NEW DELHI : A dowry harassment complaint backfired on a woman after the chief judicial magistrate of Noida (Uttar Pradesh) ordered the police to book the lady and her parents for alleged extortion in the name of false prosecution under dowry laws.
Accepting the petition of the complainant husband Dr Manoj Mittal, CJM AK Singh asked the police to book Dr Piyusha Rostagi, her parents and brothers under Indian Penal Code sections 388 (extortion in the name of false prosecution), 506 (threat to life) and 34 (criminal conspiracy with common intention) after he was convinced the woman and her family had not only accepted giving dowry, but had also tried to extract money from her husband by threatening him to file cases under dowry laws.
If taking dowry is a crime, so is giving, but the provisions under the law are rarely invoked against a woman and her family. However, two weeks ago, the same court had ordered the Noida police to register an FIR against a woman and her parents under section 3 of Dowry Prohibition Act (DPA) for giving dowry. Giving or taking dowry is a criminal offence under Section 3 of DPA with imprisonment of up to five years.
In this case, Piyusha had earlier filed a complaint with Noida police under section 498A (dowry harassment) and 406 (breach of trust) alleging violence against her by her husband Dr Manoj Mittal and her parents. Even though she had a love-marriage, Piyusha claimed that her parents had given Rs12 lakh in cash and Rs4 lakh to buy a car. She claimed she was constantly tortured by her husband and in-laws throughout their 7-year-old marriage for bringing insufficient dowry. On the basis of her complaint, the Noida police had arrested Mittal’s parents and brother and sent them to jail for 25 days.
However, during a settlement attempt in Allahabad High Court, Mittal’s lawyer Pradeep Nawani said Piyusha had demanded Rs24 lakh and threatened to pursue with criminal cases in case demands were not met. This prompted Mittal to approach court seeking action against his wife and her parents, who he claims had fabricated a false case to harass him after their marriage failed to click. Mittal claimed that his wife had adjustment problems with his family and she used to often “pick up a quarrel to destroy the harmony of the family”.
The judiciary is slowly catching up with the women who try to misuse tough dowry laws to settle scores with their husbands and in-laws in a failed marriage. The cases registered under the Dowry Prohibition Act have shown a sharp increase of 109.4% since 1997 and 24.8% since last year.
According to the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB), Orissa registered the highest incidence (1,460) under this Act accounting for 26% of the total cases reported in the country.