
one or more reliefs under the Act. The Magistrate is required to hear the
application ordinarily within 3 days from the date of its receipt. The
Magistrate may at any stage of the proceedings direct the respondent
and/or the aggrieved person to undergo counseling with a service
provider. 'Service Providers' are those who conform to the requirements
of Section 10 of the Act. The Magistrate can also secure the services of a
welfare expert preferably a woman for the purpose of assisting him.
Under Section 18, the Magistrate, after giving an opportunity of hearing
to the Respondent and on being prima facie satisfied that domestic
violence has taken place or is likely to take place, is empowered to pass a
protection order prohibiting the Respondent from committing any act of
domestic violence and/or aiding or abetting all acts of domestic violence.
There are other powers vested in the Magistrate including granting
residence orders and monetary reliefs. Section 23 further empowers
the Magistrate to pass such interim order as he deems just and proper
including an ex-parte order. The breach of protection order by the
respondent is regarded as an offence which is cognizable and non-
bailable and punishable with imprisonment extending to one year (vide
Section 31). By the same Section, the Magistrate is also empowered to
frame charges under Section 498A of IPC and/or Dowry Prohibition Act.
A Protection Officer who fails or neglects to discharge his duty as per the
protection order is liable to be punished with imprisonment (vide Section
33). The provisions of the Act are supplemental to the provisions of any
other law in force. A right to file a complaint under Section 498A is
specifically preserved under Section 5 of the Act.
15.1 An interplay of the provisions of this Act and the proceedings
under s.498A assumes some relevance on two aspects: (1) Seeking
Magistrate's expeditious intervention by way of passing a protective
interim order to prevent secondary victimization of a complainant who
has lodged FIR under s.498A. (2) Paving the way for the process of
counselling under the supervision of Magistrate at the earliest
16. With the above analysis and the broad outline of the approach
indicated supra, the Commission invites the views of the
public/NGOs/institutions/Bar Associations etc. on the following points,
before preparing and forwarding to the Government the final report:
1) a) What according to you is ideally expected of Police, on receiving the
FIR alleging an offence u/s 498A of IPC? What should be their
approach and plan of action?
b) Do you think that justice will be better meted out to the aggrieved
woman by the immediate arrest and custodial interrogation of the
husband and his relations named in the FIR? Would the objective of
s.498A be better served thereby?
2) a) The Supreme Court laid down in D.K. Basu (1996) and other cases
that the power of arrest without warrant ought not to be resorted to in
a routine manner and that the Police officer should be reasonably
satisfied about a person's complicity as well as the need to effect
arrest. Don't you agree that this rule applies with greater force in a
situation of matrimonial discord and the police are expected to act
more discreetly and cautiously before taking the drastic step of
b) What steps should be taken to check indiscriminate and
3) Do you think that making the offence bailable is the proper solution
to the problem? Will it be counter-productive?
4) There is a view point supported by certain observations in the courts'
judgments that before effecting arrest in cases of this nature, the
proper course would be to try the process of reconciliation by
counselling both sides. In other words, the possibility of exploring
reconciliation at the outset should precede punitive measures. Do
you agree that the conciliation should be the first step, having regard
to the nature and dimension of the problem? If so, how best the
conciliation process could be completed with utmost expedition?
Should there be a time-limit beyond which the police shall be free
to act without waiting for the outcome of conciliation process?
5) Though the Police may tender appropriate advice initially and
facilitate reconciliation process, the preponderance of view is that the
Police should not get involved in the actual process and their role
should be that of observer at that stage? Do you have a different
6) a) In the absence of consensus as to mediators, who will be ideally
suited to act as mediators/conciliators - the friends or elders known
to both the parties or professional counsellors (who may be part of
NGOs), lady and men lawyers who volunteer to act in such matters, a
Committee of respected/retired persons of the locality or the Legal
Services Authority of the District?
b) How to ensure that the officers in charge of police stations can
easily identify and contact those who are well suited to conciliate or
mediate, especially having regard to the fact that professional and
competent counsellors may not be available at all places and any
delay in initiating the process will lead to further complications?
7) a) Do you think that on receipt of complaint under S.498A,
immediate steps should be taken by the Police to facilitate an
application being filed before the Judicial Magistrate under the PDV
Act so that the Magistrate can set in motion the process of
counselling/conciliation, apart from according interim protection?
b) Should the Police in the meanwhile be left free to arrest the
accused without the permission of the Magistrate?
c) Should the investigation be kept in abeyance till the conciliation
process initiated by the Magistrate is completed?
8) Do you think that the offence should be made compoundable (with
the permission of court)?
Are there any particular reasons not to make it compoundable?
9) Do you consider it just and proper to differentiate the husband
from the other accused in providing for bail?
10) a) Do you envisage a better and more extensive role to be
played by Legal Services Authorities (LSAs) at Taluka and District
levels in relation to s.498A cases and for facilitating amicable
settlement? Is there a need for better coordination between LSAs
and police stations?
b) Do you think that aggrieved women have easy access to LSAs at
the grassroot level and get proper guidance and help from them at
the pre-complaint and subsequent stages?
c)Are the Mediation Centres in some States well equipped and
better suited to attend to the cases related to S,498-A?
11) What measures do you suggest to spread awareness of the
protective penal provisions and civil rights available to women in
rural areas especially among the poorer sections of people?
12) Do you have any informations about the number of and
conditions in shelter homes which are required to be set up under
PDV Act to help the aggrieved women who after lodging the
complaint do not wish to stay at marital home or there is none to
look after them?
13) What according to you is the main reason for low conviction
rate in the prosecutions u/s 498A?
14) (a) Is it desirable to have a Crime Against Women Cell (CWC)
in every district to deal exclusively with the crimes such as
S.498A? If so, what should be its composition and the
qualifications of women police deployed in such a cell?
(b) As the present experience shows, it is likely that wherever
a CWC is set up, there may be substantial number of unfilled
vacancies and the personnel may not have undergone the requisite
training. In this situation, whether it would be advisable to
entrust the investigation etc. to CWC to the exclusion of the
jurisdictional Police Station?
Annexure - II
[refer para 8.3 of the Report]
Extracts from the 237th Report of the Law Commission of India on
'Compounding of (IPC) Offences'
5. Compoundability of Certain Offences
5.1 Now, we shall consider the question of compoundability of certain specific
Section 498A, IPC
5.2 Whether the offence specified in Section 498A should be made
compoundable, and, if yes, whether it should be compoundable without or with
the permission of the Court, is the two-fold question.
5.3 Section 498A penalizes the husband or the relatives of the husband for
subjecting a woman to cruelty. The definition of cruelty as given in the Section
is in two parts: 1) Willful conduct of such a nature that is likely to drive the
woman to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to life, limb or
health (mental or physical), 2) Harassment of the woman with a view to
coercing her or her relatives to meet an unlawful demand for any property or
valuable security. Thus the dowry related harassment as well as violent
conduct on the part of the husband or his relations by causing injury or danger
to her life, limb or health, are comprehended within the scope of Section 498A.
Quite often, the prosecution under Section 498A IPC is coupled with
prosecution under Sections 3 and 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 as well.
5.4 Normally, if the wife is prepared to condone the ill-treatment and
harassment meted out to her either by reason of change in the attitude or
repentance on the part of the husband or reparation for the injury caused to
her, the law should not stand in the way of terminating the criminal
proceedings. However, the argument that is mainly advanced against the
compoundability is that the dowry is a social evil and the law designed to
punish those who harass the wives with demand of dowry should be allowed to
take its full course instead of putting its seal of approval on the private
compromises. The social consciousness and the societal interest demands that
such offences should be kept outside the domain of out-of-court settlement, it
is argued. There can be no doubt that in dealing with this aspect, the impact of
the crime on the society and the degree of social harm that might result,
should be duly considered. At the same time, undesirable consequences that
follow if compounding is not allowed, ought to be kept in view because the
social harm or societal interest cannot be considered in vacuum. A holistic and
rational view has to be taken. While no impediments shall be placed against
the effective operation of law enacted to curb a social evil, it should not be
forgotten that the society is equally interested in promoting marital harmony
and the welfare of the aggrieved women. A rational and balanced approach is
all the more necessary for the reason that other avenues are open to the
reconciled couple to put an end to the criminal proceedings. One such course
is to file a 'quash' petition under Section 482 of CrPC in the High Court.
Whether it is necessary to drive them to go through this time consuming and
costly process is one pertinent question. If a wife who suffered in the hands of
the husband is prepared to forget the past and agreeable to live amicably with
the husband or separate honourably without rancor or revenge, the society
would seldom condemn such move nor can it be said that the legal recognition
of amicable settlement in such cases would encourage the forbidden evil i.e.
the dowry. Section 498A should not be allowed to become counter-productive.
In matters relating to family life and marital relationship, the advantages and
beneficent results that follow from allowing the discontinuance of legal
proceedings to give effect to a compromise or reconciliation would outweigh the
degree of social harm that may be caused by non-prosecution. If the
proceedings are allowed to go on despite the compromise arrived at by both
sides, either there will be little scope for conviction or the life of the victim
would become more miserable. In what way the social good is achieved
thereby? We repeat that a doctrinaire and isolated approach cannot be adopted
in dealing with this issue. The sensitivity of a family dispute and the individual
facts and circumstances cannot be ignored. Hence, the Commission is not
inclined to countenance the view that dowry being a social evil, compounding
should not be allowed under any circumstances. Incidentally, it may be
mentioned that many offences having the potentiality of social harm, not
merely individual harm, are classified as compoundable offences. Further, the
gravamen of the charge under Section 498-A need not necessarily be dowry-
related harassment. It may be 'cruelty' falling only within clause (a) of the
Explanation and the demand of dowry is not an integral part of that clause.
