The provisions of section 498-A of IPC were made stringent by the legislature with the sole intent to curb the menace of dowry. But in recent times it has been seen that in many cases, section 498-A has been used as a weapon by disgruntled wives to settle scores with the husband and thus implicating the husband and his entire family in false cases. Being falsely implicated in an FIR is even more challenging and difficult for the NRI’s to deal with as there are grave implications and ramifications of being accused/arrested in a case/FIR.

What to do if a false 498-A  FIR is  lodged against an NRI?

The first and the foremost thing that must be done in case a false FIR is registered against an NRI is to get the copy of the FIR and collect all the relevant information in consonance with the concerned FIR. Now the difficulty being faced by an NRI is how to participate in the legal proceedings and thus get himself acquitted in a situation where a person is abroad and cannot travel to India to do the same. And even more after the registration of an FIR, in most cases, if a person does not join the investigation or does not participate in the legal proceedings undertaken then the person can be declared a PO(Proclaimed Offender) or a LOC(Look Out Circular) can be issued against that person.

In such a scenario either an anticipatory bail can be filed before the competent court or quashing petition can be filed before the Hon’ble High Court. In this blog we are going to discuss the first scenario i.e. filling/maintainability of the application of anticipatory bail of an NRI.

What is Anticipatory Bail?

The expression “Anticipatory Bail” is not explicitly defined under the Code of Criminal Procedure,1973. “Anticipatory Bail” simply means an order passed by the competent court to release a person on bail in the event of his arrest. It is a legal remedy wherein a person, who has a reasonable apprehension of being arrested on allegations of having committed a non-bailable offence, can approach the appropriate Court and seek bail in anticipation of arrest.

“Apprehension of Arrest”

The use of the expression ‘reason to believe’ under sub section (1) of Section 438 shows that the person who seeks anticipatory bail in apprehension of arrest should have reasonable grounds for such apprehension. It should be based on concrete facts and not vague un-spelt apprehensions. Mere fear is not belief. Therefore, the application for anticipatory bail should contain clear and essential facts relating to the offence, and why the applicant apprehends his arrest along with his version of the facts.

Can anticipatory bail be granted to an NRI residing abroad in 498-A case?

From the esteemed team at NRI LEGAL CONSULTANTS, Advocate Hashandeep Sidhu and Jaspreet benipal had skillfully represented a matter pertaining to anticipatory bail of the NRI parents of the husband in 498-A case before the Sessions Court. The crux of their argument emphasised that residing overseas does not restrain an individual from filing an anticipatory bail application, provided there is a reasonable apprehension of arrest. In fortifying their stance, the learned counsel drew upon the landmark judgement of “Sushila Aggarwal And Others Vs State (NCT of Delhi)” by the Hon’ble Supreme Court. The Hon’ble Supreme court had said that the courts are not at liberty to impose any additional restrictions on Section 438 of the Cr.P.C. beyond what the legislature has explicitly outlined. The Supreme Court’s observations advocate for a broader, more liberal interpretation of Section 438 Cr.P.C., steering clear of unnecessary limitations. Furthermore, the attorneys enriched their arguments by referencing pertinent decisions from the Hon’ble High Court of Punjab And Haryana and The Hon’ble SupremeCourt. After thorough consideration of the counsel’s submissions, the Learned Sessions Court  delivered justice by granting anticipatory bail to the applicants who were residing abroad at the time of filing the application for anticipatory bail, thereby affirming the principles laid down in the cited precedents.


Time and again the courts have given paramount importance to the fundamental right to liberty and thus had granted ad-interim anticipatory bail to the applicants in 498-A cases, when at the time of filing of the application of anticipatory  bail, the applicants have been residing abroad. Although there is no specific provision in Cr.P.C. regarding the filing/maintainability   of the application of anticipatory  bail by a person residing abroad but also there is no bar for a person residing abroad to file anticipatory bail application on the ground of reasonable apprehension of arrest. In the case titled Sushila Aggarwal and Others Vs State (NCT of Delhi)  the Hon’ble Supreme Court had observed that the courts cannot add to Section 438 of Cr.P.C., any restriction that the legislature had not thought fit to incorporate and that the  provisions of Section 438 Cr.P.C. have to be interpreted in a more liberal way rather than in a restrictive manner.

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