Sabah, 16 Aug 2009. Page 20

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Sabah

HİNDİSTAN’DA aile içi şiddet mağduru olan bine yakın erkek sokaklara döküldü. Save Indian Family Foundation isimli sivil toplum örgütünün ülkenin Shimla bölgesinde organize ettiği protestoya katılan erkekler eşlerinden dayak yediklerini söyleyerek… read more…

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You are Liable to be Arrested

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YOU ARE LIABLE TO BE ARRESTED

BEWARE  Marriage for a “BOY” in your family could land your entire family into jail.

Are You Aware?

  • 123,497 mothers & sisters are JAILED due to false dowry cases in last FOUR years (2004-2007).
  • With 498-A (Dowry Law), even ONE line of false allegation can jail your entire family
  • Family destruction is a Thousand crore Rupees Industry in India
  • Marriage is a crime for Indian men” as per the Indian Laws made for “Destruction of Families”.
  • India is heading towards fatherless society and bastard children.
  • Suicide rate of married men is twice that of married women.

498-A

Your entire family can be jailed without investigation for any complaint filed by a daughter-in-law in your family for anything she thinks as harassment to her.

Domestic Violence Act

Husband is an ATM machine, if it doesn’t work, it is an economic abuse.

If you deny kitty party money to your wife / daughter, you will land in jail.

Law supports the greed of your wife.

All your family could be thrown out of your own house for the greed of wife

UNLESS A MAN FIGHTS HE HAS NO RIGHTS

FIGHT FOR YOUR FAMILY and FIGHT FOR THE INDIAN FAMILY SYSTEM
To save your family visit www.saveindianfamily.org

Legal Terrorism and Illegitimate Legislation

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In recent years, the number of abusers of women protection legislation for personal gain or to settle scores has gone up substantially. Concomitantly, the numbers of false cases, the incidents of malfeasance, illegal detentions, police and judicial corruption as well as the backlog of unresolved cases have also skyrocketed. The trend shows no signs of waning. What makes this process so easy and convenient for the criminally minded individuals, families and state officials? The answer lies in the active state support and participation in this nefarious scheme of “legal terrorism”. While this state participation is occurring at the expense of the well-being of ordinary, law abiding citizens who have not violated any laws, the parasitic elements of the society like unethical lawyers, fund chasing and morally bankrupt feminists, lowly judiciary and corrupt police officials are immensely benefiting from this pernicious practice.

– What is the root cause for the proliferation of state sponsored legal terrorism in our country?

– Would the state sponsored legal terrorism cast its shadow in ever more areas of our public and private lives?

– Should the citizens be resigned to this state of affairs?

– What is the prognosis for the future?

In this article, I will attempt to address some of the concerns raised above.

Root Cause of Legal Terrorism is Illegitimate Legislation

The root cause of the state sponsored legal terrorism is the existence and passage of illegitimate legislation in our legal regime. Most reasonable and objective persons can quickly tell right from wrong and fair from unfair.  Thus most reasonable and objective people can also tell apart a legitimate law from an illegitimate one.

There can be several bases on which one can conclude a certain legislation to be illegitimate. However, most illegitimate legislation is identified by the following five characteristics –

Discriminatory

According the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “all are equal before the law, and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law”. Any laws that are explicitly or implicitly discriminatory are illegitimate. Any demagogue would be tempted to play vote bank politics and pass discriminatory legislation that can rob the non-vocal minority off its legitimate protections that are hallmarks of any civilized society. In most civilized countries, constitution places limits on the illegitimate laws passed by the demagogues. For example, in the United States, any discriminatory legislation could be shot down by the Supreme Court of the US as unconstitutional if challenged. Such protections do not appear to exist in India. At least, the Supreme Court has not displayed the courage to declare discriminatory legislation as unconstitutional. Most of the ostensibly women protection laws in our country (like PWDVA, adultery laws, alimony laws) are discriminatory and thus illegitimate.

