A woman and a police officer, who allegedly tried to implicate a man in a dowry case, have got trapped in their own net.
A harassed Nishant Saini, 32, has filed a retaliatory complaint in court seeking the arrest of his wife, Anjali Dargan, 30, for "forcefully giving dowry which he never demanded".
Police officer Asha Sinha, who helped Dargan, is also in trouble. Metropolitan magistrate (MM) Saurabh Pratap Singh Laler ordered deputy commissioner of police (DCP) of south Delhi to take action against the officer for failing to submit a report despite the court's order.
Saini, an architect, married Dargan, an executive with ITC, in 2007. But their relationship soured within six months. Dargan slapped a dowry case against Saini, alleging that he had taken Rs17 lakh in dowry and forcibly kept her jewellery and stridhan (bride's article) worth Rs20 lakh. Though Saini refuted the charges, he spent six days in Tihar jail. He also lost his job.
Later, Saini filed a counter complaint with the police, accusing his wife and in-laws of forcing him to accept the money he never demanded. When the police refused to register his complaint Saini approached the court under Section 156 (3) of the CrPc, seeking action against his wife and her parents under Section 3 of the Dowry Prohibition Act (DPA). Section 3 DPA is a non-bailable, non compoundable (cannot be withdrawn), cognisable offence for giving, taking or abetting giving or taking of dowry. It carries a minimum punishment of five years in prison. On the other hand, Section 498A (cruelty for dowry), which Dargan had filed against Saini, has a penalty of three years in prison.
Based on Saini's complaint the judge, who was convinced that the wife was involved in the dowry offense, ordered officer Sinha to find out whether the money was willingly given by the woman's family or under pressure from the groom's side. However, Sinha, who had earlier opposed Saini's bail, failed to submit a report and told the court that no case could be registered against the bride or her parents.
"Instead of conducting the investigation, the police were trying to save the accused, forcing us to move a contempt of court application against Sinha," Saini's lawyer Pradip Nawani said. The judge directed Sinha's senior officers to take action against her for contempt of court.
Conceding that many women were misusing dowry laws to settle scores with their husbands, the Delhi high court laid down guidelines for the Delhi Police to be followed during investigations in dowry related complaints and IPC-498A. It said in case an educated woman gets married to a person despite a dowry demand, she and her family become accomplices under section 3 of DPA.