SC direction to Police and Magistrates in cases of 498-A of IPC

The main object of Section 498-A of IPC is to act as a shield against the harassment to a women at the hands of her husband and relatives. The fact that Section 498-A is a cognizable and non-bailable offence, many disrespectful and sly wives use this section as a weapon rather than a shield. There are cases where old grandparents of the husband were put behind the bars. The simplest way to harass the family of in laws by the wives are to use this provision as a weapon. Keeping in mind the number of false cases coming to courts under section 498-A, Justice Chandramauli Kr. Prasad along with Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghosh, in case of Rajesh Sharma v. State of UP delivered their judgment and issues fresh lines of guidelines to police and magistrates and directed NALSA to take care and study the implementation of these guidelines. The Hon’ble Court observed:

It is a matter of great concern that enormous range of cases still be filed below Section 498A alleging harassment of married girls.

We have already named a number of the statistics from the Crime Records Bureau.

This Court had earlier noticed the actual fact that the majority of such complaints are filed within the heat of the instant over trivial problems.

Many of such complaints are not bona fide. At the time of filing of the complaint, implications and consequences are not visualized.

At times such complaints cause uncalled for harassment not solely to the suspect however conjointly to the litigator.

The court taking note of works carried out by Law Commission, the Malimath Committee, the Committee on Petitions in the Rajya Sabha, the Home Ministry, which were referred to in the earlier part of the Judgment, issued the following directions:-

i).(a) In each district one or a lot of Family Welfare Committees be planted by the District Legal Services Authorities ideally comprising of 3 members.

The constitution and dealing of such committees could also be reviewed from time to time and a minimum of once in an exceedingly year by the District and Sessions decide of the

district UN agency is additionally the Chairman of the District Legal Services Authority.

(b) The Committees may be constituted out of para legal volunteers/social workers/retired persons/wives of working officers/other citizens who may be found suitable and willing.

(c) The Committee members won’t be known as as witnesses.

(d) each criticism below Section 498A received by the police or the official be named and looked into by such committee.

Such committee could interact with the parties in person or by suggests that of phonephone or the other mode of communication together with transmission.

(e) Report of such committee run to the Authority by whom the criticism is named it latest at intervals one month from the date of receipt of criticism.

(f) The committee may give its brief report about the factual aspects and its opinion in the matter.

(g) until report of the committee is received, no arrest should normally be effected.

(h) The report may be then considered by the Investigating Officer or the Magistrate on its own merit.

(i) Members of the committee could also be given such basic minimum coaching as could also be desirable by the Legal Services Authority from time to time.

(j) The Members of the committee could also be given such reward as could also be thought-about viable.

(k) it’ll be receptive the District and Sessions decide to utilize the value fund where desirable and correct.

  1. ii) Complaints below Section 498A and different connected offences could also be investigated solely by a delegated investigation Officer of the world.

Such designations may be made within one month from today.

Such selected officer could also be needed to endure coaching for such period (not but one week) as could also be thought-about acceptable.

The coaching could also be completed at intervals four months from today;

iii) In cases wherever a settlement is reached, it will be open to the District and Sessions Judge or any other senior Judicial Officer nominated by him in the district

to eliminate the proceedings together with closing of the criminal case if dispute primarily relates to marital discord;

  1. iv) If a bail application is filed with at least one clear day’s notice to the Public Prosecutor/complainant, the same may be decided as far as possible on the same day.

Recovery of controversial dower things might not by itself be a ground for denial of bail if maintenance or different rights of wife/minor kids will preferably be protected.

Needless to say that in dealing with bail matters, individual roles, prima facie truth of the allegations, requirement of further arrest/ custody and interest of justice must be carefully weighed;

v) In respect of persons usually residing out of Asian country poundage of passports or supply of Red Corner Notice mustn’t be a routine;

  1. vi) it’ll be receptive the District decide or a delegated senior judicial officer appointive by the District decide to club all connected cases between the parties arising out

of marital disputes so a holistic read is taken by the Court to whom all such cases ar entrusted; and

vii) Personal look of all relations and significantly station members might not be needed and also the judicature got to grant exemption from personal look or allow look by

video conferencing without adversely affecting progress of the trial.

viii) These directions will not apply to the offences involving tangible physical injuries or death.

However, as its clear from last point that these guidelines doesn’t apply in case of physical injury or death.Court also asked NALSA to submit a report on working of these guidelines after six months of working by 31st March, 2018.

Md Sahabuddin Mondal

Junior Advocate, Calcutta High Court

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