5.5 Another argument against compoundability is that the permission to
compound would amount to legal recognition of violence against women and
that the factum of reconciliation cannot be a justifiable ground to legally
condone the violence. The acceptance of such an argument would imply that
the priority of law should be to take the criminal proceedings to their logical
end and to inflict punishment on the husband irrespective of the mutual desire
to patch up the differences. It means - reconciliation or no reconciliation, the
husband should not be spared of the impending prosecution and the
punishment if any; then only Section 498A would achieve its objective. We do
not think that the objective of Section 498A will be better achieved by allowing
the prosecution to take its own course without regard to the rapprochement
that has taken place between the couple in conflict. As observed earlier, a
balanced and holistic approach is called for in handling a sensitive issue
affecting the family and social relations. Reconciliation without compounding
will not be practically possible and the law should not ignore the important
event of reconciliation. The emphasis should not be merely on the punitive
aspect of the law. In matters of this nature, the law should not come in the way
of genuine reconciliation or revival of harmonious relations between the
husband and estranged wife. Wisdom behind all prosecutions and
punishments is to explore a judicious mix of deterrence, deprivation of liberty
and repentance and reformation. Any emphasis on one aspect alone, as has
been found in the working of harsh and cruel punishment regimes, may
become a pigeonhole model.
5.6 The other argument which is put forward against compounding is that
hapless women especially those who are not much educated and who do not
have independent means of livelihood, may be pressurized and coerced to
withdraw the proceeding and the victim woman will be left with no option but
to purchase peace though her grievance remains unsolved. However, this
argument may not be very substantial. The same argument can be put forward
in respect of compoundable offences wherever the victims are women. The
safeguard of Court's permission would, by and large, be a sufficient check
against the possible tactics that may be adopted by the husband and his
relations/friends. The function of the Court in this matter is not a mere
formality. The Judicial Magistrate or Family Court Judge is expected to be
extra-cautious and play an active role. In this regard, the judge can take the
assistance of a woman lawyer or a professional counselor or a representative of
Legal Services Authority and the woman concerned can be examined in his/her
chambers in the presence of one of them. Alternatively, the assistance of a lady
colleague can also be sought for examining a woman victim in the chambers.
Normally the trial Magistrates/Judges are sensitized in gender- related issues
in the course of training at the Judicial Academies. In cities like Delhi,
Bangalore, Chennai etc. competent and trained mediators are involved in the
process of bringing about an amicable settlement in marital disputes. Though
the Court is expected to act with due care and caution in dealing with the
application for compounding the offence under Section 498A, we are of the view
that it is desirable to introduce an additional safeguard as follows:-
After the application for compounding an offence under S.498A of
Indian Penal Code is filed and on interviewing the aggrieved woman,
preferably in the Chamber in the presence of a lady judicial officer or a
representative of District Legal Services Authority or a counselor or a
close relation, if the Magistrate is satisfied that there was prima facie a
voluntary and genuine settlement between the parties, the Magistrate
shall make a record to that effect and the hearing of application shall be
adjourned by three months or such other earlier date which the
Magistrate may fix in the interests of Justice. On the adjourned date, the
Magistrate shall again interview the victim woman in the like manner and
then pass the final order permitting or refusing to compound the offence
after giving opportunity of hearing to the accused. In the interregnum, it
shall be open to the aggrieved woman to file an application revoking her
earlier offer to compound the offence on sufficient grounds.
5.7 Accordingly, it is proposed to add sub-section (2A) to Section 320 CrPC.
The proposed provision will ensure that the offer to compound the offence is
voluntary and free from pressures and the wife has not been subjected to ill-
treatment subsequent to the offer of compounding. Incidentally, it underscores
the need for the Court playing an active role while dealing with the application
for compounding the offence under Section 498-A.
5.8 The other points which deserve notice in answering the issue whether the
offence under Section 498A should be made compoundable, are the following:-
5.8.1 The Law Commission of India in its 154 report (1996) recommended
inclusion of S. 498A in the Table appended to Section 320(2) so that it can be
compounded with the permission of the Court. The related extracts from the
Report are as follows: "Of late, various High Courts have quashed criminal
proceedings in respect of non-cognizable offences because of settlement between
the parties to achieve harmony and peace in the society. For instance, criminal
proceedings in respect of offences under Section 406, IPC, relating to criminal
breach of trust of dowry articles or Istridhan and offences under section 498A,
IPC relating to cruelty on woman by husband or relatives of husband were
quashed in Arun Kumar Vohra v. RituVohra, Nirlap Singh v. State of Punjab."
5.8.2 In continuation of what was said in the 154 Report, we may point out
that the apex court, in the case of B.S. Joshi vs. State of Haryana , has firmly
laid down the proposition that in order to subserve the ends of justice, the
inherent power under Section 482 CrPC can be exercised by the High Court to
quash the criminal proceedings at the instance of husband and wife who have
amicably settled the matter and are desirous of putting end to the acrimony.
The principle laid down in this case was cited with approval in Nikhil Merchant
vs. CBI . However, a coordinate Bench doubted the correctness of these
decisions and referred the matter for consideration by a larger Bench.
According to the referring Bench, the Court cannot indirectly permit
compounding of non-compoundable offences.
5.8.3 The recommendation of the Law Commission in the 154 Report
regarding Section 498A was reiterated in the 177 Report (2001). The
Commission noted that over the last several years, a number ofrepresentations
had been received by the Law Commission from individuals and organizations
to make the said offence compoundable.
5.8.4 Further, Justice Malimath Committee's Report on Reforms of Criminal
Justice System strongly supported the plea to make Section 498 A a
compoundable offence. The Committee observed:
"A less tolerant and impulsive woman may lodge an FIR even on a trivial act. The
result is that the husband and his family may be immediately arrested and there
may be a suspension or loss of job. The offence alleged being non-bailable,
innocent persons languish in custody. There may be a claim for maintenance
adding fuel to fire, especially if the husband cannot pay. Now the woman may
change her mind and get into the mood to forget and forgive. The husband may
also realize the mistakes committed and come forward to turn over a new leaf for
a loving and cordial relationship. The woman may like to seek reconciliation. But
this may not be possible due to the legal obstacles. Even if she wishes to make
amends by withdrawing the complaint, she cannot do so as the offence is non-
compoundable. The doors for returning to family life stand closed. She is thus left
at the mercy of her natal family...
This section, therefore, helps neither the wife nor the husband. The offence being
non-bailable and non-compoundable makes an innocent person undergo
stigmatization and hardship. Heartless provisions that make the offence non-
bailable and non-compoundable operate against reconciliations. It is therefore
necessary to make this offence (a) bailable and (b) compoundable to give a
chance to the spouses to come together."
Though this Commission is not inclined to endorse the entirety of observations
made in the above passage, some of them reinforce our conclusion to make it
5.8.5 The views of Malimath Committee as well as the recommendations in the
154 Report of Law commission were referred to with approval by the
Department-Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs in its
111 Report on the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill 2003 (August 2005). The
Standing Committee observed thus: "It is desirable to provide a chance to the
estranged spouses to come together and therefore it is proposed to make the
offence u/s 498A IPC, a compoundable one by inserting this Section in the Table
under sub-section(2) of Section 320 of CrPC". 5.8.6 The 128 Report of the said
Standing Committee (2008) on the Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment)
Bill, 2006 reiterated the recommendation made in the 111 Report. 5.8.7 The
views of Supreme Court and High Courts provide yet another justification to
treat the offence under Section 498A compoundable.
The Supreme Court in a brief order passed in Ramgopal vs. State of M.P.
observed that the offences under Section 498A, among others, can be made
compoundable by introducing suitable amendment to law. The Bombay High
Court14, as long back as in 1992, made a strong suggestion to amend Section
320 of CrPC in order to include Section 498A within that Section.
In the case of Preeti Gupta vs. State of Jharkhand , the Supreme Court,
speaking through Dalvir Bhandari, J. exhorted the members of the Bar to treat
every complaint under Section 498A as a basic human problem and to make a
serious endeavour to help the parties in arriving at amicable resolution of that
human problem. The Supreme Court then observed that the Courts have to be
extremely careful and cautious in dealing with these complaints and must take
pragmatic realities into consideration. Further, it was observed: "Before parting
with the case, we would like to observe that a serious relook of the entire
provision is warranted by the legislation. It is also a matter of common
knowledge that exaggerated versions of the incident are reflected in a large
number of complaints. The tendency of over implication is also reflected in a very
large number of cases". The Supreme Court then made these observations: "It is
imperative for the legislature to take into consideration the informed public
opinion and the pragmatic realities in consideration and make necessary
changes in the relevant provisions of law. We direct the Registry to send copy of
this judgment to the Law Commission and to the Union Law Secretary,
Government of India who may place it before the Hon'ble Minister for Law &
Justice to take appropriate steps in the larger interest of the society".
