Saturday, 5 July 2014

Supreme Court on Misuse of IPC 498A

Supreme Court on Misuse of IPC 498A (Dowry Cases) 

"There is phenomenal increase in matrimonial disputes in recent years. The institution of marriage is greatly revered in this country. Section 498-A of the IPC was introduced with avowed object to combat the menace of harassment to a woman at the hands of her husband and his relatives. The fact that Section 498-A is a cognizable and non bailable offence has lent it a dubious place of pride amongst the provisions that are used as weapons rather than shield by disgruntled wives. The simplest way to harass is to get the husband and his relatives arrested under this provision. In a quite number of cases, bed-ridden grand-fathers and grand-mothers of the husbands, their sisters living abroad for decades are arrested. “Crime in India 2012 Statistics” published by National Crime Records Bureau, Ministry of Home Affairs shows arrest of 1,97,762 persons all over India during the year 2012 for offence under Section 498-A of the IPC, 9.4% more than the year 2011. Nearly a quarter of those arrested under this provision in 2012 were women i.e. 47,951 which depicts that mothers and sisters of the husbands were liberally included in their arrest net. Its share is 6% out of the total persons arrested under the crimes committed under Indian Penal Code. It accounts for 4.5% of total crimes committed under different sections of penal code, more than any other crimes excepting theft and hurt. The rate of charge-sheeting in cases under Section 498A, IPC is as high as 93.6%, while the conviction rate is only 15%, which is lowest across all heads. As many as 3,72,706 cases are pending trial of which on current estimate, nearly 3,17,000 are likely to result in acquittal."

Supreme Court on Power to Arrest 

"Arrest brings humiliation, curtails freedom and cast scars forever. Law makers know it so also the police. There is a battle between the law makers and the police and it seems that police has not learnt its lesson; the lesson implicit and embodied in the Cr.PC. It has not come out of its colonial image despite six decades of independence, it is largely considered as a tool of harassment, oppression and surely not considered a friend of public. The need for caution in exercising the drastic power of arrest has been emphasized time and again by Courts but has not yielded desired result. Power to arrest greatly contributes to its arrogance so also the failure of the Magistracy to check it. Not only this, the power of arrest is one of the lucrative sources of police corruption. The attitude to arrest first and then proceed with the rest is despicable. It has become a handy tool to the police officers who lack sensitivity or act with oblique motive."

Supreme Court Directions on Arrest

Hon'ble Supreme Court has issued following directions to ensure that police officers do not arrest accused and unnecessarily and Magistrate do not authorise detention casually and mechanically :

(1) All the State Governments to instruct its police officers not to automatically arrest when a case under Section 498-A of the IPC is registered but to satisfy themselves about the necessity for arrest under the parameters laid down above flowing from Section 41, Cr.PC;

(2) All police officers be provided with a check list containing specified sub-clauses under Section 41(1)(b)(ii);

(3) The police officer shall forward the check list duly filed and furnish the reasons and materials which necessitated the arrest, while forwarding/producing the accused before the Magistrate for further detention;

(4) The Magistrate while authorising detention of the accused shall peruse the report furnished by the police officer in terms aforesaid and only after recording its satisfaction, the Magistrate will authorise detention;

(5) The decision not to arrest an accused, be forwarded to the Magistrate within two weeks from the date of the institution of the case with a copy to the Magistrate which may be extended by the Superintendent of police of the district for the reasons to be recorded in writing;

(6) Notice of appearance in terms of Section 41A of Cr.PC be served on the accused within two weeks from the date of institution of the case, which may be extended by the Superintendent of Police of the District for the reasons to be recorded in writing;

(7) Failure to comply with the directions aforesaid shall apart from rendering the police officers concerned liable for departmental action, they shall also be liable to be punished for contempt of court to be instituted before High Court having territorial jurisdiction.

(8) Authorising detention without recording reasons as aforesaid by the judicial Magistrate concerned shall be liable for departmental action by the appropriate High Court.

Shall Apply beyond Section 498A also 

The directions aforesaid shall not only apply to the cases under Section 498-A of the I.P.C. or Section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, the particular case, but also such cases where offence is punishable with imprisonment for a term which may be less than seven years or which may extend to seven years; whether with or without fine.

Case Number: 
Criminal Appeal No. 1277 of 2014

Case Title:
Arnesh Kumar Vs State of Bihar & Anr.

Hon'ble Justice Chandrmauli Kr. Prasad
Hon'ble Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose

Date of Judgement: 
2nd July 2014

Blog Link:

Full judgement / Order Link:

Disclaimer: We do not accept any liability arising out of use of above information. Users are advised to apply their own thoughts and experience in above case.


  1. The statistics of cases of arrest under S. 498 (A) reported in the Judgement are alarming. The institution of marriage in an orderly society under Indian Culture needs to be revered and saved. The very purpose of Family court Act as mentioned in its statement of objects and reasons will have to be looked in to before taking any decision by the concerned Family Court. Hon'ble High Courts take care in selecting and appointing Family Court Judges.The legislature in its wisdom has provided sufficient safeguards, but the judgement of High Courts and Apex Court while considering the rights of parties to appear before Family Court in pursuance of summons issued by Family Court through Advocates needs to be corrected.A practical knowledge of family environment prevailing in different castes and communities is a must for a Judge of Family Court. Usually either of the party before a Family Court will be suffering from minor mental ailments. This Judgement of Apex court provides enough safe guards before arrest and aids in providing congenial atmosphere in Police Stations to inquire in to the family disputes.

  2. thanks for sharing information. this is very nice blog.