November 17, 2009 5:23:54 am
Centres directive to states say no arrests be made without proper investigation
Taking cognisance of the increasing number of false complaints being filed under section 498A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC),the Central Government recently issued directives to the state governments not to make any immediate arrests but conduct thorough investigations before taking any action. However,family court lawyers and activists feel that unless women are punished for lodging false complaints,this directive would not help.
Though the directive is welcome,unless the women are punished by law for filing false cases under Section 498A,its misuse cannot be stopped, said Mahesh Kalge,a representative of Save Indian Family Foundation (SIFF),who runs a helpline for men in distress caused by domestic disputes.
Mahesh (name changed),an IT professional from Chinchwad,had to spent a week in the lock-up after his wife filed a harassment complaint with the police.
In most cases,the investigating officer immediately arrests the husband,mother-in-law and sister-in-law,as per the statement given by the wife. However,when the allegations prove false,the investigating officer is never held at fault. It is time the judiciary take this into account, said Mahesh.
This directive,if implemented strictly,will surely put a tab on the misuse of this section. Of the total cases filed under this section in one year,85 per cent turn out to be bogus, said advocate Shailaja Kelkar,matrimonial counselor who practiced in the family court for 20 years. There should be a provision in the law where husbands can sue their wives for making false allegations. Women take to filing such false complaints with an eye on compensation or husbands property,Kelkar observed.
In a letter to state chief secretaries,the Ministry of Home Affairs has asked the state governments to issue directives to the police not to arrest the husband and his relatives without checking the genuineness of the anti-dowry complaint.
The MHA wants the arrests to be the last resort and has asked the state police to ensure that the law doesnt become a tool in the hands of disgruntled women to settle scores with their husbands and in-laws.
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