Presumption of guilt

As the jurisprudence evolved over the centuries, it has become an universally accepted maxim that an accused person is innocent until proven guilty. It is always the responsibility of the accuser to prove the guilt. In modern India, this maxim has been subverted thoroughly. In the name of special protections, the accusers have been given free pass to accuse any person at their fancy. The state, in turn, has assumed the proxy role to prosecute the accused at the taxpayer’s expense while placing the burden of proving innocence on individual citizen. This is a monumental distortion of principles of justice. Any legislation that presumes the accused as guilty until proven innocent is illegitimate. The best examples are ipc304B and ipc498A.

Summary action

Legislation that allows summary action by the judges or other officials is also illegitimate. Summary action may include confiscation, imprisonment or other penalties. Watch out summary provisions in any legislation to declare it as an illegitimate legislation. PWDVA is the best example.

Multiple laws to confer the same benefit

Many a time, in spite of the existence of legal provisions addressing certain benefits under law, new laws are passed conferring the same benefit. This results in unscrupulous elements filing multiple cases under these differing legal provisions for the same benefit, thereby flooding the court system with frivolous and vexatious litigation. The best example of this practice is the alimony and maintenance laws like 125 Cr PC, Section 24 of HMA and PWDVA.

Based on anachronistic assumptions

Society is constantly changing and evolving. Legislation passed hundreds of years ago under colonial rule may not have any relevance in the modern times. Such legislation must be scrapped and replaced with modern legislation that reflects the realities of the current state of our country and its citizens. If you come across shrill voices opposing changes to anachronistic legislation, please understand that is an illegitimate legislation still existing in our law books. It is time to agitate for changing such illegitimate anachronistic legislation. The best examples are the alimony and adultery laws in India wherein women are perpetually assumed to be victims even when they are the perpetrators.

The Real Victims

Who are the real victims of this legal terrorism?

Any unsuspecting individual who is compelled to defend oneself against charges under any illegitimate law automatically becomes a victim of that law. Law is a coercive state instrument. Inherent fairness is a fundamental pre-requisite for the citizens to have faith in the law. When the law fails the test of fairness, individuals charged under that law become victims of state sponsored legal terrorism. In those circumstances, the guilt or innocence of the individual becomes irrelevant. Do not inquire into the guilt or innocence of the individual when that individual is on the receiving end of illegitimate laws. Extend compassion and support to them unconditionally.

Strategies to counter Legal Terrorism and Illegitimate Legislation

Reposing faith in democratic institutions to counteract the evil consequences of illegitimate legislation may not always produce results. In fact, democracy uncurbed by the constitutional limits, as is the case in present India, will always result in the passage of illegitimate legislation to safeguard the interests of vocal sections of the population. Further, corruption also plays a major role in the passage and preservation of such legislation. Once the vested interests become entrenched, the ordinary citizens become powerless in the face of massive state power and state sponsored legal terrorism.

Are we, the ordinary citizens, helpless against this state sponsored travesty? Or are there any ways in which we can counter this?

Here I am outlining some strategies that can be employed collectively by the civil society to counter this menace.

Counsel the victims

This is by far the most important strategy. When an individual is pitted against the massive state machinery, the morale of the individual takes a massive beating. In many cases, the victims of legal terrorism, overwhelmed by the odds of fighting the corrupt state machinery out to persecute them, end their lives. When such demoralized individuals come in contact with other victims, their feelings of powerlessness and hopelessness tend to be alleviated substantially. The mere act of listening to their sad plight gives them courage and strength to fight back against the injustice. Besides, the victims can learn from each other and support each other in various other ways. In fact, the common suffering will prove to be a strong bond that will result in lasting friendships. I implore all the victims reading this article to become counselors. (See above on “The Real Victims”)

Show contempt

As Mahatma Gandhi said, cooperating with evil is worse than the evil itself. The illegitimate legislation must be held in utmost contempt it rightly deserves. Just because it was passed by the parliament, it does not become legitimate if it has failed the test of fairness as discussed above. Pay particular attention to the shrill voices of vested interests that defend the illegitimate legislation.  Check on their backgrounds and understand how these vested interests stand to benefit from the existence of the illegitimate laws. Argue with them and expose them at every opportunity.

