Frequently Asked Questions (Visit 498a Forum also)
(We do not take any responsibility
of the answers, the are only opinions, please consult your lawyer
Q. Can my wife or her family file a false 498a (dowry)
case against me? What are the indications that a wife or her
family can file 498a?
A. There are some indicators which are listed at: http://www.geocities.com/gorky_maksim/pages/assessrisk.htm
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
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
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 or mental cruelty is as extreme as mentioned in
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
I fear that if the police take any action on my complaint, my
wife will lodge 498a immediately? Should I still submit the
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%).
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
2) Approach SP of district.
3) Approach media.
4) Approach local heavyweights, NGOs, human rights activists,
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.
HON'BLE MR.MARKANDEY KATJU, THE CHIEF JUSTICE
THE HON'BLE MR. JUSTICE F.M.IBRAHIM KALIFULLA
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.
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
I want to discuss my case with someone. What are the helpline
A. Below are the helpline numbers of volunteers. At these numbers,
you can get help and counseling for pre-498a and post-498a cases.
us at : firstname.lastname@example.org
India Helpline Number: 91-09243473794 (24 Hours)
Helpline Numbers (limited contact hours)
9810243506, 9911119113, 9810611534, 9891369616 (Rajeev)
09335014984 (Aanand), 09935239764 (Lt.Col.(Retd.) C.S.Khandelwal)
033-25347398 , 033-25217318, 9231835462, 9830151555,9830927619
612-812-4340 (call between 10 PM EST -12 PM EST)
972-834-2475 (call between 10 PM EST -12 PM EST, anytime on
: +8190 9929 5287
you can also join saveindianfamily yahoogroup by sending an
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?
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.
My wife has filed a complaint against me in Women Cell stating
that some or all of the items that are part of streedhan are
still with me. What should I do?
A. In the Women Cell, you ask for the evidence, such as bills,
photographs, etc, that proves that the items stated by her were
indeed a part of streedhan. Return to your wife only those items
for which she could provide evidence. Don't forget to get a
signed document from her stating that the items have been returned
to her. Keep all the bills, etc with yourself. If she submits
any false bills, you can file a case under section IPC 420 against
Is it mandatory to make any commitments in Women Cell?
A. No. Instead you should avoid saying you will live or will
NOT live with her. If the women's cell tries to corner you,
simply say that first your wife should stop threatening you
and then you'll decide. You can also request women's cell to
tell your wife that if she has any problems with the matrimony
she is free to go to the family court and seek necessary CIVIL
remedies. She should not convert that into a false CRIMINAL
Q. I know that my wife is going
to file 498a against me and my relatives? Can I apply for anticipatory
A. You can apply for anticipatory bail only after your case
goes into CAW cell.
Q. Should I obtain Anticipatory
Bail or should I wait until the FIR is lodged and obtain a regular
A. Well it depends. Anticipatory bail costs significantly more
than a regular bail. An anticipatory bail could cost you Rs
25,000/ and upwards whereas a regular bail would cost somewhere
around 3000/-. If you obtain an anticipatory bail you never
have to go to jail whereas for getting a regular bail you may
get jailed first and then your lawyer applies for a regular
bail and if the application is accepted, you get you out of
jail. So it is up to you to decide whether you go for an AB
or a regular bail. Moreover for obtaining an anticipatory bail
you may have to prove in front of the judge that you are expecting
a FIR to be lodged against you.
My wife has filed complaint against me and family. The FIR is
not yet filed. It is at complaint stage. Police has called me
to police station what should I do?
A. One of the common mistakes most 498a victims do is they go
the police station not knowing that 498a is already filed. As
soon as they walk in, they get arrested. So, better, send your
lawyer to find the details. We have heard that bribing the police
to get info about FIR works well. As soon as the FIR is registered,
go underground and apply for Anticipatory Bail. Going underground
doesn't harm your case.
My wife complaint against me under 498a? What should I do?
A. First, get bail application in court. If the police couldn't
arrest you, do not surrender to the police. Second, keep collecting
evidence. You have to create your evidence for innocence. Start
to counter charge them and start making your story. Start writing
letters to the President, the Prime Minister, media, human rights
organizations, etc telling them of the misuse of the law.
I am an NRI and my wife has filed a FIR for dowry harassment
under section 498a. Now, they say they have informed CBI and
Interpol. Can they get me extradited?
A. The procedures involved in extradition are too complex and
many murder accused have not got extradited. So, the chance
of an extradition proceedings starting for 498a accused is nill.
So, rest assured that this entire thing is to harass and confuse
I am a NRI and my wife went back to India and filed false 498a
against me and my family. What should I do?
