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Rajya Sabha press release

Press release[1]

Parliament of India

(Rajya Sabha Secretariat)

PRESS RELEASE

Petition praying for amendments in Section 498A of Indian Penal Code, 1860

The Committee on Petitions of Rajya Sabha under the Chairmanship of

 

Shri Bhagat Singh

Koshyari,

 

 

M.P. presented its Hundred and Fortieth Report to the Rajya Sabha on 7th

September, 2011

on the

 

 

petition praying for amendments in Section 498A of Indian Penal Code, 1860.

The Petition

was submitted by Dr. Anupama Singh, a resident of New Delhi.

 

2. The petitioner has raised her concern about the misuse of the Section 498A, IPC, which was

 

inserted in Indian Penal Code, 1860 way back in 1983 to protect married women from dowry harassment

 

in their matrimonial home. The offence under Section 498A IPC being cognizable, non-bailable and noncompoundable

 

gives power to the Investigating Officers in police stations to arrest the husband and his

 

relatives whose names are mentioned in the First Information Report (FIR) by the woman or her family.

 

The petitioner has prayed to make the law bailable and compoundable; and also for provision of stringent

 

punishment for abusers of Section 498A of IPC.

 

3. The Committee while formulating its observations/recommendations, has relied on the written

 

comments of the concerned Ministries, National Commission for Women and National Commission for

 

Protection of Child Rights, oral evidence of witnesses- official as well as non-official, feedback received in

 

response to the Press Release, observations of the Members of the Committee and interaction with others.

 

 

Important recommendations of the Committee:-

A. Making offence under Section 498A bailable and non-cognizable:-

Having gone through the evidence produced before it by different stakeholders, the Committee

finds it difficult to give a straight answer to the request made in the petition in terms of yes or no. The

petitioner and the stakeholders who have come up in favour of the petition have vehemently protested

against the misuse of the provisions of Section 498A IPC. But the Committee is unable to oversee the

inputs it has received from the Ministry of Woman and Child Development, the National Commission for

Women, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights and other organisations that have pleaded

before the Committee against the petition.

 

The fact that offence under Section 498A of IPC is

cognizable and non-bailable is acting as a big deterrent in the society. In the opinion of the

 

Committee, this historic step has succeeded in containing the magnitude of crime against

 

women in the country. Therefore, the Committee is unable to agree to the petition in so far as

 

categorising the offence under Section 498A IPC as non-cognizable and bailable is concerned.

 

The Committee recommends that the offence under Section 498A of IPC may continue to

 

remain cognizable and non-bailable as any change in the law at this stage might go against the

 

interest of the women community in general. The Committee fears that any interference in the

 

present law might reverse the social protection of women in their matrimonial home that has

 

been built up so far.

 

 

(Para 13.1 of the Report)

B. Making the offence under Section 498A, IPC compoundable:

The Committee notes that the offence under Section 498A, IPC is essentially fallout of

strained matrimonial relationship for which there might be various considerations. Since there

can be various causes leading to an offence under Section 498A, IPC and parties to the

marriage could be responsible for the same in varying degrees, it would be appropriate if the

remedy of compromise is kept open to settle a matrimonial dispute. The Committee, therefore,

recommends to the Government to consider whether the offence under Section 498A, IPC can

be made compoundable.

(Para 13.2 of the Report)

Having recommended that the offence under Section 498A of IPC should continue to be

cognizable and non-bailable, the Committee strongly recommends that the ill-effects and

misuse of the present legal provisions is also checked. The Committee fears that failure to do

so might leave no option except to dilute the law by making the same non-cognizable and

bailable. In this context, the Committee recommends certain additional measures as contained

in the succeeding paragraphs.

2

(Para 13.3 of the Report)

C. Power to arrest:

As a first step to check misuse of provisions of Section 498A IPC, the Committee recommends that

the provisions of Section 498A, IPC should be suitably modified so as to define the term ‘relative’ which

may exclude the arrest of small children and very elderly people and also distantly related persons who

might not have a role in the commission of offence. Secondly, the Committee would very much like to see

that the powers of arrest on such complaints are exercised carefully and cautiously.

 

The Committee

notes that advisories have been issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs to all State

 

Governments/ UT Administrations for preventing the misuse of Section 498A, IPC. The

 

Committee would like these guidelines to be followed and implemented strictly in letter and

 

spirit by the State Governments/UT Administrations. The Committee further recommends that

 

these guidelines should be adequately published by the State Governments/UT Administrations

 

and displayed publically in police stations so that the public is aware of their rights/liabilities

 

and is not harassed on account of ignorance of law.