Spread awareness

Another related strategy is spreading awareness in the society about the existence of these illegitimate laws. Most of the victims of legal terrorism are caught unawares when a barrage of criminal and civil cases hits them like bolt of lightning from the blue skies. Until it happens to them, most citizens are blissfully ignorant of such laws. In fact, one of the main secrets of the propagators of illegitimate legislation is obfuscation. These propagators deliberately hide the most pernicious provisions they included in these laws in most open debates. As soon as the heat is turned up in any debate, they slip back in to platitudes and lies. The best example of this deception is “Karan Thapar vs Renuka Chaudhary” debate in which Renuka Chaudhary fell back to her rhetorical lies like “every minute a woman is burned for dowry” or something on those lines, when sustained questioning by Karan made her squirm.  One of the best weapons to fight the illegitimate laws and legal terrorism is spreading awareness. Internet will play a significant role in spreading awareness about illegitimate legislation.

Social boycott and ostracism

Finally, the most potent weapon to counter legal terrorism is the social boycott and ostracism of its perpetrators. Most relationships and transactions in our traditional society are carried out based on trust and reputation of the families. No sane person would like to enter into any marital relationship with a family who ruthlessly used the illegitimate legislation to unleash legal terrorism on another family.  Exposing the truth about the perpetrators of legal terrorism will be enough to caution other families that plan to enter into any kind of relationship with them.

Prognosis for the future

The strategies outlined above will prove to be the philosophical underpinnings for the resistance movements that will proliferate across the country to counter the menace of legal terrorism. Save Indian Family Foundation is the best example of such social resistance movement that is employing the above strategies successfully to counter the evil consequences of illegitimate women protection legislation in India.

Source

Who will save the men who are burnt?

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As I read this article, wherein Supreme Court judge is calling for hanging of people who burn brides, a hailstorm of thoughts crosses my mind. Being the Public Relations Officer of Save Indian Family Foundation, an NGO dedicated to promote the cause of Gender Equality and Family Harmony; I come across cases of men wronged by their wives on a daily basis wherein men are simply penalized for the mere fact that they are MEN.

One mere complaint of harassment from their wives, whether true or not, lands them in jail along with all their family members named in the complaint without any trial or investigation. Many lose their self-esteem, jobs even; commit suicide as evident from the suicide statistics available with the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). As per the statistics, 57593 married men committed suicide in 2007 vis-à-vis 30064 married women. Figures for 2006 were 55452 married men vs. 29869 married women while those for 2005 are 52483 married men vs. 28188 married women. Every year more and more married men are committing suicide. But still there is no protection given to men. A major contribution of this comes from the misuse of dowry laws against men wherein a social presumption works against them

Now coming back to the article I’ve referred, Markenday Katju, Justice, Supreme Court of India today made a statement that “Those who burn brides should be hanged.” But, who is going to prove that the bride was burned? Will a man be hanged if his adulterous wife puts kerosene on herself and dies of burning? Or if the parents of the girl kill their daughter and then put the blame on the husband, then will the husband be hung?

And when you make a gender biased statement, “Those who burn brides need to be hanged”, why is it that you are not ready to offer the same level of protection to married men who are burnt alive? What is their fault? According to the NCRB data 3400 married are burnt alive every year on an average.

Further, Justice Katju went on to say that, “They all say that. Every time they burn a bride, they say it was a suicide.” Now this is nothing short of imposing his own assumptions on to the society, a right which he does not have, not even as a Supreme Court judge. First of all, he has assumed that all married women who die of burning are killed by their in-laws. There is no basis for his assumption as death due to burning can happen due to any reason, even kitchen accidents, negligence by women, suicide etc. And it will definitely not be in the interest of justice to hang the husband for these cases but from what views have transpired out of Katju’s statement, it is clearly evident that he has taken a gender obsessed stand which is not acceptable from a Supreme Court Judge.