5.9 Yet another factor that should be taken note of is the policy of law in laying
stress on effecting conciliation between the warring couples. The provisions in
Section 9 of the Family Courts Act, 1984 Section23 (2) of the Hindu Marriage
Act, 1955 and Section 34(2) of the Special Marriage Act, 1954 impose an
obligation on the court to take necessary steps to facilitate re-conciliation or
5.10 It is worthy of note that in Andhra Pradesh, the State Legislature made an
amendment to Section 320(2) of CrPC by inserting the following in the 2
Husband or relative of 498A The woman subjected to cruelty:
husband of a woman Provided that a minimum period of
subjecting her to cruelty three months shall elapse from the
date of request or application for
compromise before a Court and the
Court can accept a request for
compounding an offence under
Section 498A of the Indian Penal
Code provided none of the parties
withdraw the case in the
The observations made by the High Court in various cases were taken into
account while making this amendment. The amendment came into force on
1.8.2003. Our recommendation is substantially on the same lines.
5.11 The overwhelming views reflected in the responses received by the Law
Commission and the inputs the Commission has got in the course of
deliberations with the members of District and Subordinate Judiciary, the
members of the Bar and the law students is yet another reason persuading us
to recommend the amendment of law to make the offence under 498A
compoundable with the permission of Court. The list of respondents from
whom views have been received by the Commission is at Annexure 1-B. An
analysis of such views touching on the point of compoundability is furnished at
Annexure 1-A. The Consultation Paper-cum-Questionnaire on various aspects
of Section 498-A published by the Commission is attached hereto as Annexure-
5.12 At the Conference with judicial officers including lady officers, there was
almost unanimous opinion in favour of making the offence compoundable. The
lady lawyers who were present at the Conferences held in Visakhapatnam,
Chennai and Aurangabad did not oppose the move. At a recent Conference held
with about 35 Judicial Officers of various ranks at Delhi Judicial Academy,
there was unanimity on the point of compoundability. However, some Judges
expressed reservation about allowing 3 months gestation period for passing a
final order of compounding under Section 320(2) Cr PC. It was suggested that
there should be some flexibility in this regard and the 3 months' period need
not be strictly adhered to especially where there is a package of settlement
concerning civil disputes as well. Keeping this suggestion in view, the
Commission has provided that in the interests of justice, the Magistrate can
pass orders within a lesser time.
5.13 The Law Commission is therefore of the considered view that the offence
under Section 498A IPC should be made compoundable with the permission of
the Court. Accordingly, in Table-2 forming part of Section 320(2) of the Code of
Criminal Procedure, the following shall be inserted after the entry referring to
Section 494 and before the entry relating to Section 500:
Husband or relative of husband of a 498A The woman subjected to
woman subjecting her to cruelty cruelty.
Sub-section (2A) shall be added to Section 320 CrPC, as set out in paragraph
5.6, page 17 supra.
Annexure - III
[refer para 10.1 of the Report]
