The Calcutta High Court on Monday observed that women in many cases have unleashed “legal terrorism” by misusing a provision in the Indian Penal Code that deals with cruelty against a woman by her husband or her relatives, Bar and Bench reported.

Justice Subhendu Samanta of the High Court made the remark while hearing the petition of a man and his family members challenging cases lodged against them by his estranged wife under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code in 2017.

The man said that the woman levelled “general and omnibus” allegations of mental and physical cruelty against him in October 2017. He said that in December 2017, his estranged wife filed a separate case against his relatives accusing them of cruelty.

Justice Samanta said in his order that no evidence was brought on record establishing a prima facie offence committed by the husband.

“The direct allegation against the husband by the de-facto complainant is merely from her version,” the judge remarked, according to Bar and Bench. “It support[s] no documentary or medical evidence. One neighbour has heard about the quarrel of the wife and her husband; the quarrel of two persons does not mean or prove who is in aggression or who is aggrieved.”

The court noted that the couple had been living in a separate apartment from the family of the husband.

“The proceeding are instituted only to fulfil personal grudge,” the order said.

The court said that Section 498A had been introduced “to strike out the dowry menace from the society”. However, it added: “But it is observed in several cases that by misusing of said provision new legal terrorism is unleashed.”

The High Court quashed the cases against the husband and his family members.