Date : 25-06-2018 04:26
Article: 21 & 15 of the Indian Constitution guarantees protection to live a life of dignity and respect to its entire citizen without discrimination on the ground of sex, race, caste, religion, and place of birth. India has also ratified International Convention like Convention for Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). Hence to safeguard the interest of women from matrimonial cruelty in 1983, Indian Penal Code was amended and section: 498A was introduced to deal with. Before the amendment, India had Dowry Prevention Act and IPC which dealt with abetment to suicide, causing hurt and others but these laws didn’t provide any protection or safeguard to women who were dying because of dowry violence. Earlier it was difficult for complainants to prove the cruelty because the violence used to take behind the closed doors of their houses.
This new Section: 498A was called Dowry Law. It had put the burden of proof on accused. The offense under this section is non-bailable & cognizable offense and the husband and in-laws can be arrested immediately after the complaint by women. It is a provision where police require no proof to make an arrest.
Many women took the help of this provision to get justice and freedom from their cruel matrimonial relation but there have also been cases of innocent men and their families being falsely implicated. This section is being used by women so as to harass their husband and his family. The example can be taken of Nisha Sharma Dowry Case 2003 where the media and government praised her for the bold action which she took against her husband but nine years down the line it was revealed that her case was to mislead just to cover up her illicit affair. As per the survey which was conducted by Fight against Misuse of Dowry it was revealed that 98% of cases filed under Section: 498A are false.
Supreme Court in awake of this situation has recently put an end to automatic arrests under the law. Further, the complaint will be referred to Family Welfare Committees that will be set up in every district. Arrests will not be made until the committee investigates the following matter. These stated rules will not be applicable in the case where a woman is injured and dead.
This provision was created to provide protection to women and those women are not even aware of this and on the other side, some educated women who are aware of this provision are misusing it to harass their husband and his family members. This is the irony which is being dealt with. Women who are living in rural areas never step up in Police Station against their husbands. Therefore, the need which has arisen is an amendment and spreading awareness regarding these provisions of law among the lower strata of society.