SC orders safeguards to prevent misuse of anti-dowry provision

The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered a slew of safeguards, including “involvement of civil society and sensitisation of investigation officers and magistrates”, to prevent widespread misuse of dowry prohibition provision under Indian Penal Code’s Section 498A.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: July 28, 2017 4:22 am
 Supreme Court, Dowry, Women, Wife, Family welfare committees, india news, indian Express The Supreme Court has issued a notice to centre on PIL seeking abortion for a 10-year-old rape survivor. (FIle)

The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered a slew of safeguards, including “involvement of civil society and sensitisation of investigation officers and magistrates”, to prevent widespread misuse of dowry prohibition provision under Indian Penal Code’s Section 498A. A two-judge bench of Justices U U Lalit and A K Goel noted that though “Section 498A was inserted in the statute with the laudable object of punishing cruelty at the hands of husband or his relatives against a wife particularly when such cruelty had potential to result in suicide or murder of a woman….many of such complaints are not bona fide”.

“We are conscious of the object for which the provision was brought into the statute. At the same time, violation of human rights of innocent cannot be brushed aside. Certain safeguards against uncalled for arrest or insensitive investigation have been addressed by this court,” the court said. “Still, the problem continues to a great extent.” The court ordered setting up of Family Welfare Committees in every district to look into complaints of dowry harassment. District Legal Services Authorities will set up the panels. Complaints police or magistrates receive under 498A must be referred to the panels, which will look into them and submit reports. “Till report of the committee is received, no arrest should normally be effected,” the court said.

It ordered there should be a designated officer to investigate such complaints and more caution should be exercised while dealing with matters of bail. It said that “in respect of persons ordinarily residing out of India impounding of passports or issuance of Red Corner Notice should not be a routine”.

The court said personal appearance of all family members and particularly outstation ones may not be required for trial. It added a trial court ought to grant them exemption from personal appearance or permit appearance by video conferencing. It made it clear that these directions will not apply in offenses in where there is tangible physical injury or death. “After seeing the working of the arrangement for six months, the National Legal Services Authority may give a report on changes if necessary.”

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  1. Annu Chopra
    Jul 30, 2017 at 11:05 am
    4. Let us not refuse to see the truth. case issue to be serious enough to be addressed immediately BUT still does not prescribe any punishment to liar This "gender justice and equality"(?) seeking judiciary and Govt, ( except Maneka) has finally admitted the false 498a women. Welfare committee also has abo ely no punishment or responsibility for arriving at wrong conclusion.Why SC did not prescribe jail for liar woman and her family upon adverse findings by Welfare Committee? Why this blatant discrimination by these wise judges? But husband and family must give maintenance without trial if they want bail. Some justice this. My barefoot. 5. Husbands, mothers ,sisters are being subtly and cleverly fooled. This judgment legalises extortion. Get ready to pay up extortion,poor men. The SC judgment has mala fide recommendations. कहीं पे निगाहें कहीं पे निशाना जीने दो ज़ालिम बनाओ न दीवाना PS: if the above understanding is wrong , kindly excuse and ignore the above.
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    1. Annu Chopra
      Jul 30, 2017 at 11:04 am
      LEGALISATION OF EXTORTION: 1.BY seemingly trying to flatter men by undoing immediate jail in draconian 498a, SC is forcing men to start paying arbitrary amount of maintenance without verifying facts and without any trial. Now bail will be denied unless husband unconditionally agrees to pay monthly ransom. Remember this maintenance is not recoverable if woman lies about her job and economic status. 2.Parents of DIL support their "sin" for 20-30 years until they get rid of her by marrying her off. Immediately upon marriage, same girl suddenly becomes pathetic abla, her parents become too poor to support her. Govt. and God of course disown any responsibility. Whereas Unmarried girls, widows etc are deemed to be self supporting, the 498A/DV/divorced woman MUST be supported by husband till her death or remarriage. Wow! Yeh kaisa samaz hai ?. Yeh kaisi judiciary hai bhai?
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