The Supreme Court deprecated the misuse of 498-A by wives to wreck vengeance on their husbands and their relatives and directed the Supreme Court registry to lay this judgement in front of the Hon’ble Home Minister so that 498-A can be redesigned in the New Criminal Laws thereby curbing the misuse of the provision.

The Supreme Court quoted from Category 7 of Bhajan Lal case in terms of quashing under section 482 CrPC . The category 7 as laid reads thus: –
“(7) where a criminal proceeding is manifestly attended with mala fide and/or where the proceeding is maliciously instituted with an ulterior motive forwreaking vengeance on the accused and with a view to spite him due to private and personal grudge.”

The Supreme Court was of the view that category 7 referred to above should be taken
into consideration and applied in a case like the one on hand a bit liberally.

“If the Court is convinced by the fact that the involvement by the complainant ofher husband and his close relatives is with an oblique motive then even if theFIR and the chargesheet disclose the commission of a cognizable offence theCourt with a view to doing substantial justice should read in between the linesthe oblique motive of the complainant and take a pragmatic view of the matter.
If the submission canvassed by the counsel appearing for the Respondent No. 2and the State is to be accepted mechanically then in our opinion the veryconferment of the inherent power by the Cr.P.C. upon the High Court would berendered otiose. We are saying so for the simple reason that if the wife on
account of matrimonial disputes decides to harass her husband and his familymembers then the first thing, she would ensure is to see that proper allegationsare levelled in the First Information Report. Many times the services ofprofessionals are availed for the same and once the complaint is drafted by a
legal mind, it would be very difficult thereafter to weed out any loopholes or other deficiencies in the same.

However, that does not mean that the Courtshould shut its eyes and raise its hands in helplessness, saying that whether trueor false, there are allegations in the First Information Report and the chargesheetpapers disclose the commission of a cognizable offence. If the allegations alone
as levelled, more particularly in the case like the one on hand, are to be lookedinto or considered then why the investigating agency thought fit to file a closurereport against the other co-accused? There is no answer to this at the end of thelearned counsel appearing for the State. We say so, because allegations havebeen levelled not only against the Appellant herein but even against his parents,
brother & sister. If that be so, then why the police did not deem fit to filechargesheet against the other co-accused? It appears that even the investigatingagency was convinced that the FIR was nothing but an outburst arising from a matrimonial dispute.

Many times, the parents including the close relatives of the wife make a mountain out of a mole. Instead of salvaging the situation and making allpossible endeavours to save the marriage, their action either due to ignorance oron account of sheer hatred towards the husband and his family members, brings
about complete destruction of marriage on trivial issues. The first thing thatcomes in the mind of the wife, her parents and her relatives is the Police, as if the Police is the panacea of all evil. No sooner the matter reaches up to thePolice, then even if there are fair chances of reconciliation between the spouses,they would get destroyed. The foundation of a sound marriage is tolerance.

The Police machinery cannot be utilised for the purpose of holding the husband at ransom so that he could besqueezed by the wife at the instigation of her parents or relatives or friends.

In all cases, where wife complains of harassment or ill-treatment, Section 498A ofthe IPC cannot be applied mechanically. No FIR is complete without Sections506(2) and 323 of the IPC. Every matrimonial conduct, which may causeannoyance to the other, may not amount to cruelty. Mere trivial irritations,
quarrels between spouses, which happen in day-to-day married life, may alsonot amount to cruelty.”


decided by the Supreme Court of India on May3, 2024


Sanjiv Narang Adv. is an Advocate on Record in the Supreme Court of India. His qualifications include an LLB from University of Delhi and a Masters degree in Personnel Management from Panjab University,Chandigarh.In his more than 3 decades of experience, he has practiced law at the District, High Court and Supreme Court levels.He also has more than a decade of experience in the field of Management. He is the author of two books namely Laws for Women in India and Innovation, Why What and How.