jharkhand high court

Jharkhand High Court: In a petition filed under Section 482 of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (‘CrPC’) for quashing entire criminal proceedings filed against the complainant’s brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law in a case of Section 498-A of Penal Code, 1860 (‘IPC’), including order of cognizance dated 29-09-2011 pending in the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Sanjay Kumar Dwivedi, J. allowed the same to quash entire criminal proceedings while expressing concern over misuse of Section 498-A of IPC and implicating relatives of the husband in matrimonial disputes.


The complaint case was filed with allegations that the complainant wife’s marriage was solemnized on 19-02-1999 and since then, she was living peacefully with her husband for several years, but suddenly, his behavior changed towards her and he would quarrel with her on flimsy ground and also assault her sometimes with fists and slaps, which was eventually followed by demand of a sum of Rs 5 lakhs for giving her a decent living in his house. It was alleged that her family members had already paid Rs 2.5 lakhs on his demand and had also given gold ornaments at the time of marriage. It was further alleged that her in-laws also used to visit and instigated him regarding such demands, and if refused, they even told him to divorce her, which led to registration of criminal case.

The Court observed that only general and omnibus allegations were there against the petitioners for which the Court took cognizance. The Court noted that the nature of torture has not been disclosed in the complaint petition as well as in the solemn affirmation.

Court’s Analysis of Misuse of Section 498-A of IPC

The Court reiterated the object for Section 498-A of IPC to punish cruelty by husband and his relatives, but the Court observed that the Section is being misused nowadays, as observed by several High Courts and Supreme Court.

The Court listed cases like Arnesh Kumar v. State of Bihar, (2014) 8 SCC 273 when the Court considered unnecessary accusations against husband’s relatives; Preeti Gupta v. State of Jharkhand, (2010) 7 SCC 667 for cases of IPC Section 498-A lodged at the heat of the moment; Geeta Mehrotra v. State of U.P., (2012) 10 SCC 741 for general and omnibus allegations to rope family members; K. Subba Rao v. State of Telangana, (2018) 14 SCC 452. Through such cases, the Court brought in light several instances when the Courts expressed concern over misuse of Section 498-A of IPC and the increasing tendency of implicating husband’s relatives in matrimonial disputes without analyzing the long term ramification of a complaint.

The Court noted that there were general and omnibus allegations against the petitioners in the instant matter, while the Sessions Court took cognizance after remand and observation of prima facie case made out against them having no other option but to take cognizance.

Considering the general and omnibus allegations against the petitioners, the Court found it a fit case for exercising power under Section 482 of CrPC. The Court quashed the entire criminal proceedings against the petitioners in the instant complaint of IPC Section 498-A.

[Umesh Kumar v. State of Jharkhand, 2023 SCC OnLine Jhar 1079, decided on 6-07-2023]

Advocates who appeared in this case :

For Petitioners: Advocate Rajesh Kumar;

For Opposite Parties: Advocate Lalan Kumar Singh, Additional Public Prosecutor Shailesh Kumar Sinha.

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