Before we get into the real discussion of things, it is extremely important to understand the crucial difference between "arrest" and "automatic arrest". No law in world can give the power of arrest to police without proper investigation or the need to arrest or following the due process as enshrined in the law that has been passed by the highest governing body of the country – Indian Parliament in India's context.
Unfortunately Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code popularly known as the dowry law did just that. Its vague definition, redundant presence in the Penal code and totally faulty implementation has ruined the lives of millions of men and their families as they were not only arrested without trial or investigation (better known as "automatic arrest") but their dignity, self-respect and reputation were also ruined.
Millions of such men have committed suicides being unable to take the ignominy of a false case, humiliation and loss of face in the society. Over years, the misuse (read 'use') of the dowry law became so deeply ingrained in the society that it became a custom to convert every failed marriage into a dowry harassment case and get the husband and his family arrested and no sooner were the fine lines between "Arrest" and "Automatic Arrest" dissolved.
It has become a routine practice for police and magistrates to use the arrest as "negotiation tool" to pressurize the husband to pay huge sums of money to wife in order to end a bad and abusive marriage and in almost all cases of so-called dowry harassment, it is actually the man who is abused.
The landmark judgment by the Honorable Supreme Court in Arnesh Kumar vs. State of Bihar
and Anothers comes to the relief of such harassed men and their families. This judgment clearly lays down guidelines for the police and the magistrate about the procedure they should follow while arresting a person accused of an offence punishable less than seven years of imprisonment – dowry law being one such offence.
It also says that if the police and/or magistrate fail to comply to the guidelines and a person is wrongfully arrested or detained, he can approach the jurisdictional high court with an application of contempt court against the police and/or magistrate as the case may be. They may also face departmental action in all likelihood.
Interestingly the judgment does not say any new thing. It simply reiterates Section 41 of the CrPC and reminds the police and magistrates of their duty and the due process they are obliged to follow, as laid down by a law passed the elected representatives in the amended CrPC 2010 Act. The Supreme Court has passed this judgment well within its capacity and under Article 142 of the Indian Constitution, the Supreme Court has special powers to issue orders as it deems fit in the interest of justice. This judgment is completely maintainable in law and order as it seeks to prevent arrests of innocent people without trial or investigation and any criticism of this judgment should be generally seen as contempt of court.
Women's organizations have no locus-standi challenging this well-meaning judgment merely because it affects their business
of promoting lies, feminism and misandry in the society. Merely because they carry grudges against men for reasons best known to them, they cannot say that the police and magistrates cannot be told to follow law as it may protect innocent men.
Women's organizations get huge funds, in the tune of hundreds of millions from foreign agencies in order to spread lies against men in the society and these judgments would well work to severe/stop the flow of funds. No wonder, they are up in arms against this judgment.
However, from a legal standpoint, this judgment is perfectly in line with human rights. If a woman has filed a complaint, we see no reason why it shouldn't be investigated and we also see no reason to arrest the husband without proper evidence in favor of the complaint. Rather, false complaints of dowry harassment should be discouraged by making the law bailable and introducing grounds to punish women who lie with a term extending up to three years and a suitable fine.
The menace of legal terrorism inflicted by a false case of Section 498A can only be countered with tough measures to book liar women.