A. File a divorce petition in the place where you currently
reside (provided you are eligible to file a petition based on
the local laws). Get anticipatory bail or bail depending on
the current situation for your parents in India. After you obtain
your divorce get it legalized in India. If your false 498a case
does not get quashed easily file counter cases against her for
forgery and defamation etc to make your case stronger and for
a possible quick settlement.
Can she oppose my bail application in court?
A. Not directly. It is only the state counsel who can be heard
in opposing the bail application (The citation if os M.Cr.C.No.507
of 2006, Dated 05/05/2006). Her lawyer can also make a representation
on her behalf.
Q. My wife filed a false 498a
case against me. Should I only defend myself or should I become
A. It is said that offense is the best defense. File a case
under Cr.P.C. 227 stating that the 498a case filled by your
wife is false. If you have enough proofs, or if she does not
have enough proof to substantiate the charges, ask the judge
to just dismiss the 498A case as it is a framed one.
To make your case stronger and to expect an earlier settlement
file counter cases against her to give her a taste of her own
Below is a list of counter cases.
167 (investigation cannot be completed in 24 hours),
182 (offenses committed by letters),
191 (transfer on application of the accused),
197 (prosecution of judges and public servants),
200 (examination of complainant),
201 (Magistrate not competent), 204,
209 (triable exclusively by Court of Session), 211,
249 (absence of complainant),
250 (compensation for accusation), 306,
321 (withdrawl from prosecution),
323 (commit to Session Court), 355, 378, 379,
384 (summary dismissal of appeal),
392 (judge of Court of Appeal are equally divided),
406 (criminal breach of trust), 420,
467 (period of limitation), 471,
497 (adultery), 499,
504 (insult with intent to provoke a breach of peace),
506 (criminal intimidation), RCR
Damage recovery case u/s 9 of CPC (law of torts):
If she breaks into your home, creates a scene, and goes to "
protection officer " and lies that you abused her "physically,
emotionally or economically", file a damage recovery case
u/s 9 of CPC against her. Legally, you must issue notice on
the same day or next day. The suit will continue for long time.
It has no risk.
u/s 9 of CPC (law of torts), claim damages for loss of consortium.
How do I make sure that my ex-wife does not file a false 498A
again in the future?
A. She could possibly file a false 498a again in the future.
The only recourse is to make her understand that you are not
going to take it lightly and you are going to take appropriate
actions if she does it again. If you break her first false 498a
into multiple cases and file counter cases against her for defamation,
forgery etc that may prevent her from refilling another 498a
Does a man have to pay 1/3 of his salary as maintenance in case
the wife claims maintenance?
My wife filed a false case that I am impotent, do you suggest any judgements which can help me out from this false case?
A. 1. AP High Court, Susarala Subramanya Shetty Vs S Padmavati, CMA 3155 of 2002.
CORAM: Hon'ble J Chalameshwar & Gopala Krishna Tamada
Alleging Impotency amounts to immense mental agony and cruelty
2. Rajasthan High Court, Nirmala Manohar Singh Vs Manohar Shivram Jagesha, First Appeal No 589 of 1985
CORAM: Hon'ble Mr. A V Savant
Alleging Impotency amounts to immense mental agony and cruelty
3. Rajasthan High Court, Smt Shanti Devi Vs Raghav Prakash, CMA 19 of 1982
CORAM: Hon'ble Mr. Guman Lal Lodha
Alleging Impotency amounts to immense mental agony and cruelty
4. Delhi High Court, Ashok Sharma Vs Santosh Sharma, FOA No 118 of 1982
Sorry, seems to have lost this judgment so can't give CORAM
Alleging Impotency amounts to immense mental agony and cruelty
5. MP High Court, Smt Chandan Agarwal Vs Mukesh Kr. Agarwal FOA 39 of 1995
Hon'ble N P Singh
Alleging Impotency and lodging 498a and defaming family for dowry amounts to immense mental agony and cruelty
What is the maximum maintenance amount for a resident Indian?
A. Maximum is around Rs.3000 per month. Exceptions are very
What is the maximum maintenance amount for a non-resident Indian
A. Maximum is about Rs.10000 per month. Exceptions are very
Can I appeal the order of maintenance?
A. Yes. You can appeal (get it set-aside) within 3 months of
Can I bring some facts to the judge and get my maintenance reduced?
1) If the wife is working, then the amount can be quite less.
2) If the wife owns a property, the amount can further be reduced
(Section 25(1) of HMA).
