Calcutta High Court - Women Misuse Section 498A IPC Leading To "Legal Terrorism"


The Calcutta High Court has voiced concerns about the misuse of Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), suggesting that women have resorted to "legal terrorism" by exploiting this provision. The section addresses cruelty against women by their husbands or relatives [Swapan Kumar Das @ Swapan Das vs State of West Bengal].

Justice Subhendu Samanta, a single judge, highlighted that while Section 498A was enacted to combat dowry-related issues and protect women's interests, it has been misused, leading to what he termed as "new legal terrorism."

The judge emphasized that accusations of harassment and torture, constituting cruelty under Section 498A, require substantial evidence beyond the complainant's statements. He underscored the need for credible and cogent evidence to substantiate such allegations.

The court was addressing a case in which a man and his family were facing criminal charges filed by his estranged wife in 2017. The court observed that the allegations lacked robust evidence and relied primarily on the wife's account. The absence of corroborative medical or documentary proof raised doubts about the veracity of the claims.

Considering the absence of convincing evidence and potential personal motivations behind the proceedings, the court exercised its inherent power to quash the case. The court's decision reflects its concerns about the misuse of legal provisions for personal vendettas rather than legitimate grievances.

Senior Advocate Ayan Bhattacharjee, along with advocates Sharequl Haque and Debarka Guha, represented the petitioners. Advocates Saswata Gopal Mukherjee, Imran Ali, and Debjani Sahu appeared for the State.

Author: Anushka Taraniya

News Writer, MIT ADT University