Justice Katju’s statements are a clear call for the need of Judicial Reforms. Also in addition, before hanging husbands for ‘allegedly’ burning brides, Justice Katju needs to remember that the police force does not conduct a fair inquiry into the incident and merely relies on statements and is thoroughly incompetent in collecting evidences. With such lousy investigation and presumptions working at the back of mind, justice cannot be expected out of courts and in such a situation; “Judicial Reforms” is the call of the day.

With M Veerappa Moily becoming the law minister and talking of “Judicial Reforms” as the first thing to be done, some hope is definitely restored because Judicial Reforms are utmost necessary in today’s times of deteriorating faith on the judiciary. With irresponsible statements coming from the judiciary, it is clearly evident that the intellectual level of the judiciary has severely degraded. SIFF calls upon all the citizens to take part in judicial reforms as that is the only way to reduce crime in the society. Today criminals have no fear of any punishment because either the judiciary is too slow and corrupt or is involved in social service with gender obsessed statements.

Justice Katju had also made controversial statement, Bow down before your wife wherein he told; listen to your wife, even if she sounds unreasonable. Such statements from the judiciary send a strong signal to men that they should not expect justice from the courts and the question still remains open, “Who will save men who are burnt?

My question to Justice Katju, “Can you?”, “Will you?”

Renuka Chowdhury, 54 MoS (Independent Charge) for Women & child Development

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New Delhi: Renuka Chowdhury, 54 MoS (Independent Charge) for Women & child Development

Result: -1/10

She was given independent charge of the Women and Child Development Ministry in 2006 after WCD, earlier under the Human Resource Development Ministry, was made a separate ministry. After three years, there is no marked difference in the condition of women and children in the country.

Her brief

In its manifesto in 2004, the Congress said that a nutritious mid-day cooked meal scheme will be introduced in primary and secondary schools across the country and the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) will be universalised to provide for a functional anganwadi in every settlement and full coverage for children below the age of six. Chowdhury was also expected to reduce incidences of maternal and child mortality and malnutrition.

Reforms derailed

In 1997, judicial guidelines were set on protection against sexual harassment at the workplace, but the “high priority bill” is still shuttling between the National Commission for Women (NCW) and WCD.

Child labour has not been abolished, apart from a few baby steps taken by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), under the WCD Ministry.

The demand for additional guaranteed financial support from the expenditure finance committee for the ambitious and controversial proposal to give fortified pre-packaged food—instead of hot cooked meals—to poor children as part of the revamp of the ICDS was trashed by the Planning Commission.

OPPORTUNITIES BLOWN

The UPA government dropped attempts to strengthen the anti-Sati law, more than 20 years after it was first enacted. The proposed law was expected to increase prison terms for those committing as well as glorifying the practice.

After the Nithari incident, Chowdhury stressed on the need for a database of missing children. Till date, the NCPCR is still juggling to get the figures.

Proposed to the Home Ministry that it grant amnesty to women prisoners. A year after, the issue remains untouched.

Once talked of taking up the issue of dumped NRI wives but there has hardly been any step forward in the direction.

State child commissions were supposed to be set up. A Bill was passed in Parliament in 2006, but other than in Delhi and Kerala, the commissions haven’t been set up.

What was she thinking?

After the Mangalore pub attack by the Sri Ram Sene, where young women were attacked in an alleged incident of moral policing, she championed the cause of progressive city youth by calling for a “Pub Bharo” campaign and claimed that Mangalore had been “talibanised”.

High point

The enforcement of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (2005) in October 2006.

Low point

When she said “women must not trust their men” and guard themselves against HIV/AIDS, her statement drew flak from all quarters.

VIEW FROM THE SHADOW

“Except some debates and wordy duels, nothing substantive happened. WCD is a very important department.” —Murli Manohar Joshi, former HRD minister in the NDA government

Did she get your vote?

