Some brides are ‘villains’, not victims: lawyers
1 May 2002, 0032 hrs IST,Rahul
KOLKATA: City lawyers claim to be surprised at the spate of ‘patently unfair’ cases alleging cruelty to the bride under section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, which is a cognizable and non-bailable offence offence meaning that the police can arrest without warrants and bails can be obtained only from a law court and not the police station.
They are also surprised to come across many cases which, they feel, are brazenly fabricated and amount to a gross abuse of a legal provision.
Once a woman lodges a complaint, the arrest of the husband is virtually routine. And if he happens to be a government servant or working in a public sector undertaking or bank, his suspension follows again as a routine.
In some cases lawyers have been appalled to find elderly relatives of the husband and even visiting relatives of the husband implicated in the case.
In some cases the husband and his family are virtually being blackmailed into coughing up money and reach an out-of-court settlement.
In one of the cases the bride is said to have won the heart of her in-laws so much that when her sister-in-law gets married, all the family jewellery are put in her lockers.
She takes the jewellery, leaves the house and promptly lodges a complaint against her husband.
Inquiries revealed that she had an earlier affair and had left to live with her love, recalls Ananda Basu, Advocate practising in the Calcutta High Court.
Eminent lawyer Bishnu Charan Ghosh says, “As a lawyer I have never come across such gross abuse of any of the provisions of any Act as I am experiencing in 498A IPC cases”.
He goes on to say, “I don’t mean to suggest that brides are always the villains and not the victim. In a majority of the cases, in fact, the brides are at the receiving end. But what is surprising is the large number of cases where the brides actually seem to be villainous”.
Asked about the ways to check abuse of section 498A, B.C.
Ghosh and Gitanath Ganguly, the former suggests a threefold measure: (i) to convert section 498A into a bailable one, (ii) The Ld. court could carefully consider whether the allegations of the bride are indeed genuine at least against the in-laws or other relations of her husband when it directs investigation under section 156(3) of CrPC for an offence under section 498A and, (iii) The Ld. court could carefully take into account whether custodial detention is at all needed for the old in-laws and other relations.
Ganguly suggests that on receiving a complaint under section 498A from a woman, police should immediately approach the Magistrate instead of arresting the accused.
He asserted that the police should collect the materials, place them before the Magistrate and arrest people only with the permission of the Magistrate. He also suggests making the offence under this section a bailable one.
The lawyers also point out the irony that while women belonging to the poorer sections, for whom the section was primarily meant, are not even aware of the provision, the section is being merrily misused by a section of the urban women.
Ex-envoy arrested for torturing ‘bahu’
9 Dec 2003, 0326 hrs IST,TNN
PATNA: The police on Monday arrested former Congress MP, former ambassador to Laos and well known journalist Gauri Shankar Rajhans and his brother-in-law Pramil Kumar Mishra in a dowry torture case under Section 498A of the IPC.
In an FIR, Manikant Thakur, a journalist with the BBC, named Rajhans and his wife Hema Rajhans as accused in a dowry harassment case. Thakur alleged that his daughter Aparna Thakur, who is married to their son, Punit Rajhans, was being tortured by the Rajhans family for dowry.
Thakur has also named Rajhans’ brother-in-law Pramil Kumar Mishra and sisters-in-law Savita Mishra and Nima Mishra in the FIR.
Thakur further alleged in the FIR that all the five accused had tried to drag and forcibly take away Aparna from New Republic Hotel here.
On the basis of Thakur’s statement, the Patna DM and the senior SP rushed to New Republic Hotel on Exhibition Road from where all the accused managed to escape. The police then raided Manprabha Apartment on Boring Canal Road and arrested Rajhans and Pramil.
They were kept in Gandhi Maidan police station till late on Monday evening.
However, Rajhans alleged that the FIR was fabricated and that Thakur had an eye over a good chunk of his property in Delhi and that he was being blackmailed.
He said that there was no question of torturing Aparna in the name of dowry as they had given her jewellery worth Rs 3 lakh in marriage.
After two months of her marriage, Aparna returned to Patna along with his father, he said, adding, “She even took the jewellery with her. I am ready to go to jail but once I am out I will expose Thakur.”
Rajhans said that as an MP he had urged former PM Rajiv Gandhi to incorporate Section 498A in the IPC. “Once I am out of the jail, I will struggle for the scrapping of Section 498A,” he said.
Rajhans claimed that he was trapped by his daughter-in-law who asked him to come to Patna and talk to her. “When I reached the hotel, I was trapped,” he added.
Thakur, on the other hand, said that his son-in-law Punit behaved violently with Aparna. He said that he had even asked Rajhans to see to it that both Aparna and Punit were separated.
“But Rajhans assured me that his son will not ill-treat Aparna,” he added.
Thakur had brought Aparna from her in-laws’ house six months back. The marriage was performed in Patna in April. He alleged that Aparna’s in-laws had kept all her belongings, including ornaments.
He said that Rajhans and his family members wanted to take Aparna to Delhi so that they could force her to give a statement in their favour.
IPS officer approaches HC for anticipatory bail
Kochi, Sept. 25 (PTI): An IPS officer posted in the state has approached Kerala High Court to seek anticipatory bail, apprehending arrest by Yerwada police following a complaint of harrassment filed by his wife Dr Jasleen Virk, daughter of the Punjab DGP.
Assistant Superintendent of Police Vikramjit Singh said in his petition that his wife had filed a “false” case of dowry harrassment and mental torture against him and his parents, who live in Pune.
The petitioner said the complaint was an outcome of “personal vendetta”.
Singh said they got married on June 5 last year in Patiala while he was undergoing training at National Police Academy in Hyderabad.
He said his wife however came to live with him when he was posted at Kerala Police Academy in Thrissur in January last.
They later shifted to the state capital, Singh said and claimed that Jasleen did not find the “modest status and privileges of a trainee IPS officer in Thiruvananthapuram to her satisfaction”, compared to privileges enjoyed by her in Chandigarh as the DGP’s daughter.
He said Jasleen returned to Chandigarh on May two and informed him that she was not ready to return. Singh said his wife later filed a complaint before Pune Judicial Magistrate First Class, who directed Yerwada police to register a case.
Justice J M James posted the matter for hearing on November 28.
Additional district, sessions judge held in dowry case
23 Dec 2002, 1424 hrs IST,PTI
MAINPURI: Additional district and sessions judge O N Gupta was arrested here in connection with a dowry case by West Bengal police, official sources said on Monday.
Gupta was arrested on Sunday in connection with a dowry case registered against him by Ruby at Posta police station in Kolkata, sources said.
He was produced before the Chief Judicial Magistrate who released him on furnishing a personal bond of Rs 15,000 and two sureities of like amount.
The court directed Gupta to appear before the court of the metropolitan magistrate, Kolkata on December 26 next.
Ruby, married to son of Gupta, had filed the case charging Gupta, his wife and his sons with demanding dowry, Gupta’s lawyer Dinesh Yadav said. Ruby had also charged them with throwing her out of the house, Yadav added.