No truth in contention that Section 498 is misused: City Police Commissioner
‘There are several checks to ascertain whether a case is genuine or not’
City Police Commissioner N. Madhusudan Reddy on Tuesday said there was no truth in the contention that Section 498A of Indian Penal Code was being misused.
Speaking at a roundtable organised by the Vasavya Mahila Mandali (VMM) on the Dowry Act that has come under criticism for its alleged misuse by some women against their men and their families, Mr. Reddy said a woman musters a lot of courage to visit a police station.
He said in the Vijayawada police Commissionerate limits, the number of women approaching police stations is relatively high.
Informing that the law in question was easily accessible to a woman in distress, he said there were several checks and balances to ascertain if a case was genuine or not.
He said there could be instances where a woman was influenced by her parents or other family members to file a case against her husband. “It is the discretion of the investigating officer to get to the bottom of the facts in the course of enquiry and establish the genuineness of the case,” he explained.
He said many cases had to be closed after being labelled as ‘mistake of facts’ while many others were being referred to the Lok Ayukta.
Responding to an observation on the increasing number of NRI cases, he said the law enforcement department had two options to exercise – to issue a look-out notice or a red corner notice against the accused.
The roundtable was organised as part of a study on 498A of IPC commissioned by the National Commission for Women (NCW) in response to the Committee on Petitions, Rajya Sabha, that is reviewing a petition on misuse of the law. The meeting discussed threadbare execution of 498A in the Vijayawada police commissionerate from the perspective of the prime stakeholders – police, judiciary, and the DV Cell, and analyse the emerging trends and take a deeper look into the pros and cons of the Act being cognisable, non-bailable, and non-compoundable.
It also took into consideration the safeguards recommended besides exploring amendments if any.
Responding to a query, Second Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Vijayawada, Lakshmi Sarada, said the legal aid clinics set up across the city to make legal aid accessible to the people of all sections.
These are located at V.B. Siddhartha Law College at Kanuru, Syyed Appalaswamy Degree College opposite milk factory in One Town and gram panchayat offices of Tadigadapa and Nunna.
Former MP and VMM president Chennupati Vidya, who presided over the meeting, mooted in-camera facility for woman victims reluctant to speak publicly.
President of the Bezawada Bar Association Ch. Ajay Kumar, public prosecutor P. Uma, advocates P. Satyanarayana, M. Syamsundar, and Jayprakash, counsellor of the DV Cell in Women and Child Welfare Department Sudha, advocate Radhika, VMM’s executive secretary G. Rashmi, technical support manager Keerthy, medical director P. Deeksha, and others were present.
- Roundtable organised as part of study commissioned by NCW
- Legal aid clinics set up across the city, says Lakshmi Sarada