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 purposes of this section, ‘cruelty’ means—

(a) any willful 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.”

Bullet Points on Section 498A IPC:

  • Section 498A prosecutes husbands or relatives causing cruelty, encompassing harm, harassment, with penalties of imprisonment and fine.
  • The law holds both husband and relatives accountable for such behavior.
  • “Cruelty” includes conduct likely to prompt suicide or cause severe physical or mental harm.
  • “Cruelty” also encompasses harassment to coerce fulfilling unlawful property demands.
  • Punishment includes imprisonment up to three years and a monetary penalty.

Landmark Judgements on Section 498A IPC:

ARNESH KUMAR Vs STATE OF BIHAR & ANR: Hon’ble Supreme Court issued specific directions to law enforcement agencies for making arrest under section 498A IPC. Police officers are now required to carefully assess the necessity of arrest, document reasons and materials, and communicate the decision not to arrest to the magistrate promptly. Failure to comply with these directions may result in departmental actions and contempt charges.

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