To counter with this, you need to gather all the evidences to prove that your wife is doing all this to extort money and nothing else.
- 498 A is a cognizable offence and hence, the police can arrest you without an order as under Section 151.
- you need to record all the voice calls, phone conversations, etc.
Women use the weapons called Section 498A and Dowry Act to file a false complaint so as to attack their husband. 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.
A counter lawsuit can be filed by the man under Section 500 (Defamation) of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 for defamation. A case under this section can be filed in case a woman tries to malign the image of her husband and his parents by falsely accusing them under this section and dragging them to court or jail.
Recently, the Supreme Court had ruled that even a single false dowry complaint against the husband and in-laws was sufficient ground for courts to grant decree of divorce to annul the marriage.
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.
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.
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.
How much maintenance allotted to woman under 498a?
IPC 498a is section 498a of Indian Penal Code (IPC) dealing with cruelty to wives by husband or relatives. The kind of cruelty should be of such nature that it would drive a woman to suicide. It DOES NOT say anything about maintenance of wives by husbands. Criminal law is NOT meant to give compensation or ongoing payments to victim(s), that would be illegal under Indian law because it would be in the nature of blood money. So if she wants to file 498a and expect to get Rs 50,000 per month for the rest of life from husband, forget it! but in case she gets the divorce, she can claim maintenance but not the share of your property.
“Generally, it's 1/3rd to 1/5th gross earnings of the spouse who has to pay when it's a lump sum alimony and not more than 25% of husband's salary as monthly maintenance as per a Supreme Court judgement.
The spouse with less income or no income can get a maintenance amount which is equal to 20% to 30% of the total monthly income of the other. As per the judgment passed by the Supreme Court, alimony amount should not exceed 25% of the husband's income. The aforesaid limit is applicable in case of monthly payout.
After divorce, the lady is entitled to receive the maintenance till she marries again”,
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