Supreme Court refuses to review its judgment on arrest in dowry related cases
The Supreme Court has refused to make any changes in its judgment delivered in July 2014, [Arnesh Kumar Vs. State of Bihar & Anr] by which the Supreme Court had restrained the police from automatically arresting the accused in dowry related cases. The Apex Court in that judgment had observed that, dowry laws were being “used as weapons, rather than shields, by disgruntled wives”.
National Commission for Women had sought a review of the July 2014 judgment but the Supreme Court declined the same. In its petition, the NCW had claimed that the law was clear on the subject and that a person could secure bail from the trial court in case of wrongful arrest. The review petition reportedly stated that the law laid down due to the July 2014 judgment was liable to be misused by the police. The NCW claimed that the July 2014 judgment went beyond the statutory mandate and gave a very wide arm to police with respect to arrest of a person.
The Supreme Court in its judgment had observed that dowry related laws are being misused and had added that in cases where punishment upto seven years is prescribed, arrests could not be made merely on the belief that the accused may have committed the offence. The Supreme Court had ordered that there should be adequate material to show the reason behind the arrest and that the arrest was necessary to investigate the matter.
In order to prevent unnecessary arrest and causal and mechanical detention, the Court has issued following directions :
a) All the State Governments to instruct its police officers not to automatically arrest when a case under Section 498-A of the IPC is registered but to satisfy themselves about the necessity for arrest under the parameters laid down above flowing from Section 41, Cr.PC;
b) All police officers be provided with a check list containing specified sub- clauses under Section 41(1)(b)(ii);
c) The police officer shall forward the check list duly filed and furnish the reasons and materials which necessitated the arrest, while forwarding/producing the accused before the Magistrate for further detention;
d) The Magistrate while authorising detention of the accused shall peruse the report furnished by the police officer in terms aforesaid and only after recording its satisfaction, the Magistrate will authorise detention;
e) The decision not to arrest an accused, be forwarded to the Magistrate within two weeks from the date of the institution of the case with a copy to the Magistrate which may be extended by the Superintendent of police of the district for the reasons to be recorded in writing;
f) Notice of appearance in terms of Section 41A of Cr.PC be served on the accused within two weeks from the date of institution of the case, which may be extended by the Superintendent of Police of the District for the reasons to be recorded in writing;
g) Failure to comply with the directions aforesaid shall apart from rendering the police officers concerned liable for departmental action, they shall also be liable to be punished for contempt of court to be instituted before High Court having territorial jurisdiction.
h) Authorising detention without recording reasons as aforesaid by the judicial Magistrate concerned shall be liable for departmental action by the appropriate High Court.
i) We hasten to add that the directions aforesaid shall not only apply to the cases under Section 498-A of the I.P.C. or Section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, the case in hand, but also such cases where offence is punishable with imprisonment for a term which may be less than seven years or which may extend to seven years; whether with or without fine.
j) We direct that a copy of this judgment be forwarded to the Chief Secretaries as also the Director Generals of Police of all the State Governments and the Union Territories and the Registrar General of all the High Courts for onward transmission and ensuring its compliance “
However, the review petition filed by NCW did not find favour with Court and the Bench headed by Justice Chelameswar said, “Permission to file review petition is declined.”
Reportedly, the Central Government on Wednesday informed the Parliament that it is contemplating to make dowry related offence compoundable.
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