On 11th Mar, 2015 in Rajya Sabha, government disclosed its intentions of making IPC 498A compoundable:
Minister of State for Home Affairs Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary, in a written statement in Rajya Sabha, replied with a "yes, sir" when he was asked whether government proposes to make Section 498A of IPC a compoundable offence by appropriate amendments in the CrPC.
"The government has the proposal to make Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code a compoundable offence, with the permission of the courts, as per the recommendations of the Law Commission of India and the ..
I have already posted about the meaning of compoundable and non-compoundable offences in some detail.
Previously in Sep 2014, government was proposing making 498A both bailable and compoundable, where I had covered it’s pros and cons. As covered in that post already, the benefits of the proposed change to men and families will happen ONLY IF it is made BOTH bailable and compoundable. As of now the news suggests making it only compoundable, which could also mean the divorce industry lobby has convinced the lawmakers not to threaten their bread-and-butter anticipatory bail ‘revenue’ which each IPC 498A case generates. In fact, with the offence becoming compoundable, the revenue is only set to increase because wife will file 498A again after coming back, so once again the husband and family may file anticipatory bail application. This could assuage some in the divorce industry who are ‘hurt’ by the Arnesh Kumar SC judgment of Jul 2014 after which police has started to follow CrPC 41 and 41A guidelines most of the time.
"A draft note for the Cabinet which, inter alia, seeks to amend section 498A of the IPC, making it compoundable, has been sent to the Legislative Department, Ministry of Law and Justice for drawing up the draft bill," he said.
By making an offence compoundable, contesting parties get an option to compromise their issues outside the court and avoid a trial.
As regards experience of MRAs, there is zero evidence of IPC 498A being compoundable making any positive difference to men and their relatives who are accused of it. We know from NCRB statistics that 498a is compoundable in Andhra Pradesh (AP) and Rajasthan, and both States have high number of 498A cases. These 2 states have the ‘honour’ of being in top 3 States in 498A cases per capita of population. West Bengal is another state with high numbers of 498A cases and is in the list of top 3 states. This article has given some good statistics which show that after being made compoundable, the number of 498A cases in AP has increased faster than in rest of India.
Why do many men like the idea of 498A being made compoundable?
The amount of fascination with 498A being compoundable I have seen over the years, to my mind suggests men WANT to have a escape route in laws towards possibility of married life with same woman, and for them it's the degree of torture done by her which is the only consideration. My guess is that many feel that it being compoundable mean that the torture or threat will be less, however there is zero evidence of based on calls from Andhra Pradesh (AP), where 498A is compoundable. I have never seem the AP callers in any sort of relaxed state of mind because it's compoundable. Since the offence is compoundable but still non-bailable, people still have to apply for anticipatory bail before FIR or a regular bail after FIR. In fact AP men get screwed repeatedly by the whole system with mockery of their rights. The whole system including lawyers know 498a is compoundable so they sometimes get the settlement money and still keep the guy on tenterhooks.
To know benefits of compoundable 498a, learn from AP folks. I haven't seen any MRAs from AP claiming the advantages of compoundable 498a. In fact AP was one state which used to issue red corner notices against NRIs routinely I think.
Update Mar 16, 2015:
Got this gem of a reality check from an AP MRA:
Guys am from AP
We are suffering a lot with 498 a which compoundable here
All wife fight like warriors of a great battle treating husbands as their enemies and at the final end stage
When all the efforts of husband is about to fulfilled
They say I want to withdraw the case
the judge will OK
Basically, what compoundable 498A in AP means is that if you have great evidence against wife’s false allegations and you fight it out during the 498A trial, when the wife’s party feels they are about to lose the case, they will request to withdraw the case and the judge will allow that, WITHOUT ANY consequence whatsoever to the wife for having filed false allegations and having dragged husband and family to the court for years!
Still people want 498A to be made compoundable? Thy wish might very well come true!
Honey, I am hoping you will compound 498A again this time!