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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 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?
A. Yes.

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 or mental cruelty is as extreme as mentioned in http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/qrydisp.asp?tfnm=28609

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.


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.

Contact us at : help@498a.org

All India Helpline Number: 91-09243473794 (24 Hours)

Volunteer Helpline Numbers (limited contact hours)

Delhi: 9810243506, 9911119113, 9810611534, 9891369616 (Rajeev)
Kanpur (and U.P.): 09335014984 (Aanand), 09935239764 (Lt.Col.(Retd.) C.S.Khandelwal)
Calcutta: 033-25347398 , 033-25217318, 9231835462, 9830151555,9830927619
Bangalore: 80-65334135
Mumbai: 9869323538, 9224335577
Ahmedabad: 9898989884
Gujrat: 09825365816
Hyderabad: 09848280354, 9989146466
Jaipur: 9352736000, 09352562456
Nasik: 9371988132
Indore: 09993569620

United States (USA):
612-812-4340 (call between 10 PM EST -12 PM EST)
972-834-2475 (call between 10 PM EST -12 PM EST, anytime on weekend)

Middle East (Kuwait) : +00965-3869295
Japan : +8190 9929 5287

Besides, you can also join saveindianfamily yahoogroup by sending an email to:

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?

A. No.

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.

Q. 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 her.

Q. 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 case.

Q. I know that my wife is going to file 498a against me and my relatives? Can I apply for anticipatory bail now?
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 bail?
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.

Q. 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.

Q. 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.

Q. 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 you.

Q. 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.

Q. 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 offensive?
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 venom.
Below is a list of counter cases.

32, 120B,
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),
199 (defamation),
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,
500 (defamation),
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.

Also u/s 9 of CPC (law of torts), claim damages for loss of consortium.

Q. 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 in future.

Q. Does a man have to pay 1/3 of his salary as maintenance in case the wife claims maintenance?
A. No.

Q. 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

Q. What is the maximum maintenance amount for a resident Indian?
A. Maximum is around Rs.3000 per month. Exceptions are very rare.

Q. What is the maximum maintenance amount for a non-resident Indian (NRI)?
A. Maximum is about Rs.10000 per month. Exceptions are very rare.

Q. Can I appeal the order of maintenance?
A. Yes. You can appeal (get it set-aside) within 3 months of the order.

Q. Can I bring some facts to the judge and get my maintenance reduced?
A. Yes.
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) of CrPC).

Q. Can my wife claim a share in my or in my parents' property?
A. No.

Q. 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.

Q. 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.

Q. 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 this publication.

Q. 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 back channel.

Q. 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.

Q. My passport has been impounded. How can I get it back?
A. Use section 451 and 457 of IPC to get them back.

Q. 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.

Q. 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.

Q. 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 Court.
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/

Q. 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.

Q. How long does a 498a case run?
A. It generally runs for 4 to 5 years.

Q. What is the conviction rate in 498a?
A. It is only 2% or even less.

Q. 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.

Q. How can I contribute to the fight against 498a?
A. You can write blogs and sign a Public Interest Lititigation (PIL) on the internet

Q. 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.

Q. 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.

Setting aside- When a party gets aggrieved by any order of a lower court, a revision petition is filed to set aside that order.

Quashing- When a party is aggrieved by a judgment, an appeal is filed to quash the judgment.

Expunction -When 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.

Withdrawing-When 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 your consent.
Compromise-Settle the matter outside the court and inform it to close the case.

Reconciliation -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.

Q. What is the difference between a petition getting dismissed and disposed?
Dismissed: Means the relief asked by you is Rejected.

Disposed: The court 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.

Q. 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.




AB: Anticipatory Bail
CAW cell: Cell for Crime Against Women
CI: Circle Inspector
CPC.: Civil Procedure Code
CrPC: Criminal Procedure Code
CS: Charge-sheet
DIL: Daughter-in-law
FIL: Father-in-law
HMA: Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
HSA: Hindu Succession Act
Hubby: Husband
IO: Investigating Officer
MIL: Mother-in-law
NCW: National Commission for Women
RCR: Restitution of Conjugal Rights (Section 9 of HMA)
RTI: Right to Information
SIL: Sister-in-law
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.