Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) deals with the offence of cruelty by a husband or his relatives towards a married woman. The section makes cruelty a criminal offence and is punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and also with fine.
Quashing of a criminal case refers to the process of canceling or setting aside the proceedings of a case by a higher court. In the context of Section 498A IPC, quashing of a case refers to the process of setting aside or canceling the proceedings of a case filed under the section by a higher court.
A case can be quashed under Section 498A IPC on the following grounds:
- The complaint is a false one and has been filed with a malicious intent.
- There is a settled dispute between the parties and the accused has been falsely implicated.
- The complaint is filed with an ulterior motive and there is no prima facie case made out against the accused.
- The allegations made in the complaint are of a civil nature and do not constitute an offence under Section 498A IPC.
It’s important to note that the power to quash a criminal case under Section 498A IPC is vested with the High Court under Section 482 of the code of criminal procedure.
The Supreme Court has held in Bhajan Lal case that section 482 crpc should be used sparingly and only in exceptional cases, where the allegations made in the complaint are either frivolous or vexatious. A case can be quashed by the High Court in the following circumstances:
- When there is no prima facie case against the accused person
- When the case is an abuse of the process of law
- When the interest of justice requires that the case should be quashed
- When the case is a result of a settlement between the parties
However, it’s important to note that quashing of a case under Section 498A IPC is not an easy task, it requires the court to examine the facts of the case and the evidence presented, and the court has to be satisfied that the case is not genuine and the interest of justice requires the quashing of the case.
It’s also worth noting that, in recent years, there have been calls for the amendment or repeal of Section 498A IPC, as some argue that the provision is being misused to file false and frivolous cases. However, any such changes would require action by the Indian parliament.