In this blog post, Sourabh Makhija, from RDVV – Jabalpur guides on the steps that can be taken if a false dowry case and domestic violence case is registered against you.
The violence that affects a person’s life in every way – physically, mentally, emotionally and psychologically is known as Domestic Violence. It is a violation of a basic human right. Various countries of the world have identified it as a serious threat to a person’s overall development and hence, has provided relief from domestic violence in various forms. India has also identified domestic violence as a crime and provides relief and protection from it – unfortunately to only Women!
Domestic violence against men is almost nil as there is no provision in any law to protect a man. As a result of which we have many cases where women use their rights in making false complaint against their husbands with the motive of harassing them. Moreover, everyone including our government has failed to take any stand on addressing the violence faced by men.
Women use the weapons called Section 498A and Dowry Act to file a false complaint so as to attack their husband. Section 498A of Indian Penal Code is a provision under which a husband, his parents, and relatives can be booked for subjecting a woman to cruelty to meet their unlawful demands (dowry). Generally, the husband, his parents, and relatives are immediately arrested without sufficient investigation and put behind bars on non-bailable terms. Even if the complaint is false, the accused is presumed to be guilty until he or she proves innocence in the court. The maximum punishment if proven guilty is imprisonment for three years.
Stand of Judiciary on False Complaints made by Women
The judiciary is well aware of the misuse of Section 498A. Supreme Court called it legal terrorism. But even the judiciary is helpless due to tremendous pressures from feminist groups. There is a bill pending in Rajya Sabha for amendment to Section 498A.
Justice Malimath, former Chief Justice of Karnataka and Kerala High courts headed a committee which gave its report on comprehensive amendments to Criminal Laws. This committee recommended that 498A should be made bailable and compoundable. Listening to the recommendation of the committee Feminist groups and their contacts inside Amnesty International threatened for agitation on this issue.
What to do if a False Domestic Violence and Dowry case is registered against you
If a false complaint is registered against you by your wife, you have two options – either to defend your case and wait for the judgement or to file a counter case against your wife and prove her wrong. Both are detailed below.
You can defend yourself and your family from being sent to jail because of the false complaint. You have following options to defend your family and yourself-
Collect as many pieces of evidence as possible
- Record all conversations (voice, chat, email, letters, etc.) with those threatening and keep the originals in a safe place. It is advised not to produce the original evidence before anyone.
- Collect evidence to prove that you have neither demanded dowry nor have taken it anytime.
- Collect evidence to prove that she moved out of the bond of marriage for no valid reason.
- This evidence will be fruitful in the time of getting anticipatory bail or notice bail from the court.
Safeguard your Family
There are hundred of cases where the whole family is put behind the bars just because of one false complaint. Section 498A has a very wide jurisdiction under which the women can complain against anyone in the family. Even the mother and the father of the husband are not immune. In such a situation the husband can do the following to safeguard his parents and other family members –
- Once the FIR is lodged, the man can apply for anticipatory bail or notice bail so as to ensure that the innocent family members are not going behind bars without any just cause.
How the case turns out would totally depend on which state the case is lodged. Different states have different mechanisms to deal with the problems of false cases.
- For example, in Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan the complaint would first be referred to CAW Cell (Crime Against Women Cell)/ Mahila Thana). Where attempts would be made for Settlement between husband and wife. And if no settlement is reached, the case would be converted into FIR. At this stage or even before, you can seek Anticipatory Bail or Notice Bail for all your family members to protect them from arrest.
- In Uttar Pradesh/ Uttranchal, the FIR would be promptly registered but you would get 30 days to settle the case in mediation centre. By which time most people obtain stay on the arrest from High Court.
- In Bihar/ Jharkhand, the situation is very bad, people are arrested without verification, and also getting Anticipatory Bail is very difficult.
Complaint about blackmailing, false allegations
Lodge a complaint to your nearest police station, detailing about blackmailing, her false allegations, and her unbearable behaviour. Request in your complaint that police should take necessary actions to stop her from making threats and abuses immediately, also tell the police verbally and in writing along with available evidence that you are facing blackmailing and threats and mental torture from your wife and/or her family, as the case maybe. Filing such a complaint early on can save you from a lot of trouble later on if you are the first one to file this.
Drawback of this move
- Police don’t easily write down the complaints of men. Also, how the complaint is drafted is critical. This is why consulting a good criminal lawyer with experience in such matters before approaching the police is a good idea. Get your complaint drafted by a trial lawyer if possible. If police the refuse to register the complaint, seek the help of a lawyer again. They will be able to make the police register the complaint.
- Police itself sometimes provoke the wife to register a false complaint against the husband, the reason being the greed of taking bribe later.
What I suggest in such circumstances
- If the police reject to file your complaint you can write a complaint letter and send the same to the SP/commissioner as the case may be and get a “receiving copy” of the complaint.
- If the police refuse to give you a receiving copy, you can send the complaint to the police station by registered post. The acknowledgement of which must be kept safe with you.
- Police have a higher chance of acting on your complaints after this.
- One of the common mistakes the victims of a false 498A complaint do is to try to manage the whole matter on their own and not involve any legal expert in the issue. This often leads to damaging their own case. So, it’s always better to engage a legal expert such as a lawyer to advise you on the matter and if possible do the leg work as well. A lawyer will surely understand the matter better than you. Check out Cliklawyer.com to get some quick advice free of cost on a call.
