Section 498 A of IPC : Use and Misuse of Law

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The law failed due to corrupt police management


Loading... Section 498A was enacted to check unconscionable demands by greedy husbands and their families which at times result in cruelty to women and also suicides.


 The principle of Law purple arrow small right

In Maneka Gandhi  case, which held the proposition that the law which deprives a person of his personal liberty must be reasonable both from the stand point of substantive as well as procedural aspect is now firmly established in our Constitutional law


Preventing the misuse of Section 498 A  

Rajesh Sharma & ors. Versus State of U.P. & Anr[ 27th July, 2017.]

It is accepted that there is a growing tendency to abuse the said provision to rope in all the relatives including parents of advanced age, minor children, siblings, grand-parents and uncles on the strength of vague and exaggerated allegations without there being any verifiable evidence of physical or mental harm or injury. At times, this results in harassment and even arrest of innocent family members, including women and senior citizens. This may hamper any possible reconciliation and reunion of a couple.

In Sushil Kumar Sharma versus Union of India , Preeti Gupta versus the State of Jharkhand, Ramgopal versus State of Madhya Pradesh , Savitri Devi versus Ramesh Chand , it was submitted that misuse of the provision is judicially acknowledged.

 

Devider

 Cumulative effect of the Apex court Directions

Rajesh Sharma & ors. Versus State of U.P. & Anr[ 27th July, 2017.]

i) (a) In every district one or more Family Welfare Committees be constituted by the District Legal Services Authorities preferably comprising of three members. The constitution and working of such committees may be reviewed from time to time and at least once in a year by the District and Sessions Judge of the district who is also the Chairman of the District Legal Services Authority.

(b) The Committees may be constituted out of para legal volunteers/social workers/retired persons/wives of working officers/other citizens who may be found suitable and willing.

(c) The Committee members will not be called as witnesses.

(d) Every complaint under Section 498A received by the police or the Magistrate be referred to and looked into by such committee. Such committee may have interaction with the parties personally or by means of telephone or any other mode of communication including electronic communication.

(e) Report of such committee be given to the Authority by whom the complaint is referred to it latest within one month from the date of receipt of complaint.

(f) The committee may give its brief report about the factual aspects and its opinion in the matter.

(g) Till report of the committee is received, no arrest should normally be effected.

(h) The report may be then considered by the Investigating Officer or the Magistrate on its own merit.
(i) Members of the committee may be given such basic minimum training as may be considered necessary by the Legal Services Authority from time to time.

(j) The Members of the committee may be given such honorarium as may be considered viable.

(k) It will be open to the District and Sessions Judge to utilize the cost fund wherever considered necessary and proper.

ii) Complaints under Section 498A and other connected offences may be investigated only by a designated Investigating Officer of the area. Such designations may be made within one month from today. Such designated officer may be required to undergo raining for such duration (not less than one week) as may be considered appropriate. The training may be completed within four months from today;

iii) In cases where a settlement is reached, it will be open to the District and Sessions Judge or any other senior Judicial Officer nominated by him in the district to dispose of the proceedings including closing of the criminal case if dispute primarily relates to matrimonial discord;

iv) If a bail application is filed 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;

vi) It will be open to the District Judge or a designated senior judicial officer nominated by the District Judge to club all connected cases between the parties arising out of matrimonial disputes so that a holistic view is taken by the Court to whom all such cases are entrusted; and

vii) 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.

viii) These directions will not apply to the offences involving tangible physical injuries or death.[the matter shall be reconsidered after April 2018]

 Arnesh Kumar versus State of Bihar [ (2014) 8 SCC 273]

“11.1All the State Governments to instruct its police officers not to automatically arrest when a case under Section 498-A of the IPC is registered but to satisfy themselves about the necessity for arrest under the parameters laid down above flowing from Section 41, Cr.PC;

11.2 All police officers be provided with a check list containing specified sub-clauses under Section 41(1)(b)(ii);

11.3 The police officer shall forward the check list duly filed and furnish the reasons and materials which necessitated the arrest, while forwarding/producing the accused before the Magistrate for further detention;

