New Delhi: The Supreme Court has held that prosecution of husband and his family members under Section 498 A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Sections 3 and 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act is not sustainable when the complaint is filed by the wife long after the divorce. Giving this ruling a bench of Justices S. A. Bobde and L. Nageswara Rao concurred with the contention of the accused that the prosecution under Section 498A of IPC — which deals with the husband or relative of the husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty — was clearly not tenable in view of the case of the complainant herself that there had been a divorce almost four years before filing of the first information report (FIR).
In this case, the wife filed an FIR against her husband Mohammad Miyan and his relatives, alleging offences under sections 498A, 323, 325, 504 and 506 of the Indian Penal Code and Sections 3/4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961. She herself had stated in the complaint that they got divorced almost four years before the filing of the FIR. As both the trial court and the high court refused to discharge the accused, they approached the apex court.
Quashing the proceedings, the bench observed: “In view of her own averment that she was divorced four years ago, we are of the view that the prosecution is not sustainable under Section 498 A of the IPC and Section 3 and 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act. Section 498 A opens with the words “whoever being the husband or the relative of the husband of a woman…Therefore where the complainant approaches with a case that there had been a divorce four years ago before the filing of FIR, Section 498 A of IPC would not be attracted. We consider it appropriate to quash the prosecution against all the accused.”