File RCR (Restitution of Conjugal Rights)
If your wife has left your place after all the blackmailing and threatening, you can file RCR (Restitution of Conjugal Rights) mentioning the conditions that she should agree on before she starts living with you again.
Do not enter into a Settlement with your wife
- If you have to compromise, do it without paying any money. By paying her money you will indirectly accept the blackmailing and guilt. Your act will encourage fraudulent women to do more blackmailing.
- Despite all this, if you decide to pay and compromise then do not pay all the money till High court or Supreme court have given the final order of compounding the IPC 498A and all offence including the divorce decree. This is where your lawyer’s role in negotiations will be critical. You should get the settlement conditions agreed by both parties in writing (in the same agreement) including her and her family members. Also get them to file A court statement under IPC-156 that they will not challenge this order in higher courts and that they will take back all the cases filed against you and all your relatives in all the courts. They should get the final instalment of money after all cases and proceedings are withdrawn and closed.
Raise the issue of false complaint
Start writing letters to the media, human rights organizations, etc, telling them about the misuse of Section 498A. Use social media platform for reaching the mass. This will not give you legal relief but bring the attention of the society toward the misuses of the law.
http://www.pmindia.gov.in/en/interact-with-honble-pm/ – here you can submit your complaint to the Prime Minister of India.
Web information Manager
Rasina Hill, South block
New Delhi – 110011
Phone No.: +91-11-23012312
To make your case stronger and to expect an earlier settlement, you can file counter cases against your wife. Below is a list of counter cases you can file to strong your case. But for this purpose, you will need an advocate to represent you, though it should be in your knowledge as what remedies you have or what counter cases you can file against your wife.
- Sec 120B Indian Penal Code, 1860 – Punishment of Criminal Conspiracy – You can file a case against your wife alleging that she is conspiring to commit a crime against you.
- Sec 167 Indian Penal Code, 1860 – Public servant framing an incorrect document with intent to cause injury – If you believe that the police authorities are helping your wife in making false complaint and framing incorrect documents you can file a case against them alleging their false framing of documents.
- Sec 182 Indian Penal Code, 1860 – False information, with intent to cause public servant to use his lawful power to the injury of another person – What usually happens is that the public servant in his power does something which might not be the true, in short, a false information is circulated so as to depress the evidence.
- Section 191 Indian Penal Code, 1860 – Giving false evidence – If you suspect that your wife or anybody is presenting false evidence against you in the court of law or police station, you can file a case alleging that the evidence which are being used to prosecute you are false, which consequently make the whole charges false.
- Section 197 Indian Penal Code, 1860 – Issuing or signing a false certificate – Perjury is a crime, one can’t sign a false certificate and allege it to be true. Hence, if someone suffers because of the wrong certificate, he can prove himself innocent after showing sufficient evidence.
- Section 471 in The Indian Penal Code – Using as genuine a forged [document or electronic record]. – Whoever fraudulently or dishonestly uses as genuine any [document or electronic record] which he knows or has reason to believe to be a forged [document or electronic record], shall be punished in the same manner as if he had forged such [document or electronic record].
- Section 497 in The Indian Penal Code – Adultery – Whoever has sexual intercourse with a person who is and whom he knows or has reason to believe to be the wife of another man, without the consent or connivance of that man, such sexual intercourse not amounting to the offence of rape, is guilty of the offence of adultery, and shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years, or with fine, or with both. In such case, the wife shall not be punishable as an abettor.
- Section 500 Indian Penal Code, 1860 – defamation – Reputation is man’s biggest asset. So if someone tries to defame you by any means, you can drag them to court for the harm suffered by you because of their conduct. They will be entitled to pay you damages to you in terms of compensation.
- Section 504 The Indian Penal Code, 1860 – Intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace – Whoever intentionally insults, and thereby gives provocation to any person, intending or knowing it to be likely that such provocation will cause him to break the public peace, or to commit any other offence, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.
- Section 506 Indian Penal Code, 1860 – Punishment for Criminal Intimidation – You can file a case of criminal intimidation against your wife alleging that she threatens you to do harm to you or your family or your property. Yet again, evidence is the only thing which can support your case.
- Section 227 of The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 – If you believe that the complaint registered by your wife is false you can file an application under sec 227 stating that the 498A case filled by your wife is false. If you have enough proofs, or if she does not have enough proof to substantiate the charges, chances are that the judge just dismisses the 498A case as it is a framed one.
- Section 9 of Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 – Damage recovery case – If she breaks into your home, creates a scene, and goes to ” protection officer ” and lies that you abused her “physically, emotionally or economically”, file a damage recovery case under Section 9 of CPC against her. Legally, you must issue notice on the same day or next day. The suit will continue for a long time. It has no risk.
The false complaint against men is increasing every day, it’s a serious issue as it violates the basic human rights. The problem is not unknown to anybody, everybody knows how women misuse the provisions of the law to fulfil their unlawful demands against their husbands. Moreover, Sec 498A is non-compoundable which make it more severe for men. Though the government recently has given some guidelines to amend the existing laws, making same provisions for men and women. The Supreme Court is also working hard on making things better for Indian men as a result of which, in a judgement the court gave some guidelines against the arbitrary arrest of men in 498A cases. Also, with the tremendous misuse of Section 489A, there are landmark judgments in favour of the male. A recent judgment states that if a false allegation is made against a husband by the female, that would constitute grounds for divorce. Link: False dowry charge ground for divorce, Supreme Court rules – The Times of India
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