Millennium Post

Proposed amendment in anti-dowry harassment law evokes debate

Proposed amendment in anti-dowry harassment law evokes debate
Government’s proposal to make way for a compromise between a couple in a dowry case at the onset of trial to avoid misuse of anti-dowry harassment law has drawn sharp criticism from activists and lawyers who say this would pressurise women to suffer more atrocities, a view not shared by some other legal experts.

Former judges of Delhi High Court, Justices S N Dhingra and R S Sodhi countered the opinion that the proposed dilution of the law would trigger more harassment to women, saying the amendment would fix the presently broken and misused system which falsely implicates husbands and the in-laws.

While women activists Ranjana Kumari and Barkha Singh and senior advocate Rebecca John were of the opinion that the proposed dilution would lead to greater exploitation of women in matrimonial homes, the two retired judges said changing the law would be a positive step and provide a better route to justice for falsely implicated husbands and in-laws.

Under the proposed amendment, Section 498A (subjecting woman to cruelty by husband and his family members) of the Indian Penal Code would be made a compoundable offence with permission of trial courts,as suggested by the Law Commission.

If the offence is made compoundable, it would allow the woman to settle the matter at the trial court level itself and withdraw the complaint.

Currently, the offence is non-compoundable and non- bailable, thus providing for immediate arrest of an accused and making any conciliatory effort by the warring sides virtually impossible.


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