Government proposes modification in the existing Anti- Dowry Harassment law to make it compoundable

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New Delhi: In order to prevent the frequent ill- use of legal framework relating to the cases of dowry harassment, now the Government is planning to bring the changes in the criminal law’s frame work dealing with such instances.

The average of registration of false cases of dowry harassment for every year has now reached to ten thousands and more. As such a proposal is prepared by the Government, considering prevention of such misuse of legal provisions dealing with anti- dowry harassment, and the same is especially to bring amendment in the provisions of section 498- A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860- IPC, with the view to make it compoundable provision.

However, the offence described under that section 498-A of IPC will only compoundable, if there will be a permission to the same by the Courts, as contained in the proposal so made by the present Law Commission of India, and also by Justice, Malimath Committee.

Because of such amendment, as stated by Official from the Home Ministry Department, the proposal is that at the onset of the Trial of the Dowry Harassment cases, there can be allowed compromise or settlement amongst the spouses (husband and wife).

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Presently, the offence described under section 498- A of the Indian Penal Code, is one of non- compoundable nature and also of non- bailable nature too. The offence registered under that section is now, allowing the Police officials to arrest the accused as immediate as possible. The offence is further of nature that it presumes the Husband, his family members guilty of dowry harassment until their innocence is proved by them before the Court of Law. The punishment for commission of said offence is presently, extending to the 3 years imprisonment.

However, even though the provision relating to that offence is good in the sense of convicting the persons torturing their wives and their daughter in laws, however, at the same time the said protecting provision can be mishandled or misused by the wives against their husbands or his family members to serve for her illicit ideas. And this was realized that at present there are numerous examples where the Husbands are alleging that they and their family people are often charged with false cases of such dowry harassment.

The statistics provided by the National Crime Records Bureau, shows that there were 99, 135, 1,06,527 and 1,18,866 cases, respectively, registered in the years 2011, 2012 and 2013 in India under Section 498- A of the IPC against the cruelty by husband or his relatives. Out of which, in the same years there were found 10,193, 10,235 and 10,864, respectively, false cases, or the cases due to mistake of either the fact or law, after due investigation made by the Police Officials.

There is also proposed that the new section will be provided with an option to the accused who can either serve jail in dowry harassment cases or can escape imprisonment by paying fine in lieu thereof.

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 by Faim Khalilkhan Pathan.