The court further instructed the state governments to ensure that the police did not arrest anyone and evryone booked under the law. "The attitude to arrest first and then proceed with the rest was despicable," said the bench. The police will now have to give reasons and proofs to the magistrate before issuing an arrest warrant.
A bench comprising justice Chandramauli Kumar Prasad and justice Pinaki Chadra Ghose said,"The fact it is a cognisable and non-bailable offence has lent it a dubious place of pride amongst the provisions that are used as weapons rather than shield by disgruntled wives."
Justifying its stance, the bench quoted crime statistics showing that nearly a quarter of those arrested under Sec 498A in 2012 were women, all relatives of husbands.
"As the arrest curtails freedom, brings humiliation and casts scars forever, ...we believe that no arrest should be made only because the offence is non-bailable and cognisable," the court said. Magistrates too would have to produce a report justifying the arrest. Moreover, the failure to do so will lead to departmental action and contempt of court.