Family members of affected people demand change in Sect 498 A

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Mumbai, Apr 2 (UNI) Husbands and other family members of women, who have falsely implicated them under Section 498 A of the IPC, today demanded a change in the section as it can be used by women arbitrarily to torture their family members.

Section 498 A, under which the complainant can lodge a case of harassment, torture and dowry demand against her husband and her in-laws, was introduced to empower the woman against her tormentors.

Speaking at a news conference, Mahendra Gupta, president of Protect Indian Family Foundation, the organisation that handles such cases, said the section was misused by women to unnecessarily harass their husbands and other family members, generally senior citizens, for getting share in ancestral property, forcing their husbands to live separately and other personal reasons.

He said ''The women misuse the law and lodge complaints against their husbands and in-laws and the police takes prompt action against them and arrest them without proper investigations.'' ''Moreover, police act on the complaints only on Fridays and the in-laws and husband of the woman has to spend the weekend behind bars,'' said Mr Gupta, who himself has been a victim of the section.

Advocate Mohan Pillai, who fights such cases, said the complainant, police and advocates are behind the conspiracy in lodging false cases to settle scores with her husband and his family.

''The case is very sensitive and powerful which is misused and should be applied only by an officer of DCP rank and above,'' he added.

Smruti Rane, an advocate who has been affected by section 498 A, after her sister-in-law applied the same on her and her family members, said the law that was construed for protecting women, was being misused by them to settle scores.

''I, being a woman, was subjected to torture from my sister-in-law for unknown reasons, who even left her one-year-old child with us,'' she said.

There were many incidents, where the law had been misused and the case had not been followed by the woman once the husband and the in-laws were arrested for demanding dowry and harassing her.

Manju Mishra, a teacher by profession, said ''The woman who files the case does not understand that such a case can permanently destroy the relations with her husband and his family, which clearly shows that the section is used for revenge and breaking the family, rather than helping them live together.'' She added that the law should be implemented by the police after proper investigations, as it involved many people.

According to statistics, the section has been applied in many cases all over the country as more than 3,500 cases are registered with the Protect Indian Family Foundation, Mumbai which has an all over conviction rate of 2 per cent.


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