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Why so much of hue and cry over Supreme Court's verdict on anti-dowry law?
Recent Supreme Court's judgement on curtailing immediate arrests in all the crimes that have a conviction of seven years or less has created lots of doubts and fear in feminists. There has been a lot of hue and cry on the judgement that 498A was a law for harassed helpless women in India and Supreme Court with this judgement took the teeth away.
On the other hand if we evaluate the judgement logically, this judgement has done nothing to the dowry law. For example, the definition of dowry remains the same, the punishment, if the man is proved guilty remains the same. There is absolutely no change in the anti-dowry law. The apex court has just reiterated that the implementation of CrPC 41 is a must in all the crimes that have a conviction of seven years or less.

CPI (M) leader Brinda Karat said "It is a regrettable and retrograde verdict from the Supreme Court which dilutes the present laws against dowry. The court has no right to change the law from a cognizable to a non-cognizable offence at a time when there is rampant prevalence of the practice of dowry demand," reported Economic Times.

Annie Raja, General Secretary National Federation of Indian Women in an online debate said, "It is the police department and the lawyers who ask a female to name the entire family so that it will create pressure. I mean, how is this statement justified and how does this mean that women are not abusing the process of law. Even if for a minute, I agree that police and lawyers are at fault, it the women who is signing the complaint and petitions, if she is so honest then why can't she deny framing the entire family. Why at the first place she walks up to file a false complaint? When would we start admitting that women are misusing laws and women can commit violence?"

Moreover, if the police department and Magistrates were performing their duties as prescribed, and if they were following CrPC 41 as amended in 2010, Arnesh Kumar would not have had to knock at Supreme Court's door to get anticipatory bail.

The question is why National Commission for Women (NCW) and the feminists are against the judgement? Also, why is it that feminists and NCW wants an accused to be arrested immediately after the complaint is made? I fail to understand, how this judgement dilutes the anti-dowry law, and how is the law changed to non-cognizable, when the apex court has just made sure that the stake of the Investigation Officer and the Magistrate are increased in "all the crimes that have a conviction of seven years or less."

They now have defined roles and who so ever is at fault of not implementing CrPC 41 Provisions would be liable for departmental enquiry and also contempt of the Court. Also, the Apex Court has not stopped the arrests; only strict implementation of CrPC 41 provisions are made sure.

The judgement curtails immediate arrest. Police would religiously work to collect evidences. And as the judgement says the conviction rate in dowry related cases is merely 15 per cent, if arrest would not happen, then the legal extortion in the name of acquiring bail and the option of legal extortion in the name of settling the matter amicably would not arise.

So basically, the legal extortion industry which runs under the threat of arrests would die. This legal extortion industry is about Rs 500 Cr Extortion in the name of acquiring bail (3 lacs to 5 lacs to wife), Child visitation (Rs 20,000 to Rs 1 Lac), and in the name of full and final settlement (Rs 5 Lac to unlimited). This legal industry is killing men. They are hurting emotionally and financially. No wonder, 65K+ married men are committing suicides every year (NCRB Data).

Indeed, this judgement is welcomed by several Men's Rights Groups and have acclaimed this judgement to be a landmark. They want 498A to be made bailable. Also, there is a severe demand of amending this draconian law and adding a misuse clause 498B to this law. IPC Section 498B if introduced will deal with disgruntled wives and women who used this law as weapons rather than shield.

Adding the misuse clause, will also benefit the women who genuinely are getting harassed due to the dowry menace as there would be no false cases and judiciary will be able to deliver justice timely.

Many men's rights groups of late are demanding: Men's Welfare Ministry, Misuse Clause in 498A / introduction of 498B to prosecute the disgruntled wives who make false complaints to fulfill their mischievous goals. They also demand strict implementation of child visitation and custody guidelines set by Mumbai High court.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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