They have only registered a non-cognisable offence instead of filing a First Information Report (FIR) under section 498A of IPC.
Rekha (name changed) had got married to Shailesh Upahadhya on April 2015. However, troubles began in Rekha’s marital life as her husband started demanding dowry from her. Shailesh also keeps on taunting on various aspects like Rekha’s family background, personality and dowry. He used to keep on abusing Rekha and torture her. He had assaulted her as she was feeling oppressed and victimised in marriage. Unable to bear the harassment meted out against her, Rekha approached the Navghar Police station and filed a complaint on 8th July, 2015. However, the Navghar Police failed to cooperate with her and has only registered a non-cognisable offence instead of filing a First Information Report (FIR). She has requested the police to depute their officials to her parents’ house for recording further information about this case.
Rekha said, “After marriage my husband has been harassing me and assaulting me. He has been demanding dowry from me. The entire family is trying to malign my reputation. They are behaving cruelly with me as my marital life has become miserable. The police have only filed a non-cognisable offence. According to me, the police are suppressing the entire matter either under the influence of pressure or money. The police have become insensitive with regards to this matter.”
“Since my in-laws were misbehaving with me, I decided to leave the house and return to my parents’ home at Koparkhairne. My life has become miserable and I have become helpless” she added.
A copy of the complaint number 583 has also been forwarded to the PSI Navghar Police Station, Bhayander (E), the PSI Kopar Khairne, Rakesh Maria, Commissioner of Police, Crawford Market, Inspector General Maharashtra, Crawford Market, The Secretary, Home Department, Mantralaya and The Chief Justice, High Court, Fountain.
The case of a newlywed woman who approached the police station to lodge an FIR against her husband and In-laws for Dowry harassment was sent back home after the police just took a non-cognizable complaint .
When AV spoke to Rohini Salian, Special Public Prosecutor she said, “Any prudent police officer is right in first listening to the whole story and then calling the family and husband to the police station to get a bigger picture. Several bogus cases are being registered under 498A – cruelty against women and demanding dowry. Therefore only after he ascertains that there is no door open for reconciliation and apology then he should register a FIR.”
According to the Lawyer, Vandana Shah, “Section 498A is a cognizable offence and the police officer should have registered an FIR. But it has been the most misused law. Personally, I think it defeats the cause of being a strong woman, because if the women who can take advantage of it, do so, then the women who are genuinely suffering lose out, as they may not be taken seriously. But there are now a few gatekeepers in check to avoid the misuse of the law the most important being ‘The Supreme Court has ruled that the police cannot automatically arrest an accused in a dowry case before judicially examining it (the complaint). A bench headed by Justice C K Prasad directed all the state governments to instruct its police officers not to automatically arrest an accused in such cases ‘in a July 3, 2014 judgement’.”