She lost in Khammam, Andhra Pradesh, by a margin of 1.24 lakh votes.

Marry shades of grey!

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Harassed husbands? The SC’s recent observation calling for a review of dowry laws (on the grounds that they are often misused) might have women’s organisations up in arms but more and more ‘harassed’ husbands have been raising their voices after being falsely implicated. Sriranjitha Jeurkar investigates why many dowry cases no longer remain plain black and white today

My name is Kumar. I am 28 years old. I wanted to marry a poor girl, so that I could help a poor family. When I told my father about this, he suggested that I marry the daughter of one of his distant relatives, from a town in Andhra Pradesh. I believed that when he had chosen nothing but the best for me until now, he could not go wrong in this decision either. I agreed. I didn’t know much about the family, except that the girl’s father was a bus conductor. We demanded no dowry and even agreed to foot the wedding expenses.

It was a perfect wedding. My wife and I lived together for a month and she went back to her home for some rituals. That’s when I realised I had contracted a sexually transmitted disease from her. I was too embarrassed to tell my parents. When I asked my wife about it, she confessed that she had had an affair with someone else and had married me due to pressure from her family. “You didn’t ask for dowry, so we thought you had something to hide too,” she said.

I was shocked. But I wanted to save my marriage, so I asked her to come with me for treatment. She wasn’t interested. She told me that she would give me a divorce by mutual consent if I gave her Rs 5 lakh. And she didn’t want to discuss the matter with her parents because she was afraid they’d take away the money from her.

Still, I was glad she had told me the truth. I told my parents. Then my company sent me abroad for a project. We applied for divorce by mutual consent, and before I left, both of us went to the family court on six occasions. After I returned to India, she went back home saying that her mother was ill, and didn’t return — not even to attend the hearings. All of a sudden, she started saying that she didn’t want a divorce, and demanded that I pay her Rs 25,000 a month as maintenance. She claimed that I was earning far more than I really was, that my family had a lot of property (which is untrue) and said we had thrown her out of the house because she refused to bring Rs 2 lakh from her parents. She claimed that her family had spent a sum of Rs 10 lakh to conduct the wedding. She even went to the extent of saying that we had forged her signature on the divorce petition!

She filed a dowry case, and I was named as an accused — along with my mother, dad, cousin and aunt. I was taken into custody and stayed there for seven days, despite my family producing documents, which refuted her claims. She told me that if I paid her Rs 10 lakh in cash, she would withdraw the case. But she also had another demand —that I give it to her in writing that I am impotent.

My aged parents had to wait for three months to get bail. We were stripped, and our fingerprints taken, as if we were petty criminals.

Until then, we knew very little about the law, and even less about Section 498A. My parents, at one point were on the verge of committing suicide. Due to all the stress, my performance at work suffered. I was terminated. Three years later, the case is still on — and I am still looking for a job. I received three job offers — all of which were withdrawn once they conducted a background check and found out that I had a case pending against me. My future looks uncertain, but there’s one thing I’m sure about: I have lost faith in the institution of marriage. I will never marry again.

Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code (Dowry Prohibition and Prevention of Marital Cruelty) is aimed at protecting the woman from harassment — from either her husband or her in-laws. But the loopholes in the law have led to misuse by women across the country. The common perception, that a helpless woman is abused for dowry by her husband’s family and the law is her only saviour — is being turned on its head.

Bangalore-based advocate Shankarappa, who has been practicing law for the last 18 years, handling many high-profile cases, says that he has seen at least 120 cases of dowry harassment in his career, “But unfortunately about 100 of the complainants had falsely implicated their husbands and husbands’ families.”

Advocate M T Nanaiah says that approximately 80 per cent of the 600 dowry-related cases he has handled over 32 years have turned out to be false implications. “Most of the remaining 20 per cent cases are mostly small disagreements that arise in every household. They get converted into dowry harassment cases.”

