Can't make dowry convictions without proof: HC

04 Dec 2016 | Written by NewsBytes Desk; Edited by Ramya Patelkhana
Victims of IPC-498A: Other side of the coin

Acquitting a man and his family in a dowry-death case, the Delhi High Court observed that you cannot convict a man for dowry harassment without proof.

The court said there was no cogent evidence that the woman was subjected to cruelty or harassment for dowry.

The court clarified that it is the prosecution's duty to prove the accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt.

In context: Victims of IPC-498A: Other side of the coin

IntroductionSection 498A of the IPC

Section-498A of the Indian Penal Code is an anti-dowry law introduced in 1983 to combat the menace of harassment to a woman at the hands of her husband, his family or relatives.

Under the law, the husband/in-laws/relatives are arrested summarily without investigation once a complaint is filed by a wife or her relatives.

The controversial law is increasingly being misused by women.

Guilty unless proven innocent

Section 498A is a cognizable and non-bailable offense. It is being used as a weapon to harass the husband/his family by disgruntled wives. Everyone, from bed-ridden grandparents to siblings living abroad, have been arrested in several cases, under the law.
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Legal Terrorism: Section 498A, the "most" abused provision

MisuseLegal Terrorism: Section 498A, the "most" abused provision

Section 498A is the "most" abused provision in India's legal system; once the wife files a complaint, the husband is presumed guilty.

The Supreme Court, in 2005, called the misuse "Legal Terrorism".

For those filing false complaints, there is a petty penalty or fine for filing false charges, which has led to a sharp rise in the number of such cases in courts today.

2011-131,18,866 cases under Section 498A registered in 2013

In 2015 Minister of State for Home Affairs Haribhai Parthibhai Chaudhary quoted National Crime Records Bureau data.

He said 1,18,866 cases under Section 498A were registered in 2013; 1,06,527 in 2012 and 99,135 in 2011.

He added, "After police investigation, 10,193 cases in 2011, 10,235 in 2012 and 10,864 in 2013 were found to be false or suffering from mistake of fact or law."

Martyrs of MarriageMartyrs of Marriage: The misuse of IPC-498A

Independent journalist, documentary filmmaker, and social activist Deepika Narayan Bhardwaj's documentary film "Martyrs of Marriage" documents the injustice and misuse of Indian Penal Code's Section 498A.

It is a first-person account of the victims who suffered at the hands of abuse of this provision.

The film explains the problem, how Section 498A is misused, the reasons behind it, and the repercussions of the same.

The efficacy of laws protecting one gender

Martyrs of Marriage is a question "on the efficacy of laws" that protect one gender, "the loopholes and abuse of the same with the help of the state" also "on the psyche of those who think a man can never be a victim."
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03 Dec 2016Preity Zinta's cousin commits suicide; blames wife of harassment

Bollywood actress Preity Zinta's cousin Nitin Chauhan committed suicide in Shimla.

Police said he shot himself with a pistol in the head inside a car; he blamed his wife and in-laws for driving him to suicide in two recovered suicide notes.

Chauhan and his wife separated two years ago; a case concerning legal separation was pending, the hearing of which was on Friday.

Abetment CaseAbetment case registered against in-laws

A senior police officer stated, "In both suicide notes, of four pages each, Chauhan blamed his wife and in-laws of harassing him."

He accused them of filing false cases against him and also not allowing him to meet his son.

A Shimla police officer said a case of abetment to suicide against the in-laws was registered, but no one has been interrogated yet.

04 Dec 2016Can't make dowry convictions without proof: HC