Report No. 243
4. Arguments: Pro & Contra
4.1 The arguments for relieving the rigour of Section 498-A by suitable amendments (which find support from the observations in Court judgments and Justice Malimath Committee's report on Reforms of Criminal Justice System) are:
The harsh law, far from helping the genuine victimized women, has become a source o blackmail and harassment of husbands and others. Once a complaint (FIR) is lodged with the Police under Section 498-A/406 IPC, it becomes an easy tool in the hands of the Police to arrest or threaten to arrest the husband and other relatives named in the FIR without even considering the intrinsic worth of the allegations and making a preliminary investigation.
When the members of a family are arrested and sent to jail, with no immediate prospect of bail, the chances of amicable re-conciliation or salvaging the marriage, will be lost once and for all. The possibility of reconciliation, it is pointed out, cannot be ruled out and it should be fully explored. The imminent arrest by the Police will thus be counterproductive. The long and protracted criminal trials lead to acrimony and bitterness in the relationship among the kith and kin of the family.
Pragmatic realities have to be taken into consideration while dealing with matrimonial matters with due regard to the fact that it is a sensitive family problem which shall not be allowed to be aggravated by over- zealous/callous actions on the part of the Police by taking advantage of the harsh provisions of Section 498-A of IPC together with its related provisions in CrPC. It is pointed out that the sting is not in Section 498-A as such, but in the provisions of CrPC making the offence non-compoundable and non- bailable.