No warrant, no investigation

What is it about the anti-dowry law that makes such blatant misuse possible? First, the entire case hinges on the statement or allegations made by the wife.  A single oral complaint can land the husband’s family in jail. No investigation or warrant is needed before police arrest the husband or his family, or begin proceedings. It is non-bailable; the accused must appeal before the court to seek bail. It is not compoundable: the complaint cannot be withdrawn. Worst of all, there is no punishment against the petitioner if the complaint is proved false. Besides, legal experts argue, since the police do not require any proof before arrest, it takes away a basic human right.

“Once a woman lodges a complaint, the husband and his relatives are implicated. Even the police register complaints without investigation. They drag the husband, aged in-laws and even young children to the station. The charges may be proved false later, but a criminal record is a criminal record, after all,” says Shankarappa.

Lawyers say that most women who file false dowry complaints do so for a few common reasons: to get out of a marriage; to get money, or a favourable divorce settlement; if they had a premarital affair, and were married off by force; for child custody; if they want an attitude change in the behaviour of the husband or the family; to take revenge on their husbands, or in most cases, to get out of a joint family setup.

And ironically, the law that aims at helping women, ends up harassing women too. The Save Indian Family Foundation contends that on an average, 30,000 women are jailed every year in connection with dowry cases. “Once the woman files a complaint, the mother-in-law, sister-in-law are also arrested. Why restrict the law to protecting only the wife? What kind of protection do these women have?” asks Philip, whose family was falsely implicated in a case. Virag Dhulia, a member of the Bangalore Chapter of the Save Indian Family Foundation — an organisation that provides support to harassed husbands — narrates his horror story. “A few months after our wedding, my wife went back to her parents’ home and didn’t return. She said she wouldn’t return unless I agreed to live away from my parents. Then her family filed a dowry harassment case against us,” he says.

Dhulia recalls how his parents, who are in their sixties, suffered for months — the fear of being arrested, anxiety about the regular court visits, and the outcome of the case, the shame and humiliation, all adding to their health problems.

In what is probably the first such instance in the State, Dhulia has filed a complaint against his wife for giving dowry. “My wife has, in her complaint, stated that she and her parents gave me dowry in the presence of their relatives. According to the Dowry Prohibition Act, taking, giving and abetting the giving of dowry is a crime — the giver and taker are equally culpable. I have not accepted dowry; but if as per her claim, she says she has given dowry, then she is guilty too.”

He says that at first, the police refused to file an FIR. “Then I went to the ACMM Court. The magistrate there took cognizance of this complaint and asked the jurisdictional police to investigate into the matter and file a report,” he explains.

Even four months after the court’s order, no action has been taken, Dhulia alleges. “I have now filed an RTI application to get information about the progress of the investigation, but have still not received any info.”

Help is at hand

The social stigma was what prompted Arun Murthy, yet another ‘498A victim’ to set up Sangyabalya — a helpline for ‘husbands and families victimised by the anti-dowry laws.’

The helpline was set up in 2003, after Murthy’s sister-in-law filed a dowry harassment complaint against his younger brother. “She was from an orphanage, and she said we had demanded dowry. It was ridiculous,” Murthy says. After his entire family — including his mother and sister were implicated — Murthy’s brother, a hardware engineer, lost his job and became a mental wreck. “I saw how the system works — people are arrested on Friday evening, so they cannot get bail. They have to stay in jail till Monday. And consider this — if you are a government employee, and you are in jail for more than 24 hours, even if under false accusations, then your job is in jeopardy.”

Murthy then wrote to a newspaper, and received many calls from other victims. That’s when he set up a helpline for these harassed husbands. A few months later, Sangyabalya was registered as an NGO.  “A lot of people are on the verge of suicide after being arrested. We give them moral support.  Sometimes, the lawyers take them for a ride, so we extend legal aid too. But most importantly, it is a collective voice for proper representation of our problems,” he says.

