Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Relief to woman booked in dowry prohibition case

Relief to woman booked in dowry prohibition case

Abhinav Garg, TNN, Apr 11, 2010, 05.19am IST

NEW DELHI: At a time when there is a new trend of courts booking the woman and her kin for giving dowry, the Delhi high court has stayed one such FIR lodged against a woman and decided to examine the law in this regard.

Justice Vipin Sanghi recently stayed an FIR registered on the orders of a magistrate against one Payal and her family for allegedly giving dowry in her marriage. Payal had been pursuing a dowry harassment case against her husband in the court.

However, taking a strict view of her admitting in the FIR that she and her parents gave a substantial dowry amount to the husband's family, additional chief metropolitan magistrate Sanjay Bansal had slapped dowry prohibition sections against Payal and her family too.

This prompted her to approach HC for relief, through her lawyers Vijay Aggarwal and Rakesh Makhija. They argued before HC that a court can't book a victim of dowry harassment under the Dowry Prohibition Act as this is explicitly barred in the Act itself. Seeking relief, the lawyers further claimed the lower court went beyond the law to slap another FIR against the girl and her family.

Pointing to section 7 (3) of Dowry Prohibition Act the advocates for Payal argued before HC that a girl's statement she had been forced to give dowry can't be held against her or her family to book her under the act as here the woman is the victim.

Payal got married in Nov 2006 and according to the FIR two years later the husband dropped Payal with their few months old son at her parental home. Though he had promised to take them back to his house he never appeared, that led Payal to lodge a complaint with the Crime Against Woman Cell. Later, efforts at mediation having failed, a case under the the Domestic violence Act was also lodged against the husband.

But to Payal's utter shock, the lower court said being an educated woman she should have shown a better judgment than to agree to give dowry and invoked sections of the Dowry Prohibition Act against her. The HC is expected to specify the law once it delivers a judgment on her petition.

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