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No arrests in dowry cases until charges verified: Supreme Court

'It is a matter of serious concern that large number of cases continue to be filed under Section 498A alleging harassment of married women... Many such complaints are not bona fide,' the court said. Photograph: (Reuters)

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Jul 28, 2017, 03.45 AM (IST)

The Supreme Court has said no arrests are to be made in dowry cases until charges against the accused have been verified. 

"It is a matter of serious concern that large number of cases continue to be filed under Section 498A alleging harassment of married women... Many such complaints are not bona fide. At the time of filing of the complaint, implications and consequences are not visualised. At times, such complaints lead to uncalled for harassment not only to the accused but also to the complainant. Uncalled for arrest may ruin the chances of settlement," the Times of India reported the court as saying. 

"We are conscious of the object for which the provision was brought into the statute. At the same time, violation of human rights of innocent cannot be brushed aside," the court added. 

The order was passed by a bench of Justices AK Goel and UU Lalit. 

The Times of India said, "This is a shift from the dominant judicial conception of women as victims". 

It added, "On Thursday, the court broke away from the reigning perception to rule that in dowry cases, the account of the alleged victim need not be taken at face value."

Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code allows for the arrest of a "Husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty". 

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