Regarding arbitrary arrests under 498A IPC – President
8th July 2010
Honorable President of India,
Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi – 110011
Subject: Regarding arbitrary arrests of ordinary law-abiding citizens under IPC Sections 498A, 304B, Dowry Prohibition Act and related laws.
About National Family Harmony Society®: “National Family Harmony Society®” NFHS is a Non Governmental Organization (NGO) promoting the cause of “family harmony” and “gender equality”. It is registered under “The Karnataka Societies Registration Act, 1960” and is based in Bangalore. We have branches in more than 16 states and in abroad too. We have approximately 14500 members all over India. To know more about us please visit http://www.family-harmony.org / http://www.498a.org.in.
Honorable members of the Parliament have been raising questions in the parliament at regular interval regarding the heavy misuse of IPC Sections 498A, 304B, Dowry Prohibition Act and related laws. Please find some of the questions raised by members of Parliament regarding heavy misuse of women centric laws.
T a b l e – 1
|Sl No||Question number||House||Name of Member||Answered on||Subject|
|1||1409||RAJYA SABHA||SHRI MOTILAL VORA||01.08.2003||MISUSE OF DOWRY PROHIBITION ACT|
|2||1610||RAJYA SABHA||SHRI R.S. GAVAI||16.03.2005||INCREASING NUMBER OF FALSE DOWRY CASES|
|3||2698||RAJYA SABHA||SHRI ABU ASIM AZMI||22.08.2005||AMENDMENTS TO DOWRY PROHIBITION ACT|
|4||2805||RAJYA SABHA||PROF. RAM DEO BHANDARY||23.08.2006||HARASSMENT DUE TO DOWRY ALLEGATIONS|
|5||3876||RAJYA SABHA||SHRI MAHENDRA SAHNI||10.05.2007||AMENDMENT IN ANTI DOWRY LAW|
|6||4501||RAJYA SABHA||SHRI SURENDRA LATH||16.05.2007||MISUSE OF DOWRY PROHIBITION ACTs|
|7||1474||RAJYA SABHA||SHRI BRIJ BHUSHAN TIWARI||03.12.2007||AMENDMENTS TO DOWRY LAWS|
|8||1696||RAJYA SABHA||SHRI LALIT KISHORE CHATURVEDI||05.12.2007||PUNISHING PEOPLE FILING FALSE DOWRY RELATED CASES|
|9||2933||RAJYA SABHA||SHRI KAMAL AKHTAR||21.04.2008||STIFFER ANTI DOWRY LAWS|
|10||1474||RAJYA SABHA||SHRI BRIJ BHUSHAN TIWARI||03.12.2007||AMENDMENTS TO DOWRY LAWS|
|11||1073||RAJYA SABHA||SHRI AMAR SINGH||10.03.2008||AMENDMENT OF ANTI DOWRY ACT|
|12||304||RAJYA SABHA||ABU ASIM AZMI||20.10.2008||MISUSE OF ANTI DOWRY ACT|
|13||440||LOK SABHA||SHRI SANAT KUMAR||28.08.2001||Dowry Prohibition Act and Domestic|
|14||1012||LOK SABHA||Shri RAMDAS ATHAWALE||06.03.2007||AMENDMENT IN DOWRY ACT|
|15||440||LOK SABHA||Shri SANAT KUMAR MANDAL||20.02.2009||DOWRY PROHIBITION ACT AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ACT|
|16||2030||LOK SABHA||Shri DALPAT SINGH PARASTE||30.11.2007||ABUSE OF ANTI-DOWRY LAW|
|17||193||LOK SABHA||Shri RAGHUVIR SINGH KAUSHAL||16.11.2007||FALSE IMPLICATION IN DOWRY DEATH CASES|
|18||1181||LOK SABHA||Kunwar REWATI RAMAN SINGH||21.08.2007||COMPLAINTS ON DOWRY BY NRIs|
|19||382||LOK SABHA||Shri N CHELUVARAYA SWAMY SWAMYGOWDA||20.11.2009||MISUSE OF DOWRY PROHIBITION ACT, 1961S|
Honorable Supreme Court and various High Courts have observed from time to time that these women centric laws are being highly misuse. Honorable Supreme Court had observed that IPC 498A is being used as “Legal Terror”. Some of the observation of the Supreme Court and various High Courts are compiled below:
T a b l e – 2
|Sl No||Court||Case Number/Reported||Year||Between|
|1||Supreme Court||Writ Petition (C) No. 141 of 2005)||2005||Sushil Kumar Sharma Vs. Union of India (UOI)|
|2||Supreme Court||Appeal (crl.) 206||2008||Som Mittal Vs Govt. of Karnataka|
|3||Supreme Court||Appeal (crl.) 1716 of 2007||2007||Onkar Nath Mishra & Ors vs State (Nct Of Delhi) & Anr|
|4||Supreme Court||2000 (2) JCC (SC) 657: 2000 (5) SCC 207||2000||Kans Raj vs. State of Punjab and others|
|7||Delhi HC||CRL. R 462/2002||2003||Savitri Devi Versus Ramesh Chand and Ors.|
|8||AP HC||A. A. O. No. 1039 of 2001||2002||Saritha Vs R.Ramachandra|
|9||Punjab & Haryana HC||(1990)2 Rec Cri R 243||1990||Jasbir Kaur vs. State of Haryanas|
|10||Supreme Court||CriLJ 2993||2000||Kanaraj vs. State of Punjab|
|11||Karnataka HC||2002 CriLJ 3605||–||State Vs. Srikanth|
|12||Supreme Court||2002 CriLJ 4124||2002||Mohd. Hoshan vs. State of A.P.|
|13||Delhi HC||2003 CriLJ 2759||2003||Savitri Devi vs. Ramesh Chand|
|14||Punjab & Haryana HC||2003 CriLJ 3394||2003||Bhupinder Kaur and others vs. State of Punjab and others|
|15||Jharkhand HC||2004 CriLJ 2989||2004||Arjun Ram Vs. State of Jharkhand and another|
|16||Punjab & Haryana HC||RCR (Criminal) 163||2002||Mukesh Rani Vs. State of Haryana|
|17||Delhi HC||2001 (2) JCC (Delhi) 86||2001||Anu Gill Vs. State & Anrs|
|18||Supreme Court||AIR 2005 SC 1989||2005||Ramesh & Ors. Vs. State of Tamil Nadu|
|19||Delhi HC||CHANDER KANTA LAMBA & ORS||–||–|
|20||ADDITIONAL SESSIONS JUDGE||Revision No. 88/2008/2002||2002||–|
|21||Punjab & Haryana HC||–||2002||Krishan Jeet Singh vs State Of Haryana|
|22||Orissa HC||–||2003||Benumadhab Padhi Mohapatra vs State|
|23||AP HC||Criminal Petition No. 6642 of 2007||2007||Kamireddy Mangamma and others|
|24||Allahabad HC||CRIMINAL MISC. WRIT PETITION No. – 3322 of 2010||2010||Sanjeev Kumar & Others vs State Of U.P.s|
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states:
- Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
- No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
- Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.