11.4 The Magistrate while authorizing detention of the accused shall peruse the report furnished by the police officer in terms aforesaid and only after recording its satisfaction, the Magistrate will authorize detention;

11.5 The decision not to arrest an accused, be forwarded to the Magistrate within two weeks from the date of the institution of the case with a copy to the Magistrate which may be extended by the Superintendent of police of the district for the reasons to be recorded in writing;

11.6 Notice of appearance in terms of Section 41A of Cr.PC be served on the accused within two weeks from the date of institution of the case, which may be extended by the Superintendent of Police of the District for the reasons to be recorded in writing;

11.7 Failure to comply with the directions aforesaid shall apart from rendering the police officers concerned liable for departmental action, they shall also be liable to be punished
for contempt of court to be instituted before High Court having territorial jurisdiction.

11.8 Authorising detention without recording reasons as aforesaid by the judicial Magistrate concerned shall be liable for departmental action by the appropriate High Court.

Lalita Kumari versus Government of Uttar Pradesh[ Constitution bench 12/11/ 2013]

In view of the aforesaid discussion, we hold:
(i) Registration of FIR is mandatory under Section 154 of the Code, if the information discloses commission of a cognizable offence and no preliminary inquiry is permissible in such a situation.
(ii) If the information received does not disclose a cognizable offence but indicates the necessity for an inquiry, a preliminary inquiry may be conducted only to ascertain whether cognizable offence is disclosed or not.
(iii) If the inquiry discloses the commission of a cognizable offence, the FIR must be registered. In cases where preliminary inquiry ends in closing the complaint, a copy of the entry of such closure must be supplied to the first informant forthwith and not later than one week. It must disclose reasons in brief for closing the complaint and not proceeding further.

(iv) The police officer cannot avoid his duty of registering offence if cognizable offence is
disclosed. Action must be taken against erring officers who do not register the FIR if information received by him discloses a cognizable offence.

(v) The scope of preliminary inquiry is not to verify the veracity or otherwise of the information received but only to ascertain whether the information reveals any cognizable offence.

(vi) As to what type and in which cases preliminary inquiry is to be conducted will depend on the facts and circumstances of each case. The category of cases in which preliminary inquiry may be made are as under:
(a) Matrimonial disputes/ family disputes
(b) Commercial offences
(c) Medical negligence

(d) Corruption cases
(e) Cases where there is abnormal delay/laches in initiating criminal prosecution, for example, over 3 months delay in reporting the matter without satisfactorily explaining the reasons for delay.

The aforesaid are only illustrations and not exhaustive of all conditions which may warrant preliminary inquiry.

(vii) While ensuring and protecting the rights of the accused and the complainant, a preliminary inquiry should be made time bound and in any case it should not exceed 7 days. The fact of such delay and the causes of it must be reflected in the General Diary entry.
(viii) Since the General Diary/Station Diary/Daily Diary is the record of all information received in a police station, we direct that all information relating to cognizable offences, whether resulting in registration of FIR or leading to an inquiry, must be mandatorily and meticulously reflected in the said Diary and the decision to conduct a preliminary inquiry must also be reflected, as mentioned above.

Devider

Role of Court

Gian Singh vs. State of Punjab (2012) 10 SCC 303- para-61, (2014) 5 SCC 364- para -14

The function of this Court is not to legislate but only to interpret the law. No doubt in doing so laying 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. The court has incidental power to quash even a non-compoundable case of private nature, if continuing the proceedings is found to be oppressive. While stifling a legitimate prosecution is against public policy, if the proceedings in an offence of private nature are found to be oppressive, power of quashing is exercised. These Principles ratified in Rajesh Sharma & ors. Versus State of U.P. & Anr[ 27th July, 2017.]

Devider

Supreme Court judgments 

Rajesh Sharma & ors. Versus State of U.P. & Anr[ 27th July, 2017.]

Section 498A and Section 323 IPC-against a summoning order a revision was preferred- revision court asked to take a fresh look to trial court- trial court summoned other accused not called earlier- a 482 order was dismissed by HC-mediation failed-Appeal by SLP-Direction issued.

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