[S.498A IPC] Karnataka HC Allows Husband To Initiate Criminal Proceedings Against Wife For Falsely Accusing Him Of Cruelty, Claiming He Had HPV


Chambers of Ishaan Garg

Ch. No. 217, Western Wing, District & Sessions Court, Tis Hazari, New Delhi, Delhi 110054

+91 8851742417, +91 8800386163

The Karnataka High Court has granted liberty to a husband to initiate criminal proceedings for malicious prosecution, under Section 211 of the IPC (Falsely accuse others of committing an offence) against his estranged wife.

A single judge bench of Justice M Nagaprasanna allowed the petition filed by a husband and quashed the criminal proceedings initiated against him by the wife under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code and Sections 3 and 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961. The wife had claimed that the husband was suffering from Human Papilloma-Virus (HPV), which is a sexually transmitted disease (STD).

On arriving at a conclusion that the complaint registered by the wife was frivolous, the court said “If the facts narrated hereinabove are noticed and as observed, the complainant has, in gross misuse and abuse of the process of the law, has set the criminal law into motion. Therefore, it becomes a fit case where the husband must be given liberty to initiate proceedings for malicious prosecution or initiate proceedings under Section 211 of the IPC. Liberty is thus reserved to the husband, for such action to be initiated in accordance with law, if he so desires.”

It was stated that the couple got married on 29-05-2020 and after two months the husband returned to the USA for work. He tried many times to get his wife to the USA by booking a visa appointment at the consulate but she kept on missing the visa appointment scheduled for her. Then on 21-01-2021, the complainant left the matrimonial house and then began to stay in a relative's house.

In 2021 the husband visited India and filed a divorce petition and also filed a complaint before the jurisdictional Police against the wife alleging several acts. Subsequent to this the wife lodged the alleged complaint and after investigation, police filed its chargesheet.

The husband argued that the wife never intended to live with him and all she wanted was his money. Moreover, all efforts of conciliation failed between the two, as the wife demanded Rs 3 crores in lieu of settlement. On merits it was said nowhere in the complaint there is any indication of demand of dowry.

The wife countered it by saying that the husband is suffering from sexually transmitted diseases and the husband had blocked all channels of communication once he moved to the USA after marriage. On his return, he registered a petition seeking annulment of marriage before the Family Court, since he earns over Rs 2 crore annually and does not want to part with the amount on settlement.


On going through the complaint the bench said “The crux of the complaint was STD on him, making her leave her job after marriage and therefore, she would be dependent upon him. There is not a single sentence about the petitioner demanding dowry and indulging in cruelty for the purpose of demanding dowry. All the harassments that the complainant narrates are minor skirmishes between the husband and the wife.”

Perusing the chargesheet the court said that a perusal of the charge sheet would also not indicate any demand of dowry or cruelty on the part of the husband.

Referring to the statement of the complainant's mother the court said that the mother herself in her statement speaks that at the time of discussions about the marriage, the parents of the petitioner and the petitioner had clearly indicated that they did not want any dowry and they were not demanding anything.

Following this it held “If the contents of the complaint, summary of the charge and the statements are considered on the bedrock of necessary ingredients of Section 498A of the IPC, the allegation of the offence would tumble down like a pack of cards, as, no where it is indicative, of the fact that there is dowry harassment and cruelty by the husband or the members of the family of the petitioner.”

Noticing the medical test reports of the husband the court said “The diagnostic centre at Columbus, USA observes that history and physical examination of the petitioner was done. He has no physical signs and no history of concern for HPV or any other infection in the body. Therefore, the bogey that is projected by the complainant/wife that the husband has some physical problem appears to be a white lie.”

Considering that several appointments were booked for the wife to secure a visa to travel to the USA which she did not attend and then on getting the visa she refused to travel to the USA, the court said, “Therefore, it is clearly a bogey projected by the complainant that the petitioner was not interested in getting her to the USA and had blocked all channels; but the documents speak otherwise. The attitude of the complainant also speaks for itself. Therefore, it is not a case where there is an iota of ingredient against the petitioner/husband for the offences punishable under Section 498A of the IPC or Sections 3 and 4 of the Act.”

It added, “It is misuse and abuse of the criminal justice system by the complainant right from the word go.”

It observed that the Court exercising jurisdiction under Section 482 of the Cr.P.C, has a duty to look into not only the complaint but all other attendant circumstances emerging from the record and if need be due care and circumspection be done, to read between the lines.

Thus the bench held that the unmistakable conclusion is that, the complainant in gross misuse and abuse of law has set the criminal law into motion. Such frivolous cases registered by the wife have taken enormous judicial time, be it before the concerned Court or before this Court, and has led to enormous civil unrest, destruction of harmony and happiness in the society. It may not be that these would be the facts in every given case.

Accordingly, it allowed the petition.

 Case Title: ABC AND State of Karnataka & ANR (2024 Karnataka HC)