Hyderabad: Despite numerous measures taken up by both the central and state governments, the number cases of dowry harassment and dowry deaths have remained constant if not increased in some areas. As per National Crime Records Bureau data (NCRB), over 290 women from TS and 210 from AP had died due to dowry harassment in 2014.
As per NCRB, under the sub-head “Cruelty by Husband or his Relatives”, between 2012 and 2014, AP recorded 34,835 cases, which is the third highest in the country. AP reported among the highest cases of Cruelty by Husband or his Relatives (Section 498-A IPC) in the last three years.
Assistant Commissioner of Police of Women PS administration, K.N. Vijay Kumar said, “There is no one particular section of the society from which the complaints come. On an average, we receive at least 30 complaints a day. The evil has no religion or caste.”
The ACP added that these days it were the software employees who were contributing to majority of the complaints. The cops do take up counselling with the help of voluntary organisations and try to see if there is a chance for reconciliation, he said.
At just one women police state in Hyderabad, 700 cases have been registered so far this year and nearly 1400 cases are under-trial. In August, Mr Mekapati Rajamohan Reddy, MP from Nellore Lok Sabha constituency, had asked the central government if it was considering amendments to make the dowry laws more stringent, the answer was in the negative and lawyers believe that it is the implementation which needs to stricter.
“Police don’t take complaints seriously.
If Section 494 (marrying again during the lifetime of a husband or wife) is stringently implemented with conviction, half of the 498A cases will go down. Also, the judgments are diluting the spirit of the law to protect women,” said advocate Gopala Krishna Kalanidhi.
Fear of Section 498(A) has faded:
Infamous for its alleged misuse, IPC Section 498A (dowry harassment and domestic violence) has been oscillating between extremes. Earlier, from arresting the family and relatives of the accused (husband) to issuing red-corner notices to apprehend the accused, the mention of Section 498A would send chills down the spines of families.
Most often, a case was followed by automatic arrests and this was de-nounced by many, alleging false cases.
However, after a Supreme Court judgment of July 2, 2014, it was ordered that there should be “no automatic arrests in 498A” and that police needed to follow procedures in line with CrPC 41 and 41A.
“When I went to file a case of 498A, the cop first didn’t want to take it, saying it would be of no use. Further, he added that my husband would get a station bail and it would become difficult for us to live together following that. When I showed the injuries, they finally budged, but haven’t initiated any action till now,” shared Ms Yamini (name changed) who filed a case at Neredmet Police Station.
“The cops are very ruthless. They are biased against women from the beginning of the case and the station bail has become a tool for them to shun any kind of investigation and quash the cases,” said a women’s rights activist who claims to have to contact higher-ups to get justice.
In both cases, at least one party ends up being victimised. Lawyers and activists have been demanding a nuanced, investigative approach and also sensitisation of cops.
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