HC curbs on arrest of in-laws in dowry cases

New Delhi: Bringing hope to thousands of people allegedly harassed by married women and unscrupulous policemen through misuse of anti-dowry provisions, the Delhi High Court on Thursday said that the family members of a man facing such charges cannot be arrested without the approval of a DCP.
Ordering strict implementation of the guidelines issued by the police commissioner, Justice Kailash Gambhir said, "The co-accused like relatives of husband (facing dowry harassment complaint) should be arrested only after approval of a DCP on file."
"Arrest of main accused (husband) should be made only after thorough investigation has been conducted and with the prior approval of an ACP or DCP," the court said.
"No case under section 498-A of IPC (Husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty) should be registered without prior approval of DCP," said Justice Gambhir.
Directing the police to scrutinise complaints filed by the wife carefully and then register the FIR, the court said the FIR should be made if there is strong possibility of physical or mental cruelty against the complainant woman. In addition, the police should make efforts for reconciliation before registration of FIR.
The court said in the guidelines that women staff in Crime Against Women cell should try to persuade the women from lodging such cases with a motive to save the institution of marriage.
Justice Gambir issued the guidelines while hearing a joint anticipatory bail application filed by in-laws of a woman in a matrimonial dispute case lodged by their daughter-in-law. He suggested to the parties in the case to settle the issue on August 11 at 4.30 pm.

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