List of persons, organizations and officials who responded
to the questionnaire
A LIST OF INDIVIDUALS - RESPONDED TO THE QUESTIONANNAIRE ON
SECTION 498A IPC
1. Ms.Swati Goyal, Ahmedabad
2. Neeraj Gupta, Delhi
3. Vivek Srivastav, firstname.lastname@example.org
4. Sateesh K. Mishra, Delhi
5. Kalpak shah, Ahmedabad
6. Samir Jha, email@example.com
7. Kharak Mehra, Nainital
8. Saurabh Grover, firstname.lastname@example.org
9. Komal Singh, New Delhi
10. Kaushalraj Bhatt, Ahmedabad
11. Alka Shah, Ahmedabad
12. Saumil Shah, Ahmedabad
13. Trilok Shah, Ahmedabad
14. Alpak Shah, Ahmedabad
15. Bhavna Shah Ahmedabad
16. Kaushal Kishor & 27 other residents of Visakhapatnam.
17. iamamit, email@example.com
18. Vishnuvardhana Velagala, firstname.lastname@example.org
19. Hari Om Sondhi, New Delhi
20. Kharak Singh Mehra, Nainital
21. Virag R. Dhulia, Bangalore
22. Ms Kumkum Vikas Sirpurkar, New Delhi
23. Gaurav Bandi, Indore.
24. Gaurav Sehravat, email@example.com
25. Ashish Mishra, Lucknow
26. Umang Gupta, Rampur, Balia
27. Avadesh Kumar Yadav, Nagpur
28. T.R. Padmaja, Secunderabad
29. T.C. Raghwan, Secunderabad
30. C. Shyam Sunder, Hyderabad
31. Ms. Shobha Devi, R. R Dt, Hyderabad
32. A Nageshwar Rao, Hyderabad
33. Praveen Chand, Hyderabad
34. R.B. Timma Ready, Hyderabad
35. A. Venu Gopal, kadapa, Hyderabad
36. Aditya, Hyderabad
37. B. Y Lal, Hyderabad
38. Subramaniyam Catari, Hyderabad
39. A Sai Kiran, Hyderabad
40. S. Jagannath, Bangalore
41. Prasad Chuilal, Pune
42. Biswadeep Paul, Pune
43. Avinash D. Gune, Pune
44. Damodar Varde, Indore
45. Kedar Ambedakar, Pune
46. Sandesh V. Chopdekar, Pune
47. Devkant Varde, Pune
48. Sanjeet Gupta, Pune
49. Cedric D'Souza, Pune
50. Amandeep Bhatia, Pune
51. Arjun Singh Rawat, Pune
52. N.K. Jain, Ujjain
53. Raj Kumar Jain, Ujjain
54. Shashidhar Rao, Hyderabad
55. Mohammed Hidayatullah, Hyderabad
56. Chandra Shekhar, Hyderabad.
57. P. Sugunavathi, Hyderabad
58. V. David, Hyderabad
59. Reddy Vidyadhar, R.R. District, Hyderabad.
60. Eshwar Lal, R.R. District, Hyderabad.
61. A. Satyanarayana, Hyderabad
62. M.V. Rama Mohan, Hyderabad
63. K.V. Indira, Kerala
64. P. Raju, Bangalore
65. G.R. Reddy, Hyderabad
66. D.S. Nathaniel, Hyderabad
67. K. Sriram, Hyderabad
68. Rajneesh K.V. Hyderabad
69. M. V. Aditya, Hyderabad
70. P. Ranga Rao, Hyderabad
71. T.V. S. Ram Reddy, R.R. District, Hyderabad.
72. R. Rahul, Nizamabad
73. J.P. Sahu, Damoh
74. B. Vinod Kumar, Nizamabad
75. Ponviah Catari, Hyderabad
76. P.K. Acharya, Hyderabad
77. B. Yamuna, Chennai
78. J.Sarat Chandra, Anantpur
79. P.N. Rao, Amalapuram
80. K. Narasaiah, Hyderabad
81. K. Ramakrishna Rao, Rajamundry
82. D.N. Samuel Raj, Hyderabad
83. D.N. Lavaney, Hyderabad
84. V. Madhani, Secunderabad
85. R. Rajashekhar Reddy, Hyderabad
86. P. Srirama Murthy, Hyderabad
87. K.L. Swapana, Rajamundry
88. Gauri Sankar, Hyderabad
89. L. Narsinga Rao, Hyderabad
90. Sushil Kumara Acharya, Hyderabad
91. D.N. Kerupavasam, Hyderabad
92. T. Ramesh, Hyderabad
93. P. Satish Kumar, Hyderabad
94. T. Srinivas, Nalgouda
95. M. Satish Kiran, R.R. District, Hyderabad
96. Parthasarathi, Secunderabad
97. Saraswati Devi, Hyderabad
98. A. Rangabyha, Hyderabad
99. T. Annapurna, R.R. District, Hyderabad
100. Saah Ali Ahmed, Secunderabad
101. A.Sai Nath, Hyderabad
102. S. Manasa, Hyderabad
103. Sameer Baksi, Kharagpur, West Bengal
104. Rumi Dey, West Bengal
105. Bhanu Dey, Kharagpur, West Bengal
106. Suman Kr. Dey, Kharagpur, West Bengal
107. Tinni Gaur, Jabalpur
108. Arun Yadav, Jabalpur
109. T. Salgu, Ujjain
110. Ashish Gupta, Ujjain
111. T. M. Kamran, Pune
112. Pushpal Swarnkar, Durg
113. Col. H. Sharma, Noida
114. Rana Mukherjee, Advocate, Hony. Secy, Bar Association, High
115. Nagarathna A., Asstt. Professor Law, NLSIU, Nagarbhavi,
116. Raj Ghosal, Thane (W), Maharashtra
117. Pankaj R. Sontakke, Kandivali (E), Maharashtra
118. Ashish Agarwal, Vikhroli (W), Maharashtra
119. Savio Fernandez, Thane (W), Maharashtra
120. Anand M. Jha, Kalyan (W), Maharashtra
121. Sachchidanand Singh Patel, Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra
122. Arghya Dutta, Nerul, Maharashtra
123. Debabrata Bhadra, Jamsedpur, Jharkhand
124. Vikas Jhunjhun wala, Worli, Maharashtra
125. Mukund Jhala, Singh Darwaza, Burdwan.West Bengal.
126. Sandip De, Dombivalli (E), Maharashtra
127. Anurag Joshi, Thane (W), Maharashtra
128. Gayatri Devi, Sagar Road, Hyderabad
129. Ramesh Lal, Shalimar Bagh, Delhi.
130. Priyank Prakh, Manchester, USA
131. Katri Ram Venkatesh, Ranga Reddy, Distt.Andhra
132. Sarath Chandra P., Panjagutta, Hyderabad
133. Subba Rao P., Panjagutta Hyderabad
134. V. Kamalamma, Chandanagar, Hyderabad
135. Dr. P. Sudhir, Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh
136. S.N. Kumar, Hyderabad
137. K.V.N.S. Laxmi, Rajamundry
138. Manoj Kumar Sahu, Kanchanbagh, Hyderabad
139. K.S. Ram, Vijayanagar Colony, Hyderabad
140. M. Ram Babu, Janapriya Nagar Colony, Ranga Reddy Distt.
141. Ram Prakash Sharma, Rohini, New Delhi
142. Manju Yadav, Jabalpur
143. Teeja Yadav, Adhartal, Jabalpur
144. Chandra Yadav,Adhartal, Jabalpur
145. Santosh Vishvakarma, Adhartal, Jabalpur
146. Ashutosh Yadav,Adhartal, Jabalpur
147. Amitabh Bhattacharya, Wardha Road, Nagpur
148. Krishna R.K. V., firstname.lastname@example.org
149. Milap Choraria, Rohini, New Delhi
150. Anand Ballabh Lohani, Haldwani, Uttarakhand
151. Partha Sadhukhan, Hyderabad
152. Ramesh Kumar Jain, email@example.com
153. Namadevan N., firstname.lastname@example.org
154. Pronoy Ghose, Cachar, Assam
155. Sibi Thomas, Baruch, Gujarat
156. R.S. Sharma, Amity University, Uttar Pradesh
157. T. Gopala Krishna, Chichmagular
158. N.S. Mahesh, Bangalore, Karnataka
159. Shailaja G. Harinath, Bangalore
160. V.V. Lakshmanan, Ambattur, Chennai
161. Jayesh M. Poria
162. P. Rukma Chary, Bangalore
163. Deepak Kesari, Bangalore
164. Rajshekhar C.R., Bangalore.
165. N.H. Shiggaon, Vignan Nagar, Bangalore
166. Ajay M.U. Electronic City, Bangalore.
167. Vardhaman Nair, Bangalore.
168. Krishna Murthy, Bangalore
169. Sashidhar CM, Vinayaka Extn. Bangalore,
170. Narayan Kumar, Bangalore
171. Amjad F. Jamador, Belgam, Karnataka
172. Mohd. Arshad, Ranganath Colony, Bangalore.
173. B.A. Pathan, Hubli, Karnatka
174. Pronoy Kumar Ghosh, Cachar, Assam
175. N. N. Suiggaon, Vignan Nagar, Bangalore
176. Radhikanath Mallick, Kolkata, West Bengal
177. Maqsud Mujawar, email@example.com
178. Saroj Bala Dhawan, DLF Gurgaon, Haryana
179. Virag R. Dhulia, C.C. Raman Nagar, Bangalore.
180. Rahmatulla Sheriff, Ganga Nagar, Bangalore
181. Avinash Kumar, Main HSR Layout, Bangalore
182. Ramakrishna, firstname.lastname@example.org
183. Rajkumar, Rohtak.
184. Ritesh Dehia, email@example.com
185. Viresh Verma, firstname.lastname@example.org
186. Sudha Chouranga Chakrabatrti, Hoogly, West Bengal.
187. Mrs. Manisha C. Shinkar
188. Dr. Chandrakant K Shinkar
189. Shri Nagi Reddy Maddigapu (Senior Citizen), Retired A.P.
State Agro Ind Dev. Corpn Emp., Macherla, Dist Guntur
190. Shri Harish Dewan, New Delhi
191. Ms. Sudha Gouranga Chakrabarti, Khirkee Lane, Chinsurah,
Hoogly, West Bengal
192. Dr. Mohan Singh Sath, 33, Westholme Gardens, Ruislip,
Middlesex, UK (NRI)
193. Shri Hemant Kumar Verma, Sr. Lecturer Civil Engg Govt.
Polytechnic College, Ajmer Rajasthan
*Names not mentioned.
B. LIST OF ORGANIZATIONS / INSTITUTIONS - RESPONDED TO THE
QUESTIONANNAIRE ON SECTION 498A IPC
1. Save India Harmony, (Shri B.K. Aggarwal, President),
2. SIFFMWB, (Shri S. Bhattacharjee) Kolkata
3. Vigilant Women Munch, (Secretary, Ms Suman Jain), Delhi.
4. National Family Harmony Society President, (Shri P.
Karnataka. & 41 others
5. Mothers and Sisters Initiative -MASI, (Mrs. Shalini Sharma),
6. Bharat Bachao Sangthan, (Shri Vineet Ruia), President,
7. Pirito Purush Porishad, NGO, Kolkata
8. INSAAF, New Delhi.
9. All India Forgotten Women's Association, Hyderabad.
10. Members of Million Women Arrested Campaign (org), FBD,
11. The Kerala Federation of Women Lawyers, Secretary,
(Ms.Aneetha AG), Kerala High Court Bldg, Kochi.
12. Lawyers Collective, (Ms. Indira Jaising), Jangpura Extn.,
13. Rakshak Foundation, Shri Sachin Bansal, USA.
14. AWAG, Ila Pathak, Ahmedabad.
15. AIDWA, (Ms Kirti Singh), Legal Convenor, Advocate, Delhi
16. PLD (Partners for Law in Development), Madhu Mehra, Ex.
Director, New Delhi.
17. Bharat Vikas Parishad (Shri Raj Pal Singla, President),
18. Shri S.K. Dulara, All India Muslim Front, "Rahman Plaza"
YMCA Lane, Abids, Hyderabad
19. Md. Abdul Raoof, (retired Distict Judge, Hyderabad), All
India Muslim Front, "Rahman Plaza" YMCA Lane, Abids,
20. Bimal N. Patel, Director, GLNU, Gandhinagar, Gujarat.
21. Prof. Ranbir Singh, Vice-Chancellor, National Law
22. PMS Narayanan, National Commission for Minority, Khan
Mkt, New Delhi
23. Janamithram Janakeeya Needi Vedi, Kerala State
Committee, East Kottaparamba, Kozhikode
24. Justice Amarbir Singh Gill, Chairman, Punjab State Law
C. LIST OF GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS - RESPONDED TO THE
QUESTIONANNAIRE ON SECTION 498A IPC
1. Prabhat Kumar Adhikari, Secretary (Law), A&N Admn., Port
2. *Pr. Secretary(Law-Legislation), Govt. of Himachal Pradesh.
3. L.M. Sangma, Secretary to Govt. of Meghalaya, Law Deptt.
4. B.K. Srivastava, Secretary in charge, Law Deptt., Govt. of West
5. Thejegu-U-Kire, Dy. Legal Remembrancer to Govt of Nagaland,
6. Arindham Paul, DLR & Dy. Secretary, Law, Tripura.
7. *Home Secreatry, Chandigarh Administration
8. Shri Hari S. D. Shirodkar, Under Secretary, Law Department,
Government of Goa.
9. Shri S. G. Marathe, Joint Secretary (Law), Govt. of Goa.
10. Shri Pramod Kamat, Law Secretary, Govt. of Goa
11. Shri D. V. K. Rao, Under Secretary, Ministry of Women and
Child Development, GOI
12. Shri G. Rime, Deputy Secretary (Home), Department of Home
and Inter State Border Affairs, Government of Arunachal
13. Shri Harishshankar Vaishya, Addl. Secretary, Government of
* Name not mentioned
D. LIST OF JUDICIAL OFFICIALS/ OTHER OFFICIALS - RESPONDED TO THE
QUESTIONANNAIRE ON SECTION 498A IPC
1. Chandigarh Judicial Academy, Dr. Virender Aggarwal,
Director (Academics), Chandigarh.
2. M. M. Banerjee, Distt Judge, Birbhum, Suri.
3. Abhai Kumar, Registrar, High Court of M.P, Jabalpur.
(on behalf of Judicial officers, Training Institute)
4. Nungshitombi Athokpam, Dy. Legal Rememberancer, Govt.of
5. Vijay Kumar Singh, Distt. & Sessions Judge, Jammu.
6. Shrikant D. Babaladi, Distt. Judge Member, Karnataka,
Appellate Tribunal, Bangalore.
7. Bijender Kumar Singh, Distt. & Sessions Judge, Gopalgunj,
8. R.K. Watel, Distt. & Session Judge, Reasi(J&K)
9. *Principal Distt. & Sessions Judge, Kishtwar
10. S. N. Kempagoudar, Distt. Judge, Member, Karnataka
Appellate Tribunal, Bangalore.
11. Udayan Mukhopadhyay, Distt. & Sessions Judge, Purbi
12. *Distt. & Sessions Judge, Vaishali, Hajipur.
13. S.H. Mittalkod, Distt. & Sessions Judge, AIG-1, Govt. of
14. Ranjit Kumar Baig, Distt. Judge, Malda, West Bengal.
15. Sanjit Mazumdar, Addl. Distt. & Sessions Judge, Malda,
16. Anant Kumar Kapri, Addl. Distt. & Sessions Judge, Malda,
17. Kaushik Bhattacharaya, Addl. Distt. & Sessions Judge,
Malda, West Bengal
18. Subodh Kumar Batabayal, Addl. Distt. & Sessions Judge,
Malda, West Bengal
19. Shri Gopal Chandra Karmakar, Additional District and
Sessions Judge, Malda, West Bengal.
20. Sanjay Mukhopadhyay, Addl. Distt. & Sessions Judge,
Malda, West Bengal
21. Sibasis Sarkar, Addl. Distt. & Sessions Judge, Malda, West
22. Sabyasahi Chattoraj, Civil Judge (Sr. Divn.), Malda.
23. Ishan Chandra Das, Distt Judge, Burdwan.
24. L.K. Gaur, Special Judge, CBI-9, Tis Hazari Courts, Delhi.
25. M.K. Nagpal, ASJ/Special Judge, NDOS, South & South
East Distt., Saket Courts, New Delhi.
