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WHAT IF YOUR WIFE THREATENS YOU WITH 498-A?The same way there are two sides to every coin,there are special provisions of law originally intended to protect vulnerable classes but often get misused to manipulate and victimize others. The special protection accorded to women under the Dowry Prohibition Act,Prevention of Domestic Violence Act and the IPC provision under S.498A have been under criticism for the same,and the Supreme Court in July passed a verdict laying down detailed Guidelines which have to be followed when a case is filed under S.498A,and no arrest can be made right away. The move was made in the light of instances where extended family including aged parents of men was dragged to Court under the provision,without any pre-verification. Distortion and manipulation may rightly be called the most popular means of the art of deception in every context. From the Biblical account of Abel and Cain where personal envy drives brother to kill brother,the history of human evolution is laden with vengeance driven crimes and double-crossing. Direct confrontation is one way to settle scores,but when people turn to exploit the mechanism of law to bring hell down on their personal adversaries,the outcome bears damage to the society as a whole. While every provision of law is intended to promote justice in the society and ensure safety of the citizens,it has been noted that over periods of time,laws have been used by unscrupulous persons to frame innocent people and victimize them by trapping them in the procedural and technicalities of laws. Whereas the Constitution permits the State to enact special laws to protect women and children (Art. 15) and indeed several provisions of law offer special protection to women; recently much debate has surfaced on the topic of abuse of these provisions by women to even scores with men that they grudges against,wasting the valuable time of Police and the Courts. The best advocates for IPC 498-A in India may help you escape the fallacies of a false 498-A case,with the help of favourable evidence and good defence tactics. The much-debated and widely discussed provision of the IPC which was originally designed and put in place to serve justice to wives estranged and suffering in abusive marital relationship and facing cruelty at the hands of husbands and in-laws. However,in the past few years it has come under limelight for all the wrong reasons,with Courts being flooded with cases of false 498-A where the provision was misused to put in-laws under some serious pressure; and the Supreme Court consequently diluting the same in July 2017,laying down several Guidelines that need to be followed in 498-A cases. With men arguing of their rights being breached and families being made to suffer in Jail,it is time to reflect upon the matter and strike a balance between the opposing interests of abused women and abused men. While our predominantly patriarchal society places (attempts for sure) women one level below men,it is also true that every rule or law giving preference to one party has a high potential of being abused by a certain section of people with unscrupulous intentions,instead of making use of the same for protective purposes. In such circumstances,we need to be aware of the laws,its intricacies,and have access to the best lawyers for IPC 498-A in India who could help you fight a false claim in Court. The section constitutes a serious offence and is non-bailable and warrants arrest and proceedings immediately. In addition,it not only covers dowry and domestic violence,but also other aspects that constitute any form of physical or mental cruelty by husband or his family. The Section reads:“498A. Husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty.—Whoever,being the husband or the relative of the husband of a woman,subjects such woman to cruelty shall be pun­ished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine. Explanation.—For the purpose of this section,“cruelty” means—(a) any wilful 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 the woman; or(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.]”The provision often landed innocent family members as well in jail,since brothers,sisters,brother-in-laws,sister-in-laws,and all such conceivable relations were implicated in several cases,sometimes with a view to exact vengeance on the husband for quarrels or misunderstandings. While the number of such occurrences is not as high as the number of cases of genuine cases of 498-A filed by women caught up in abusive marriages,the very existence of the fact that such a provision and the attached privilege is misused to inflict suffering on in-laws while being fully aware of the innocence of the parties puts a shadow on the provision,demeaning its essence and purpose. Here we list a few steps you can take to ensure that you do not get framed in false allegations of S.498-A,what to do if you reasonably anticipate that a case is going to be filed against you,and the next step to take if a case has been filed:• Primarily,do not engage in quarrels that are in any manner intimidating. Do not resort to any form of physical violence,not even if you perceive it not be harmful in any manner.• If you or a member of your family is threatened in respect of being booked under Domestic Violence or 498-A,collect as much evidence as possible to prove that you are being threatened of being implicated.• If you have reasonable cause to believe that the case may be filed,move the High Court for anticipatory bail. • Make sure the case,if registered,follows the Guidelines issued by the Supreme Court in July 2017,regarding the constitution of Family Welfare Committees and the method of proceeding thereunder.