NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has said “anger” and “vendetta” of an aggrieved person should not take advantage of the legal provision on dowry harassment and harass the other side espousing the principle of sympathy.
The court’s observation came on a verdict modifying its earlier order of stopping immediate arrests in cases registered under Section 498-A of the IPC which relates to the offence of subjecting a married woman to cruelty.
“The courts remain constantly alive to the situation that though no war takes place, yet neither anger nor vendetta of the aggrieved section should take an advantage of the legal provision and harass the other side with influence or espousing the principle of sympathy,” said the court.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud said the earlier direction to create family welfare committees in every district and the power conferred in them was “not in accord with the statutory framework”.
The bench said statutory provisions and judgments on the issue already existed and hence the directions pertaining to the constitution of family welfare committees and conferment of power on them was “erroneous” and “impermissible”.
While modifying its July 2017 order, the apex court said, “The role of the law enforcing agency or the prosecuting agency is sometimes coloured with superlative empathy being totally oblivious of the sensation to make maladroit efforts to compete with the game of super-sensitivity. Such a situation brings in a social disaster that has the potentiality to vertically divide the society.”
The court also said that in such a situation, it is obligatory on the part of the legislature “to bring in protective adjective law”.
There has to be just, fair and reasonable working of a provision, in the matter of arrests under Section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the bench said.
“The legislature in its wisdom has made the offence under Section 498-A IPC cognisable and non-bailable. The fault lies with the investigating agency which sometimes jumps into action without application of mind,” it said.