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Dowry law: First examine complaint then arrest SC says in landmark verdict

By Vicky
Google Oneindia News

Bringing some amount of sanity to the dowry harassment law, the Supreme Court said that an arrest in such case should be made only after examining the complaint.

Dowry law: First examine complaint then arrest SC says in landmark verdict

With several cases being reported where women have targeted their husbands and his family members using the dowry law, a petition was filed in the Supreme Court. The court held that no arrest should be made without examining a complaint by a committee of civil society members.

The court also directed the formation of one or more family welfare committees by the District Legal Services Authority in each district with civil society members, wives of officers, retired persons and para legal volunteers, to examine such complaints.

A bench of Justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and U U Lalit noted that IPC Section 498A was brought in to punish cruelty at the hands of the husband or his relatives against a woman but uncalled for arrest could ruin the chances of settlement in dowry harassment cases.

"This court's function is not to legislate but interpret law. In doing so, laying down of norms is sometimes unavoidable. Fair procedure being part of fundamental right to life, interpretation is required to be placed on a penal provision so that its working is not unjust," the SC held.

"Certain safeguards against uncalled for arrest or insensitive investigation have been addressed by this court. Still, the problem continues to a great extent," the bench noted.

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