Taking Note of ‘Misuse’ of Section 498A, SC restores police power to act in Dowry Cases

NEW DELHI: Advocating for balancing interests of both the sides in dowry harassment cases, Supreme Court restored the powers of the police to act on complaints of dowry harassment under Section 498A OF IPC.

A bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra restored the power of the police to decide whether or not to make arrest under Section 498A after it modified an earlier order of the apex court. Striking down its July 27, 2017 order, the apex court said: “We think it appropriate to direct the investigating officer to be careful in dealing with the complaints of dowry harassment.

The bench also compromises justice AM Khanwilkar and justice DY Chandrachud. The court has now scrapped the no arrest rule and removed the “buffer” preventing the arrest of the husband and family members. It also said that anticipatory bail provision shall remain intact for the husband and his family members.

The directions to settle a case after it is registered is not a correct expression of law,” the SC has now said. The court also directed the Director General of Police in the states to ensure that investigating officers who are in charge of investigation of cases of offences under Section 498-A IPC should be imparted rigorous training with regard to the principles stated by this Court relating to arrest.

The court also took note of the rising instances of misuse of the strict anti-dowry provisions, which allow for immediate arrest and long legal process to get bail, as the process has to be governed by statutory provisions.

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