No fish for dinner? Woman goes to cops to get 498a dowry case registration- misuse of dowry law already under Govt SC scanner. Punish the misusers
MUMBAI: Ego clashes, tiffs and the like are par for the course in any family life where members learn to sidestep or live with the occasional discordant note. Or so we are told. But these days, even minor family spats are being played out at police stations across the city with angry wives, husbands, fathers-in-law, mothers-in-law, aunts and uncles slapping grave sections of the IPC on each other.
In one recent case, the bone of contention threatening to break a marriage was fish. An irate man approached a police station in the western suburbs to file a complaint against his daughter-in-law under the Domestic Violence Act for refusing to prepare fish at home.
An equally angry daughter-in-law then evoked Section 498-A of the IPC claiming she was being harassed for dowry by her in-laws.
"The father liked eating fish, but the daughter-in-law was averse to the smell, and refused to prepare it at home. So he claimed he was being harassed," said a cop who ultimately played counsellor and sent the warring family home after they arrived at a compromise. "There was nothing stopping the father from ordering fish from a restaurant after his daughter-in-law left the house for work. But the situation got out of hand and became an ego tussle, with the father insisting that his daughter-in-law prepare it and serve it to the family."
While the incident is indeed chuckle-worthy, cops are not amused, as this law is meant for women who have suffered genuine abuse in the hands of their husbands or in-laws. "These are grave charges and it is not right that they are being evoked for minor tussles," said a police official.
Take the case of another Mumbai housewife who approached the police demanding they take action against her husband for not taking her out, prohibiting her from drinking alcohol, or gifting her expensive clothes. The police try to resolve minor disputes through counselling sessions. "However, the outcome depends on the people concerned. All we can do is offer suggestions," said a social worker.