498A IPC Corruption by Police
Below are details on 498A
In my attempt to reconstruct your opinion about Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), let us look at some details about what is the 498A is, and why it is made out to be such a big crime that the state police leaves all its other pending work and focuses all its resources on arresting a husband and his relatives.
Section 498A of the IPC deals with a non-bailable offence, which applies to a husband, or relative(s) of a husband, of a woman, who is/are subjecting her to cruelty.
Every accused is treated in more or less the same way by the police. The validity or truth of allegations will be proved later (sometimes decades later), but until then, it is considered that whatever a woman has alleged is the absolute truth. The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data reveals the fate of most cases under Section 498A, where the conviction rate is merely 13%, and pendency remains as high as 89%. Cases are filed and remain pending in the court for years. But, all the accused are to be arrested as soon as the case is filed, because this section of the IPC is non-bailable, and only a court can grant bail to them, after producing sureties of required amount. This arrest is what makes Section 498A the most terrifying among other family laws, and qualifies it to be a criminal case.
The police has a very crucial role to play, with its investigation power. But, the same police files a charge sheet very casually, in 93% of cases. It certainly raises a question on the work of police, as to why, after their careful investigation, such a low number of accused are convicted. It certainly creates a doubt. But, they are also bound to do this, due to the constraints of law, which considers that whatever a woman has stated is to be considered true. They even cannot refuse to register an FIR.
Later, the court also follows the same procedure when the accused applies for a bail or a stay on the arrest. The courts deny bail on the basis of prima facie allegations confirming the probability of crime happening.
It seems like, technically, if someone wants to be assured of the accused's arrest, the allegations are to be framed in such a way that the court easily sees the probability that the crime has occurred prima facia.
Those accused under Section 498A are not serial abusers of law or criminals or terrorists, but still, they are treated as hardcore criminals. Most of the cases under Section 498A arise out of misunderstanding or ego clashes at home, and are filed to settle personal scores. The entire family of the husband is made accused in the case to 'teach them a lesson'.
It is very easy to file a case under Section 498A, and everything will follow once the FIR is registered. But, the amount of harassment that an accused and his family face cannot be described in words. The shame of being arrested, the terror of the police, who treat the accused as if they have committed a brutal crime, and the extortion that happens in the process is what makes many break and commit suicide. This is the terror of Section 498A. The terror of the power that women have, to get her husband/his family arrested on mere allegations.
The awareness of this power to spoil somebody’s life is being spread by various feminist organizations, in the name of women empowerment. Increased literacy level also plays a role in it, as now, more number of women are aware about these powers. But, it seems unjustified to give somebody a power by which they can misuse government machinery (police and court) for settling personal scores, by filing false cases.
It certainly looks less of women empowerment, which works for equality, and more of giving abusive powers, without setting any accountability or punishment for misuse. more