I was acquitted of an offence u/s 498A IPC. Can I sue for divorce?

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Introduction

The rights have been given to both men and women in the eyes of law. It is not always necessary that if a case is filed for an offence under section 498A is genuine. The case filed can also be false. This section has helped and protected women against the violence caused to them. However, section 498A is among the most debatable sections regarding women, as it is claimed that it is more often misused than used.

Section 498A states that when the husband or the relative of the husband of a woman, subjects her to cruelty shall be punished with imprisonment for a term, which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to a fine as laid down in the Act.

I was acquitted of an offence u/s 498A IPC. Can I sue for divorce?

Husband who got acquitted after trial in 498A IPC case can seek divorce on the ground of cruelty that has been caused to him by wife. The husband can sue for divorce depending on the facts and circumstances of each case and has to evidently lay down the mental cruelty was caused to him.

In case Lalit Bhatia Vs State Of Uttar Pradesh And anr (2005), the court held that the complaint was filed only with a view to cause harassment to the husband and his family member and also said that continuation of the proceedings on the basis of complaint is nothing short of an abuse of the process of the court and is liable to be quashed in fact it is gross misuse of the provisions of Section 498A I.P.C. which certainly pricks the judicial conscience.

Arnesh Kumar Versus State Of Bihar &Anr (2014) Hon’ble Supreme Court Of India observed in this case the fact that Section 498-A is a cognizable and non-bailable offence has made the provisions of law doubtful and uncertain as disgruntled wives women are using this provision as a weapon rather than shield and according to them the simplest way to harass is to get the husband and his relatives arrested under this provision.

The main objective of this section is to protect women and prevent injustice done to them but women are taking this provision for granted which not only consumes time but also waste the time consumed in the proceedings which can be seen from the above cases.

It is true that it is open for anyone to file complaint or lodge prosecution to redress his or her grievances and lodge a first information report for an offence also and mere lodging of complaint or FIR cannot thus be treated as cruelty. But when a person undergoes a trial in which he is acquitted of the allegation of offence under Section 498-A of IPC, levelled by the wife against the husband, it cannot be accepted that no cruelty has meted on the husband.

Sec 498A and the Allegation of Misuse

With the rise in the rate of education, financial security, and modernization the more independent women and have made Section 498A of IPC, as a weapon in her hands  due to which many helpless husbands and their relatives have become the victims of the vengeful daughters-in-law of their house.

These days in many cases where Sec 498A is invoked, they turn out to be false cases, as they turn out to be mere blackmail attempts by the wife when troubled with a stressed marriage.

There are misuse and exploitation of the provisions to such an extent that it was hitting on the basis that is the foundation of marriage itself and which ultimately proved to be not a good sign for the health of society for the public at large.

Rani narasimhasastry   v. ranisuneela rani (2019),

The Supreme Court in the present case has observed that a husband charged with Section 498A of IPC by his wife has undergone trial and has been rightly acquitted can seek divorce on grounds of cruelty. It can be said that cruelty has been meted to him and concluded that appellant has made a ground for grant of decree of dissolution of marriage on the ground as mentioned in Section 13(1)(i-a) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. 

Conclusion

Section 498A has various advantages but the advantage of this section is that it is being misused. The right to sue for divorce after being acquitted under this section is given to the husband to secure justice and protect violation of any right and also to ensure the the interest of the husband is protected.

Therefore the perspective of the state and the people needs to change from potential misuse of the concerned laws of domestic violence to that of implementing it for their real purpose and thus to recognize that any such type of violence is a crime and to protect women who have shown the courage and stood up to file complaints against their abusers.