Case Summary

Rajesh Sharma Ors. v. State of UP Anr. [2017 SCC Online SC 821]

This Case Summary is written by Ishita Gupta, a student at Vivekananda Institute Of Professional Studies, GGSIPU


Due to cultural and religious factors, India has historically been a patriarchal society. For generations, we have adhered to the traditional convention that women are inferior to males in all aspects of life. Though the paternalistic viewpoint has weakened over time, the notion of male superiority remains intact. Women are restricted to domestic duties and the management of the home and family. The legislation that rules us, as well as associated jurisprudence, reflects this women’s subjection, based on the same belief.  One of area of concern is Dowry continues to remain a major social evil which creates life threatening consequences for women. Section 498-A was inserted in the Indian Penal Code in 1983  , and is an offence arising from marital discord in a marriage. This malicious practice degrades the status of women and reduces them to objects, value of which surges with bigger dowry. Such evil results in women being ill-treated, harassed, killed, divorced for the simple reason. Section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code (I.P.C.) defines the offence of matrimonial  cruelty. Under the Section, offenders are subject to jail as well as a fine, and the offence is not bailable. Although the two sections are not mutually exclusive, both offences and those acquitted under Section 304B are separate.

Facts of the Case

  • Rajesh Sharma and Sneha Sharma got married on November 28, 2012. 
  • Sneha Sharma’s father provided the appellant with a dowry to the best of his ability. However, the appellants were dissatisfied with the dowry amount and began assaulting the complainant, who was assaulted and abused on a regular basis by the husband. The demand was made of dowry of Rs.3,00,000/- and a car which the family could not arrange
  • Due to the harassment Sneha’s pregnancy had been terminated, the appellant then abandoned her at her home.
  • Rajesh Sharma was summoned under IPC sections 498A and 323. The wife has filed a complaint against the husband and their relative, the Appellant, in the case. 
  • The wife also claimed that her husband made dowry demands and that she was harassed by the appellant and his family members while she was pregnant, resulting in the termination of her pregnancy. After perusal of the file and the document brought on record. 
  • As a result of the prima facie case, the trial court called appellant. The appellants went to the High Court to have the summons quashed, but the court dismissed their request. Thereafter, the High Court found no ground to interfere with the order of summoning and dismissed the petition. Hence this appeal.
  • As a result, the appellants filed an appeal in the Supreme Court against the High Court’s decision

Issues before the court 

  • Is it necessary to check the tendency to rope all family members in resolving a matrimonial dispute?
  • Are there rules required to prevent the abuse of Section 498A?
  • Whether the family of the offender will be punished in the act and how to spare the honest people. 



 the Petitions were instituted seeking directions to the respondents to create an enabling environment for married women subjected to cruelty to make informed choices and to create a uniform system of monitoring and systematically reviewing incidents of violence against women under Section 498A of IPC

It was also contended the Petitioners in the case for a uniform policy of registration of FIR, arrest and bail in cases of Section 498A of IPC i.e., to immediately register FIR on complaint of cruelty and harassment by married women as per the IPC.

.The Petitioners’ main argument in the case was that the social purpose of Section 498A of the IPC was being lost because the rigour of the provision had been diluted and the offence had been effectively made bailable due to various qualifications and restrictions prescribed by various decisions of this Court.


The Main contention raised in support of this appeal by the appellant side  is that there is a need to check the tendency to rope in all family members in a matrimonial dispute. Allegations against all relatives of the husband cannot be taken at face value when in normal course it may only be the husband or at best his parents. It was also stated that respondent No.2 herself left the matrimonial home. Appellant No.2, father of appellant No.1, is a retired government employee. Appellant No.3 is a house wife. Appellant No.4 is unmarried brother and appellant No.5 is unmarried sister who is a government employee. Appellants Vijay Sharma, Jaywati Sharma, Praveen Sharma and Priyanka Sharma  had no interest in making any demand of dowry. 


The session court in its judgment found Rajesh Sharma guilty under section 498A. But later Sneha summoned her parents in law and the brother and sister of the husband. The said petition was accepted by session judge on 3rd July 2014. The appellant then approached the High Court against the order of summoning. Though the matter was referred to mediation center but without any avail. Then the High Court found no ground to support this petition and rejected it. Court also constituted a family welfare  committee and every case related to dowry will go to this committee which gives this committee uncheck power and it can work as a justice dispensation system.

No arrest will be done until the committee gives its report to the magistrate that shows the justice to the victim will be delayed.

This ruling was issued in order to put an end to the harassment and persecution of the husband and family members in fraudulent dowry cases  The supreme court thoroughly evaluated all of the events and issues, and issued numerous instructions on cases brought falsely in order to exact retribution.. The committee’s major goal is to separate the genuine cases from the fraudulent ones. married guy. The provisions of the IPC are being substantially misapplied, according to the court. Provide relief to those who have been the victims of malicious complaints. The accused cannot be excused from appearing in court if he or she is not in the jurisdiction, however video conferencing can be utilised to replace human appearances..

The magistrate’s decision is based solely on his or her experience, and the judgement reflects that. The majority of the cases that the precedent judges used to support their conclusion that 498A is being abused demonstrates their male-predominant viewpoint. 


The decision is crucial as its recognized  dowry-related offences, as it prevents the victimisation and harassment of an innocent husband and his relatives

In this case, the Supreme Court agreed that the dowry provision of the Indian penal code had been abused. It is interpreting the goal of the clause, which is to restore innocent people’s human rights. The purpose of this decision was to investigate a complaint made to the police and magistrates. Further, the objective of this committee was to see genuine cases and to opt-out Fraudulent cases. But the fact that the judges ignored The case of the dowry reflects patriarchy and male norms. The rule has reduced physical violence and dowry-related offences to a significant extent, but judges have refused to admit it. The fact that NCRB statistics only indicates the number of cases filed and only 14% of them are found guilty demonstrates the complexities of Indian justice.. For many women, the daily occurrence of violence and stigmatization has been so normalized that they have internalized these things and they only approach a court when the case is of extreme violence. Every case related to dowry will go to this committee which gives this committee uncheck power , which can left a lot of scope for arbitrariness o arrest will be done until the committee gives its report to the magistrate. Committee members who act as a judicial body can be influenced and bribed by accused


Rajesh Sharma vs State of Uttar Pradesh judgment reflects how justice for women in Indian society is far from realized. The court needed to re-examine the effect and purpose of the law and then judge the case. The major problem our judicial system has, is the falling acknowledge and judicial recognition of rights of women.  As a result, the judiciary should reexamine the effect and purpose of law and take appropriate action.

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