Anti-dowry law abused but can't suspect every complaint: Court

Abuse of anti-dowry law is repeatedly increasing but every complaint cannot be suspected, a Delhi court has observed while discharging a woman accused of subjecting her brother's wife to cruelty.

New Delhi: Abuse of anti-dowry law is repeatedly increasing but every complaint cannot be suspected, a Delhi court has observed while discharging a woman accused of subjecting her brother's wife to cruelty.

Additional Sessions Judge Manoj Jain, while discharging the woman, who was the sister-in-law of the alleged dowry victim, termed the allegations as "generic" and "trivial".

"Abuse of section 498A of IPC (subjecting woman to cruelty) is repeatedly increasing but that may not ipso facto mean that every complaint has to be suspected.

"Of late, there are several judgements and instances which show that this benevolent provision is being misused also by some of the unscrupulous persons," the judge said, while allowing the revision petition filed by the accused woman.

He said, "I cannot shut my eyes to the fact that revisionist (woman) was already married and was working and residing at a different station.

"Moreover, the allegations attributed to her are indeed very generic and trivial keeping in mind the fact that these are stated to be spread over the period of seven years or so. These stray allegations seem to be too minor to justify trial for a serious offence of cruelty under section 498A IPC."

The woman had filed a revision petition against the trial court order charging her under section 498A with section 34 of IPC (husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty with common intention).

The woman had claimed that allegations were very general and vague and there was nothing which may show that she made any demand of dowry or harassed the complainant for dowry and, therefore, there was no occasion for the trial court to have charged her for the offence.

The complainant had alleged that her sister-in-law had rebuked, taunted her and had sided with her mother-in-law to go for abortion, when it was learnt that she was carrying a female foetus.

The judge, however, refused to buy the arguments and allegations and said, "I would merely say that the allegations are too general in nature. These create a 'mere suspicion' as opposed to 'strong suspicion'."

"Suffice it to say that keeping in mind the fact that revisionist is a married sister-in-law residing separately at a different place and the fact that there is no serious allegation showing her continuous interference in the matrimonial life of the complainant amounting to cruelty and harassment, I am left with no option but to allow the revision petition," the judge said. 

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