Disputes to false dowry complaints .Why no compromise ? How to deal with ?
The Supreme Court said women were increasingly using the anti-dowry law to harass in-laws and restrained police from mechanically arresting the husband and his relatives on mere lodging of a complaint under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code.
Recently Honorable METROPOLITAN MAGISTRATE (Ms Geetanjali )MAHILA COURT KARKARDOMA COURTS has come out with a judgment which again create question mark on the complaints filed by women . All the allegations made by the women against respondents came out to be falsified and she failed to prove infliction of domestic violence upon her by the respondents.
When a husband wife dispute arises, often, wife files various criminal cases against husband, his parents, relatives, alleging dowry demand, cruelty etc.
Now all these laws are enacted because it was seen that in large number of cases, women are subject to cruelty because of dowry, sometimes because not giving birth to a son and for many other reasons.
The problem arises when instead of filing case against husband, the wife chooses to file case against parents, sisters of husband living in same house also.
This inflames disputes. Passions and anger flare up on all sides. Compromise becomes difficult.
SPECIFICS OF PROBLEM
1) The Laws cannot be amended to say that such cases can be filed only against husband and cannot be filed against other relatives living in same house.
2) During evidence in court, there is a problem.
Wife often gives only her evidence. She has no other witnesses.
She says that no one from family of husband or neighbors of Husband will come to support her case.
3) The court has now difficulty. How to believer only wife’s word against all in laws?
And on what basis court can refuse to believe her evidence when she is not in position to bring independent witness?
4) The problem with Husband’s relatives is also genuine.
How do they disprove evidence of simple words of wife?
5) The Judge has to find what is probable on basis of words of parties. Independant witnesses are not available to assist court. Sometimes they give right Judgement. Sometimes they err because of lack of evidence.
What Safeguard can be imposed to prevent misuse of such provisions?
1) Role of Neighbors :
Neighbors do not want to get involved in husband wife dispute. But law casts a duty on them to inform truth to police. One Supreme Court Judgment says that a neighbor has also right to lodge a FIR of 498a if wife in next house is being treated cruelly.
Thus law casts a duty on neighbors.
2) Duty of Police :
There is duty on police. Police cannot simply record statement of wife and file charge sheet against husband and his family.
Police has duty to issue summons to few neighbors in locality of husband and should record their statement. Police should tell neighbor that punishment for giving a false statement to police is six month jail. This will compel neighbors to speak truth.
3) If neighbors also say that other family members were also treating wife with cruelty, then only police need to file Charge sheet against relatives.
This does not prejudice wife. Because in court room, if she can later produce evidence in courtroom against relatives, then court can issue summons to relatives and can make them accused.
This is a safeguard. That only if there neighbors or some independent evidence or some letters written by such relatives demanding dowry come in the hand of police, then only police should file charge sheet against relations.
4) Now who can issue such safeguards ?
All State Governments Home Ministry can issue directions which will be valid in that state. High Courts and Supreme Court can issue such guidelines if such case is made out before them.
5) What husband can do till such guidelines are issued?
As soon FIR against relatives is filed, husband should send a list of at least 10 neighbors to police. He should ask police to take statements of any of these independent witnesses before registering FIR.
Here it is not necessary to obtain consent of neighbor. Even if they are unwilling, the police can call them.
If police does not take statement of any of these witnesses, then husband can complain to Judge when police files charge sheet. Police may have difficulty in explaining court why he did not any of 10 suggested witnesses.
Police or Court can then summons witnesses in court also.
The Court will now have independent witnesses also to the truth. The court now will not have to rely only on one side’s evidence of wife.
Neighbors will probably say that husband and wife both are equally guilty and parents have no faults.
Written by: Nitin Shakya