Check dowry law misuse by women: HC
THURSDAY, MAY 22, 2003 12:30:00 AM ]
NEW DELHI: The Delhi high court on Wednesday
said that matrimonial offences where a woman is not physically
assaulted should be compoundable and bailable.
Justice J D Kapoor upheld a trial court’s
order and said two provisions of anti-dowry law under the Indian
Penal Code (IPC) were being misused.
Justice Kapoor was hearing the petition of Savita Devi who had
challenged the order of metropolitan magistrate Nisha Saxena. Devi
claimed the magistrate had erred in not framing charges against
her father-in-law and two sisters-in-law.
Saxena had only charged Devi’s husband for dowry harassment.But
Devi claimed before the court that the in-laws too had harassed
her since they refused to accept the customary gifts.
Justice Kapoor, however, held that the only allegation of not
accepting the customary gifts in a marriage does not amount to
harassment or cruelty as contemplated under Section 498 A
(harassment for dowry) of the IPC.
He further held the investigation into the offences pertaining to
dowry should be held by civil authorities like executive
magistrates. Cognizance, the judge said, should be taken only
after the findings on the commission of offences.
And until such a mechanism is evolved, Justice Kapoor said only an
assistant commissioner of police should investigate cases for
dowry harassment and that a deputy commissioner of police should
be the investigating officer in a case where a woman dies due to
He also took a serious view of cases where some children are
arrested under the charges of dowry harassment. Justice Kapoor
ruled: ‘‘There is a growing tendency among women, which is
further perpetuated by their parents and relatives, to rope in
each and every relative, including minors and even schoolgoing
children of distant relatives.’’
Where a school going child is named, the judge said, he or she
shall not be arrested.