26. Dr. Neera Bharihoke, ADJ-V, South Saket Court, New Delhi.
27. Sanjeev Kumar, Metropolitan Magistrate, South-Saket
Court, New Delhi.
28. Chetna Singh, Metropolitan Magistrate, South- Saket Court,
29. Sandeep Garg, Metropolitan Magistrate, South- Saket Court,
30. Anu Aggarwal, Civil Judge, South- Saket Court, New Delhi.
31. *District & Sessions Judge, Ambala
32. S.S. Lamba, District & Sessions Judge, Rohtak.
33. *District & Sessions Judge, Fatehbad.
34. *District & Sessions Judge, Rewari.
35. R.S. Virk, District & Sessions Judge, Gurgaon.
36. K. C. Sharma, District & Sessions Judge, Panipat.
37. *District & Sessions Judge, Kaithal.
38. * District & Sessions Judge, Jind.
39. Deepak Aggarwal, District & Sessions Judge, Jind.
40. D. N. Bhardwaj, District & Sessions Judge, Jind.
41. Dr. Chander Dass, Judicial Magistrate, Jind.
42. Praveen Kumar, Addl. Civil Judge (Sr. Divn.-cum-Sub-Divn.
43. Kumud Gungwani, Sub-Divn. Judicial Magistrate, Narwana.
44. Gurvinder Singh, Gill, District & Sessions Judge, Fatehgarh
45. Raj Rahul Garg, District & Sessions Judge, Karnal.
46. *District & Sessions Judge, Bhiwani.
47. Narender Kumar, District Judge(Family Court), Bhiwani.
48. Rajinder Goel, Addl. District & Sessions Judge, Bhiwani.
49. Rajesh Kumar Bhankhar, Chief Judicial Magistrate, Bhiwani
50. Tarun Singal, Chief Judge (Jr.Divn.), Bhiwani.
51. Narender Singh, Chief Magistrate, Ist Class, Bhiwani.
52. Rajni Yadav, Addl. Civil Judge (Sr.Divn.) cum-Sub-
Divisional Judicial Magistrate, Loharu.
53. Balwant Singh, Civil Judge (Jr.Divn.) cum-Sub-Divisional
Judicial Magistrate, 1st class, Bhiwani.
54. Narender Sharma, Sub-Divn. Judicial Magistrate, Charkhi
55. A.S. Nayar, Civil Judge (Jr.Divn.), Charkhi Dadri.
56. Parvesh Singla, Civil Judge, Charkhi Dadri.
57. Kuldeep Jain, Addl. Distt. & Sessions Judge, Sonepat.
58. Sanjiv Kumar, Addl. Distt. & Sessions Judge, Sonepat.
59. Gulab Singh, Addl. Distt. & Sessions Judge, Sonepat.
60. Vivek Bharti, Addl. Distt. & Sessions Judge, Sonepat.
61. Ritu Garg, Addl. Distt. & Sessions Judge, Sonepat.
62. Lal Chand, Civil Judge (Sr.Divn.)-cum-ACJM, Sonepat.
63. Madhulika, C.J.(J.D.)-cum-JMIC, Sonepat.
64. Ranjana Aggarwal, Addl. Civil.(Sr.Divn.), Sonepat.
65. Rajesh Kumar Yadav, C.J.(S.D.)-cum-JMIC, Sonepat.
66. Harish Gupta, Addl. Civil.(Sr.Divn.), Ganaur.
67. K.P. Singh, Addl. Civil.(Sr.Divn.), Gohana.
68. Sanjiv Jindal, Addl. Distt. & Sessions Judge, Narnaul.
69. Rajneesh Bansal, Addl. Distt. & Sessions Judge, Narnaul.
70. Sudhir Jiwan, Addl. Distt. & Sessions Judge, Fast Track
71. Praveen Gupta, Addl. Chief Judicial Magistrate, Narnaul.
72. Chander Hass, Chief Judicial Magistrate, Narnaul.
73. *Distt. & Sessions Judge, Gurdaspur.
74. Rajesh Kumar Yadav, Addl. Distt. & Sessions Judge,
75. * Distt. & Sessions Judge, Chandigarh.
76. *Distt. & Sessions Judge, Sirsa.
77. *Distt. & Sessions Judge, Jhajjar.
78. *Distt. & Sessions Judge, Faridabad.
79. *Distt. & Sessions Judge, Yamuna Nagar at Jagadhri.
80. *Distt. & Sessions Judge, Panchkula.
81. *Distt. & Sessions Judge, Pehowa.
82. Rajinder Pal Singh, Addl. Civil Judge (Sr. Divn.), Pehowa.
83. Gurcharan Singh Saran, Distt. & Sessions Judge, Shaheed
Bhagat Singh Nagar.
84. *Distt. & Sessions Judge, Rupnagar.
85. Inderjit Singh, . Distt. & Sessions Judge, Jalandhar.
86. *Distt. & Sessions Judge, Ferozpur.
87. *Distt. & Sessions Judge, Kapurthala.
88. *Distt. & Sessions Judge, Mansa.
89. Amit Kumar Garg, Judicial Magistrate 1st Class, Kurushetra.
90. *Distt. & Sessions Judge, Kurushetra.
91. Manish Batra, Addl. Distt. & Sessions Judge, Kurushetra.
92. Harleen Sharma, Civil Judge (Jr. Divn), Kurushetra.
93. Sanjiv Kumar, Addl. Distt. & Sessions Judge, Kurushetra.
94. Sanjiv Arya, Judicial Magistrate 1st Class, Kurushetra.
95. Arun Kumar Singhal, Addl. Distt. & Sessions Judge,
96. Jagjit Singh, Civil Judge (Sr. Divn), Kurushetra.
97. Amarinder Sharma, Civil Judge (Jr. Divn), Kurushetra.
98. Raj Gupta, Civil Judicial Judge, Kurushetra.
99. Anudeep Kaur Bhatti, Judicial Magistrate 1st Class,
100. Akshdeep Mahajan, Judicial Magistrate 1st Class,
101. Narender Pal, Judicial Magistrate 1st Class, Narnaul.
102. *Distt. & Sessions Judge, Hisar.
103. *Distt. & Sessions Judge, Amritsar.
104. *Distt. & Sessions Judge, Patiala.
105. *Distt. & Sessions Judge, Hoshiapur.
106. *Distt. & Sessions Judge, Ludhiana.
107. *Distt. & Sessions Judge, Bathinda.
108. *Distt. & Sessions Judge, Sri Muktsar Sahib.
109. Shri S. Sivaiah Naidu, Registrar General, Government of
110. Shri J.P. Gupta, Director (JOTRI) High Court of Madhya
111. *District & Sessions Judge, Kinnaur at Rampur Bushahr, H.P.
112. *District & Sessions Judge, Simaur at Nahan, H.P.
113. *District & Sessions Judge, Kangra at Dharmshala, H.P.
114. *District & Sessions Judge, Una, H.P.
115. *District & Sessions Judge, Hamirpur, H.P.
116. *District & Sessions Judge, Bilaspur, H.P.
117. *District & Sessions Judge, Solan, H.P.
118. *District & Sessions Judge, Kullu, H.P.
119. *District & Sessions Judge, Mandi, H.P.
120. *District & Sessions Judge, Chamba, H.P.
121. *Director, HP Judicial Academy Shimla, H.P.
