Specific provisions are enshrined in Indian Penal code to file Police complaint in the cases of Matrimonial Dispute. Section 509 of IPC provides for punishment with simple imprisonment for a term which extends to three years and also with fine if someone intends to insult the modesty of any woman, utters any word, makes any sound or gestures or exhibits any object, intending that such words or sound shall be heard, or that such gesture or object shall be seen ,by such woman, intrudes upon privacy of such women. The husband or any relative of the husband ,if indulge in any such act, a Police complain can be filed by the aggrieved woman under this Section with the nearest Police station. Further there is a specific provision under IPC, i.e. Section 498-A of IPC which deals with the cases where Husband or relative of Husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty. The punishment of imprisonment for a term which extend to three years also with fine is prescribed under this section for subjecting the woman to cruelty. The term cruelty includes a willful conduct 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 harassment of the woman where such harassment is with a view to coercing her or any property or valuable security or is on account of failure by her or any person related to her to meet such demand. The continual demand for dowry is prevalent in India due to which the woman is subjected to constant cruelty in the hands of Husband and his relatives.. The provisions of this sections have effectively redressed the grievances of married woman subjected to cruelty in the hands of husband and his relatives. This provision acts as a deterrent against cruelty towards woman.
How and where to file Complaint
The Complaint under Section 498-A is generally filed with the Police, in many states with the woman cell or CAW (Crime against woman) cell of Police.
A detailed complaint is drafted giving date and venue of marriage including the items of Dowry and Stridhan received during the marriage. A detailed list of all the items is to be prepared giving details of items gifted by the parents of girl at the time of marriage including Sagan given to the man, his relatives etc. Also, the expense Bills of all the jewelry and other items given to the woman at the time of marriage is to be prepared and enclosed with the complaint. The list of expenses incurred during wedding functions including Roka, Sagan, wedding, reception etc. is required to be prepared and enclosed with the complaint. The objective of attaching the list of marriage related expenses is to claim the refund of the same from the boy(bridegroom’s )side .The pictures with jewelry item and Sagan being given by the girl’s side is also enclosed to substantiate the claim.
The complaint shall clearly spell out the instances of cruelty, giving approximate dates of such instances. It should also contain the verbatim narration of abuses if hurled on the girl. Any occurrence of physical violence shall be supported by Picture or Doctor’s prescription etc.
Proceedings before the Police
The Police in his case call both the sides and try to mediate. The purpose is to resolve all the issues between both the sides to the satisfaction of girl who has lodged the complaint with Police. Issues could be settled (i) either through return of all the items to girl along with expenses and alimony and consent of the Boy for filing of petition of divorce with mutual consent (ii)or any other manner ,say apology oral or written by the boy and his relatives and undertaking not to subject the girl to cruelty any more ,as desired by the girl. In case no settlement is arrived, the Police files charge sheet against boy and his family against whom the complaint is made, resulting in their arrest and they may have to seek bail from the court of competent jurisdiction.
1.After how many years of marriage can a girl file complaint u/s 498-A? Is there any time limit prescribed to file complaint?
There is no time limit as such prescribed under law to file complaint u/s 498-A, girl can file the complaint as and when she is subjected to cruelty.
2. Can the complaint be filed by my Lawyer?
No, Lawyers are not permitted to file the complaint or attend hearing before the Investigating officer during proceedings. Only complainant and her relatives can appear along with her before the Police.
3.If I don’t have any receipt or Bills in respect of marriage expenses, can I still claim the expenses?
Yes, you can still claim the expenses through secondary evidence such as pictures etc. of gifts.
4. If no settlement is arrived at between the Girl and boy, what is the consequence? Do I need to attend the hearing before the court?
If no settlement is arrived at, the Police files charge sheet against the accused (Boy and his relatives named in the complaint). Yes, you have to attend the hearing before the court.
5. How much time does it take to get Divorce with mutual consent from the court?
It takes around 6 months-time to get Divorce with mutual consent from the court.