Misuse of dowry provisions is legal terrorism: Delhi Court
Smriti Singh, TNN, Mar 3, 2011, 01.39am IST
NEW DELHI: Terming the misuse of provisions of dowry harassment by women as "legal terrorism'', a trial court has slammed such women who, in a bid to settle scores, drag all family members into a dowry harassment case though they may be "totally unconnected" with the case.
"The provisions of Section 498A are not a law to take revenge, seek recovery of dowry or to force a divorce but a penal provision to punish the wrongdoers. The victims (women) are often misguided into exaggerating the facts by adding those persons as accused who are unconnected with the harassment under a mistaken belief that by doing so they are making a strong case," additional sessions judge Kamini Lau said.
The court's remarks came while discharging a man, who was chargesheeted by police for allegedly harassing his sister-in-law for dowry. A metropolitan magistrate had summoned the man on the basis of the complaint. The man had moved the sessions court challenging the magistrate's order saying there was no legal evidence against him.
Even as the complainant alleged that the man beat her up for dowry, the court was shocked to know that he was not even present in the house at the time of the incident. In her complaint, the woman alleged that her brother-in-law on October 23, 1998, asked her to bring more money for her husband and when she showed her helplessness, she was slapped and threatened by him.
The man, however, proved his innocence by producing the certificates which stated that he was living in Mumbai at the time of the incident. After going through the record, ASJ Lau said, "in any matrimonial dispute, it is the primary duty of every court to ensure that for any fault of the husband, his other relatives including married sisters and brothers who may be living jointly or separately and the aged parents are not involved either out of vengeance or to curl out appropriate settlement."
The court also expressed its displeasure over the misuse of the dowry harassment laws. "I am compelled to observe that provision in the recent years has become consummate embodiment of gross human rights violation, extortion and corruption and even the Apex Court of our country had acknowledged this abuse and termed it as legal terrorism," it said.