Will Government of India make any amendments whatsoever in the draconian Section 498-A IPC? A law, introduced in the year 1983, which empowers a woman to file criminal case against husband and every single member of his family.
In a recent case, the Andhra Pradesh High Court has granted anticipatory bail to a family accused of demanding dowry from the complainant- daughter in law, and attempting to murder her by strangulation. The High Court categorically noted that the dispute was between husband and wife, and subsequently, the man’s entire family had been roped in.
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Marriage between parties took place in May 2016.
Allegations by Wife
At the time of marriage, the parents of the complainant gave 20 tulas of gold and also Rs 5,00,00 cash towards dowry. The complainant further pleads that from the date of her marriage, first petitioner(husband) along with his parents, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law started harassing the complainant to bring additional dowry.
The husband of the complainant left for Saudi Arabia after marriage and when he came down to India in 2018, he tried to kill the de-facto complainant. Again the first petitioner, husband of the complainant, left to Saudi Arabia in December, 2020 and came down to India but did not visit the house of the complainant.
The complainant then approached I Town Police Station, Nandyal and Police conducted counseling. She suffered illness and after discussing with her paternal uncle, the de-facto complainant gave the complaint on 26.03.2022 and the FIR was registered under Sections 307 and 498-A, read with section 34 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (hereinafter, ‘IPC’) and sections 3 and 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 (hereinafter, ‘DP Act’).
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Submission by Husband & Family
The counsel for the petitioners retained that they were falsely implicated in the case. He insisted that as per the averments in the complaint, at the most, section 498-A read with section 34 of IPC and sections 3 and 4 of the DP Act may be attracted against the petitioners, but not section 307 of IPC.
It was also submitted that the complainant had not submitted herself to any medical examination and no wound certificate had been produced to prove the injuries she sustained. They argued that all the family members of the first petitioner were being roped in.
Andhra Pradesh High Court
Justice Subba Reddy Satti observed,
Considering the facts and circumstances of the case and in view of the disputes between the first petitioner and de-facto complainant, all the family members of the first petitioner are being roped in, this Court deems it appropriate to grant pre-arrest bail to the petitioners.
The Special Assistant Public Prosecutor opposed the bail application. He submitted that the investigation was still going on and that the petitioners’ attempt to kill the complainant attracted section 307 of IPC, making the accused persons not entitled for pre-arrest bail.
The Court stated that nothing was produced by the prosecution with regard to the injuries sustained by the complainant. The Court was of the opinion that considering the facts and circumstances of the case, and in view of the disputes between the first petitioner and the complainant, all the family members of the first petitioner were being roped in. The court found it a sufficient reason to grant pre-arrest bail to petitioners.
Each of them has been directed to furnish self bond for Rs 20,000 with two sureties for a like sum. They are also directed to cooperate with the investigation and to not tamper the evidence or influence the witnesses.
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