Chapter XXA was inserted in the Indian Penal Code in the year 1983 to protect married women from being subjected to cruelty by the husband or his relatives. if it is proved then the punishment extending to 3 years and fine has been prescribed.
The expression “cruelty” has been defined in wide terms so as to include inflicting both physical or mental harm to the body or health of the woman and indulging in acts of harassment with a view to coerce (मजबूर करना) her or her relations to meet any unlawful demand for any property or valuable security such as dowry etc. Creating a situation driving the woman to commit suicide is also one of the ingredients of “cruelty”.
Section 498-A: Husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty
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 3 years and shall also be liable to fine.
For the purposes of this section, “cruelty” means –
(a) any wilful 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.
Evidence Act, 1872.
Section 113-A : Presumption as to abetment of suicide by a married woman
When the question is whether the commission of suicide by a woman had been abetted by her husband or any relative of her husband and it is shown that she had committed suicide within a period of 7 years from the date of her marriage and that her husband or such relative of her husband had subjected her to cruelty, the court may presume, having regard to all the other circumstances of the case, that such suicide had been abetted by her husband or by such relative of her husband.
Note: For the purposes of this section, “cruelty” shall have the same meaning as in Section 498-A of IPC.
Classification of offence
The offence under Section 498-A of IPC is cognizable (a case in which a police officer may arrest the accused without an arrest warrant) if the information relating to the commission of the offence is given to an officer-in-charge of a police station by the person aggrieved by the offence or by any person related to her by blood, marriage or adoption etc. and a non-bailable offence.