The Supreme Court on Tuesday held that a woman, who fled the of cruelty of her marital home, can file a case of dowry harassment under Section 498 IPC against her husband and in-laws at the place where she is currently sheltered.
In a judgment further expanding the jurisdiction of courts to provide relief to victims of dowry harassment, a Bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi relaxed the rigours of the Code of Criminal Prpcedure (CrPC). Section 177 of the Code mandates that criminal cases can be filed and tried only in courts within whose jurisdiction the crime occurred.
The judgment comes on a reference made by the Supreme Court in January 2014 on the question “whether a case of cruelty on account of dowry harassment punishable under Section 498A of the IPC can be registered, investigated and punished in a jurisdiction different from the one from which the aggrieved spouse has been forced out on account of such harassment.”
The appeal was by Rupali Devi whose efforts to file a dowry harassment from her parents’ place of residence, where she had fled to, was dismissed by the Allahabad High Court.
The High Court had taken the view that cruelty punishable under Section 498A of the IPC was not a “continuing offence”, nor can it be investigated or punished in a jurisdiction outside the one in which the matrimonial house of the victim is situated.
With this judgment, the apex court has established that cruelty under Section 498A is a continuing offence, considering the facts and circumstances of each case.
In India, Dowry system that has been prevailing amongst every society and affected lives of the people who are involved in marriage and on those who are around. When Princesses of a dynasty got married, the King offered, out of overwhelming joy, a part of his wealth and his State to his Sons-in-Law in a grand wedding function. His Ministers also followed this regal practice as a protocol. The public in general, irrespective of rich and poor, followed this showy practice to maintain 'prestige' and felt great at par with the still rich society.
This dubious matrimonial tradition however, seeped into the homes of the poor and downtrodden people to muster a false respect. By then there was already present a guilty conscious feeling of giving birth to and fostering of girl children. Also the growing percentage of female births over male children contributed its share to the corrupt system. The fact that every home having more girls than boys alarmed the elders make hurry the marriage of their daughters and created a ground for competition.
The Dowry system has recently become so popular that every groom felt proud and gaudy on the number of items, weight of gold and amount of money he received.
The parents of the girls too sighed in relief over gifting their sons-in-law with such things. They relaxed indebted because their daughters will be well respected and best treated by their in-laws, as compared to their counterparts.
The daughters too take pride in grabbing so much from their parents and loose no opportunity to highlight their material superiority over other girls of their position in the family they enter.
The less adorned daughter feels small of the situation and either quarrels with her in-laws or pesters her parents to give her more so that she could also gain equal respect in the family of her husband.
This article is written by Mr. Parameshwar Bambulge, an Advocate and practising advocate having an experience of 11+ years in handling different legal matters. From his experience he wants to share this beneficial information for the individuals having any issues with respect to their related matters.
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Mr. Parameshwar Bambulge
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