Protecting yourself against IPC Section 498A

Avik Chakravorty
Protecting yourself against IPC Section 498A
IPC Section 498A has been widely misused by women leading to frivolous lawsuits under section 498A. While the law was promulgated for the protection of women who may be victims of domestic violence. In this blog, the procedure of seeking protection against 498A has been discussed in detail.

At some point in time, undeniably women in comparison with men are more often victimized in cases of domestic violence on the wife both by the husband and the husband’s family. However, in cases of false allegations men fall prey to more than women do. The explicit purpose of Section 498A IPC is the protection of women who may be victimized as a result of a conspiracy or an unholy nexus between the husband and the husband’s family. Increasingly though, truly innocent men & their families have been mercilessly maligned as a result of married women misusing the legal system.

What is Section 498A?

Directly quoting IPC Section 498A mentions – “Husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty shall be subject to imprisonment for a term of three years and shall also be liable to fine.”

Currently, though, Section 498A IPC empowers Indian women to lodge grievances against their husbands for mental, physical, as well as psychological or any other ordeal that amounts to harassment. 498a cases are well-known for the provision of punishment if the law is violated or flouted. In other words, the general public is well-aware of 498A cases as there is a pile-up of cases in the pipeline.

In this day and age, each and every woman is well-aware of how and when 498A can be used to their advantage as a trump card against any sort of matrimonial disputes. A 498A offense is a cognizable, non-bailable and non-compoundable offense in India.

Since the past couple of decades, Indian history is replete with cases of numerous women protection laws being amended and reformed, specifically for the purpose of safeguarding the rights and interests of Indian women. Over the past couple of years though activists have been vociferous and vehemently opposed to any such law that is biased. 

Over the past couple of years, increasingly misuse or false filing of cases u/s Section 498 IPC has been the trend. These laws, it’s been observed neither protect nor acknowledge or accept the fact that cases of perpetration of abuse to men were more in number in comparison with women which is a reflection of the inherent disparity of the system.  

The procedure of seeking protection against Section 498A IPC

Given Indian laws are replete with unidentified loopholes the legal recourses for anyone in case a spouse’s motive of misusing the law is known and even indicates registering a false case u/s 498A for personal profit.

  • Get all Evidence & Documents: First and foremost in proving an accusation is false would require gathering all corroborating evidence emphasizing adequately on the 498A case details. One ought to start collating and compiling as much evidence as possible, including: 
  1. Any discussion amongst the husband’s family member and the wife or any form of communication including SMS, emails, letters, call recordings and so on between the wife or her relatives. 
  2. Any evidence at all that the wife walked out of her own volition
  3. Any proof at all that dowry wasn’t demanded prior to or post-wedding

  4. Anticipatory Bail: If the husband thinks his wife may under Section 498A file an FIR, he may have a criminal defense lawyer get an anticipatory bail preventing the husband’s as well as his family member’s arrest.  Anticipatory bail is similar to a precautionary bail averting arrest Any of the spouses can file for an anticipatory bail u/s 438 of Crpc.

    Quash 498A FIR: Any of the spouses can get the false 498A FIR voided by appealing to the High Court u/s 482 of CrPC[2]. Once an FIR has been filed the Courts are usually reluctant to void an FIR or get involved in the Police process, however, if there is enough evidence, the court can void the fake 498A FIR that the wife may have filed.

    • File an FIR alleging the wife for false 498 A complaint: The husband may file an FIR against his wife as well for blackmailing or filing a fake 498A case against the husband. The Indian police simply do not approve such FIR; the only exception being if the case is invincible even the Police permits/allows such FIR. A good criminal lawyer ought to draft the husband’s complaint so that even the police would be compelled to accept it. If in case the police refuse to register the husband’s FIR, the husband may implicate the officer-in-charge of that police station.

    • File a case for Conjugal Rights Restitution: If the wife has walked out of her matrimonial home and had gone back to live in her parental home, the husband could be filing a case for RCR i.e. restitution of conjugal rights against the wife u/s 9 of Hindu Marriage Act. The husband would have the upper hand and can call the shots and may mention the terms and conditions that she’ll need to be following so that both spouses van live as married couples once again.

    • File a defamation case against false 498A case: A husband can file a defamation case as well against the wife for maligning the husband’s image by filing a fake 498A case against the husband. 

    While 498A case is pursued, the timescale of the case would depend to a great extent on the proof submitted or filed with the court and the efficiency of the husband’s lawyer representing the husband’s case in the court of law.

    Ways of easing the onslaught of a 498A case

    The Supreme Court had rolled out specific guidelines for the enforcement authorities to follow while dealing with 498A cases in India and they are: 

    • At a district level, one or more Family Welfare Committees ought to be established by the District Legal Services Authorities for dealing with cases filed u/s 498A
    • Complaints u/s 498A IPC involving the police or Magistrate must be referred to the committee
    • The committee, in turn, ought to investigate the issue and send a report on it within 30 days to the authority that referred the complaint.
    • Until and unless the committee sends the report, no arrests can be made.
    • With a day’s notice, if an anticipatory bail for 498A is filled, it must be decided within that timescale
    • Family members personally appearing in court may not be necessary. Appearing through video conferencing ought to be permitted for outstation family members.


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