Section 498- A of IPC to become compoundable, by next amendment Bill

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Mumbai : The Bill seeking amendment in provisions of the Indian Penal Code, 1860- IPC being under section 498- A making it compoundable offence, is about to introduce in the upcoming session of Parliament.

The provision of the Indian Penal Code- IPC dealing with the offence of dowry demand and cruelty by Husband and her in laws to the Wife, which is still non- compoundable and non- bailable offence. The provisions provides for punishment to the Husband and in- laws of the Wife, which is maximum provided as imprisonment of 3 years and also with fine.

But now the present NDA Government has decided to bring changes by modifying or amending the provisions of section 498- A of IPC for making the same as compoundable offence. And the same proposed amendment is expected to include such compounding of offence of section 498- A with the previous permission of the Court.

Mr. Haribhai Chaudhari, the Junior Union home minister, said that the Government had now accepted the proposal of making amendment to the section 498- A of IPC for making it compoundable with the previous permission of the Court. The said change was recommended by the Law Commission and also by the Malimath Committee, at the time when there was raised the issued in this relation by the member of NCP, Pune and Former Mayor, Mr. Vandana Chavan before the Rajya Sabha.

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It was stated by Mr. Chaudhari that, the concerned draft note for the cabinet, was sent to the law making authority i.e. Legislative Department for drawing up the draft Bill.

There were seen around ten thousand and more false cases file in the recent past years in relation to protection of women from dowry harassment and as such the Section was proposed for amendment and providing compounding thereof, as per the Senior Officials. In the years 2011, 2012 and 2013 the number of false dowry harassment cases registration were 10,193, 10,235 and 10,864, respectively. The number can be seen increasing.  In the year 2010 there was a committee of Parliament for investigation of the issues relating to registration of false cases. Hon’ble Apex Court has also reviewed the enforceability of the provisions, in the year 2014, besides it had issued several relevant guidelines also.

In short, the section 498- A was introduced in the Penal Code for protecting women against dowry harassments, however, with the time gap the misuse of the protective provisions was seen increasing, and as such the expected amendment in the Bill making provisions compoundable with the permission of the Court, can reduce the possibility of false accusation and conviction in such cases.

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by Faim Khalilkhan Pathan.