Time and again the Hon’ble SC and various HC in lacuna of cases has mentioned that Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) has been abused to such an extent that aged parents, minor children, siblings and grandparents and other distance relatives have been roped into vague and exaggerated allegations. Such complains which were not bona fide at all were filled by the complainant wife to satisfy her ego, anger, harass her husband and bow him out to her unlawful demands. Various case of harassment and arrest of innocent family members have been reported.
On 27th July 2017 in the case of Rajesh Kumar & others vs. State of UP & anr the Coram of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India raised a question whether there were any directions needed to prevent the misuse of Section 498A of the IPC? Through various judgments of the Apex courts, various Hon’ble HC if India and reports the Coram was of the view that indeed section 498A IPC was being abused by wife on trivial issues between husband and wife and cases where being registered which were not bona fide. The Hon’ble SC in the above mentioned case came out with various directions so that misuse of section 498A could be stopped.
As soon as the much abused Section 498A of the IPC had been questioned, the media came with headlines like:
* No more arrest in 498A cases…..
* Dowry law to weaken…..
* Husband not to be arrested on cruelty complains by wife…..
* New 498A to be cruel on women and many and many more…..
The tremor was to such an extent that the women organisations agitate in front of SC premise. Such protest on the Hon’ble SC verdicts has not been witness in the past? Isn’t the Hon’ble SC is believed to be the ultimate temple of justice? Prior to this episode no questions have ever been raised on the Hon’ble SC decision.
On 29.11.2017 the Coram including Hon’ble Chief Justice of India (CJI) has referred the matter to the Constitutional bench and the matter would be listed in the third week of January 2018. The matter of concern is the remarks put in by the Hon’ble CJI are not very promising for men’s. The women right organisation had filed a petition for a different purpose but due to the above mentioned agitation, the Apex Court has intervened with its own decision and questioned whether SC can legislate the law. To rest this particular issue, in Rajesh Kumar Vs State of UP the Hon’ble SC clearly stated that “Function of this Court is not to legislate but only to interpret the law. No doubt in doing so lying down of norms is sometimes unavoidable. Just and fair procedure being part of fundamental right to life, interpretation is required to be placed on a penal provision so that its working is not unjust, unfair or unreasonable.”
“After seeing the working of the above arrangement for six months but latest by March 31, 2018, National Legal Services Authority may give a report about need for any change in above directions or for any further directions. The matter may be listed for consideration by the Court in April, 2018.”
From the above it is apparent that the Coram of 27.07.2017 knew their limitations and also considered to review the matter in April 2018. The major question is why the judgment has been reviewed before the above stated date? Why a petition filed for a different purpose has been interpret in such a manner?
The reality is that nowhere in the above mentioned verdict it has been mentioned that arrest won’t be carried out or no person would be arrested. The Hon’ble SC was of the view that due to frivolous cases, uncalled arrest, chances of settlement of disputes between the husband and wife was next to impossible, as at the time of filling the complaint its implications and consequences were not visualized.
The Hon’ble SC stated that : “Following areas appear to require remedial steps:-
i) Uncalled for implication of husband and his relatives and arrest.
ii) Continuation of proceedings in spite of settlement between the parties since the offence is non-compoundable and uncalled for hardship to parties on that account.”
To give remedies on the above the Hon’ble Judges were of the view that “Family Welfare Committee” was to be formed and exclusively mentioned that
“Till report of the committee is received, no arrest should normally be effected.”
As stated earlier nowhere it is stated that arrest cannot be made out and nowhere it is mentioned that a case would not be made out, actually the problem where the women organization are misleading the disgruntled wife’s is on the following directions of the Hon’ble SC:
“If a bail application is filled 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 disputed dowry items may not by itself be a ground for denial of bail if maintenance or other rights of wife/minor children can otherwise 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;”
“In respect of persons ordinarily residing out of India impounding of passports or issuance of Red Corner Notice should not be a routine;”
“Personal appearance of all family members and particularly outstation members may not be required and the trial court ought to grant exemption from personal appearance or permit appearance by video conferencing without adversely affecting progress of the trial.”
From the above quoted points it is very clear that the Hon’ble SC on 27.07.17 had defused the 498A bomb held at the hand of disgruntled wife to harass their husband and his relatives. As from the above it is very much clear that men won’t be a puppet at the hand of his wife and her power to dictate terms would somewhat end. So, such hue and cry have been made by women rights organisation, they can’t stand for truth and can’t bear any relief given to husbands. They have taken a deliberate wrong stand concealing the facts, and the matter of fact is that “abuse of power” has been rested and not the “power of the duty” has been rested.
