legal issue between brother and sister in law

I live separately from my elder brother and sister-in-law and don't have any dealings with them as they do not get along very well with each other and keep fighting on small issues. My sister-in-law has threatened couple of times in the past to take legal action against my brother and parents. Should I be worried and be proactive to save myself and parents from any legal hassle ?

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Under Section 438 of the Criminal Procedure Code there is a provision for a person to seek ‘Anticipatory Bail’. This means that an individual can seek or request to get bail in anticipation or in expectation of being named or accused of having committed a non-bailable offence.
Anticipatory bail is meant to be a safeguard for a person who has false accusation or charges made against him/her, most commonly due to professional or personal enmity, as it ensures the release of the falsely accused person even before he/she is arrested.
To get anticipatory bail the person seeking it, must approach the Court of Sessions or the High Court and citing section 438 of the Criminal Procedure Code as well as giving proper reason, apply for it. If the court, based on a number of conditions and the nature of the case, sees merit in the petition the bail is granted. Hence if and when the person is arrested, he/she will be immediately released on the basis of the anticipatory bail.
Conditions that are taken into consideration by the court when granting anticipatory bail include, but are not limited to[i]:

  • The person will make him/herself available for interrogation by the police as and when required by them
  • The individual shall not directly or indirectly  make any threat, promise or offer any bribe to any person who is connected to the case or knows facts about the case, so as to keep them quiet or to get them to change their report of facts to the court or the police  
  • An assurance that the person shall not leave India without prior permission from the court 

Although you don’t get along with your brother and his family and have not been residing with them, it would still be suggested to apply for Anticipatory Bail for yourself and your family and keep the evidences intact. There isn’t much threat that is available to you but it is always advisable to take precautions well beforehand. Because anticipatory bail is just a precautionary step and becomes applicable only when the police actually comes to arrest you. Since your sister-in-law has been threatening your parents and your brother, there is a possibility that she might drag you along. Therefore, you should surely apply for an anticipatory bail for your parents, elder brother, yourself and any other sibling that you have.
If possible you should also try to enter into a compromise agreement with your sister-in-law where she agrees that she would not take any legal action against you and your family.
[i] Abu Manzar And Ors Vs The State Of Jharkhand, IN THE HIGH COURT OF JHARKHAND AT RANCHI A.B.A. No. 2037 Of 2013

Answered on May 30, 2016.
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