From Registrar General of Karnataka High Court, Bangalore
122. Shri S. Harish Kumar, Principal Distt. & Sessions Judge,
123. Shri Shivashankar B. Amarannavar, District & Sessions Judge,
124. Shri Lakshman F. Malavalli, VI Addl. District & Sessions
Judge, Mysore, Karnataka
125. Shri T.G. Channabasappa, Presiding Officer, Fast Track Court
III. Mysore, Karnataka
126. Shri Narendra Kumar Gunaki, District & Sessions Judge,
127. Dr. Shashikala MA Urankar, Principal District & Sessions
Judge, Bidar, Karnataka
128. Shri John Micheal Cunha, Presiding officer, KSTAT, Bangalore,
129. District & Sessions Court, Koppal, Karnataka
130. Shri Pradeep D. Waingakar, Chief Judge, Court of Small
131. Shri L. Subramanya, Principal District & Sessions Judge,
132. Shri S.V. Kulkarni Presiding Officer & Addl. & Sessions Judge
(Ad hoc), Fast Track Court, Jamakhandi, Dist Bagalkot,
From the Registrar General,High Court of Chattisgarh, Bilaspur
133. Shri R.C. S. Samant, Director, Chhattisgarh State Judicial
134. Shri Ashok Panda, District Judge, Durg, Chhattisgarh
135. Shri Ashok Kumar Sahu, Addl. District & Sessions Judge,
136. Shri Kamlesh Jagdalla, Additional Judge, First Class, Durg,
137. Shri Venseslas Toppo, Civil Judge, Class-II, Durg,
138. Ms. Chhaya Singh Bagel, Magistrate, First Class, Durg,
139. Smt. Swarnlata Toppo, Civil Judge, Class I, Durg, Chhattisgarh
140. Shri Srikant Srivas, Officer, First Class, Durg, Chhattisgarh
141. Shri Thomas Ekka, Civil Judge, class II, Durg, Chhattisgarh
142. Shri Anish Dube, Civil Judge, First Class, Rajhara,
143. Shri Vivek Kumar Tiwari, Judicial Magistrate First Class,
District Balod, Chhattisgarh
144. Shri Deepak Kumar Kaushal, Judicial Magistrate First Class,
Bametara, Dist. Durg, Chhattisgarh
145. Shri Praveen Kumar Pradhan, Judicial Magistrate First Class,
Bametara, Dist. Durg, Chhattisgarh
146. Ms. Pushplata Markandey, Civil Judge Class-2, Durg,
147. Shri Jitendra Kumar Jain, Chief Judigical Magistrate, Durg,
148. Shri Santosh Thakur, Civil Judge Class-2, Durg, Chhattisgarh
149. Shri Manish Kumar Dubey, Civil Judge, Class-2, Durg,
150. Shri Abhishek Sharma, Judge class II, Durg, Chhattisgarh
151. Smt. Shyamvati Bharavi, Civil Judge, Class-1, Durg,
152. Ms. Mamta Shukla, Civil Judge, Class II, Durg, Chhattisgarh
153. Smt. Sushma Lakda, Civil Judge, Class II, Durg, Chhattisgarh
154. Shri Ashok Kumar Lal, Judicial Magistrate, Class-I, Durg,
155. Ms. Yashoda Kashyap, Civil Judge, class II, Durg, Chhattisgarh
156. Shri Jitender Thakur, Judicial Magistrate, Class-I, Durg,
157. Shri Sandeep Bakshi, District & Sessions Judge, Raipur,
158. Smt. Anita Jha, District and Sessions Judge, Bilaspur,
159. Shri C.B. Bajpai, District and Session Judge, Mahasamund,
160. Shri Anil Kumar Shukla, District and Session Judge,
161. Shri Gautam Chourdiya, District and Sessions Judge, Janjgir,
162. * District and Sessions Judge, Sarguja, Ambikapur,
163. Smt. Vimla Singh Kapoor, District and Session Judge, Korea,
164. Shri I.S. Ubojeba, District and Session Judge, Bastar,
165. Smt. Satyabhama Ajay Dubey, Chief Judicial Magistrate, Uttar
Bastar, Kanker, Chhattisgarh
166. Shri N.S. Patel, Judicial Magistrate Class-I, Bhanupratap Pur,
167. Shri J.S. Patel, Judicial Magistrate, Class-I, Dist N.B. Kanker,
168. Shri Shiv Mangal Pandey, District and Session Judge, Raigar,
169. Shri Prabhat Kumar Shastri, District & Sessions Judge,
170. Shri M.P. Singhal, District and Session Judge, Rajnadgaon,
171. *District and Sessions Judge, Korba, Chhattisgarh
172. Shri A.K. Bek, JFMC (South Bastar Dantewada), Chhattisgarh
173. Smt. Anita Dharia, Addl. JFM, Dantewada, Chhattisgarh
174. Shri Ramjivan Devgan, Civil Judge, class I, Bijapur,
175. Shri V.K. Chanakya, Chief Judicial Magistrate, South Bastar,
176. Smt. Yogita Vinay Wasnik, Judicial Magistrate, Class-I, South
177. Shri Yashwant Wasnik, Civil Judge, Class I, Sukma ,
178. Shri Balram Kumar Devagan, District Magistrate, Class-II,
179. Shri Amrit Kerkatta, Civil Judge, class ISouth Bastar District,
180. Smt. Anuradha Khare, District and Sessions Judge,
From High Court of Jharkhand, Ranchi (Jharkhand)
181. Shri Anil Kumar Choudhary, District and Session Judge,
182. Md. Mushataque Ahmed, District and Session Judge, Chatra,
183. Shri Rajesh Kumar Dubey, District and Session Judge,
Singhbhum at Chaibasa, Jharkhand
184. Shri Amitav Kumar Gupta, Principal District and Session
Judge, Deoghar, Jharkhand
185. Shri Satyendra Kumar Singh, Principal District & Sessions
Judge, Dhanbad, Jharkhand
186. *Principal District & Sessions Judge I/C, Dhumka, Jharkhand
187. Shri Shiv Narayan Singh, District & Sessions Judge, Garhwa,
188. Shri Pradeep Kumar Srivastava, District & Sessions Judge,
189. Shri Kamesh Mishra, I/c District & Sessions Judge, Godda,
190. Shri Om Prakash Pandey, Principal District & Sessions Judge,
191. Shri Deepak Kumar, Chief Judicial Magistrate, Jamshedpur,
192. Shri Brijesh Bhadur Singh, Secretary, DLSA, Civil Courts,
193. Shri S.S. Prasad, Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate,
194. Shri K.K. Srivastava, Registrar/Judge-in-Charge-cum-J.M.,
Class-I, Civil Court, Jamshedpur, , Jharkhand
195. Smt. Sanjeeta Srivastava, Judicial Magistrate 1st Class,
196. Smt. Kashika M. Prasad, Judicial Magistrate, 1st Class,
197. Shri Rakesh Kumar Singh, Judicial Magistrate 1st Class,
198. Shri Taufique Ahmed, Judicial Magistrate 1st Class,
199. Shri Arun Kumar Dubey, Judicial Magistrate, 1st Class,
200. Shri Anil Kumar Ray, Addl. Chief Judicial Magistrate,
201. Shri Dinesh Kumar, Judicial Magistrate 1s Class,
202. Shri Sachindra Nath Sinha, Judicial Magistrate, 1st Class,
203. Shri Suraj Prakash Thakur, Judicial Magistrate, 1st Class,
204. Shri Goutam Mahapatra, District and Sessions Judge,
205. Shri Ajit Prasad Varma, Principal District & Sessions Judge,
206. Shri Naveen Kumar, Principal District and Sessions Judge,
207. Shri Vishnu Kant Sahay, Principal District & Sessions Judge,
Palamau, Daltonganj, Jharkhand
208. Shri Binay Kumar Sahay, District and Sessions Judge, Pakur,
209. Shri Rajesh Kumar Vaish, District & Sessions Judge,
210. Shri K.K. Srivastava, Principal District & Sessions Judge,
211. Shri Narendra Kumar Srivastava, District & Sessions Judge,
212. Shri Dhirendra Kumar Mishra, Admn. Officer, Judicial
Academy Jharkahand, Ranchi
From the High Court of Kerala
213. *Kasargod District Judge Kerala
214. *Wayanad District Judge, Kerala
215. Shri M.J. Sakthydharan, Addl. District Judge
216. *District and Sessions Judge, Manjeri, Kerala
217. Shri P.Ubaid, District Judge, Palakkad, Kerala
218. * Addl. District Judge, Alappuzha
219. Shri K. Ramakrishnan, District Judge, Thodupuzha
220. Shri N. Revi, District Judge, Pathanamthitta
221. Shri Thomas Pallickaparampil, District and Sessions Judge
222. * Chief Judicial Magistrate, Kasaragod, Kerala
223. Shri K.P. John, Chief Judicial Magistrate, Kozhikode, Kerala
224. Shri S. Satheesachandra Babu, Chief Judicial Magistrate,
225. * Chief Judicial Magistrate, Palakkad, Kerala
226. Shri P.S. Antony, Chief Judicial Magistrate, Thrissur, Kerala
227. Shri K. A Rajamohanan, Addl. Chief Judicial Magistrate,
228. *Addl. Chief Judicial Magistrate(EO), Ernakulam, Kerala
229. Shri B. Vijayan, Chief Judicial Magistrate, Ernakulam, Kerala
230. Shri P.C. Paulachen, Chief Judicial Magistrate, Thodupuzha,
231. Ms. Indukala.S., Chief Judicial Magistrate, Pathanamthitta,
232. * Chief Judicial Magistrate, Kollam, Kerala
List of Police officials replied to questionnaire
233. Renchamo P. Kikon, IPS, DIG, Nagaland, Kohima,
234. Mrinalini Srivastava, Supdt. Of Police, CID, Gangtok,
235. *Dy. SP(HQ), O/o DGP, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Port
236. Shri Deepak Purohit, Supdt. Of Police, D&NH, Silvasa.
237. P.C. Lalchhuanawama, AIG-1 (for DGP), Govt. of Mizoram,
238. S. R. Dass, Asstt. I.G. Police(Pers), Govt. of Tripura, Agartala.
239. *Inspector General of Police (HQ), Bihar, Patna.
240. *Suptd. Of Police, Panaji, Goa.
241. *Addl. DG of Police (Crime), Punjab Chandigarh.
242. Shri Mangesh Kashyap, DCP (HQ), Office of the
Commissioner of Police, Delhi
243. Shri T. Pachuau, IG of Police (Adm), Police Department,
Government of Manipur.
244. Inspector General of Police, UT, Chandigarh
*Names not mentioned.
Annexure - III-A
[refer para 10.1 of the Report]
Broad Analysis of 474 replies to questionnaire on Section 498-A IPC
Individuals* Organisations/ Government Officials/ Grand
Institutions** Officials Judicial Total
Bailable 83 14 3 100 200
Non-Bailable 4 5 8 109 126
bailable 3 3 1 23 30
Repeal 74 0 1 1 76
No Comments 29 2 0 11 42
Total 193 24 13 244 474
* Two NRIs
** One organization from USA
Annexure - III-B
[refer para 10.1 of the Report]
Some of the responses received - Gist
Sri Justice (Retd.) A.S. Gill, Chairman, Punjab State Law
Commission expressed the view that there is no need to exercise the power of
arrest of husband and his family members as it will result in breakdown of
family. Recourse may be initially taken to dispute settlement mechanism such
conciliation, mediation and counselling. The process of making effort for
reconciliation is to be initiated even at the Police Station level by taking the aid
of respectable persons named by both parties. The counselling mechanism
under Domestic Violence Act can also be availed of by taking the assistance of
professionally qualified counsellors appointed by State Government. The
offence should be made bailable and compoundable. Bailability will not
become in any way counter-productive. There is every need to sensitize the
police in these matters and only an experienced officer should be entrusted
with investigation. Compounding should be allowed subject to the permission
of Court. The main reason for low conviction rate in the prosecution under
Section 498-A is due to the fact that the allegations are exaggerated and
beyond facts. Crime against Women Cell (CWC) should consist of persons who
are well educated and experienced and have orientation to deal effectively with
National Commission for Minorities:
The issue can be best addressed by educating public through awareness
programmes, also designed for minorities.
