Arnesh kumar vs state of bihar 



Arnesh kumar vs state of bihar is a legal case that involves the interpretation and application of section 498A of Indian penal code,deals with the cruelty against the married woman. Arnesh kumar, the petitioner challenged the constitutional validity of this provision given under Article 498A,arguing that is been misused by wife and families to harass him and his family which leads to unjustified arrest. 

The case highlights the issue of gender-based violence and discrimination and the challenges in balancing the protection of victims with safeguarding the rights of accused 

Overall Case had a profound impact on the legal landscape dealing with matrimonial disputes in India, setting precedents for the interpretation and implementation of laws aimed at addressing domestic violence while ensuring due process and protection of individual right.


In the case of Arnesh Kumar vs. State of Bihar, (2014)the Supreme Court of India addressed the issue of arbitrary arrests by law enforcement agencies, particularly in cases of non-bailable offenses. The petitioner, Arnesh Kumar, sought relief from what he claimed was an unlawful arrest by the police. The Court, while hearing his plea, took cognizance of the widespread misuse of the power to arrest individuals without proper investigation or evidence.

The Court recognised that the power to arrest any individual is a serious encroachment into an individual’s liberty and it should not be exercised indiscriminately. It emphasized the need for police officers to exercise caution and discretion before arresting especially in cases of non-bailable offences. The Court observed that many individuals were being arrested without adequate investigation particularly in cases like matrimonial disputes and dowry-related cases. Arrest was based solely on the complaint filed by the women against his husband and his family.

Court laid down some guidelines to followed by law conducting agencies like police befor making an arrest in cases of non bailable offence. 

By issuing these guidelines, the Supreme Court aimed to control the misuse of the power to arrest and protect the rights and liberties of individuals. The case of Arnesh Kumar vs. State of Bihar serves as a landmark judgment in Indian criminal law, emphasizing the importance of procedural safeguards and the principle of presumption of innocence until proven guilty.

Fact of the case 

The wife of Arnesh Kumar(petitioner) alleged that she was driven out of the home due to non-fulfillment of the demand of her in-laws and her husband for dowry which included Rupees 8 lakhs , maruti car, an air-conditioner, televisionset, etc. According to the wife of Arnesh kumar these demands were made by her mother-in-law and father-in law and Arnesh Kumar his husband supported them by threatening wife that he would marry another woman if the demands of them of dowry would not be fulfilled .

Additionally, she also complained that she was forced to leave the husband’s home because the dowry demands were not met.

Arnesh Kumar preferred an anticipatory bail application as he apprehended arrest under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and Section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961,which was denied to him by the Sessions Court and the High Court. He, thereafter, moved  to a Special Leave Petition under Article 136 before the Supreme Court.

Judgement of the case

On July 2, 2014, the Supreme Court responded to a Special Leave Petition filed by Arnesh Kumar, who challenged his and his family’s arrest under this law. In the case of Arnesh Kumar v State of Bihar a two-judge panel of the Supreme Court acknowledged the application of section 41(1)(A) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), which acertain guidelines and some procedures before making an arrest.

The court in Arnesh Kumar vs State of Bihar observed that Section 498A had turned into a mechanism for discontented wives, which result in the arrest of innocent individuals without specific and substantial evidence, mainly because the law is non-bailable and cognizable. The Supreme Court observed that some women were misusing the law under Section 498A(anti dowry law) to trouble their husbands and in-laws. As a response, the court restricted the police from making arrests on just making complaints by wives with the intuition to trouble their husbands and his relatives.

Further, the court in Arnesh Kumar vs State of Bihar directed the police to adhere to Section 41 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, which provides a listof guidelines to determine the necessity of an arrest. The Honourable court also stated that a magistrate must assess whether a detained accused person should be kept in further custody or not . This decision mainly aimed to make a balance between preventing misuse of the law(anti dowry law) and protecting the rights of those accused.

The court too introduced the concept of “Notice of Appearance” under Section 41A of the CrPC. It basically involves that Before arresting an accused, the police should issue a notice of appearance in cases where the offense is punishable with less than seven years of imprisonment. This aims to prevention of arrest of the person who didn’t even committed it. 

Finding of the court

The Supreme Court of India, in its judgment in case Arnesh Kumar vs State of Bihar, issued guidelines to prevent unnecessary arrests by police officers and unwarranted detention authorised by magistrates. The Court provided the following guidelines named as Arnesh Kumar Guidelines:

“State Governments must instruct their police officers not to automatically arrest someone when a case is registered under section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code.

 Arrest should only be considered if the situation aligns with the criteria outlined in section 41 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

All police officers should have a checklist containing specific clauses mentioned in Section 41(1)(b)(ii).

When producing the accused before the magistrate for further detention, the police officer should submit the checklist along with reasons and evidence justifying the arrest.

Magistrates, when authorising further detention, should rely on the report provided by the police officer. The magistrate should only approve continued detention after recording the reasons furnished in the police report and being satisfied with them.

The decision not to arrest an accused individual should be communicated to the magistrate within two weeks from the initiation of the case. The Superintendent of Police can extend this timeframe, with recorded reasons.

The accused person should be served with a Notice of Appearance according to Section 41-A of the Code of Criminal Procedure within two weeks from the case’s initiation. This time frame can be extended by the Superintendent of Police with written reasons.

Failure to follow these directions could result in the police officer being held in contempt of court by the appropriate High Court.

Judicial Magistrates who authorise detention without recording reason may face departmental proceeding initiated by high court”


The Supreme Court of India’s decision in Arnesh Kumar v. State of Bihar (2014) has significant impact for the legal system, particularly in the matter of the arrest procedures under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and other offenses  which carry a maximum punishment up to seven years. 

The court acknowledged the rampant misuse of section 498A of Indian penal code by wives which used it as potent tool to trouble their innocent husband and issues certain guidlines regarding the procedure of arrest by police.

In a nutshell the provision safeguards the personal liberty of an individual which promotes the balance and fair legal process and genuin cases regarding the domestic abuse are address effectively.


1. What was the main issue in the case? 

Ans: Primarily the issue was the misuse of the section 498A of Indian penal code that deals with anti dowry issue,cruelty to women by her husband and his relatives. The Supreme Court address the concern issue and saw to the routine and mechanism of the arrest made by police.

2. What did Supreme Court decided regarding the concerned issue?

Ans: The Supreme Court laid down the guidelines to prevent unnecessary arrests by police officers and unwarranted detention authorised by magistrates. It is also been directed that arrest couldn’t be made solely based on the complaint their should be premilinary investigation.

3. When the case held ?

Ans: The case of Arnesh kumar vs state of bihar is of year 2014 and the judgement was given on 2nd july 2014.

4. How the case related to Section 41 of CrPC? 

Ans:In Arnesh Kumar vs. State of Bihar (2014), the Supreme Court sated the proper use of Section 41 CrPC to prevent unnecessary arrests. The Court mandated that police must justify arrests with a checklist and that magistrates must verify compliance. This aimed to lessen the misuse of arrest powers and ensure accountability.

                         Arjita singh 

                          1st year Bba llb ( hons)

                         Babasaheb bhim rao amedkar university lucknow 

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