According to the data released by National, Crime Records Bureau stats that Twenty-one dowry deaths are reported across the country every day and the conviction rate is only 34.7 per cent.
In a recent judgement, the Supreme Court has modified its order that provided for setting up of a committee to deal with dowry harassment complaints.
The complaints of domestic violence under Section 498A IPC were directed to be vetted by the Committee first. It was also held that the police can carry out investigation and arrest only on the basis of a report by the Committee.
These directions issued by the bench of Justice A K Goel and Justice U U Lalit in clause 19(i) of the Rajesh Sharma were wholly struck down by the three judges bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A M Khanwilkar and Justice D Y Chandrachud.
The Court held that the Family Welfare Committee was an extra-judicial authority, which cannot exercise powers and functions of police and court.
The Court expressed that the directions were contrary to the scheme of the Code of Criminal Procedure, and held that they had the “potential to enter into the legislative field”. Hence, it was held that “the direction contained in paragraph 19(i) as a whole is not in accord with the statutory framework”
Section498 A’s misuse by the other side to harass the husbands by causing a social disturbance. In a judgement by the apex court, the court has granted anticipatory bail to the husbands and their relatives, who are not connected to matrimonial cruelty.
It was added that there were enough statutory provisions and judgments in place to check abuse of the provision. “There are statutory provisions and judgments in the field and, therefore, the directions pertaining to the constitution of a Committee and conferment of power on the said Committee is erroneous”
Kabir Barfe, Lawyer explains Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code deals with domestic violence and cruelty towards women by the Husband or his family. The law reads below is if any Husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty.—Whoever, being the husband or the relative of the husband of a woman, subjects such woman to cruelty shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine. Explanation.—For the purpose of this section, “cruelty” means—
(a) any wilful conduct which is of such a nature as is likely to drive the woman to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to life, limb or health (whether mental or physical) of the woman; or
(b) harassment of the woman where such harassment is with a view to coercing her or any person related to her to meet any unlawful demand for any property or valuable security or is on account of failure by her or any person related to her to meet such demand.
As per the reports from National Crime Records Bureau of 2006- 2016 suggest that there has been 10 per cent rise in the cases each year, by the end of 2016 there was 5.15 lakhs case registered under this IPC. In those 11 years, the number of acquittals was 24404 in the year 2006, which increased up to 39248 by the end of 2016 and the number of convictions was between 5000 and 8000 in each of these 11 years.
Barfe further added, However, there have been instances where a woman has deliberately taken advantage of this section. There have been no conclusive details apart from the fall in the rate of conviction.
Section 498 A was formed to decrease the cases of dowry deaths, and women empowerment, says However woman have been misusing these laws and there is no extent to the dangerous use of laws, says Shrutika Sabnis, School Teacher
The modification is in the favour of thousands of men who have been defamed by false cases. It has become the extortion tool for women and her family, there have been several cases where woman are forced into marriage by their parents, who later blame the husbands and extort money for not filing the case, she added.
Nalini Gawade, working for women empowerment says, “ There is no denying that womens misuse the laws, while there are also some men who perpetrate violence against women.
By modifying section 498a the government has given a helping hand to those men, who have been taking advantage of the law. Similarly there are women who tend to misuse it, they should also not be spared and punished severly.
In my opnion, It should be a non-bailable offence if women have faced serious injuries and unnatural death in the first 10 years of marriage, says Isha Ghorpade, Baker.
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