General omnibus allegations are not enough to make a person liable under Section 498A IPC

Patna High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Rajendra Menon, J., allowed an application filed under Section 482 CrPC seeking to quash the criminal proceedings pending against the applicants.

The applicants were the sister-in-law of the complainant and her husband. It was alleged by the complainant that soon after their marriage, her husband and his family started to demand dowry from the complainant and harass her. There were allegations not only against the husband but also against his father, mother, including current applicants.

The High Court found that the allegations against the applicants appeared to be very general in nature, no specific allegations were made. A perusal of the complaint shows that specific acts were attributed to the husband and his parents. However, against the applicants, there was a general omnibus allegation that they also harassed the complainant. The Court was of the view that to make a person liable under Section 498A CrPC, specific allegations of overt acts against such person are necessary. General omnibus allegations, as is the case here, do not suffice to make a person liable under the said section. Therefore, the application was allowed and the prosecution initiated against the applicants was quashed holding it to be unsustainable. [Guddi Kumari v. State of Bihar,2018 SCC OnLine Pat 1074, decided on 22-06-2018]

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    Not only 498a other laws are also misused in India. The law has loopholes, yes, but it’s a choice between the devil and the deep sea. 498a can only be invoked by wife/daughter-in-law or her relative. Most cases where Sec 498A is invoked turn out to be false (as repeatedly accepted by High Courts and Supreme Court in India) as they are mere blackmail attempts by the wife (or her close relatives) when faced with a strained marriage. In most cases 498a complaint is followed by the demand of huge amount of money (extortion) to settle the case out of the court.

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