Saturday, September 20, 2008

DNA - India - Government reviews dowry, domestic violence laws ...

DNA - India - Government reviews dowry, domestic violence laws ...
Rampant misuse by women to settle scores with in-laws forces corrective measures in the legislations


NEW DELHI: The growing misuse of dowry harassment and domestic violence prevention laws has forced the government to contemplate making changes in them.

The Indian Penal Code's (IPC) section 498A is a cognisable, non-compoundable and non-bailable offence which was drafted to protect married women from cruelty subjected to her by her husband or in-laws mainly for the purpose of dowry. But disgruntled women have rampantly used this section as one of the foremost legal weapons to settle scores in bad marriages.

Hence, to prevent its misuse, the ministry of women and child development consulted a panel of lawyers on Thursday to explore possibilities of making it a bailable offence and removing names of parents and sisters of the husband from its purview. Efforts are on to make the domestic violence law gender-neutral.

"Section 498A should be used sparingly. But now, it has become a trend to convert every quarrel between a husband and wife to a dowry harassment case," said Meenakshi Lekhi, a supreme court lawyer.

Women and child development minister Renuka Chowdhury said rampant misuse of these laws is making them less effective.

Interestingly, a large number of complaints have come from women themselves, mainly mothers-in-law and sisters-in-law. According to National Crime Records Bureau figures quoted by NGOs working on marital harmony, about 1.2 lakh women have been falsely implicated under section 498A.

The Delhi and Chennai high courts have recently issued directives to their respective state governments on ways to prevent the misuse of section 498A. In these states, no case under section 498A can be registered or arrests made without proper investigations and prior approval of the deputy commissioner of police or additional deputy commissioner of police.

Arrests can be made only after the investigations are complete and there are sufficient charges against the accused husband.

The courts have also set directives asking lawyers to refrain from putting wild allegations while drafting complaints.

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The Government needs to act NOW Save Family Foundation urges the Government of India to make the following amendments to the law and ensure that ordinary citizens of India are spared from needless harassment:
1.Section 498A of IPC should be made bailable.

Section 498A, being non-bailable, allows punishing the accused by imprisonment even before guilt is established. This goes against the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states that everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law. Abused women need protection, but placing unconditional faith in the statements of a woman and confining the accused husband and his family in police or judicial custody, until bail is granted by a court, is not the way to accord protection to women.



2.Section 498A of IPC should be made non-cognizable.



Innocent citizens are being arrested everyday based on mere complaints without requiring evidence or investigation. Even children and senior citizens are not being spared. IPC 498A, being a cognizable offence, violates a citizen’s right to due process.



3.IPC 498A and Domestic Violence Law should be made gender neutral.

Domestic abuse is not gender specific. The assumption that victims of physical, verbal, emotional, sexual, and financial abuse are always women is wrong. According the Universal Declaration of Human Rights "all are equal before the law, and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law". Hence, men should also be accorded protection from physical, verbal, emotional, sexual, and financial abuse by women.

4. Persons who misuse IPC 498A and Domestic Violence Law should be penalized.

Misuse of the process of law not only costs the public exchequer dearly, but also destroys the personal lives of many innocent citizens. Misuse of law should be treated as a serious crime, and persons who use women-protection laws as weapons for settling personal scores in marital disputes should be severely punished.
Gender Biased LAW should immediately be made crime based instead of any assumption that all women never lie and all the men are born as Criminals. "MEN/WOMEN" word to be replaced by word "PERSON" and word wife/husband to be replaced with the word "SPOUSE"


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For Further Reference:
Review of the Domestic Violence Act and other related laws
SC ruling on suicide by married women : Do you Know?
Bid to stop dowry law misuse- Hindustan Times
Ban NCW and their associates – for promotion of Legal Terrorism in India.

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1 Comments:

At 5:31 PM, Blogger CHARLIE said...

What to talk about Minakshi lekhi who herself is filing 498a cases for her clients and on this forum claiming

Section 498A should be used sparingly. But now, it has become a trend to convert every quarrel between a husband and wife to a dowry harassment case," said Meenakshi Lekhi, a supreme court lawyer.

She is a big liar

 

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