3) Your other liabilities: house rent, medical bills for the
amount spent on the treatment of your parents, liabilities towards
sister(s), loan payments, provident fund, tax, etc.
4) Adultery or remarriage (Section 25(3) of HMA and Section
125(3) of CrPC) will lead to cancellation of maintenance.
5) Without any sufficient reason, the wife refuses to live with
her husband (Section 125(4) of CrPC) . Use your wife's failure
to comply with RCR.
6) Both are living seperately by mutual consent (Section 125(4)
Q. Can my wife claim a share in
my or in my parents' property?
Can my wife claim Residence Rights in my or in my parents' property?
A. She can claim residence rights of a part of the last accommodation
she lived in with you.
Q. What is one-time alimony?
A. Instead of giving regular maintenance, it may be possible
to make a one time settlement in which the guy gives a lump
sum amount to the wife. Often, the lawyers of both sides encourage
the women to demand astronomical amounts as alimony. CAW (Crime
Against Women) cells often coerce the man and his family as
well. Sources tell, there are parties in this whole extortion
who get their shares. One of our aims should be to bypass the
crooks while negotiating these amounts.
My charge-sheet has not been submitted. What should I do?
A. Normal time frame for submission of charge-sheet is 3 months.
If it has taken longer,
1) Ask the Investigating Officer to issue a certificate that
the 498a complaint is false.
2) Go for quash on FIR.
3) Use Right to Information (RTI).
Q. First my wife filed 498a and
then she filed Domestic Violence (DV) act. What should I do?
A. Appeal to high court for the stay of DV act. As long as 498a
is ongoing, DV act application is not valid, and stay till the
time high court petition is disposed off.
Q. My wife has already filed false
498a against me and my family, but now she wants to compromise
and settle back with me again. What should I do?
A. It is not easy to trust someone who has resorted to use 498a
in order to harass you and your family. You are the best judge
of her and the situation after she comes back to live with you.
If you want to give your wife a second chance, do so at your
own peril. One of the biggest risks of letting her come back
is that she will be able to file 304B and put you in jail. Most
of 304B cases happen because of this reason.
I am an NRI. My wife filed false 498a/406 on me in India some
time back. Now she says that she repents about all that happened
and is ready to sign any agreements stating that she will not
file such cases again, both in the US and in India. Can I take
her back (to a foreign country) if I have such agreements?
A: Very important point to note that you cannot enter these
kind of clauses that your wife going forward cannot file complaints
against you under Domestic Violence in USA or in India.
Even Child Custody & Support is the controversial matter
which your wife can always challenge in the court anywhere in
the world even if you have already entered a clause in either
Pre-Nuptial or Post-Nuptial agreements.
Only things which can work pretty much in these Pre-Nuptial
& Post-Nuptial agreements are mutually agreed division of
property, cash and other assets like car etc in the event of
separation or divorce.
If you enter the clauses related to domestic violence or assault
as such in to pre/post natal agreements, and something happen
like that no court will agree on this and you will be charged
for a Domestic Violence if your wife complaints to police and
you will be jailed immediately for up to a year in USA (no idea
on other countries). Once these charges will be proved wrong
later on then you can sue your wife for your losses occurred
during this period. But if your wife is not working then you
can't do much to re-cover your losses.
Q. I have got an ex parte decree. What should I do?
A. Send by registered post a copy of the decree to her last
known place of residence with an acknowledgment due. Publish
the decree in a newspaper which has a edition in her city. Your
job is over. Carry on with life. You can remarry one month after
Are the counseling centers at police stations sincere?
A. Generally No. They and police have a nexus. The counseling
centers are normally run by NGOs. If the guy is a techie or
an NRI, then the police ensure that 498a gets filed. If he and
his wife somehow avert it, then they are directed to the counseling
centre. These centers stage manage towards a 498a. Unofficial
sources say half of the bribes police gets go to the NGOs via
Should I compromise for false 498a? Should I go for out of court
settlement by paying money?
A. First of all, do not do compromise by paying money, if you
have to compromise, do it without paying any single paisa. If
you pay money, you are indirectly either accepting the blackmailing
or agreeing the guilt. In the society, you are encouraging unscrupulous
women to do more blackmailing. Moreover, when you will remarry
after the divorce, your second wife will know that you are prone
to blackmail. You will again be vulnerable to a second blackmail.
Despite of all this, if you decide to pay and compromise then
DO NOT PAY all the money till high court or above courts have
given the final order of compounding the IPC 498a and all offence
including the divorce decree. You should get this in writing
(in the same agreement) by her and her family members (get it
notarized). Also get them to file 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.
