January 23, 2022


Criminal law


Many matrimonial offences are described under law. Under most of the law cruelty is also considered as a ground of matrimonial relief. Domestic violence now days are also considered as the matrimonial cruelty.it can be said that domestic violence can be the other name of matrimonial cruelty. Under all personal laws cruelty is considered as ground for matrimonial relief.

Meaning of cruelty is different in personal laws grievous hurt, compulsory prostitution and permanent impairment or injury to the eye, ear or joint permanent disfigurement of face or head any act which causes injury to mental health is the cruelty in the English law the intention to be cruel to amount to cruelty but according to the time meaning of the cruelty also changed it had a broad view in present. In English law only physical cruelty is considered as matrimonial cruelty and considered as a ground for matrimonial relief. The social conditions the social status and parties’ social nature of parties financial condition is also effect when cruelty is defined. In cruelty the petitioner had to prove that it is cruel act and it hapeners the physical and mental condition of the petitioner. It is difficult to prove that it it is impossible to live with the respondent in the future after the cruel act done by the partner. The relation between them is not such that they can live together mentally and physically. Previously physical cruelty considered as cruelty but now mental torcher is also considered as cruelty.

Keywords: matrimonial cruelty, mental cruelty, physical cruelty,harrasment


Judges not defined the exact nature of cruelty. It cannot be defined as the cruelty can be the vast subject it cannot be determined exactly its nature is different at different places and at different times. Cruel act in one case is not cruel act in another case. The act is cruel or not in depends on any other cases. One case cannot be precedent for another case. The main there are two types of cruelty one is physical cruelty and another is mental cruelty. The definition of cruelty under Indian penal code is given under section 498(A) which talks about the matrimonial cruelty. Under 498(A) of IPC if an innocent senior citizen pregnant sister-in-law and innocent senior citizen are arrested thievery 2.4 hours. An innocent person is arrested every five minute.

When wife makes false complaint then the whole burden goes on the husband. He has to prove himself innocent to protect himself from the arrest. From when the relationship between the men and women developed as husband and wife the concept of cruelty was born at that time. In ancient time women who got married to supposed to be dedicated to their husband. She must suffer all the cruel acts of her husband. As she depend for the basic needs of daily use.

Definition of 498(A) under IPC

Husband or relative of husband of women subjecting her to cruelty

Whoever, being the husband or the relative of the husband of a woman, subjects such women to cruelty shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to thread years and shall also is liable to fine.

Explanation- for the purpose of this section, “cruelty” means-

(a) Any willful conduct which is of such a nature as is likely to drive the women to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to life, limb or health of women

(b) Harassment of the women where such harassed is with a view to coercing her or any person related to her to meet any unlawful demand for any property or valuable security or is on account of failure by her or any person related to her to meet such demand.


Every harassed does not amount to “cruelty” within the meaning of section 498-A. For the purpose of section 498-A harassment simpliciter is not “cruelty” and it is only when harassment is committed for the purpose of coercing a women or any other person related to her to meet an unlawful demand for property,etc. That it amounts to cruelty punishable under section 498-A IPC, state of A.P v. M. Madhusudhan Rao [1]

Cruelty can either be mental or physical. It is difficult to straitjacket the term cruelty by means of a definition because cruelty is a relative term. What constitutes cruelty for one person may not constitute cruelty for another person, G.V. Siddaramesh v. State of Karnataka [2]

The concept of cruelty and its effect varies from individual to individual, also depending upon the social and economic status to which such person belongs, Gananath pattnaik v. State of Orissa. [3]

Section 198-A CrPC

For the commission of an offence under section 498-A following necessary ingredients require to be satisfied

1. The women must be married

2. She must be subjected to cruelty or harassment

3. Such cruelty or harassment must have been shown either by husband of the women or by the relative of her husband in U. Suvetha v. State. [4]

Women in a live-in relationship- whether can file a complaint under section 498-A of IPC

Kerala high court, after considering various decisions of the Supreme Court has held that for an offence under section 498- A to be committed, the parties must have undergone some sort of ceremonies with object of getting married. In that case, the parties did not perform any ceremony and just started living together. It was held that a women in a live-in relationship was not entitled to file a complaint under the section, unnikrishnana v. State of Kerala [5]

What is cruelty?

Pitilessness is a conduct that makes agony or enduring others.

