The Supreme Court has ruled that that cruelty
under Section 498A is a continuing offence, considering the facts and
circumstances of each case. The Supreme Court has said that women can file dowry
harassment cases from the place where they are currently sheltered after
leaving or being driven out of their matrimonial home.
The SC observed that the adverse psychological
trauma and mental agony of a woman is attributable to the cruelty committed in
matrimonial home and thus is a continuing offence.
The Supreme Court’s judgement came on a plea filed
by Rupali Devi against the Allahabad High Court judgement which dismissed her
plea to file a dowry harassment case from her parents’ house
In 1983, Section 498-A was added to IPC to curb
the menace of cruelty to married women, which often led to dowry deaths. Under the
section, cruelty to a woman by her husband or any relative of her husband is punishable
with an imprisonment for a term of three years and also with fine.
The Indian Government also enacted Protection of
Women from Domestic Violence Act in 2005. Domestic violence under the act
includes actual abuse or the threat of abuse whether physical, sexual, verbal,
emotional or economic. The Act covers all women who may be mother, sister,
wife, widow or partners living in a shared household.