The Supreme Court And 498A Convictions

This excerpt is from a judgment from 1998.

Here is what the Supreme Court says in the opening paragraph.

“For more  than a  century, inspite of tall  words  of respect for  women, there  has been  an onslaught  on  their liberties through  `bride burning’  and `dowry deaths’. This has caused  anxiety to  the legislators,  judiciary and law enforcing agencies,  who have  attempted to  resurrect    them from  this   social  choke.   There  have   been  series  of legislations in this regard,  without much effect. This led to the  passing of Dowry Prohibition Act in 1961. Inspite of this, large  number of    `brides burning’  and  dowry  deaths continued. To  meet this, stringent measures were brought in the  Indian Penal  Code and the  Evidence Act  through amendments. It  seems, sections  of society are still boldly pursuing this  chronic action to fulfill their greedy desire. Inspite of  stringent legislations,  such persons  are still indulging in  these unlawful  activities, not because of any shortcomings in law but  under the  protective principle ofcriminal jurisprudence  of benefit of doubt. Often, innocent persons     are  also  trapped  or  brought  in  with  ulterior motives. This  places  an  arduous  duty  on  the  Court  to separate such  individuals from     the  offenders.  Hence     the Courts have  to deal  such cases  with    circumvention,    sift through     the   evidence      with     caution,   scrutinise     the circumstances with  utmost care.  The present  matter is one such where  similar questions  have been  raised,  including question of interpretation of the stringent law.”




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Some Interesting Stats On Arrests Of Women

In 1930, the British govt arrested 17,000 women for their involvement in the Dandi Yatra (Salt March). During 1937 to 1947 (10 Years), they arrested 5,000 women involved in the freedom struggle. From 2004 to 2006, the govt of India arrested 90,000 women of all ages under 498A. On the average, 27,000 women per year are being arrested under this flawed law. These are stats from the NCRB.

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The family of the writer was tortured by the Indian Police in an attempt to extort over a $100,000 by holding them in custody for over a week. The police, in cahoots with the magistrate and the PP, did this due to the ridiculous allegations made in a 498A case by his embittered ex-wife. She filed the case years after he and his family had last seen her. Thousands of 498A cases are filed each year in India by women seeking to wreak vengeance on their husbands and in-laws. Enormous sums are extorted from intimidated families implicated in these cases by corrupt Indian police officers and elements of the Indian judiciary. The author and his family haven't bribed any public official nor have they given in to the extortion. This blog aims to raise awareness of due process in India. The content of this blog constitutes, opinions, observations, and publicly available documents. The intent is not to slander or defame anyone or any institution and is the manifestation of the author's right to freedom of expression – with all the protections this right guarantees.

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