In state of Karnataka v. H.S. [6]Srinivas

Hon’ble court held that the articulation remorselessness hypothesize such a treatment as to cause sensible feat in the psyche of spouse that her living with the husband will be unsafe what’s more, harmful to her life. To choose the of cold-blooded was the pertinent elements are the wedding connection amongst a couple, their social and sensitive condition of life, condition of well-being and their between activity in day by day life. For another situation of under Raj Malik VM Sunita Malik while clarifying the importance of mercilessness court held that the word savagery as characterized under clarification implies provocation of a lady with a view to pressure her or any related individual to take care of any unlawful demand for any property or any significant security.

Following are the kinds of brutality secured under the section 498-A

1. Cruelty by vexatious suit

2. Cruelty by hardship and inefficient propensities

3. Calling spouse desolate lady.

4. Cruelty by preserving interest.

5. Cruelty by additional conjugal connection.

6. Harassment and plural marriage.

7. Cruelty by renunciation of infant young lady.

8. Cruelty by false assault on purity.

Research methodology

The research methodology adopted by the researcher is a doctrinal research. However, the researcher with a view to compliment and substantiate this research paper corroborated with the study with other forms of legal research such as comparative legal research.

Review of literature

Domestic violence is very much rampant in India where not only husband but his own relatives take active part in harassing married women on many counts law is not the only panacea to cure the gender bias and to put a stop domestic violence. At the same, it provides a clear and simple introduction not only to newly enacted legislation. The IPC classifies the various offences which are heaped upon her along with the sentences prescribed for each offence. According to sexual harassment of working women is primarily a problem faced by women but men rarely face this problem and therefore it should be considered a form of sex discrimination. Sexual harassment as defined by the court stipulates. A women who has complained of harassment goes back to the very people against whom she complained m what security can she possibly feel in such a situation, and how can she continue to act on her complaint? She obviously continues to be victimized often paying the ultimate price.

According to the large number of deaths is an indication that the law is not a sufficient deterrent why these gruesome murders are registered under accidents, exposure to the media has resulted in an increasing trend towards consumerism. People cannot afford the luxuries that are thrust upon them through advertisement targeted at the urban population. They see dowry as an avenue to fulfill their otherwise possible dreams.

Emergence of the concept of cruelty as a social evil

India being multifaceted popular government segregation can never be engaged on the social, common, political and financial rights ensures by the country. In any case inferable from certain expansive circumstances where Indian women do cross the obstacles and partake in the social exercises. Since time immemorial women have been diminished to a disparaging enlivening character supplied with shallow engaging quality yet mentally meek, who could just fill the need of male amusement. In the view of flawless customary various leveled acts of neglect they were urged to epitomize the part of mother, spouse or that of a home producer just to be pushed to carry on with a kept existence with confined probability or in more terrible cases to live in absolute detachment.

Regardless of India’s notoriety of revering and regarding women as goddess history uncovers the dim serve mystery that is covered under the various representations of women which was just being utilized as a disguise for securing the predominant position of the male individuals from the general public by implication. Since medieval circumstances as women assed a fairly subservient part in the general public. Thus women are not regarded in genuine way prior. This can be demonstrated from the occasions of past, EMG sari i.e. self-immolation byba dowager on the fire of the dead body of her better half. It is yet another marvel curious to an unskilled, preservationist and convention bound society. It is only a sign of the primitive mentality of man towards a vulnerable lady who moves toward becoming dowager on the passing of her better half.

Under old English law, as indicated by Blackstone a spouse could amend his better half by beating. EMG q spouse broke the legs of his significant other since she had slighted his guidelines to visit a specific place. In Holmes v. Holmes the spouse used to strike and mishandle his significant other and every so often he demanded sex with her within the sight of two men and undermined that on the off chance that she cannot the men would hold her down. Notwithstanding this, the spouse was held not to be qualified for any alleviation on the ground of cruelty. This was the poor state of beat his significant other just with a rope or split bamboo, so no bones are broken simultaneously.

Idea of cruelty

In N.G. dastane v. S. Dastane [7]

The s.c has watched that direct charged as cruelty ought to be being of such a character as to cause in the psyche of the petitioner, a sensible trepidation that it is destructive or harmful to love with the respondent.

