Do not jail accused in dowry cases, rules High Court
DC | S.A. Ishaqui | 22nd Jan 2014
The High Court directed the magistrates that no accused should be remanded to judicial custody mechanically in a routine manner.
While allowing a criminal petition by Syed Kaleemuallah Hussaini and three others seeking anticipatory bail in a dowry harassment case, Justice B. Chandra Kumar observed: “It is most unfortunate that Section 498A IPC has become a weapon for breaking families rather than for uniting them.”
“There cannot be any doubt that there is dowry menace in society. But at the same time, it is also a fact that certain marriages are performed without any dowry.
Due to ill advice or under the wrong impression that the husband may come to terms if a complaint is lodged under Section 498A IPC, complaints are being lodged with the police,” the judge added.
Next: Dowry plaint be examined: Judge
If an arrest is necessary, the investigating officer should obtain permission.
He said that when an accused is produced before the magistrate, they should examine the matter judiciously and consider whether there are valid grounds for remanding the accused to judicial custody.
The judge said if arrest is not necessary, the police may complete the investigation and file a chargesheet without arresting the accused.
He also made it clear that in the case of dowry death, suspicious death and suicide or when the allegations are serious in nature, the police officer may arrest the accused and the intimation of arrest should be immediately sent to the concerned SP.
According to the instructions of the judge, no accused or witness should be unnecessarily called to the police station. In case their presence is required for enquiry, they should be sent back immediately after that.
There should not be any unnecessary harassment either to the relatives of the complainant or of the husband. A fair and dispassionate probe should be conducted. After completing investigation, it should be verified by an officer not below the rank of deputy superintendent of police.
The judge said, “During investigation, if the probing officer is satisfied that there is false implication of any person in the complaint, then he may delete the names of such persons from the chargesheet after obtaining necessary permissions from the SP or any other officer equivalent to that rank.”
“As soon as a complaint is received either from the wife alleging dowry harassment or from the husband that there is possibility of being implicated in a case of dowry harassment, then both the parties should be asked to undergo counselling with any experienced counselor or counsellors,” the judge maintained.
He directed that the report of the counsellors should be made a part of the report to be submitted to the court.
The judge also ruled that the SP, in consultation with the chairman, district legal services authority, prepare a panel of counselors and details of the panel, along with their addresses and phone numbers, should be made available at all police stations.
Senior cops should also ensure that the parties are not forced to come to any settlement in police stations against their wishes. “Advocates have to play their roles in trying to unite the families.
The welfare of the children should be given utmost importance,” he added. The judge directed the DGP to issue necessary instructions to the concerned authorities in this regard.