SC modified 498A arrest direction and held Family Welfare Committee is impermissible

The court had in July last year directed the creation of Family Welfare Committees in every district, which would verify the allegations of dowry harassment received by the police or magistrate. The arrest of a person could only be made after the report of the committee is received, it had then said. Challenging the order  a Petitions have been preferred under Article 32 of the Constitution of India seeking directions to the respondents to create an enabling environment for married women subjected to cruelty to make informed choices and to create a uniform system of monitoring and systematically reviewing incidents of violence against women under Section 498-A IPC including their prevention, investigation, prosecution and rehabilitation of the victims and their children at the Central, State and District levels. That apart, prayer has been made to issue a writ of mandamus to the respondents for a uniform policy of registration of FIR, arrest and bail in cases of Section 498-A IPC in consonance with the law of the land, i.e., to immediately register FIR on complaint of cruelty and harassment by married women as per the IPC.

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL ORIGINAL JURISDICTION
WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO. 73 OF 2015
Social Action Forum for Manav Adhikar …Petitioner(s)
and another
VERSUS
Union of India
Ministry of Law and Justice and others …Respondent(s)

It is set forth in the petition that Section 498-A IPC has been specifically enacted to protect the vulnerable sections of the society who have been victims of cruelty and harassment. The social purpose behind Section 498-A IPC is being lost as the rigour of the said provision has been diluted and the offence has practically been made bailable by
reason of various qualifications and restrictions prescribed by various
decisions of this Court including Rajesh Sharma and others v. State of U.P. and another , a recent pronouncement.
It has also been submitted by the petitioners that the police is hesitant to arrest the accused on complaint of married women and the same inaction is justified by quoting various judgments, despite the fact that Section 498-A IPC discloses a non-bailable offence and sufficient checks and balances have been provided in the law itself under Section 41 CrPC. To prevent arbitrary and necessary arrest, the statute very clearly states that the police shall record reasons for effecting arrest as well as for not arresting.

Read the full judgment