The Supreme Court has culled from various sources and has decided to do away with or implement with some changes a procedure given out by Justice(s) UU Lalit and Ashok Bhushan, whereby they clipped the police of their powers to immediately arrest the accused in a case of 498A- IPC.
In the aforesaid judgement, the Court also laid down the foundations of a fact-finding committee which had three members, and all of them males, to inquire whether the allegations of torture are corrector not.
The Amicus Curiae, Ms Indu Malhotra appointed by the Court has said that there is no need of such a committee which defies the purpose of such a law, as the dowry laws grant immediate relief to the victim in cases of dowry related violence.
Thus there is a wide issue that here demands attention of the Court as well as our law makers. The sudden change that the Dowry Protection laws did bring in the society has led to a reduction in dowry related violence, yet there is the human nature that assumes more significance and changes things for people.
The Dowry laws were put in place at a time when the incidents of death and dowry related violence were on the rise and had caught considerable attention. The menace had been so rampant that even the cinema took to the cause.
Now over the years there is more awareness and the literacy rate among women have considerably gone up, in the wake of such commendable situations, the Dowry laws have also assumed the role of a purely legal weapon to extort money from the husband and his family. There have been incidents where many husbands have been held in detention only to discharged later due to lack of evidence. There are occasions recorded across India where the woman and her family use the legal machinery to their advantage and threaten the family of the husband to meet their demands when the marriage is at the point of no recovery.
The abuse of the law that was meant to protect the rights of the women, has thus assumed the role of a tool for harassment, and while not acknowledging this amicus curiae said that a fact-finding committee does a disservice to the aim of the law.
It must be borne in mind that law may not confer special privileges to one gender while not providing for a mechanism to resist the abuse of the privilege by the members of the same gender against the other.
The Court may not completely do away with the policy being laid down in the judgement. If the CJI, Dipak Misra feels that it is a transgression of the judicial mandate, then they may move a request with a detailed report, as to why the in the opinion of the Judiciary there needs to be a change in the dowry related laws while in motion.
This is a matter that needs attention as the stigma of dissolution of marriage and the stigma of spending sometime in a jail produces unhealthy experiences for citizens. The law must only come to the aid of those aggrieved and must protect the innocent. It is therefore the task of the judiciary to take up hurdles faced by the law in motion, and a mechanism to ascertain the veracity of every complaint pertaining to dowry related cases may be a good move in the same direction.