In a significant verdict, the Supreme Court on Thursday excluded immediate arrest in cases linked to Dowry Harassment Law, saying that prior to making an arrest; the police must conduct a preliminary inquiry like any other case.
The order came after several cases of misuse of the Anti-Dowry harassment law were filed and piled up over the period. An immediate arrest was an essential process that the police follow in any case of dowry harassment.
The Anti-Dowry Harassment law was framed in 1983. Soon after, the cases of dowry related deaths increased. However, the court’s order was on the basis of several cases of misuse of the law.
The bench noted that the law in question was enacted to punish cruelty at the hands of the husband or his relatives and in cases where such cruelty can result in deaths, especially suicide. But given the recent rise in misuse of the law, family welfare committees should be enacted in all districts across the nation.
The Court further ordered that each complaint of dowry harassment made under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code must be referred to such a family welfare committee. They in return will probe the complaint and the situation.
The Apex court also drew a few guidelines for such a committee. It said the couple and their respective families must be called in to discuss the matter. After examination only, they can be taken into custody.