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Report No. 243

3. Some data regarding Prosecutions u/s 498-A

3.1 The complaint of over-implication noticed by the Courts is borne out by the statistical data of the cases under Section 498-A. According to informations received from the Hon'ble High Courts (during the year 2011), 3,40,555 cases under Section 498-A IPC were pending trial in various courts towards the end of 2010. There were as many as 9,38,809 accused implicated in these cases. This does not include cases pertaining to Punjab and Haryana (statistics not available).

The implication of the relatives of husband was found to be unjustified in a large number of decided cases. While so, it appears that the women especially from the poor strata of the society living in rural areas rarely take resort to the provision, though they are the worst sufferers. However, according to Delhi Police officials, with whom the Commission had interacted, women from poor background living in slums are also coming forward to file complaints.

3.2 According to the statistics published by National Crime Records Bureau for the year 2011 (Table4), 3,39,902 cases under Section 498-A were pending trial in various courts at the end of the year and 29,669 cases under Section 304-B of IPC. The conviction rate in Section 498-A cases is 21.2% and in Section 304-B cases, it is 35.8%. Number of cases reported under Section 498-A in the year 2011 are 99,135 and during the two previous years, they were 94,041 and 89,546.

Thus, there is slight increase (about 5%) in the reported cases every year. As stated earlier, many cases go unreported. The statistics relating to reported incidents may not therefore furnish a reliable comparative indicator of the actual incidence of crimes in the States. For instance, when compared to other cities, the percentage share of incidents reported under Section 498-A is the 2nd highest in Delhi. It may be because that the percentage of reporting is apparently high.

The dowry-death cases (Section 304-B) reported during the years 2009-11 are: 8,383, 8,391 and 8,618. There is a view-point that if the offence under Section 498-A is made bailable or non-cognizable, it will cease to be a deterrent against cruelty inflicted on married women and the dowry-deaths may increase.

3.3 As noticed earlier, the conviction rate in respect of the cases under Section 498-A is quite lo.- it is about 20%. It is learnt that on account of subsequent events such as out-of-court settlement, the complainant women do not evince interest in taking the prosecution to its logical conclusion. Further, ineffective investigation is also known to be one of the reasons for low conviction rate.

Section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code Back

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