In V. Bhagat v. D. Bhagat [8]

The sc held that the psychological cruelty must be of such a nature, to the point that the gathering can’t be sensible be relied upon to libel respectively. While landing at such conclusion respect must be had to the economic wellbeing, instructive level of gathering, the general public they move in and all other applicable realities and conditions.

In Neely kohli v. Naveen kohli [9]

It was held by the zenith court that with a specific end goal to constitute cruelty the demonstration whined of as causing cruelty must be more genuine that conventional wear and tear of marriage. No and each irregular demonstration of the other party can be seen as mental cruelty.

Matrimonial cruelty in different in personal laws

Hindu law

The Hindu marriage act 1955 subsequent to experiencing correction under the marriage laws(amendment) act, 1976, cruelty is being made a ground for separate and in addition for legal partition. Another huge change brought by the correction is that the idea of cruelty has been amplified as in light of the fact that prior it was just limited to such cruelty has been amplified as in light of the fact that prior it was just limited to such cruelty to cause sensible anxiety at the top of the priority list of the solicitor that it will be destructive or damaging for the applicant to live with other gathering. However now basically it is to be built up that the respondent has treated the candidate with cruelty.

Parsi law

Under the Parsi marriage and divorce act 1936 preceding 1988 cruelty was ashore for legal partition, and cruelty was clarified in that capacity conduct as to render it in the judgment of the court uncalled for to force him or her to live with the respondent.

Christian law

The Indian divorce act 1869, preceding its change in 2001, a spouse could look for separate if the husband had been liable of cruelty combined with infidelity. Anyway now, after the change in the year 2001, it totally changed the first demonstration and the reason for wedding help have been carried at standard with that of the special marriage act 1954 and the Hindu marriage act 1955.

Muslim law

Under the dissolution of Muslim marriage act 1939, cruelty is specified as one of the grounds to get separate from a wedding relationship.

Sairam rahimsaheb shaikh v. Maharashtra [10]

The spouse was regarded with cruelty as she couldn’t bear a kid after marriage and consequently the court on the grounds cruelty demonstrated under section 498 A IPC 1860 sentenced the blamed.

Yadlapati kutumba v. State [11]

Spouse associated the character with the perished he excessively presumed that she was pregnant through another person, subsequently the court held such explanations adds up to cruelty.

State of U.P. v. Ramesh prasad Mishra [12]

The court held that the denounced is being indicted u/s 498A IPC, 1860 as it was discovered that the casualty was pestered and subjected to cruelty.


The establishment of marriage is never again though about a hallowed associations of two hearts however has rather turned out to be all the more a common contract between two people in exacting feeling of the term where one is committed to another to perform matrimonial rights. Section 498A which has generally caused the disgrace of being legitimate fear based oppression was basically consolidated to battle the underhanded practices of share and endowment passing. The incorporation of section 498 AN IPC 1860 however appeared to be productive and successful in the early years of its decree shockingly another period of mercilessness rose with the entry of 21st century.

At the point when a man is tossed out of his own home under obvious or bogus affirmations of abusive behavior at home or cruelty everybody who is subject to him will undoubtedly endure. It is out of line enough to punish a whole family regardless of whether a denounced man is genuinely damaging. Uncalled for is an unpretentious word to portray circumstances in which a guiltless man, alongside his family, is tormented by abuse of law.

After the while investigation we can infer that however section 498A of IPC 1860 was delivered in for the insurance of women from the cruelty of her significant other and his relatives yet now it is being manhandled. These women are turning the law other path round by being remorseless to their better half and his relatives and getting them attempted under section 498 A of IPC, 1860 which manages cruelty by spouse or relatives of husband. From this time forward certain lawful moves ought to be made at the earliest opportunity to shorten development of lawful fear based oppression by abuse of arrangements of law.


  • www.//shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in
  • www.legalservicesindia.com
  • https://indiankanoon.org
  • https://www.jstor.org
  • https://www.scconline.com


[3] Appeal (crl.) 1of1995
[5] Bail appl..no. 5328 of 2018
[7] 1975 AIR 1534, 1975 SCR (3) 967
[8] 1994 AIR 710, 1994 SCC (1) 337
[9] Appeal (civil) 812 of 2004
[10] CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 898 OF 2009
[11] AIR 1961 AP 448
[12] CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. – 1060 OF 2013

Author Details: RAVEENA SINGH (Banasthali Vidyapith)

The views are personal only, if any.

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