The Calcutta High Court on Monday said that some women have unleashed “legal terrorism” by misusing Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), a provision that intends to protect them from cruelty by her husband or his family members.
The high court made strong observations while hearing requests submitted by a man and his family challenging criminal cases filed against them by his estranged wife.
“The provision of section 498A has been enacted to strike out the dowry menace from society. “But it is observed in several cases that by misusing of said provision new legal terrorism is unleashed. Harassment and torture enumerated in the definition of security u/s 498A cannot be proved solely by the defacto complainant,” the court said.
Noting that the medical evidence on record and witness statements established no offence against the man and his family, a single-bench of Justice Subhendu Samanta quashed the criminal proceedings initiated by a lower court – based on the woman’s complaint.
“The direct allegation against the husband by the de-facto complainant is merely from her version. It support no documentary or medical evidence,” the court opined.
“The law allows complainant to file a criminal complaint, but the same has to be justified by adducing cogent evidences,” it said.
The court also noted that the couple was staying at a separate house, and not with the man’s family since the beginning. “The allegation contend in the petition of complaint are concocted, no such fact of assault or torture has ever been effected upon the complainant. Since the marriage the woman never intent to stay with her in-laws consequently, a separate accommodation was arranged by the husband petitioner and they are residing separately there,” the court said.