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Report No. 243

Dr. Ranbir Singh, Vice-Chancellor (on behalf of NLU Delhi.-

There is enough evidence to suggest that this Section has been misused in many ways. However, the misuse did not flow from the principle and intention on which this law is based. Robust effort should be made to implement the law so that the social objective of the law does not suffer. The misuse or false implications could be minimised by insisting on strict observance of the law of arrest as evolved in D.K. Basu case [(1997) 1 SCC 416)].

Secondly, the mandate of this law should be shifted from penal to restorative purpose. The recourse to mediation and conciliation in the first instance is the best idea. The arrest and other drastic legal measures should begin when all the options of restoration have failed. Registering the case is the legal obligation of the Police but they need not act in undue haste to effect the arrest. They should be guided by the spirit of Section 157 Cr. P.C.

It would be worthwhile to divide the offence under Section 498-A in two categories depending on the gravity of the act of cruelty alleged. The offence can then be categorised as bailable or non- bailable. Offence of milder degree may be treated as family discord and be addressed with an approach of reconciliation. Awareness building programmes involving statutory bodies and NGOs should be organised. The officers manning women Police Stations must be given adequate training.

Section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code Back

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