• Attempt settlement of the matter in an amicable manner,since the new SC Guidelines empower District and Sessions Judge to dispose of the proceedings including closing of the criminal case if dispute primarily relates to matrimonial discord.• You can move for bail with atleast one day’s clear notice to the Public Prosecutor/complainant,since the SC Guidelines lay down that such an application may be decided as far as possible on the same day.If you are in constant fear of a false case of dowry harassment and cruelty being filed against you,you might want to take adequate steps to ensure that you and your family would stay safe from malicious prosecution,arrest and time in jail. The massive changes made by the Supreme Court to the law in the July 2017 decision affords some protection to people who may be prosecuted on account of grudge,misusing the provision of law. But it is an ample example of how a provision originally intended for protecting the vulnerable classes would have to be cut down when misuse seems to exceed the actual use. The move comes as a blow to the actual victimized who will not be able to avail the benefits that were previously available under the law. The Supreme Court is now purporting to revisit the July decision and has sought Centre’s take on the matter. Read more about this in the upcoming posts.This is where the Supreme Court stepped in,and ruled in July 2017 and laid down detailed Guidelines:i) In every district one or more Family Welfare Committees be constituted by the District Legal Services Authorities.ii) Every complaint under Section 498A received by the police or the Magistrate be referred to and looked into by such committee.iii) Report of such committee be given to the Authority by whom the complaint is referred to it within one month from the date of receipt of complaint.iv) Till report of the committee is received,no arrest should be made.v) The report may be then considered by the Investigating Officer or the Magistrate on its own merit.vi) In cases where a settlement is reached,it will be open to the District and Sessions Judge to dispose of the proceedings including closing of the criminal case if dispute primarily.vii) If a bail application is filed with at least one clear day’s notice to the Public Prosecutor/complainant,the same may be decided as far as possible on the same day.viii) In respect of persons ordinarily residing out of India impounding of passports or issuance of Red Corner Notice should not be a routine.ix) Personal appearance of all family members and particularly outstation members may not be required and the trial court ought to grant exemption from personal appearance.The verdict passed by a two-judge Bench,focused on the abuse of 498-A,whereby women filed complaints against husbands and their extended families to bring about sure arrest,time in Jail and ancillary harassment even when there was no actual circumstance warranting the same. Since evidence and verification of the allegation under 498-A only came subsequent to arrest,a complaint under the impugned section was at least sometimes used as a weapon to ensure some suffering to extract vengeance.However,a three-judge Bench of the Supreme Court,comprised of Chief Justice Dipak Mishra and Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud expressed concern over the same and stated that it is not in agreement with the earlier verdict which had actually diluted the severity of section 498A. The Bench stated that “[the] Judgment had laid certain guidelines for arrest under section 498A of IPC which appears to be an exercise under the domain of legislature. We are not in agreement with the view taken as it is liable to affect the rights of woman”. The matter was brought before the Bench in a plea filed by an NGO ‘Nyayadhar’,an organisation formed by a group of lady advocates Ahmednagar,Maharashtra. The claim was that the earlier decision made the previously available strong weapon valueless by way of its dilution. The plea made suggestions of changes in the earlier Guidelines,such as the inclusion of at least two women members in the 3-member Family Welfare Committee as mandated under the July decision. The Court asked the Central Govt. for its response on the matter. The earlier directions were clarified not to apply to the offences involving tangible physical injuries or death. The court had asked the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) to give a report about need for change in the directions or for any further directions,and had listed the matter for consideration in April 2018.The current move by the Court to revise the decision focuses on the rights of the abused women,and seems to disagree with the earlier verdict. The need of the hour is to strike a balance between the two contradicting scenarios,to bring about equilibrium where the rights of innocent family members are protected from dragged to Court,while at the same time added lenience does not deprive women of their rights. The best attorneys For IPC 498-A in India are enrolled with us on our Platform and are ready to help you tackle the allegation and case which may otherwise land you in Jail and cause hardships to your family as well. The lawyers for IPC 498 A in India are our partners constantly assist clients across India with various legal disputes as and when they arise,and provide excellent legal services,alleviating the distress. 498-A cases come with added social stigma in addition to the legal consequences,and a person once caught up in such an allegation is likely to be branded for life in respect of the same; only a prudent and efficient 498-A advocate could help you with that.
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Top Lawyers for IPC 498A in India