Supreme Court on Misuse of Section 498 A – Vague and Cryptic Allegations can’t Prove Offence



August 6, 2018


Supreme Court has come down heavily on misuse of Section 498A – In this recent case, the Supreme Court acquitted the Appellant who was accused of offence under Section 498A of IPC holding that in absence of any definite evidence no offence could be established for the offence of dowry harassment under Section 498A of IPC.

Case name: Sow. Chhaya v. The State of Maharashtra

Date of Judgment: August 03, 2018

In the case, the Appellant challenged High Court’s order, which convicted her for offence under Section 302 and Section 498A of IPC (husband or relative of husband subjecting her to cruelty).

The case of the prosecution in brief is that Kavita (the victim) sustained burn injuries while she was in her matrimonial house she succumbed to her injuries later while she was in the hospital. The victim in her dying declaration implicated the accused i.e. her husband (Accused no.1) and husband’s sister-in-law (Accused no. 2).

The Appellant challenged the High Court’s order on the ground that she was undergoing medical surgery due to which she had to take bed rest and also produced medical certificate in support of her plea of alibi.

Bench’s Verdict

    • The Supreme Court in view of the facts and circumstances of the case, allowed the appeal and accused the accused no.2 i.e. the Appellant on the following grounds:
    • That the medical certificate was not disputed by the State.
    • That apart from the bald allegations against the appellant, there was no case made out against the Appellant to prove her guilty.
    • That the only evidence found against the accused in the case was that her name was found in the Dying Declaration.
    • The Apex Court in the case also noted that the oral evidence of the parents of the deceased indicated that only minor allegations were made against the appellant. It was observed by the Bench that only vague and cryptic allegations were found against the Appellant with no specific allegation in respect of demand for dowry or harassment in any manner.



Thus, in the absence of definite evidence against the appellant, the High Court erred in convicting the appellant for the offence punishable under Section 498A of the IPC.

The entire case can be accessed here.