Although this decision comes as a ray of hope for those fearing arrest without trial or investigation in a false dowry case, and would be a succor for many a families ravaged by the impact of misuse of Section 498A - termed as Legal Terrorism by the very same Honorable Supreme Court as long back as 20th July 2005 in Sushil Kumar Sharma vs. Union of India, however, we are still skeptical about the efficacy of implementation.
We expect Narendra Modi Sarkar to take this judgment seriously and implement it in spirit and letter and ensure that a copy of the judgment reaches all the State DGPs and Chief Secretaries who, in turn, issue necessary directions to all the police stations and courts for following the guidelines mentioned in the judgment and to implement Section 41A of CrPC properly.
The police cannot now immediately arrest husband and his family members, merely on a complaint without trial or investigation. They also cannot call up the husband and terrorize him on phone. They must mandatorily issue a "Notice of appearance" under Section 41A CrPC as mandated by this judgment and CrPC Amendment Act 2010 to the accused.
Also, the courts cannot use the power to arrest and hold the husband and his family at ransom. We have come across many cases of gross violation of human rights of men and their families accused under Section 498A wherein they are not provided a fair trial and in open courts, lower class magistrates ask men to cough up huge sums of money to their estranged wives or else go to jail. This trend is badly catching up in Delhi, Noida, Gurgaon, Faridabad, Ghaziabad and adjoining areas. This is nothing short of institutionalized and state sponsored blackmail and extortion.
This judgment is a very small step towards alleviating men from this legal trauma and onus lies on Modi Sarkar to see to it that the judgment is implemented in its right spirit. States like UP, Bihar, MP, Rajasthan are dark places for men accused under 498A as they are not granted bail and are made to undergo extreme torture on the basis of an unverified complaint by wife.
Even, in the case at hand, wherein the Supreme Court gave these guidelines, it was the case of man from Bihar, who was denied interim bail and had to go all the way to the Supreme Court just to get temporary relief in the case whereas he was ready to co-operate with the authorities. This shows the level of insensitivity that exists in our police and judiciary despite numerous judgments, media reports, studies and research reports talking in volumes about the rampant misuse of Section 498A, the false cases therein and the inhuman torture of men as a result.
There are innumerable cases where courts force men to reunite with their abusive wives or face jail and in many cases the courts endanger the lives of both the husband and the wife since a cornered man can also resort to crime. Of late, such cases are coming to light where abused and tormented men are killing their wives as the courts had forced them to live together despite a soured relationship and the man being abuse to the core.
While, this judgment definitely calls for celebrations, what now needs to be seen is whether this judgment remains yet another paper tiger or can actually fetch some relief to millions of families of men suffering from the onslaught of Legal Terrorism.