By seeing an increase in the number of Dowry harassment cases by the females, Government decided to stop immediate arrest of person or his family. The decision was taken by a bench of Justices AK Goel and UU Lalit. The bench said that in recent years, there has been a noticeable increase in such harassments under Section 498-A of the IPC. The bench ordered to make three members Family Welfare Committees (FWC) that will look after the case at initial state before proceeding to any arrest in dowry cases. The members of the Committee may be social workers, paralegal volunteers, retired persons, wives of working officers and other citizens found to be suitable based on their reputation.
This currently taken decision by the Apex court will be first observed for six months to check how it works. The court asked to National Legal Services Authority to prepare a report regarding the new decision along with any recommended changes till March 31, 2018. The next hearing is scheduled in upcoming April, 2018.
Here are some main outcomes of the decision:
- At least one FWC per district should be formed by legal services Authority of the district. The working of such committee will be reviewed time to time by the District and sessions court judge, who is also the head of the district legal services Authority.
- Under any circumstances, FWC members may not be considered as witnesses.
- Every complaint filed under 498A to the police will be first handled by such committee. The committee may interact with the parties through various means such as via telephone, by meeting them personally or through any electronic media.
- The FWC will be having one month of time to prepare the report on the matter and will submit the report to the authority by which the report was referred.
- If required, it will be the responsibility of the Legal Services Authority to provide any kind of training to the FWC time to time.
- District and session judge can use the cost fund wherever required in the matter.