Q. Can the IPC-498a be compounded
by lower courts (if wife gives the statement that she does not
want to pursue the case?
A. No. Please remember that IPC 498a can be compounded only
by High Courts (498a is compoundable in Andhra Pradesh) or the
Supreme Court. Lower courts do not have this authority.
My passport has been impounded. How can I get it back?
A. Use section 451 and 457 of IPC to get them back.
I am not allowed to leave the jurisdiction of the court. What
should I do?
A. Use section 437 of IPC to get the condition relaxed.
Your lawyer should file IPC 205 petition to allow you to travel.
What is the role of lawyers in 498a cases?
A. Lawyers generally encourage women to file 498a. Lawyers from
both sides join hands and guide the case in such a manner that
the case gets prolonged and the guy agrees for a hefty settlement.
Lawyers get some 20% of the big settlement amount.
I feel my lawyer is squeezing me out. Could you suggest me how
much should a lawyer charge for Anticipatory bail and regular
bail? Could someone tell what would be the minimum and the uppermost
limit for Bail Charges?
A. There is no approved schedule of rates. Rates vary on a case-by-case,
person-to-person basis. However, you must tell the lawyer clearly
about your budget. Lawyer fee and bail amount depends on the
factors mentioned below.
a) Where the Bail application is being filed. Ex. Session/high
b) How senior and what is the reputation of the Lawyer.
c) How many accused are involved?
d) How difficult is the case?
The charges vary from Rs 2,000/ to 50,000/
What is the stand of judiciary on 498a misuse?
A. Judiciary knows very well about 498a misuse. Supreme Court
called it legal terrorism. But all are a kind of helpless due
to pressures from feminist groups. There is a bill on Rajya
Sabha for amendment to 498a. Justice Malimath, former chief
justice of Karnataka and Kerala high courts headed a committee
which gave its report on comprehensive amendments on Criminal
Laws. This committee recommended that 498a be made bailable
and compoundable. Feminist groups and their contacts inside
Amnesty International cried foul and threatened for agitation
on this issue.
How long does a 498a case run?
A. It generally runs for 4 to 5 years.
What is the conviction rate in 498a?
A. It is only 2% or even less.
Does 498a help the real dowry harassment victims?
A. Generally no. It helps sometimes when the girl is dead. The
police often send the women back to her husband giving him and
his family a warning.
How can I contribute to the fight against 498a?
A. You can write blogs and sign a Public Interest Lititigation
(PIL) on the internet
What is the relation between 498a and feminism?
A. Indian feminism gets almost 100% inspired from western feminism.
In the background, feminism and left-wing thinking is interconnected.
Indian Feminists demand that 498a be kept as non-bailable and
non-compoundable even though many women and old people spend
time in jail, as they get falsely accused. They say, women must
be protected from dowry deaths, no matter whether men are protected
from misuse of 498a or not. This means, they do not care about
men, his parents, sisters, brothers, and other relatives.
What is the difference between quashing, withdrawing and compromising
498A case against you?
A. Following are the terms used by lawyers and judges and police.
When a party gets aggrieved by any order of a lower court, a
revision petition is filed to set aside that order.
When a party is aggrieved by a judgment, an appeal is filed
to quash the judgment.
a party is aggrieved by certain observations/findings and not
necessarily the order/judgment, then the higher court is petitioned
to expunge the portions objected.
a complainant no more wants to pursue a case, s/he prays the
trial court for withdrawal of the case. If the court is satisfied,
then it orders as "dismissed as withdrawn". Since
498a is a cognizable criminal case, she cannot withdraw without
Compromise-Settle the matter outside the court and inform it
to close the case.
-Forgive and forget. The difference is that in compromise there
may be terms and conditions of settlement but in reconciliation
no there are no terms and conditions.
What is the difference between a petition getting dismissed
relief asked by you is Rejected.
gives some direction either to you or respondents to do or not
to do something. Your main relief may or may not be granted.
But some direction is given through these orders.
Can a woman ask for interim maintenance during 498A case?
A. A wife can ask Interim Maintanence or Alimony at any time
after she parted you. There is no time bar to specify that she
should ask with in so and so days. If she prefers, she can ask
at any time and even years will not bar her.
CAW cell: Cell
for Crime Against Women
CI: Circle Inspector
CPC.: Civil Procedure
HMA: Hindu Marriage
HSA: Hindu Succession
Commission for Women
of Conjugal Rights (Section 9 of HMA)
RTI: Right to
Cognizable: a police officer may, in accordance with the First Schedule or under and other law for the time being in force, arrest without warrant.