WITH FRICTION increasing in marriages, there is “an increased tendency to use provisions such as IPC 498A”, which “were intended to prevent cruelty committed upon a woman by her husband and in-laws by facilitating prompt intervention of the state…, as instruments to settle personal scores against the husband and his relatives,” the Supreme Court said on Tuesday.
A bench of Justices S Abdul Nazeer and Krishna Murari said this while quashing an FIR against the in-laws of a woman who had accused them and her husband of cruelty and dowry harassment.
Deciding on their appeal against the November 13, 2019 order of the Patna High Court, which dismissed their plea against the FIR dated April 1, 2019, the bench said that “the allegations against them being general and omnibus, do not not warrant prosecution”.
The judgment stated that “after a reading of the contents of the FIR … it is revealed that general allegations are made” against the appellants. The complainant alleged that the accused mentally harassed her and threatened to terminate her pregnancy.
The court also said the complaint “does not establish specific allegations against the in-laws.”
“Allowing a lawsuit in the absence of clear allegations against the appellant stepparents would simply result in an abuse of the legal process,” he said.
“It becomes relevant to mention that the incorporation of IPC Section 498A was intended to prevent cruelty committed upon a woman by her husband and in-laws by facilitating prompt state intervention,” the judgment reads. .
However, it is equally true that in recent times, marital disputes in the country have also increased significantly and there is greater disaffection and friction surrounding the institution of marriage, now more than ever.
“This has resulted in an increased tendency to use provisions such as IPC 498A as instruments to settle personal scores against the husband and his relatives.”