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Supreme Court refuses to review its judgment on arrest in dowry related cases

Gaurav Pathak
13 March 2015 11:34 AM GMT
Supreme Court refuses to review its judgment on arrest in dowry related cases
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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.

More news articles relating to dowry can be found here.

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