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Supreme Court says dowry has 'chilling effect' on marriage

There should not be any kind of cruel treatment of women... But the liberty of husbands is also a factor... Whether both can be juxtaposed or reconciled?, says Dipak Misra

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Supreme Court says dowry has 'chilling effect' on marriage
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The Supreme Court on Monday reserved judgement on a batch of pleas seeking to review its July 2017 order that diluted the provisions of the anti-dowry law by preventing immediate arrests, with Dipak Misra, the Chief Justice of India observing that dowry has a "chilling effect" on marriage.

To prevent the misuse of anti-dowry laws, on July 27 last year, the bench of Justices Goel and Lalit had put an end to immediate arrests in dowry cases and then directed the District Legal Services Authorities (DLSA) to constitute a three-member welfare committee which would examine complaints before arrests are made.

"We will only see whether the order was passed to fill gaps in the law; whether such an order was permissible under Article 142; and whether that order takes out the spirit of Section 498A," Chief Justice Misra observed.

"Section 498A (dowry harassment) of IPC protects gender justice and rights. There should not be any kind of cruel treatment of women... But the liberty of husbands is also a factor... Whether both can be juxtaposed or reconciled?" Chief Justice Misra said.

Misra was responding to submissions made by the Centre which said the order was not "practical". Representing the Centre, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) PS Narasimha added that the states had written to the Centre expressing their difficulty in setting of family welfare committees and added that monitoring them were not "implementable".

However, representing women who challenged the order, senior advocate Indira Jaising said the court should lay down directions only if there was a vacuum in law.

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