Violence against women is systemic, pervasive and has assumed epidemic proportions in our societies. Intimate partner violence is the most common form of violence in the private domain. Violence has been used as a tool to keep women in a position of subordination/inequality.
In the Indian context, patriarchy and religious, traditional and cultural practices are more commonly used as instruments to justify and perpetrate violence against women in family settings. Social structure and cultural norms are the of key determinant of women’s role and their position in society and they have limited scope of their full and equal participation in the society and the achievement of their full potential
Violence against women is also linked to inequalities based on factors like economic position of women in society. Women’s subjugation is the result of the hierarchies that are maintained by or reflected in the institutions and structures involved in creating, maintaining, and normalizing against women.
Violence against women has been identified as a major public health problem, which can result in a wide range of physical, mental, sexual, reproductive, and maternal health problems. It is an undisputed fact that women lacking health care and medical treatment due to economic, social, political and geographic barriers are at greater risk of chronic, and possibly fatal, effects of violence.
Violence occurring in a private setting is broadly covered within the scope of Domestic Violence. Domestic violence is one of the most prevalent forms of gender-based violence. According to crime statistics in India, cruelty by husband and relatives accounts for 44% of the total crime committed against women.
Several enactment and provision have been brought on the the statue book during last two or three decades to concern about liberty, dignity and equal respect for women. The insertion of section 498A IPC is one of such moves and it penalize offensive cruel conduct of the husband and his relative toward married women
The beginning of 19th century plays an important role in degrading Indian women till its depth. The fear of insecurity not only envisaged in unmarried young women but also married women .In India, “family” has always been prime importance. Marriage being an important social institution since Vedic period was biased against women. It was regarded as the social alliance between two families instead of two persons. The bride was expected to serve her husband and his family and ensure their happiness and wellbeing. There was no question of her happiness, expectation or content. There were three main objectives of Hindu marriage: dharma or religious duties to be performed by the couple or procreation, and conjugal love. Exploitation of woman began with the child marriage. A girl too young to take life seriously, a girl too young to understand the meaning of ‘life’ and ‘marriage’, had to step into the world of thorns. She was subjudicated by her mother-in-law and other members of her husband’s family, most of the time including even her husband. She was expected to observe ‘purdah’, not to speak to elders, speak in low voice to younger members of family, not to speak or meet her husband except midnight and bear all harsh words and sufferings for even minor fault and above all never to express her sorrows or utter a word of distress to anyone
Section 498A, the only section of Chapter XXA (Title of chapter- Of Cruelty by Husband or Relatives of Husband) of the Indian Penal Code. The same was inserted by Criminal Law 2nd Amendment Act, 1983(Act No. 46 of 1983). It came into force on25th December 1983 and it reads as follows-
Whoever, being the husband or the relative of the husband of a woman, subjects such woman to cruelty shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine.
This section have its own negative and positive points like the future of many helpless women who suffer in silence and of many poor husband who have been implicated in this sec , its depend upon how we react to this reform which are need of the hour.
Section 498A can prove to be a weapon as well as shield of women. It is necessary for the government to ensure that no false case are filed and proved it to be a balanced act. So, the exsting law should be there rather than overhyping the misuse point .
Therefore, the section is much needed for the society though with certain amendment