12 Oct 2022 6:20 AM GMT
The Bombay High Court has urged the Union of India to consider Maharashtra's bill to make domestic violence cases (498A IPC) compoundable with the permission of the concerned court citing hardships caused to innumerable couples who are constrained to approach the High Court for quashing. A division bench of Justices Revati Mohite Dere and SM Modak asked the Additional Solicitor...
The Bombay High Court has urged the Union of India to consider Maharashtra's bill to make domestic violence cases (498A IPC) compoundable with the permission of the concerned court citing hardships caused to innumerable couples who are constrained to approach the High Court for quashing.
A division bench of Justices Revati Mohite Dere and SM Modak asked the Additional Solicitor General (ASG) to take up the issue with the concerned Ministry at the earliest.
"…Everyday, we have a minimum of 10 petitions/applications seeking quashing of Section 498A by consent, since 498A is non-compoundable. Concerned parties, have to come personally before the Court from wherever they are residing, including from villages, thus incurring tremendous hardships for the parties concerned, apart from travelling expenses, litigation expenses and staying expenses in the city. Parties, if working, are required to take a day off, " the bench noted adding this would also save the court's time.
Conversely, offences listed as compoundable can be quashed before the nearest local court before whom the matter is pending. "The importance of making the Section 498A compoundable with the permission of the Court, can hardly be overlooked/understated," the bench added.
Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni informed the bench that a bill to amend the section 320 (2) of the CrPC, making section 498- A of the IPC compoundable, was passed in both houses of the Maharashtra Government in 2018 and sent to the Union for the President's assent.
However, the file continues to remain pending with the Union following an objection from the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development.
"Considering what is stated above, we direct the Registry to forward a copy of this order to the learned Additional Solicitor General, for taking necessary steps/action and to enable him to take up the issue before the concerned Ministry, at the earliest," the bench observed.
The need to make domestic violence a compoundable offence in Maharashtra was felt way back in 1992, in Suresh Nathmal Rathi and Ors. v. State of Maharashtra & others, wherein the High Court elaborately dealt with the institution of marriage and held that such an amendment would be in the interest of married couples as well as society.
Apart from that, numerous Law Commission reports namely, 243rd Report, 154th Report, and 237th Report also make clear recommendations for making section 498-A of the IPC a compoundable offence. The bench noted that the section has been made compoundable in Andhra Pradesh in 2003.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau (`NCRB') 2020 report, a total of 1,11,549 cases were registered under 498A in 2020. Fourteen percent cases were closed by police, 96,497 men, 23,809 women were arrested, merely 18,967 cases were tried in courts of which 14,340 led to acquittal and 3,425 led to conviction. Pendency of 498-A cases in that year was 6,51,404 - 96.2%, the bench noted in its order.
Case Title: Sandip Sarjerao Sule and Ors. versus The State of Maharashtra and Anr.
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Bom) 380
Click Here To Read/Download Order