This year has been significant for those of us fighting to end this extortion racket known as IPC 498A.
The four most significant events that have occurred this year and that will lead to the eventual end of 498A are the following:
- The Justice Kailash Gambhir (Delhi HC) Guidelines On 498A Cases
- Delhi Police Commissioner: No 498A Arrests W/O Permission Of DCP
- Hyderabad Police: No Arrest In 498A Cases Without Permission Of DCP – 2002
The fourth of these events are orders issued by Justice Regupathi of the Chennai HC. You can read about the news coverage from the Indian Express:
To understand one of the reasons why these orders were issued, we need to look no further than at this news clipping of this sack of shit, caught accepting a bribe:
I don’t have his original orders from July/2008, but I got my hands on the acknowledgment filed by the DGP’s office, Chennai, from a SIF volunteer. The gist of the orders were the following as per news reports:
The Honorable High Court has issued the following observation in M.P. No.1/2008 in Criminal Original Petition No.10896/2008 filed by Tr.Romaiah.
i) Except in cases of Dowry Death/suicide and offences of serious nature, the Station House Officers of the All Women Police Stations are to register F.I.R. only on approval of the Dowry Prohibition Officer concerned.
ii) Social workers/mediators with experience may be nominated and housed in the same premises of All Women Police Stations along with Dowry Prohibition Officers.
iii) Arrest in matrimonial disputes, in particular arrest of aged, infirm, sick persons and minors, shall not be made by the Station House Officers of the All Women Police Stations.
iv) If arrest is necessary during investigation, sanction must be obtained from the Superintendent of Police concerned by forwarding the reasons recorded in writing.
v) Arrest can be made after filing of the final report before the Magistrate concerned if there is non-cooperation and abscondance of accused persons, and after receipt of appropriate order (Non-Bailable Warrant).
vi) Charge sheet must be filed within a period of 30 days from the date of registration of the F.I.R. and in case of failure, extension of time shall be sought for from the jurisdiction Magistrate indicating the reasons for the failure.
vii) No weapon including Lathis/physical force be used while handling cases at the All Women Police Stations.
viii) Complainants/victims should be provided with adequate security/accommodation at Government Home and interest of the children must be taken care of.
ix) Sridana properties/movables and immovable to be restored at the earliest to the victims/complainants and legal aid may be arranged for them through Legal Services Authority for immediate redressal of their grievances.
Here are some excerpts from the acknowledgment of the above orders of Justice Regupathi that will go a long way in ending the extortion racket called 498A in Chennai/TN:
- Arrest in matrimonial disputes, in particular arrest of aged, infirm, sick persons and minors, shall not be made by the Station House Officers of the All Women Police Stations.
- If arrest is necessary during investigation, sanction must be obtained from the Superintendent of Police concerned by forwarding the reasons recorded in writing.
- Commissioners of Police and the Superintendents of Police in the State have been instructed to scrupulously follow the suggestions.
- When the investigating officers seek for remand of the accused, the Magistrates must examine the necessity for the same and only where there are valid grounds for believing that the accusation or information is well- founded and it appears that the investigation cannot be completed within a period of 24 hours, remand may be ordered. Violation of human rights and infringement of personal liberties must be viewed seriously. Except in cases of grave nature viz., dowry death, murder, suicide, hurt, etc., in other matters like matrimonial disputes between spouses where it may not take much time for the police officer to interrogate/investigate, remand should not be ordered mechanically, for, remand of an accused by a Magistrate is not automatic one on the mere request of the investigating officer and sufficient grounds must exist for the Magistrate to exercise the power of remand.
- Of course, it is provided in the Code that remand should not exceed 15 days at a time, but, it does not mean that in all cases, remand for 15 days should be ordered invariably.
- Though the law is manifestly clear, plain and patent, in many cases, it is witnessed that, on the mere request of the investigating officers, remand is ordered mechanically without application of mind and such illegal practice must be avoided.
- The preliminary job of an Investigating Officer including that of the Officers posted at the All Women Police Stations is only to collect the materials in respect of the dispute they are investigating and place the same before the court/Magistrate. For adjudicating any issue, the dispute must be forwarded only to the learned Magistrate or the Family court. In this type of fragile matters, in the name of ‘petition enquiry’ or investigation after registration of F.I.R., the police should not be allowed to conduct lengthy panchayats in police stations.
Here is the acknowledgment of the police compliance of Justice Regupathi’s earlier orders: