The Supreme Court has ruled that the police cannot arrest the accused without conducting a preliminary inquiry under dowry harassment cases. The ruling was made by a SC bench of Justices A K Goel and UU Lalit.
With this, apex court put an end to immediate arrest of the husband and his family members in the dowry harassment cases filed under Section 498A of Indian Penal Code (IPC).
The Supreme Court passed the order keeping in view the fact of suspected misuse of the anti-dowry harassment law framed in 1983.
Highlights of SC order
Now cases under Section 498A of IPC will be referred to Family Welfare Committees (FWC) must be constituted at every district and no arrest will be effected till the committee’s report is received. Such report may be then considered by the investigating officer or the magistrate on its own merit.
FWC must comprise 3 members who may be social workers, retired persons, para-legal volunteers, wives of working officers and other citizens who are found suitable and willing. However, these committee members will not be considered as witnesses.
There must be adequate material to show that the arrest is necessary to prevent the accused from committing any further offence. Moreover, designated police officer should be appointed to deal with such complaints.
These directions will not apply to the offences involving tangible physical injuries or death. There will be also no routine impounding of passports or issuance of Red Corner Notice for the accused NRI. The personal appearance of all family members and particularly outstation members will be also not be required.