Members of National Commission for Minorities (Dr. H.T. Sangliana
& Shri K.N. Daruwala)
Police should have open and balanced approach. In all cases,
straightway the case need not be registered. The decision to register a case
may be taken by the Inspector level officer. Cases under 498A to be handled
with utmost care. Only after satisfying with the genuineness of the complaint,
an arrest should be made and not in a routine manner. Formal investigation
can be kept in abeyance until the conciliation attempt is completed which
should not be more than three weeks. Right mediators can be identified
through NGO nets and retired officials from Police and judiciary. In
Karnataka, women's help centres are available in the compound of
Commissioner of Police. The fourth parties agreed to compromise after
registration, Court's permission may be taken to compound. If no death is
involved, it may be made bailable. Bail should be granted to the accused of
his/her age is above 60 and if no direct involvement is established. Free legal
aid cell will be useful to butt availability of such help when required is
doubtful. Long pendency of cases discourages the complainants from
pursuing the matters further.
A detailed inquiry before arrest is necessary. However, the physical
security of the women must be ensured. Arrest should be made normally with
warrants. Police must record reasons for arrest without warrant. The offence
could be made bailable though the bail has to be granted sparingly. There
should be Police and anti-dowry cell in every district manned by trained
woman police. The two processes, conciliation and investigation can proceed
side by side. Offence could be made compoundable. Women do not have easy
access to LSAs at grass root level. Measures to spread awareness should be
taken though media and even it can be made part of school curricula.
Dr. Ranbir Singh, Vice-Chancellor (on behalf of NLU Delhi) - There is
enough evidence to suggest that this Section has been misused in many ways.
However, the misuse did not flow from the principle and intention on which
this law is based. Robust effort should be made to implement the law so that
the social objective of the law does not suffer. The misuse or false implications
could be minimised by insisting on strict observance of the law of arrest as
evolved in D.K. Basu case [(1997) 1 SCC 416)]. Secondly, the mandate of this
law should be shifted from penal to restorative purpose. The recourse to
mediation and conciliation in the first instance is the best idea. The arrest and
other drastic legal measures should begin when all the options of restoration
have failed. Registering the case is the legal obligation of the Police but they
need not act in undue haste to effect the arrest. They should be guided by the
spirit of Section 157 Cr. P.C. It would be worthwhile to divide the offence
under Section 498-A in two categories depending on the gravity of the act of
cruelty alleged. The offence can then be categorised as bailable or non-
bailable. Offence of milder degree may be treated as family discord and be
addressed with an approach of reconciliation. Awareness building programmes
involving statutory bodies and NGOs should be organised. The officers
manning women Police Stations must be given adequate training.
Dr. Bimal Patel, Director, GNLU, Gandhinagar, Gujarat - The Police
should investigate the case and only on satisfaction of commission of offence
under 498-A they should think of arrest. Making the offence bailable solves the
problem to certain extent, though there are divergent views. The recourse can
also be taken to Section 437 Cr. P.C. The offence can be made compoundable
with the permission of Court. There should be better coordination between the
LSA (Legal Services Authority) and Police. CWC should be under the control of
Inspector level woman officer.
Judicial Officers Training Institute, (JOTRI), Jabalpur -
1. Police has to register the criminal case on receiving FIR alleging
commission of offence under Section 498A, but they should
commence investigation keeping in view the two conditions
contemplated under Section 157 Cr.PC.
Having regard to the nature of dispute, preliminary investigation
should be done instead of straightway arresting the husband or other
relatives named in the FIR. Immediate arrest of the husband and
other close relatives will destroy the possibility of amicable resolution
of dispute forever.
2. Police officer may commence investigation but before taking harsh
measures by way of arrest etc., there should be a process of
reconciliation with the help of counseling centres run by reputed
NGOs or Govt. mediation centres. The concerned police officer
should contact the DLSA or TLSA so that the authority may take
steps to arrange the task of conciliation.
3. Offence should remain non-bailable with cautious approach of the
police in making arrest. Misuse or over-implication cannot be a
ground of making the offence bailable as this will defeat the
objective of Section 498A.
4. Counseling/mediation procedures should be completed preferably
within two months from the date of appearance of husband and
wife. If the husband does not respond to the notice from family
counseling centre or does not cooperate in the process of
counseling, then only, the I.O. should proceed against the erring
party according to law after receiving the report from the
counselors/mediators. After amicable settlement, further
investigation of the criminal case shall be stopped and the case be
5. Police should not get involved in the actual process of conciliation.
Family counseling courts should be established in every district
with professional counselors. Mediation Centres are also helpful in
resolving matrimonial disputes.
Director, H.P. Judicial Academy, Shimla - Make 498-A IPC gender
neutral. 498-A should be removed from criminal case as it is a family matter
and because of this many adverse consequences will follow. The filing of Police
report after FIR must be completed in three months and court proceedings
should be completed within one year thereafter.
Dr. Neera Bharihoke, ADJ, Delhi - No immediate arrest and it should
be the last resort. Make it bailable and compoundable. There should be a
supervisory body over CWC. LSA must spread awareness.
Dr. Neera Gupta: Offences under Section 498A to be made non-
cognizable, bailable. Persons who misuse the provision shall be penalized on
completion of trial by the very same court. Separate provisions should be
introduced for this purpose. Heavy fine of Rs.10 lakhs should be there.
Persons who use women-protection laws for settling personal scores should be
punished. The Section must be made gender neutral. Police should keep away
Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India -
Law according protection to women should be not be tinkered with; however, if
some set procedures are followed, misuse can be curtailed. No arrest should be
made on a mere allegation. In matrimonial disputes, it may not be necessary to
immediately exercise the power of arrest in all cases. First recourse should to
settlement mechanism. Counselling of parties should be done by professional
qualified counsellors and police should empanel such persons Mahila desks to
be set up at Police Stations and CAW Cells.
Lawyers Collective (Ms. Indira Jaisingh, Sr. Advocate, New Delhi) -
Police should take action as per the existing laws and the procedure specified
under Cr. P.C. Let it remain non-bailable and non-compoundable. Need to
strengthen coordination between LSA and Police Station. Transparency of
action and accountability can act as safeguards. Under-staffed and untrained
CAW Cell cannot be helpful for these cases. Police force needed to be infused
with basic human values and made sensitive to the constitutional ethos.
Ms. Nagaratna A., Asstt. Professor of Law, NLSIU, Bangalore -
Offence should be made bailable and compoundable with the permission of
Court. The Police soon after recording FIR must commence investigation and
find out the existence of prima facie case. At no point Police shall have the
power to arrest the accused without warrant of a Magistrate. Aged parents and
sisters of the husband and other relatives must be spared from the ill-effects
of unnecessary arrest. For the purpose of arrest, the offence should be made
non-cognizable; but, for the purpose of investigation, it shall remain cognizable
so that the I.O. can commence the investigation without waiting for permission
by a Magistrate like in a non-cognizable offence. Secondly, the I.O. shall have
the power to arrest only after fulfilling the conditions laid down under the
amended Cr.P.C. CWCs shall be headed by well-qualified and trained women
Inspectors. LSA can play a role for conciliation at pre-investigation and pre-
AIDWA (Ms. Keerti Singh, Delhi)
Police failure in taking timely action and in investigating the case on proper
lines commented upon. Police should act according to the existing law and they do
not need any directions to be cautious about these complaints as they are already
taking long time even to register the FIR. If the woman complaints of physical
violence, she should be immediately provided medical aid and the husband/in-laws
should be stopped from committing further acts of violence, if necessary by arresting
him. Custodial interrogation could yield good results. The police has to help the
victim woman by providing medical counseling and/or sending her to a shelter home.
Crisis centres should be set up at the block and district level.
The seriousness of the crime should not be diluted by making it bailable and
compoundable. Making it compoundable even with the permission of the Court will
only result in the woman facing more pressure to compromise. In any event, if a
compromise is reached, it gets recognition from the court to quash criminal
proceedings. Reconciliation should not be thrust upon the woman. It would be wrong
to first try to reconcile both the parties. Conciliation by a trained counselor should be
resorted to only if it can be carried out without compromising the rights and position
of the woman and only if the woman wants the return of dowry/streedhan to settle the
It would not be advisable to entrust the investigations to the CWCs to the exclusion of
regular Police Stations. The experience shows that CW Cells have not been positive.
The number of Police Stations should be increased and personnel properly trained.
CWCs should be headed by a lady DSP.
KFWL (President, Ms. K. Devi, Advocate), Kochi - It should remain non-
bailable but shall be made compoundable with the permission of Court. Immediate
arrest to be made only if offence is grave and affected the life, limb or health of the
victim. There should be better coordination between LSA and Police. Crime against
Women Cell in every district is desirable and should be headed by an IAS Officer.
Nominees from local bodies, NGO, LSAs, mental health specialists apart from Police
personnel should be the members thereof.
Rakshak Foundation (Shri Sachin Bansal, Santa Clara, USA) - Make it
bailable and compoundable. No arrest before investigation. There should be better
coordination between LSA and Police. Fast Track Courts to dispose of cases within a
time bound schedule shall be opened.