The Save Indian Family Foundation, another organisation that aid people implicated under Section 498A, was first set up as an online community, but later evolved into an NGO. The Foundation now has set up helplines for men in distress. The members of the Bangalore chapter meet at Cubbon Park every Saturday. New members who approach the Foundation are given moral support, and legal advice. “Usually when someone is implicated like this, he tends to feel that he is the only one facing such a problem. When they come here and see that they are not alone, then they feel that they have some support.”

Members of the foundation, who come from various backgrounds — from software to government service — study the law and help each other with inputs on how to fight their cases.

There are several other organisations working for these ‘harassed husbands’, but most of them have common demands. “The problem arises from extravagant marriages. The giving and taking of dowry should be tackled. No one makes it a point to stop this at the source. After all, prevention is better than cure,” says Dhulia.

Murthy agrees, “There should be a mandatory registration of marriages with a record of all gifts exchanged. These gifts are referred to as dowry when things go wrong. And such disputes are family matters. There should be proper counselling available, before the woman goes to the police.”

He adds, “The law in itself is not bad. What we need is thorough checks and balances to ensure that it is not misused. We assume that women are all white and men, all black. We must acknowledge that there are shades of grey everywhere.”

But most important, these organisations say, is to make provision for action against those who file false complaints, and to ensure that no arrests are made without proper evidence. “Once the complainant sends her husband and his family to jail, chances of reconciliation are few. She thinks its a victory. But that’s the only victory, things go downhill from there,” Murthy says.

That probably underlines the need for a thorough review of the law as it exists now. The loopholes have to be plugged, activists say, and soon. For the welfare of the women, so that genuine victims of dowry harassment do not suffer because of those who have misused the law. That is the only hope, for the welfare of hundreds of women across the country.

(Some names have been changed to protect identities.)

Review necessary?

Justice J D Kapoor of the Delhi High Court had recommended a review of the dowry laws. He suggested that Sections 406 (misappropriation of dowry articles) and 498A (harassment for dowry) be made bailable and if necessary, compoundable, in cases where no grave physical injury has been inflicted.

He had observed, “There is a growing tendency to come out with inflated and exaggerated allegations roping in each and every relation of the husband and if one happens to be of higher status or of vulnerable standing, then he or she becomes an easy prey for blackmailing and bargaining.” Some suggestions of the judge are:

Such cases should be investigated by civil authorities, and cognisance taken only after findings. Only police officer above the rank of ACP should investigate harassment and misappropriation of items. A DCP should investigate dowry death cases.

When minor, schoolchildren are named, they should not be arrested or sent to court.

Bridegroom complains of dowry harassment!

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AFTER BRIDES, it is now the turn of bridegrooms to complain about dowry and seek action against in- laws.

A case has come to light where a man complained to the police that his in- laws gave him dowry he never demanded.

Nishant Saini had married Anjali Dargan in 2007, but the marriage boat rocked within six months when Anjali walked out of the house in which they were living and slapped a dowry case against Saini.

She alleged Saini had taken Rs 1.45 lakh in dowry, given in two instalments of Rs 1.2 lakh and Rs 25,000. Saini, however, refuted the allegations. In a counter- complaint to the police, he blamed his in- laws for forcing him to accept the money he said he never demanded.

But the police refused to lodge a complaint. He then complained to the Delhi Police chief, seeking action against his wife and in- laws. In 2008, Saini moved court. He charged his wife and in- laws with committing an offence under the Dowry Prohibition Act.

The Act stipulates that anyone who demands or gives dowry can face punishment. “ We urged the court to direct the police to register a case against the bride and her parents,” said Pradeep Nawani, the lawyer for Saini.

The court directed the investigating officer of the case to file a report. Four months after the order, the officer failed to submit a report and told the court no case can be registered against the bride or her parents.

The court slammed the officer and directed two senior Delhi Police officers to take action against her.

Guidelines set by the Delhi High Court state that the police, before arresting a person under the Dowry Prohibition Act, must investigate the case and the bank accounts of the bride’s parents to verify if the sum of money they claim to have given in dowry.

Also, according to Supreme Court guidelines, a station house officer is duty- bound to register a case if it is a cognisable offence.

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