Dealing with false dowry cases or accusations can be a troublesome task for a husband and his family members. Currently, the rate at which false allegations of dowry and other domestic cases are surging is a matter of concern for society as a whole. The judicial authorities have given certain recent judgments and amendments in law to deal with such frivolous cases, punishing those who are taking disadvantage of the law for their benefits or gains.
In a recent case, the Supreme Court of India allowed the dissolution of marriage stating that “We have found that the wife had filed a false criminal complaint against her husband and his family and such complaints are eligible enough to constitute matrimonial cruelty”.
OVERVIEW OF SECTION 498A
False dowry cases are dealt with under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 which clearly states that if the husband or any relative of the husband of a woman, subjects her to any form of cruelty, shall be punished with imprisonment for three years along with a fine. Any offense committed under Section 498A is cognizable, non-compoundable, and non-bailable.
Here, the word cruelty shall mean any willful conduct that forces or abets the wife to commit suicide or cause her such a grave injury/danger to life, limb, or mental and physical health. It includes physical or mental harassment of the woman who coerces her or any other person related to her to meet any unlawful demand for any immovable or movable property or any valuable security.
MISUSE OF SECTION 498A
Just like there is a good and a bad side to everything, every law that is made for the protection and welfare of women has its own effects if used with a malafide intention. Section 498A of IPC was designed and inserted into the legal framework by the law and policy-makers to protect women against cruelty, harassment, and other offenses towards them by their husbands or their family members. However, if we see the records we will find more acquittals than convictions in the dowry cases because a majority of them are FALSE. Due to such false dowry cases, people have started questioning the authenticity and credibility of the dowry law.
The situation got so worse that the Supreme Court of India labeled this as Legal Terrorism and it was known as the Anti-Male law. Many females have defeated the purpose and objective of this law through their false dowry allegations. The object to bring this law was to use this Section 498A as a shield rather than as a weapon. In the case of Arnesh Kumar v. the State of Bihar, it was reported that police had arrested the bedridden grandparents of the husband, which was falsely registered by the wife. Such kinds of false reports are increasing day by day subjecting innocent people to adversities and humiliation.
Therefore, Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 is a penal provision that operates together with the provisions in the Code of Civil Procedure to impart an element of deterrence and punish the accused and protect the victim.
PROTECTION TIPS FROM FALSE DOWRY CASES
To grant protection against false dowry cases, the following are certain regulations that can be used to tackle such false dowry cases situations:
Section 340 CrPC
Any person who is subject to a false dowry case shall take the recourse of Section 340 CrPC which states that if a false dowry case has been filed against a husband and his family based on false pieces of evidence then, he can file an application under section 340 against the wife or any other person who has lodged the complaint.
Application under Section 9
If the husband is Hindu, then he should apply to section 9 of the Hindu marriage act and for other religions, the application can be made under the Restitution of Conjugal Rights stating his willingness to continue living with his wife and an admission that he has never harassed her or any of her family member for the dowry.
On filing a false FIR, the husband can go to the Senior Police Officer or commissioner and can submit a written complaint stating all the facts. In case, if there are mothers and sisters involved in the case, an application to the National Commission of Women can be made availing their protection from the false dowry case.
Domestic Violence Act
If the husband thinks that the maintenance order filed against him is based on false allegations then he should apply to section 25 (2) of the Domestic Violence Act.
Approach higher court
If any order is passed against the husband based on the false case then he can appeal against such decision in the Higher Court or Authority of the respective state.
In family and marital issues, the court always suggests that instead of separation or taking divorce there should be reconciliation. For that, these matters are sent to mediation He should always try that this issue should go into mediation so that fake cases can come to light.
PUNISHMENT FOR FALSE DOWRY CASE
Section 211 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 reads out that any false charge of offense made with the intent to injure any person, institutes or causes to be instituted any criminal proceeding against that person, or falsely charges any person to commit any offense, with a mala fide intention knowing that there is no just or lawful ground for such proceeding or charge against that person, shall be given a punishment of imprisonment of two years or fine or both.
In such situations, it is necessary to take assistance or advice from a good civil or criminal lawyer. You can find such prominent lawyers on our website.
Is dowry a criminal offense?
Yes, giving and taking of dowry is considered a criminal offense in India and criminal proceedings can be initiated against the accused and the family members.
How can I defend myself if I have been accused of a false dowry case and an Fake FIR has been filed aginst Me?
Being accused of a false dowry case and having an FIR filed against you can be a stressful experience. To defend yourself legally, seek legal advice immediately, provide evidence of your innocence, and follow your lawyer's guidance to navigate the legal procedure to get rid of a false FIR.
How do I prove that my wife has filed a false dowry case against me in court?
Through evidence like messages, call recordings,s, and witnesses, it can be proved that the case filed against you is false. As the statements given in the court of law under the oath is considered evidence, any diversion from them would construe that it is false evidence.
How can you defend yourself if you have been accused of a false dowry case and an FIR has been filed against you?
Till what time period can I file a dowry case?
Dowry cases should be filed within 7 years of marriage to claim justice in the court of law.
For long can one go to jail in case of a dowry case?
One can go to jail for a minimum of six months which can extend to two years, depending upon case to case.