Shri Priyank Parekh, Manchester, USA - Police to thoroughly investigate and
not to arrest immediately, make it bailable and compoundable. CWC with well trained
Police officer is desirable.
Dr. Virender Aggarwal, Director (Academics) Chandigarh - Make it non-
bailable. It should remain non-bailable and non-compoundable. On receiving FIR,
Police should make preliminary inquiry through relatives, neigbours etc. to find out
the genuineness of the case before taking any action. LSA can decide whether to deal
with case as criminal matter or in the realm of matrimonial civil law. CWC should
only help the regular investigation agencies.
Shri Sivaiah Naidu, Registrar General, High Court of A.P. - Efforts for
conciliation should be made on receipt of complaint. Immediate arrest should not be
resorted to unless there is immediate danger to the victim or the husband is about to
leave the jurisdiction of Indian Courts. Make the offence bailable and compoundable.
Conciliation between the parties before effecting arrest is desirable and such
conciliation can take place through the institution of LSA. The panel of mediators may
consist of family welfare experts and trained counselors. LSAs in Taluka and District
levels should play a more active role. There should be CAW Cell at District
Headquarters and it shall be headed by Dy.SP rank officer. The woman police deployed
in this cell should have ample experience in life and proper awareness of laws related
Shri Abhay Kumar, Registrar, High Court of M.P., Jabalpur - No immediate
arrest but register the case and start preliminary investigation. It shall remain non-
bailable but compoundable. Family counseling centres should be opened all over the
Additional Chief Judl. Magistrate (E.O.), Ernakulam - Simultaneous with the
registration of a case under Section 498-A, the Police should intimate the matter to
the Protection Officer and cause an application to be filed before the Judl. Magistrate
under the Domestic Violence Act so that the possibility of conciliation could be
explored under judicial supervision. Arrest should be resorted to only after getting
permission from the Magistrate. Do not make the offence bailable but make it
compoundable. There should be regular meetings between LSA at the District level
and SHO of Police Stations to take stock of the cases under 498-A.
Shri Thomas Pallickparampil, District Judge, Kerala - Do not make offence
bailable but make it compoundable. Interrogation without arrest will be ideal
situation. LSA may be assigned better and extensive role. Pre-litigation adalats ought
to be organized. However, LSAs should not be constrained to coordinate with Police
Stations. Need for specially trained senior woman police officer in CWC.
Shri Narender Kumar, District Judge (Family Courts)- Bhiwani - Make it
bailable and compoundable. On receiving FIR, definite conclusion based on history of
family life, root cause for lodging FIR should be arrived at. Proper training should be
given to women police officials. To spread awareness by making it mandatory for TV
channels to show protective penal provisions and civil rights available to women.
Shri R.R. Garg, District Judge, Karnal - No immediate arrest. First, matter to
be sent to Conciliation Board or Counseling/mediation centres. It should remain non-
bailable but compoundable. Need to spread awareness through print and electronic
media. CWC to be headed by woman police officer of the rank of S.P.
Ms. Renhcamo P. Kikon, DIG of Police, Nagaland, Kohima - It should
remain non-bailable but compoundable. Initially preliminary investigation and steps
for reconciliation/mediation to be taken. If efforts fail, then the case to be registered
under Section 498-A. Women Cell should be headed by Inspector rank lady officer.
LSA should educate women and help them at grass root levels.
I. G. of Police - Union Territory, Chandigarh - Before registering the FIR,
police should adopt a conciliation process with the help of competent counselors and
should act as an observer in order to avoid unwarranted arrest. A time limit of 45 days
is already being followed in this process. Offence to remain non-bailable but
compoundable with the permission of Court. CWC should be established in every
District with experienced and well trained women police officials.
Shri Mangesh Kashyap, DCP (HQ), Delhi: Section 498(A) of IPC is certainly
needed in its unadulterated form. Some procedural improvements could be made
before registering FIR. In order to ensure that the facts are not exaggerated, the
aggrieved woman should be asked to write an application after few sessions of
interactions with a Counsellor. In case the complaint is found exaggerated benefit of
doubt should be given. All possible efforts should be made through counselling and
mediation to keep the woman and her children in the matrimonial home. Make it
non-bailable. Case registered under 498A should be investigated by officer in the
rank of Sub Inspector or above. They should be supervised regularly by an ACP once
in a fortnight and DCP / ADCP once in a month.
Shri D.V.K. Rao, Under Secretary, Ministry of Women & Child
Development, Delhi: On receipt of complaint, police should immediately register a
FIR and conduct investigation into the matter. However, immediate arrest of husband
should not be resorted to unless the alleged act of cruelty is prima facie very serious
and calls for such arrest. Mediation and counseling process should be undertaken
but the police should exercise restraint in making arrest of relatives. It should remain
non-bailable and non-compoundable. Appropriate reconciliation effort as a first step
should be undertaken. Mediation should be done by trained professionals and should
be completed within two months. Legal Services Authorities should play a more
extensive role in facilitating the conciliation. Crime against women cell should be
established in every District and should consist of personnel who have been trained
and sensitized to deal with cases of violence against women.
Shri T. Pachuau, IG of Police, Manipur - It should remain non-bailable but
compoundable with the permission of the Court. Immediate arrest and custodial
interrogation of husband and relatives should be avoided. Action to be taken to
examine the victim and the accused soon after filing of FIR. Legal Services Authority
(LSA) of the District or professional counselors will be ideally suited to process
Annexure - III-C
[refer para 10.1 of the Report]
REPLIES OF GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS TO THE QUESTIONANNAIRE
ON SECTION 498A IPC
1. Secretary, Law Department, A&N Admn., Port Blair
No immediate arrest without relevant evidence and efforts of
reconciliation. Make it Non-bailable and compoundable. Better co-
ordination between legal services and police is required for amicable
settlement. CWC should handle the matter since beginning till its logical
2. *Pr. Secretary(Law), Govt. of Himachal Pradesh
No immediate arrest before making proper investigation and enquiry with
relatives and neighbours. Make it bailable and compoundable. Better
co-ordination between legal services and police is required for amicable
settlement. No need of CWC.
3. Government of Meghalaya (Law Department)
Make it bailable and compoundable.
4. Govt. of West Bengal (Law Department)
No immediate arrest before making proper investigation and enquiry with
relatives and neighbours. Make it non-bailable and compoundable.
Better co-ordination between legal services and police is required for
amicable settlement. CWC should be set up in every district comprising
of a District Judge, Distt. Social Welfare Officer and a Woman Social
worker working in the specified field.
5. *Home Secretary, Chandigarh Administration
No immediate arrest. After FIR initially preliminary investigation be done
with relatives and neighbours. Make it Non-bailable and
compoundable. LSA & police station should work for amicable
reconciliation. CWC should have lady police officers who can handle
domestic problems and pre-complaint counseling. They should be given
training time to time about amendments in criminal laws and latest
judgement of courts in such cases.
6. Law Department, Tripura.
Insert Section 154-A in the Cr.P.C. as "Special Law" by way of
amendment to prescribe the procedure for arrest and detention in order
to check misuse of Sec.498-A of IPC.
7. Law Department, Govt. of Goa
Make it compoundable with the permission of court. Make it bailable
only for husband's relatives not staying with him. Otherwise, it
should remain non-bailable.
The police, on receiving the complaint under section 498-A of IPC, is
required to find out whether there is any prima facie case reflected in the
complaint. No immediate arrest should be made but if alleged offence is
a grave /en only immediate arrest and custodial interrogation of
husband and his relatives named in the FIR could be made.
Investigation is to be completed in three months. Efforts should be made
by police first to send the parties for conciliation / settlement by the
appropriate authority appointed under the "Protection of Women from
Domestic Violence Act, 2005." The conciliators / mediators or
professional counsellors (who may be part of NGOs) or the friends or
elders known to both the marital parties; lady and men lawyers only who
volunteer to act in such matters or District Legal Service Authority may
be invited in conciliation/counseling process. There is need for
coordination between LSAs and the Police Station. It is desirable to have
a separate CWC in every District to deal exclusively with such cases.
Women police Cell should be headed by a Lady DySP,
8. Department of Home and Inter State Border Affairs, Government of
Arunachal Pradesh, Itanagar.
Before a regular case is registered, preliminary enquiry should be
mandatory during which both sides should be heard and efforts be made
for mediation and reconciliation. It should not be made bailable.
Reconciliation through counseling should be the first step prior to
registration of the case and a limit time of 90 days for the counseling
process is recommended. Keep it non-bailable and non-compoundable.
Investigation by CWC to the exclusion of the jurisdiction of the police
station is not advisable.
9. Government of Madhya Pradesh
Before arresting the accused, the first step is to mediate and opt for
compromise as far as possible within one month's time. The mediators
can include experienced, respectable citizen or even police officers. Make
it bailable so that it cannot be misused. Try to compromise the matter
between the a aggrieved parties within one month with the help o Police
Officer or respectable citizens i.e. NGOs.
10. Dy. Legal Remembrancer, Government of Nagaland.
No comments as misuse allayed is not prevalent in this State.
11. Some replies of States (enclosed to Home Ministry's letter)
Chattisgarh: shall be made bailable and compoundable with permission
Uttarakhand: Bailable, cognizable and compoundable
NCT of Delhi - Compoundable with permission of Court. Preliminary
enquiry to be made before registration of FOR.
Chandigarh Admn. Bailable, non-cognizable and compoundable.
Rajasthan - bailable and compoundable