The reality is, relaxing automatic arrest would neutralize the women centric law arsenal held at the hand of unscrupulous women and they would have nothing in their hands to terrorise and harass their husbands.
Actually if norms of the judgment of 27.07.2017 is followed than the women rights wing true face would be revealed. It would be exposed that cases which are fictional are being filled to tarnish brand India and its rich culture. India has always been a country which not only respects woman and but Indian men follows the culture of family harmony to it true values. Various surveys have revealed that an Indian man goes through domestic violence, emotional and mental torture at the hands of their wife’s just to save their families, but ironically he is the one who is roped into frivolous cases by his wife.
It has been constantly stressed that after the honourable SC directions of July 2014 (famously known as the Arnesh Kumar Judgment) following the Section 41A of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr.P.C.), still automatic arrest where made, there where custodial torture, bail being denied due to recovery procedure.
A husband has to go through physical as well as mental torture in the case which was not at all bona fide. Still there was no stringent punishment on such unscrupulous persons who uses the law for their personal benefits. The fact is to avoid 41a CRPC notice to be served to husband and his families and enjoy automatic arrest, section 498Aof IPC where clubbed with section 307, 313, 376, 377 of the IPC (In this sections punishment is more than 7 (Seven) years, so, 41A Cr.P.C. notice need not be served).
The NCRB data of 2016 which revealed that IPC 498A cases have declined from 112403 cases in 2015 to 110378 cases in 2016, a decrease of around 3%. However, the number of arrests has increased from 187067 in 2015 to 198851 in 2016 an increase of 11784 of arrests i.e.6% increase of arrests. This clearly shows that Arnesh Kumar Judgment did not have its desired effect in reducing the number of arrests. A strong direction was needed to protect the innocent husband and his relatives from such women centric laws.
The innocent Indian husband’s are living in an unfortunate state where they don’t even realize that what have strike them, actually the lady who is his life partner can rope him and his family members with a bomb known as sec 498A of IPC ultimately ruining their marital life. The section has been so popular for it misuse that the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India time to time have formed committees to check the misuse even stating that “498A as Legal Terrorism”.
The major area where the Hon’ble SC in the Rajesh Sharma judgment wanted to lay emphasis was that on trivial matrimonial issues, cases of dowry harassment and cruelty was being filled and the situation was such that it was leading to matrimonial discord among Indian families. The Hon’ble SC did mention that such moves ruin the chances of settlement between husband and wife but it failed to address the major grey area punishment for unscrupulous persons who use this women centric law to their benefits and walk free. The truth is that the legal system is not limited to “The ultimate object of every legal system is to punish the guilty and protect the innocents” but also “To punish the unscrupulous persons who abuse the laws for their own advantage.”
The fact is that until and unless such unscrupulous and disgruntled wife and her relatives are not given stringent punishment for abusing the laws, the life of husband and his relatives would continue to be miserable and abuse of Section 498A would continue.
The matter of fact is women organizations themselves know that the cases made out of dowry harassment, cruelty, domestic violence are frivolous and not bona fide. Automatic arrest gave them an upper hand as the poor husband had no bargaining power and arrest curtailed his and his family freedom and left a scare on them forever. In reality the directions given by the Hon’ble SC on 27.07.2017 would unveil the truth that section 498A of the IPC is misuse to its best. Men have long been demanding that the IPC 498a needs to be repealed as it has ruined life’s of man and to seal it the NCRB data of 2016 revealed that suicide ratio between a married men and women was 2:1.1.
Why to terrorise an Indian men with women centric draconian laws? Do we follow law only when we have fear to get arrested? Does in India after arrest trial ends? Or is that we believe that the Indian Constitution and Indian Law don’t have the ingredients to protect its citizen rights and life’s? Is it that only a daughter-in-law has to be heard and protected?
It is to be seen post January 2018 whether automatic arrest in 498A complaints would be restored, or the rights of men would be uphold.
We all have the answer to the above don’t we! Any relief an Indian husband could be awarded is just like dreams which never comes true.
The situation is very distressing and needs immediate attention. Laws needs to be amended to gender neutral and unscrupulous persons who abuse laws to their advantage needs to be punished. If men rights are not protected than the institution of marriage would break down in India and we would be aiming for a fatherless society.