To begin with, in a big relief to husbands and their families facing false dowry harassment cases, the Supreme Court on in the matter of Rajesh Sharma and Ors v State of UP and Anr (2017) sought to restrict the untrammelled powers of the police to arrest those accused under IPC Section 498A till such time a Committee comprising legal service volunteers explores the possibility of a settlement. The Supreme Court said that such Family Welfare Committees will be constituted in each district. However, it was made clear that the order of the Apex Court will not apply to cases where the wife has died or sustained “tangible physical injuries”.
t stopping here, the Apex Court further added that these officers must be trained, which the court held must be completed . Also, it was held that in cases where a settlement is reached, it will be open to a District and Sessions Judge or any other senior judicial officer nominated by him in the district to complete the proceedings. Trial Judges should close Section 498A cases based on matrimonial disputes once parties reached a settlement.
1. All state governments have to instruct its police officers that they cannot automatically arrest a person under Section 498A of IPC but and under parameters of Section 41 of Cr PC.
2. These police officers should be given checklist specifying the Section 41(1)(b)(ii).
3. Then these officers should fully add in the reasons which made them to arrest a person and then produce him before Magistrate without delay for further actions.
4. Magistrate can then authorize detention of such person only after perusing the reports produced by police officer and then record the same.
5. If a decision has to be put for not arresting the accused, then it must be done from the institution of the case.
6. It has to be in writing to the Magistrate.
7. Under Section 41A of Cr PC notice of appearance should be served on the accused and it should be done from institution of the case in writing.
8. If any police officer fails to comply with these directions then he can be liable for departmental actions and these directions of court will apply even to Section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act along with Section 498A of IPC.
Sanjeev Sirohi, Advocate,
s/o Col BPS Sirohi,
A 82, Defence Enclave,
Sardhana Road, Kankerkhera,
Meerut – 250001, Uttar Pradesh.