Ashri Associates-Dowry

DOWRY / 498 – A

The object of introducing chapter XX-A containing Section 498 – A in the Indian Penal Code is to prevent the torture of a woman by her husband or by relatives of her husband. Section 498-A has been added with a view to punishing a husband and his relatives who harass or torture to coerce her or her relatives to satisfy the unlawful demands of dowry. It is a continuing offence and on each occasion on which a woman is subjected to cruelty, she would have a new starting point of limitation.

Clause (a) clearly speaks of any willful conduct which is of such nature as is likely to drive a woman to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to limb, life or health ( mental or physical ) of the woman. The definition of the word “ Cruelty “ is statutory innovation made by the Legislature which seeks to manifest its intention with a view to remedying the mischief for which the enactment is made.

The society cannot be oblivious to the horrifying levels of suffering that a woman is subjected to over a long period of time, the unpardonable level of callousness and brazenness that are involved in the infliction of such levels of cruelty and the mental tortures undergone by a woman and human mind which is far more painful than even the worst form of physical torture, stray domestic quarrels, perfunctory abuses by mother in law to daughter in law in the Indian society, crude and uncultured behavior by the in-laws or the husband towards his wife being mundane matters of normal occurrence in the traditional Joint Hindu families do not go to form and constitute “ abetment”.

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