The Supreme Court on 2 July 2014 ruled that the police cannot automatically arrest the accused in dowry cases and police must give reasons for taking such steps, which will be judicially examined.
The Supreme Court bench headed by Justice C K Prasad directed
• All the State governments to instruct its police officers not to automatically arrest when a case under Section 498-A of the IPC (dowry harassment) is registered.
• The police should satisfy themselves about the necessity for arrest under the parameters laid down flowing from Section 41 Criminal Procedure Code.
• The police officer shall furnish the reasons and materials which necessitated the arrest before the magistrate.
• A person accused of offence punishable with imprisonment for a term up to seven with or without fine, cannot be arrested by the police officer only on its satisfaction that such person had committed the offence.
• The attitude of police to arrest first and then proceed with the rest is despicable and it must be curbed.
• Any arrest or detention by a police official without recording reasons as aforesaid by the judicial magistrate concerned shall be liable for departmental action by the appropriate High Court and amount to contempt of court.
SC gave the judgement in the backdrop of misuse of the anti-dowry law by disgruntled wives against their husbands and in-laws (mother and sister). It referred to the statistics that rate of charge-sheeting in these cases is as high as 93.6 percent, while the conviction rate is only 15 percent that means the remaining cases are pending at trial stage.
Who: Supreme Court
When: 2 July 2014