Latest Judgement

List of The Divorce Judgements

Section 498-A Complaint could Succeed only if it can be Proved that there was an “Unlawful Demand” by the Husband of some Money


Bench: JUSTICE Palok Basu

Ramesh Chand vs. State of U.P. and Anr. On 25 November 1991

Law Point:
Section 498-A Complaint could Succeed only if it can be Proved that there was an “Unlawful Demand” by the Husband of some Money. Assuming that the Husband had asked the Wife to bring some Jewellery this by itself could not be Unlawful Demand as no Law would Punish a mere Demand without Settlement of Dowry at the time of Marriage.


1. This is an application under Section 482, Cr.P.C. filed by Ramesh Chand and six others which included brothers of Ramesh Chand and his sister-in-law (Bhabhi). It has been prayed in this application that a complaint filed by opposite party No. 2 Baijnath praying that proceedings under Section 498A, I.P.C. pending in the court of the Metropolitan Magistrate, Kanpur Nagar, be quashed.

2. Sri A.N. Sinha in support of this application while Sri R.N. Bhalla, learned counsel for opposite party No. 2 and Sri A.K. Yadav, learned A.G.A. have been heard on behalf of the opposite parties. The entire record has been perused.

3. It is not disputed that the opposite party No. 2 Baijnath happens to be the father-in-law of Ramesh Chand, applicant No. 1, and some bad relations are flowing between the parties. It further appears that the mother-in-law of the applicant had in the meantime, died. The notable factor, however, is that the marriage between the applicant Ramesh Chand and Smt. Radha, daughter of opposite party No. 2 was solemnised on 15-4-1982. Section 498A has been brought on the statute book in the year 1983. Consequently this section will have no application, if any allegation relating to alleged dowry is made later on, i.e., subsequent to the marriage.

4. This being the legal background it has to be minutely examined whether the allegations made in the complaint would go to make out an offence under Section 498A or not. There is no doubt that some allegations have been made that the wife was maltreated and was asked to bring the jewellery belonging to her mother from her father and unless that is done the applicant (husband) and his other relatives would not permit her to come and stay with the husband peacefully. This, in effect, is the substance of all the paragraphs 5, 6, 7 and 8 of the complaint. The conclusion of the complainant has been narrated in paragraphs 12 and 13 which translated into English would read as follows :–

Para 12. “That the aforesaid accused are greedy for dowry and are insisting and demanding illegal dowry which is punishable offence.”

Para 13. “That the accused Nos. 1 to 7 have thus committed offence under Section 498A, I.P.C. which is fully established against them.”

5. As stated above, the marriage having been performed long before Section 498A was enacted the explanation brought in the said section defining ‘cruelty’ would not go back to the date of marriage so as to permit evidence to be led about things which may have happened in 1982 when the marriage had taken place. Settlement of dowry is defined under the Dowry Prohibition Act. None of the incidents coming within the mischief of Explanations ‘A’ and ‘B’ of Section 498A, I.P.C. would be made out from the allegations made in the complaint as noted above.

6. It may be noted that the complaint could succeed only if it can be proved that there was an “unlawful demand” by the husband of some money. Assuming that the husband had asked the wife to bring some jewellery this by itself could not be unlawful demand as no law would punish a mere demand without settlement of dowry at the time of marriage. It may in some cases be that if the husband makes a demand through his wife it may also be conceded by the father-in-law and if that is done, the demand would not become unlawful and, therefore, subsequent refusal by the father-in-law is not a determinative factor whether the demand was unlawfully made unless the said demand can come within the definition of dowry. The complaint and further proceedings in case No. 618 of 1988 pending before the Metropolitan Magistrate, Gwaltoli, Kanpur Nagar are quashed. Stay order dated 7-12-1989 is vacated.