For dowry-linked cruelty, SC restores ‘immediate arrest’
‘Abuse Of Sec 498A Can’t Be Reason To Curtail Ambit Of Law’
New Delhi: A three-judge Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra on Friday disagreed with the court’s July 27 judgment which diluted the rigour of Section 498A of IPC which warrants immediate arrest of a husband and his relatives in a dowry-linked complaint of cruelty.
In the July 27 judgment, a bench of Justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and U U Lalit had cited data from the National Crime Records Bureau which indicated widespread misuse of Section 498A by women to get husbands and their relatives arrested and harassed for years. But on Friday, the SC decided that abuse of Section 498A should not amount to curtailing the ambit of the law.
The two-judge bench had ordered setting up of family welfare panels in every district to examine the veracity of each complaint under Section 498A. It had said no arrest would be made till the committee gave a report endorsing prima facie authenticity of the complaint.
The earlier order had said there would be a designated police officer to probe Section 498A complaints and advised trial courts not to insist on personal appearance of all family members of the husband, especially those living elsewhere, and permit appearance through video conferencing.
In a case relating to protection of persons from arrest by police without warrant, as it happens in Section 498A complaints, the three-judge bench of Justices Misra, A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud went far beyond the scope of the petition and said, “At this stage, we are obligated to say that we are not in agreement with the judgment in Rajesh Sharma vs UP case (pronounced on July 27). Abuse of Section 498A (by women) would not make this court curtail the ambit and scope of the section enacted to protect women from cruelty in matrimonial homes.”
The bench faulted the exercise undertaken by the two-judge bench in laying down elaborate guidelines as an exercise reserved solely for the legislature. It issued notice to the Centre and appointed senior advocate V Shekhar as amicus curiae while posting detailed deliberations for October 29. For the full report, log on to www.timesofindia.com