SC wants dowry cases to be dealt with firmly

The Supreme Court has called for dealing with dowry menace “firmly” while expressing concern over the “disgraceful” system proliferating among different religious communities.

A bench of justices T S Thakur and Vikramjit Sen also described it as a social anathema while refusing to quash dowry harassment charges against a man and his family members. The apex court agreed with a Madhya Pradesh High Court order, which had declined a plea for dropping charges of dowry harassment and abetment of suicide against Amrish Hardenia, his parents and brother.

The court, however, pointed out that the dowry harassment provision in the penal code was also abused by some unscrupulous elements.

“We must hasten to add that a malpractice is now widely manifesting itself in that lawyers invariably advise immediate commencement of Section 498 A (cruelty) of the IPC proceedings employing them as a weapon of harassment. Courts, however, are aware and alive to this abuse of otherwise salutary statutory provision,” the bench said.

Though the court clarified that it did not form an unfavourable opinion against the man and his parents, it said it could not turn a blind to the growing menace in the society.

“Judges cannot be blind to the disgraceful reality vis-à-vis dowry, which prevails in some sections of our society. What we find extremely disconcerting is that this social malaise is spreading . The demand of dowry is a social anathema, which must be dealt with firmly,” it said.

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