 

 

(Para 13.4 of the Report)

The Committee recommends that arrests under Section 498A, IPC should be done only with the

written orders of the police officer of the level of DCP or equivalent and for acceptable reasons.

(Para 13.5 of the Report)

D. Counseling and Mediation:

The Committee recommends that adequate provisions may be introduced in Section 498A to make

the process of counseling compulsory before any arrests are made. The Committee further advocates that

professional and trained family counselors should do the counseling in the Women’s Cell so that frivolous

cases are screened at the initial stage itself and Section 498A is invoked in rare cases.

 

The Committee

also recommends that the process of counseling which is being handled by the Police

 

Department should be developed professionally by involving qualified counselors and reputed

 

NGOs so that people have more confidence in the mechanism and they could be approached for

 

intervention timely and arrive at some settlement without reaching the stage of complaint

 

under Section 498A, IPC.

 

 

(Para 13.6 of the Report)

E. Check on false complaints:

The Committee feels that the Government should consider providing legal remedies for preventing

filing of false complaints or complaints with ulterior motive to harass the husband and his relatives under

Section 498A.

 

The Committee recommends that Section 498A be amended so as to provide for

specific penalty in case the complaint is found to be false or with some other ulterior motive.

 

 

(Para 13.8 of the Report)

F. Dowry and Registration of Marriage:

The Committee is of the considered view that a strong and effective anti dowry law can go along

way in curbing matrimonial disputes.

 

Accordingly, the Committee recommends that the existing

Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 may be strengthened so that no dowry is given in marriage and

 

whatever gifts are exchanged in the marriage are listed out and acknowledged by the parties

 

to the marriage in writing. The Committee feels that such a step by the Government would

 

curb the dowry related matrimonial disputes which are substantial portion of the whole lot of

 

disputes

 

 

 

.

 

(Para 13.10 of the Report)

G. Juvenile in conflict with law (Section 498A, IPC):

The Committee also recommends that there is a need to ensure that provision of Section

498A should not be invoked in case of juveniles. However in case of any aberrations, the police

must ensure that the children are put under the care of Child Welfare Committee which would

arrange for counseling and interim care of the children in child friendly environment.

(Para 13.12 of the Report)

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  1. Tom Gregory
    September 16, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    It is bullshit what is happening here. The IPC 498A had to be Bailable and Non-Cognizable. If not then whats the point of such a long study and discussion. The only vengeance the girls family gets is the initial trauma and the harassment which the in-laws family face. After the initial harassment of arrest and custody then there is nothing more left in it. The women generally misuse it for the initial draconian pleasure that they get by putting her husband and in-laws in the police custody after arresting them. So there is nothing in India which is gonna change. WE all had expected something will happen after this committee. But it is disappointing and very very disappointing. The misuse of this law cannot be curbed until the initial harassment of innocent families is avoided..And please check out who suffers more..Its women more than men…check out the statistics. ..Its a shame in India that men are treated worse than animals. In our entire life span it seems like the government and its functionaries will ever understand the problem faced by men. And in this case the sufferers are innocent women more than men themselves because men will somehow withstand the trauma. but what about his parents and sisters and other siblings and relatives who are the sufferers for their life. Just because their son has got married to some unscrupulous women that doesn’t mean that the entire family need to suffer. When a women files a false 498A atleast 5-8 of his family members are suffering. That means it makes 1:5 atleast as a proportion….If it means there are 100000 498A false case in an year means atleast 500000 has suffered,. what kinda democracy is this. even dictatorship has a better meaning if we call this brutal country a democratic country. these women has screwed the shit out of the Indian Family system. They have broken many many matrimonial home. And it is true that one women who is doing this is motivating 100 others to commit the same crime. Its a fact that something need to be done and to be done at the earliest or else our great country is going to end up in shells. The family system will collapse in our country within no time. Imagine the tremendous rise of 498A complainants day by day and month by month., …You bloody deaf, dumb and blind authorities the situation is only gonna worsen. The complaints will rise. If any law is effective the complaints will definitely reduce. But see in this case..this itself is the alarm bell to authorities to do something or else we are all gonna fall into this vicious trap of such a draconian law which is already been termed by the supreme court as a Legal Terrorism. Guys and other sufferers please wake up and do something or else we all are gonna perish because of this stupid and motherless law. JAI HIND

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