The Bombay High Court has directed the Under Secretary of Women and Child Development, Government of Maharashtra, to file an affidavit on the steps planned for the proposal of a bill to make Section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) compoundable.
The Bombay High Court was hearing a petition filed by three members of a family who wanted to quash an FIR under Section 498A. The court quashed the FIR against the three members and recommended that the central government make the offence under Section 498A compoundable.
What is Section 498-A IPC?
Section 498A of the IPC deals with cases of matrimonial cruelty and states that “whoever, being the husband or the relative of the husband of a woman, subjects such woman to cruelty shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to a fine”.
What is Compoundable Offence?
Compoundable offences are those crimes where the complainant who files the case (the victim) agrees to drop the charges against the accused by making a settlement/compromise.
Bombay High Court Proposal
In October 2022, the Bombay High Court had directed the Additional Solicitor General of Maharashtra to take “necessary steps/action” that would “enable him to take up the issue before the concerned ministry, at the earliest” to make Section 498A a compoundable offence. This was proposed due to the overload of alleged domestic violence cases that were flooding the courts.
The bench of Justices Revati Mohite Dere and PL Chavan then said,
Every day, we have a minimum of 10 petitions/applications seeking quashing of Section 498A by consent, since 498A is non-compoundable.
Concerned parties have to come personally before the court from wherever they are residing, including from villages, thus incurring tremendous hardships for the parties concerned, apart from travelling expenses, litigation expenses and staying expenses in the city. Parties, if working, are required to take a day off.
The bench further added:
Apart from the hardships caused to parties, if Section 498A is made compoundable with the permission of the court, precious time of the court can be saved. Cases under Section 498A are not such that a Magistrate cannot compound the same, with the permission of the said court.
Central Government Response
In October 2023, the Central Government had responded in the matter opposing the proposal of the Bombay High Court, stating that it was not in the interest of women.
To this, the bench of Justices AS Gadkari and SG Dige of the Bombay High Court then said that it could not pass directions to make Section 498A IPC a compoundable offence since it could not direct the government to legislate.
Last week, Additional Solicitor General Devang Vyas stated that a proposed bill was sent by the Maharashtra government but it was not processed due to a lack of requisite data. Vyas submitted that the central government would reconsider a fresh bill with additional data from the state government, reported India Today.
Vyas also presented a letter dated January 19, 2024, sent to the Maharashtra government by the central government, indicating that the state government’s response regarding the amendment of the Code of Criminal Procedure was still awaited.
The bench of Justices Anuja Prabhudessai and NR Borkar said there was a contradiction between the letter and the earlier affidavit, and said it was “misleading“.
Redirecting a fresh bill submission, the Bombay High Court ordered:
Be that as it may, in the light of the instructions now received by ASG, the State Government shall take steps to submit a fresh bill on the subject, with additional data, after removing the anomaly pointed out by the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
In 2003, the state of Andhra Pradesh had made Section 498A compoundable.
Voice For Men India Opinion:
- This can work as a double edged sword
- While out of court settlements can surely save up on Court’s time, such compromises will also become a tool for blackmailing innocent husbands and their families
- Even if we look at genuine victims of domestic violence (wives), they could be forced to accept some amount to ‘settle’ the cases and get the FIR quashed
- In our opinion, domestic violence cases where there has been physical violence, must be dealt with strictly by the courts
- Any other matrimonial problems between the couple must be heard by counsellors and if the relationship is beyond repair from both ends, the courts must automatically grant divorce and not permit either disgruntled party to drag cases endlessly
Breaking Marriage Promise Due To Disagreement By Parents Does Not Amount To Rape: Bombay High Court
LEAVE YOUR COMMENTS BELOW:
Maharashtra Government Proposes Bill to Settle Domestic Violence Cases Through Settlement & Compromise
▪️Bombay HC (Oct 2022): "Everyday, we've min 10 petitions seeking quashing of Section #498A by consent, since it's non-compoundable"
— Voice For Men India (@voiceformenind) February 7, 2024
Join our Facebook Group or follow us on social media by clicking on the icons below
Blogging about Equal Rights for Men or writing about Gender Biased Laws is often looked upon as controversial, as many 'perceive' it Anti-Women. Due to this grey area - where we demand Equality in the true sense for all genders - most brands distance themselves from advertising on a portal like ours.
We, therefore, look forward to your support as donors who understand our work and are willing to partner in this endeavour to spread this cause. Do support our work to counter one sided gender biased narratives in the media.
To make an instant donation, click on the "Donate Now" button above. For information regarding donation via Bank Transfer, click here.
Alternately, you can also donate to us via our UPI ID: voiceformenindia@hdfcbank