Legal Literacy

Misuse of Dowry Law

Section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code, Protection of Women against Domestic Violence Act and Dowry Prohibition Act, state the laws which are designed to protect women against dowry harassment and domestic violence.

The violence against women across social, economic and cultural sections of the society marks the fundamental importance of these laws. However, over the years, there have been many adverse instances of women misusing these laws to harass their husbands and in-laws to gain financial support. The offence is stringent, non-bailable and non-compoundable in nature thus, a complaint can lead to immediate arrest.

Over the years, the paranoia against these laws is only increasing with more and more incidents of their misuse. Men feel helpless against these laws that are heavily in favour of women.

This approach has become a matter of policy debate. The Centre proposed an amendment to 498-A which has made the offence compoundable and has allowed the parties to settle their issue outside the court if they so wished.

Dowry Harassment Laws And Protection From Such Misuse

With respect to dowry harassment laws and of the multiple cases of their misuse, in 2014, the Supreme Court directed the state government to instruct the police to not immediately arrest anyone and only do it after checking a list of provisions mentioned under the law.

Implementation is the key in any legal framework. If our implementation is sensitized and proper precautions will be taken before making an arrest, half the cases will be resolved with just that. In this regard, The Supreme Court’s guidelines are a step in the right direction.

What is relevant is that for every man to feel safe too along with women. Many men’s lives crumble down due to the false accusations which women file against them.

Illegal arrests are a widespread problem. With Apex Court taking note of the situation, there is hope that men wrongly stuck in these situations will receive the much needed reprieve. Although there are all these directives, illegal arrests still happen. Ultimatelythe keys are awareness and vigilance. It is important to be aware of your rights in a situation. It is important to take preventive measures to protect yourself and your family. Seek legal advice immediately is one of the most important preventive measure. A lawyer will not make you understand your rights but will also provide the best solution to your problem. Your right actions at right time can save you a lot of unnecessary trouble and humiliation.