The Supreme Court on Friday struck down the need for "family welfare committees" to look into complaints by women before arresting the husband and family members in dowry harassment cases.
The apex court's three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra and comprising Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice DY Chandrachud, said that the law is being misused by some individuals, and added that the court's role is not to fulfill gaps left in the legislation.
"We think it is appropriate to direct the Investigating Officers (IOs) to be careful and follow the principles stated in Joginder Kumar case and certain other judgements. We direct the DGP of each state to ensure that the IOs who are incharge of investigation of cases of offences under section 498-A (Dowry Harassment) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) should be given rigorous training with respect to the principles stated by this court relating to arrests," the court said in its order.
The petitioners, including the Social Action Forum for Manav Adhikar (SAFMA), told the top court that despite the Dowry Prohibition Act of 1961 being passed, the irony still survives, perhaps with more oxygen, as the social evil is still on the rise.
The petitioner further claimed that dowry harassment is practiced with pride; women today are still tortured and often, the court, despite being the ultimate saviour, does not come to the rescue of these women as a consequence of which an atmosphere of ambivalence prevails.
In July last year, the Supreme Court passed an order stating that the persons accused in dowry harassment cases cannot be immediately arrested solely based on harassment charges.
The order was challenged in the Supreme Court by the SAFMA, who sought a stay on the order.