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What is Husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty? What is the punishment for the crime? Section 498A of Indian Penal Code 1860

Husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty and the punishment for the crime are defined under Section 498A of Indian Penal Code 1860. Provisions under this section is:



Section 498A of Indian Penal Code. "Husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty"

1[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) anywilful 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.


1. Ins. by Act 46 of 1983, s. 2.

This section was enacted to meet the cases of dowry deaths. It was introduced in the year 1983 with an objective to protect a woman who is being harassed by her husband or relatives of husband. The act of harassment would amount to cruelty for the purpose of this section. The dowry prohibition Act which also deals with similar type of cases, therefore, both statues together create a situation commonly known as double jeopardy. But Delhi High Court negatived this contention and held that this section does not create situation for double jeopardy. Section 498A is distinguishable from section 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act because in the latter mere demand of dowry is punishable and with aggravated form of the offence. It punishes such demands of property or valuable security from the wife or her relatives as are coupled with cruelty to her. Hence a person can be prosecuted in respect of both the offences punishable under section 4 of the Dowry prohibition Act and this section. It s just a case similarly to section 5(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act and section 409 of the Indian Penal Code.

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