- No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence or to attacks upon his honor and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.
In blatant violation of all the above rights, thousands of husbands and their families are arbitrarily arrested every year, without evidence or investigation, under IPC Sections 498A, 304B, Dowry Prohibition Act, and related wife-centric laws which presume that the accused are “guilty until proven innocent”.
National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has noted the misuse of dowry laws, arrest of innocent individuals and the resultant overcrowding of prisons. NHRC has urged the judiciary and law enforcement agencies to take measures against these abuses. High Courts across the country and the Supreme Court have condemned the misuse of dowry laws. The Commissioner of Police, Bangalore had issued standing instructions vide memo to check arbitrary arrests. The DGP, Karnataka has also issued a circular to implement 11 guidelines issued by Honorable Supreme Court of India regarding arrests and detention of Individuals in Cr WP No. 539/1986 and Cr WP No.592/1987. By taking note of the heavy misuse of the 498A IPC, recently on October 20, 2009, Union Ministry of Home Affairs had issued an advisory to all the state Governments and Union Territories. National Commission of Human Rights also has issued guidelines regarding arrests.
Nevertheless, abuse of police powers continues and unnecessary arrests have only been growing in the State of Karnataka. Police routinely enter people’s homes at ungodly hours, take accused men and women into custody, and incarcerate them in the name of “protecting women from cruelty and harassment”. Innocent citizens are illegally detained, humiliated, subjected to mental and physical torture, blackmail and extortion. The honor and reputation of these accused individuals is simultaneously attacked through media trial and unrestrained slander by women’s organizations every day. Thousands of men and women have been driven to suicide due to the trauma of false cases, arrest, prolonged trials and the resultant humiliation and financial troubles they have to endure.
According to statistics published by the National Crime Records Bureau in 2007 alone, an overwhelming 94% of the individuals arrested under IPC Section 498A were found not guilty. A closer look at individual cases under Section 498A reveals that arrests are made by lower cadre police officials without proper justification and only with the intent of terrorizing innocent citizens and extorting money from them under the threat of imprisonment and long-drawn legal battles.
Our numerous pleas to the Government of India to stop arbitrary arrests of citizens under IPC Section 498A have fallen on deaf ears. On the other hand, new laws are always on the anvil (sexual assault, work place harassment, acid attacks etc.) which stress on immediate arrest of men upon mere accusations made by women.
While it is amply clear that under the prevailing circumstances, arrest is inevitable for any man facing allegations of abuse or assault, it is imperative that innocent citizens are prepared to go to jail even if they committed no crime. Ordinary law abiding citizens and their kin should be freed from the fear of jail and the concomitant feelings of humiliation and suffering so that they do not drive themselves into depression, ruin their health or end their own lives.
In spite of All round coverage by Media regarding heavy Misuse of IPC 498A, questions in the parliament by honorable MPs, Critical remarks by various HCs and SC, Observation by NHRC, advisories issued by your ministry from time to time, State Governments are not taking any steps to prevent the heavy misuse of IPC Sections 498A, 304B, Dowry Prohibition Act and related laws. These laws are so biased and dangerous that any innocent can become victim just on a false complaint by a woman. Even celebrities like Pakistani Cricketer Shoaib Malik and Former Union Minister Arjun Singh have not been spared have been falsely implicated under these laws.
Direct the Union Government to:
- Stop the heavy misuse of Gender Biased laws such as 498A, 304B, Dowry Prohibition Act and related laws.
- No arrest before Final Judgment/Order in case of a complaint under 498A, 304B, Dowry Prohibition Act and related laws.
- Implement recommendations of Law Commission and “Malimath committee” to make 498A bailable.
- Bring in amendment to stop arbitrary arrest of elderly persons, children and pregnant sisters.
- Punishment for those filing false cases under 498A, 304B, Dowry Prohibition Act and related laws.
- Bring in amendments to make IPC 498A “Gender Neutral” so that those husbands and in-laws who are harassed can also make complaint under this IPC section.
P Suresh, President, M Mahesh, General Secretary,
National Family Harmony Society National Family Harmony Society