Renuka calls for effective implementation of 498A

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New Delhi, Sep 18 (UNI) Union Minister for Women and Child Development Renuka Chowdhury today said there was need to ensure effective implementation of the Section 498 A of the Indian Penal Code (Dowry Prohibition Act) and also check its misuse.

Reacting to several women's groups expressing distress over the Government's move to amend the law, she said the law had been framed for the benefit of women and any move to review the law would be taken only after consultations with legal experts and social activists.

''But the implementation is being done by men. So they apply their mind where to apply it and not mindlessly prosecute people. If there have been cases of misuse of the law, there are at least 100 women who have benefitted,'' she said, while addressing a workshop by National Commission for Women which was attended by scores of women's activists, members of state commissions for women and mediapersons.

The Government had earlier planned to ''revisit'' the law following complaints from certain organisations for its "misuse".

Refusing to give any confirmation on whether her Ministry proposed to amend the law, she said laws were framed as per changing needs of the society. She wondered why 498A was being targeted.

''Why not the rape laws or the eve-teasing laws?'' Several women activists who were present, pointed out that Section 498 A was incorporated after a sustained and long struggle.

But still, there has been an increase in dowry-related torture and domestic violence, and very few complaints resulted in conviction. This was because of several loopholes in the Dowry Act and its poor implementation, they contended.

''Any move to dilute it will further weaken the efficacy of the law to deal with the issue,'' they said.

UNI MMG SW KN1842

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