Frequently Asked Questions ON 498-A
Q. Neither I nor any of my relatives demanded or have taken any dowry. Can she still file 498a?
A. Yes. Any Indian wife and her relative can file 498a on her husband, his parents, sisters, brothers, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, wives of brothers, and other relatives. 498a (dowry harassment case) leads to arrest without any verification or investigation.
Q. I have given a huge amount, say Rs. 5 lacs, to my wife or her parents by cheque. Can she still file 498a?
A. Yes. No investigation is done before 498a is filed and arrest warrants are issued without investigation.
Q. My parents never stayed with us. Can she still file 498a against them?
Q. My wife or her family is threatening to file 498a and they are very abusive. What should I do?
A. Safeguard yourself, your parents and your relatives.
1) Be very polite in all circumstances. Record all conversations (voice, chat, email, letters, etc.) with those threatening and keep the originals in a safe place. Never produce the originals before anyone, not even before your lawyer. You can buy Olympus W-10 voice recorder, which costs about Rs.4500. You can also buy a telephone recorder.
2) Write a complaint to your nearest police station, detailing about blackmailing, her false allegations and her unscrupulous behavior. And request in your complaint to make her stop the threats and abuses immediately.
3) File RCR (Restitution of Conjugal Rights). Remember to include conditions that she should agree on before she starts living with you again.
4) Collect evidence to prove that you have neither demanded dowry or have taken it anytime.
5) Collect evidence to prove that she moved out of the bond of marriage for no apparent reason.
6) If she does not already know, make sure that she does not come to know that any of your family members is an NRI.
7) Don't remain home during weekends and holidays. Have proofs of where you were. For instance, if you were in a mall, have a credit card transaction in that mall and keep the copy of that transaction.
Q. I think that I should go for divorce instead. Is it a good idea?
A. Don't make the mistake of filing for divorce. You will land up in a lot of legal problems. Apply for divorce only after you get RCR in your favor or after you get an ex parte decree on your RCR.
Q. I'm very worried about my parents. What should I do to protect them?
A. Disown them legally: ask your family members to give legal notice by way of affidavit in two newspapers. Ask them to produce the newspapers before the Circle Inspector and Investigating Officer before and when they come to arrest them. If your family members are still arrested, produce the newspapers at the time of applying for anticipatory/ regular bail.
Show up a smiling face to them. Your happy face will provide them the strength.
Q. My wife or her family are demanding money, joint property, joint account, separate accommodation, jewels, etc. and threaten, directly or indirectly, that they will file 498a if their demands are not met. What should I do?
A. Don't meet their unreasonable demands. It usually doesn't help. It will rob you of your hard-earned money that you need to spend on lawyers later. If you lose it now, you will not have anything to fight your case later in court and you'll become almost a bonded labor.
If you still need to pay them money, pay it as an explicit loan and only by cheque so that you have a record of the transaction.
Q. We went to the police, but they didn't write down what I stated verbally. What is the solution?
A. Simple. Write a complain letter yourself and submit the same in police station and get "received stamp" on xerox copy. If the police refuse to give a stamped copy, address your complaint letter to the "police officer in-charge, local area" and mention at the end of the letter that it is CC'ed to the SP. Then submit it to police. They are bound to take that and act on it. If they still do not give you a stamped copy, send it to the police by registered post and retain the acknowledgement.
Q. I fear that if the police take any action on my complaint, my wife will lodge 498a immediately? Should I still submit the complaint?
A. Yes. Simply tell the police not to act on it. Even if they say they will act on it, they will not (99.99%).
Q. When station in-charge of police station does not register the case, what can I do?
A. You have the below options.
1) Try to get the reason for not registering the complaint in written.
2) Approach SP of district.
3) Approach media.
4) Approach local heavyweights, NGOs, human rights activists, etc.
5) If any of the above does not work or you do not want to take these approaches, then the last and final solution will be to approach the court. Please read the judgment below which clearly states what you can do if police does not register your FIR.
THE HON'BLE MR.MARKANDEY KATJU, THE CHIEF JUSTICE
THE HON'BLE MR. JUSTICE F.M.IBRAHIM KALIFULLA
W.A. No. 401 of 2005
6) In our opinion, if it is alleged that a crime has been committed and some one goes to file an F.I.R ., and either the F.I.R. is not lodged at the police station, or, having been lodged, it is alleged that proper investigation is not being done by the police, then the remedy of the complainant is to make an application under section 156(3) Cr.P.C. before the Magistrate mentioning all these facts, and it is open to the Magistrate to direct the police to lodge the FIR and/or to do a proper investigation of the alleged crime.
Q. Is there anyway 498a can be averted at police station?
A. Yes. By effective bribing, 498a can be averted in police station permanently. But, if she has contacts, then it may not be possible.
Q. I want to discuss my case with someone. What are the helpline numbers?
A. Below are the helpline numbers of volunteers. At these numbers, you can get help and counseling for pre-498a and post-498a cases.
Q. What is considered as streedhan? Does it include the items that I or my parents gifted to her during or after the wedding ceremony?
A. Whatever is given to the wife (as gift) at the time of marriage and even after the marriage by either side is a part of streedhan. It also includes the articles which she has purchased (from her earnings) after the marriage.
However, the articles gifted to the husband from either side are not a part of streedhan. For example, clothes, rings, watches, etc. gifted to husband at the time of marriage are not a part of streedhan and she cannot claim that. Also, the money she spent to run household cannot be claimed by her.
Q. You demanded money to meet some emergency. Will it be called dowry?
A. No. A demand for money on account of some financial stringency or for meeting some urgent domestic expenses or for purchasing manure cannot be termed as a demand for dowry.
Q. Does the expenditure by the women side on marriage/engagement functions can be claimed by them before or during divorce?
Q. My wife lies that some or all of the items that are a part of streedhan are still with me. What should I do?
A. Collect evidence to prove that she is lying and that the items are with her.