‘Let there be rhyme & reason in dowry arrests’

Claiming his family has been framed, petitioner urges HC to put down proper guidelines

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‘Let there be rhyme & reason in dowry arrests’

A 52-year-old man, accused of allegedly harassing his daughter-in-law for dowry, has moved Bombay High Court, asking it to lay down guidelines for arresting an accused in cases pertaining to family disputes.

Baban Dhus, a municipal school teacher, was arrested by the police, along with his wife, son Nivrutti and two others, in December 2006 following a complaint lodged by daughter-in-law Vaishali, alleging harassment over a demand for Rs 10 lakh.

Denying the charge, Dhus and family members alleged that Vasihali’s father, a police constable, misused his powers and got them arrested even before a preliminary inquiry was conducted.

The petition stated that the urgency with which five members of the Dhus family were arrested as soon as the complaint was filed, belied the conventional procedure to first counsel the family members. The arrest and the subsequent humiliation faced by Dhus and his wife, when they were allegedly handcuffed and made to walk through their chawl in Sewree to recover the ‘streedhan’, have shattered all
hopes of reconciliation between the young couple.    

Vaishali and Nivrutti were married in May 2006. While Vaishali stated in her complaint that she was mentally and physically harassed for dowry, the Dhus family accused her of quarrelling often about setting up a separate home with her husband.

When the two families met on December 3 to try and settle the dispute, Vaishali’s father, Sawkar Padwal, was accompanied by four other constables in plainclothes. Her uncle, a police inspector at Kalachowkie police station, too was present. When the talks yielded no
results, Dhus and his family were taken to Kalachowkie police station, and were arrested after a complaint was registered at 6 pm. They were released on bail on December 5.

Following the arrest, Nivrutti lost his job as a medical representative. Alleging that Vaishaili’s father was using his power to put pressure on the BMC to terminate his services, Baban Dhus sought protection from the HC.

“While the police must investigate every complaint of dowry harassment, some protection must be granted to families in cases of false complaints,” Dhus’s lawyer Shrikant Bhatt said when the case was heard on Monday.

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