ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Fallacies of a Supreme Court Judgment

Section 498A and the Dynamics of Acquittals

A higher proportion of acquittals is often put forward as evidence to suggest that Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code has been continuously misused. This position appears to focus on interpersonal violence, overlooking the various subliminal factors governing the everyday lives of women, such as the varied forms of violence and the role of gendered state institutions in conceptualising and implementing law. This paper considers the complexities of law enforcement from the survivors' perspective to investigate the dynamics of the formation of a new perception regarding the misuse of Section 498A.

Data presented in this paper was collected for an Oxfam India-supported project, “Legal Provisions against Matrimonial Cruelty: An Analysis of Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code”. The authors owe a special intellectual debt to Poornima Joshi and Arathi P M for their comments on an earlier draft of the paper. Seema Rana’s help in data collection is acknowledged.

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