Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code FAQ
Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code
Cruelty against women has a long history. Women have been subjected to continuous threats or torture for demand for something or the other. In 1983, Section 498A was added in the Indian Penal Code which protects married women from being subject to cruelty by husband or relatives of husband. In addition to domestic violence act, a consequential amendment to the Evidence Act was also made, shifting the burden of proof of innocence on the part of the accused as against prosecution in the case of abetment of suicide by a married woman and a wife’s death within a period of 7 years of marriage (Section 113A & 113B of Evidence Act). Laws like these help women fight back and be heard. Such an offence is a non-bailable and cognizable offence. Such complaints fall under the jurisdiction of magistrate of first class.
What does cruelty mean here?
Cruelty includes both physical and mental torture. The explanation clause of cruelty under section 498a of ipc gives it a even wider meaning – any willful conduct which is likely to drive the married woman to commit suicide or cause grave danger to her life or physical health, or, harassment of the married woman or anyone related to her to meet any unlawful demands will all fall in the meaning of cruelty.
Who may file a complaint?
The complaint under this section may be filed by the aggrieved woman or anyone related to her by blood, marriage or adoption. But if no such relative is there then by a public servant who is authorized by the state government to do so.
What is the period of limitation to file such a complaint?
A complaint alleging the commission of an offence under this section can be filed within 3 years of the alleged incident. However, the section enables the court to take cognizance of an offence after the period of limitation if it is satisfied that it is necessary to do so in the interest of justice.
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