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Pune Speak Up: Lock, stock and dowry

Friday, 4 July 2014 - 6:09am IST | Place: Pune | Agency: dna

In a recent judgement the Supreme Court ruled that there will be no arrests on mere allegations in dowry cases as disgruntled wives use the law as a weapon against their husbands and in-laws. The apex court ruling has told the state to investigate first and then make arrest dna asks readers if this will this give a huge relief to people facing arrest in dowry harassment cases
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It will be a huge relief for people...
In most of the cases of arrests, one sees that the conviction rate is very low, which shows that innocent people are being harassed by disgruntled wives misusing anti-dowry law. The CrPC Sec 41 has been amended in 2011 and has come into effect since then, wherein police has to justify before arresting anyone and have to follow over 9 step points. The police also has get NOD from the magistrate before arresting a person. However, the police are not following these procedures. You can see the consequences, where over 2 lakh people have been arrested till now under Section 498-A of the IPC. Over 3.72 lakh cases are pending trial and I wonder how of them have been justified by the police.
Atit Rajpara, Member, Save Indian Family

It is a conspiracy to undermine harassment cases...
This is the usual tendency of the judiciary and the police. Our patriarchal society always undermines the harassment and atrocities against women. We condemn the move to curtail the power of arrests in cases of dowry and atrocities against women. As per the procedure there is always an investigation after a compliant. The conviction rate in dowry cases is so poor because investigation is delayed and improper. Most of the crimes against women do not happen in public view, they happen behind four walls, wherein a woman cannot prove and thus our police machinery fails to prove. I would say that such a move to take away the power of arrest is a conspiracy of the patriarchal system in the country.
Shubha Shamim, women's rights activist

Families have committed suicide in fear...
The CRPC sec 41/1 has already been gazetted on 2nd November 2011. The amendment has already put into effect as a law of no imprisonment without a warrant. But in India only 2 states-Kerala and Uttar Pradesh have followed the judgement. The apex court rule should be strictly implemented by all the states and union territories. After receiving a complaint, the police should file a D report which means closing of complaint if they have found no evidences. It is very rare that the closing of complaint report is filed in the dowry cases. More than 10 lakhs cases of 498A have been lodged in the past 10 years. There is also a case of entire family committing suicide due to threat of 498A in Pune. All such cases of misuse of dowry laws should be squashed and the accused families should be compensated by the government.
Rajesh Vakharia, men's rights activist

Corruption obstructs speedy investigation...
Based on the way it appeared in media, I am seriously concerned about the impact of judgement on safety of women in the country. Regarding the misuse of laws by women in the country, no reliable statistics about the same are available. There are provisions in law, which give enough powers to judges to punish persons filing faulty and vexatious litigations and complains. With high level of corruption one cannot expect speedy and fair investigation. This will open additional chances of corruption where the accused male will be sweeped to manipulate the investigation issues. The mindset of police personnel against women is known to the whole country.
Aroona Nafday, Advocate

Violence can be altered by counseling...
Poor and delayed investigation, poor recourse or coordination with prosecution lawyers -result in poor evidence and therefore benefit of doubt to the accused will be causing acquittal. My own experience in NGO work has proved that violent situation can be altered by counseling and measured intervention to re-unite families without sacrificing dignity of the woman. But what about the many guilty who escape and not even regret their act. Any such generalisation is dangerous and smacks of apathy to the thousands of dowry violence victims who are mere statistics and many other thousands who do not even see the light of the day. Empowering the investigative agencies with education and training on new gender paradigm is another necessity.
Shashikala Gurpur, Director, SLS Pune

National Crime Records Bureau 2012 statistics

1,97,762 persons arrested all over India for offence under section 498A of the IPC
47,951 include women arrests

93.6% rate of charge-sheeting in cases under section 498A
15% conviction rate
3,72,706 cases pending trial
3,17,000 cases likely to result in acquittal

Police needs to check for genuineness...
No arrest can be made in a routine manner on a mere allegation of commission of an offence made against a person. It would be prudent and wise for a police officer that no arrest is made without a reasonable satisfaction reached after some investigation as to the genuineness of the allegation.
CK Prasad, Justice

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