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Dowry cases clog Tihar jail

New Delhi, July 7 (): Dowry cases have choked Tihar jail where there is the ‘ Saas- Nanand’ ( mother-in-law and sister-in-law) barrack which is for women arrested under dowry case. It’s located in Central Jail Number 6 in Delhi’s Tihar prison.

The IPC 498 A and 406 deal with dowry cases and out of the total women prisoners , one-fifth of them are booked under this clause. The Supreme Court came down heavily on wives using this law as a weapon to settle scores on their husband and his family.

Last year, 3000 cases were registered and conviction rate is only 12% . It shows that most of them are trumped up charges. So far in the five months of this year, 1275 cases were booked by Delhi police.It is an offence under Section 498A is cognizable, by which police must register and investigate it; bail can be granted only by the court and the complaint cannot be withdrawn.

According to Delhi Police data, the saas- nanand cell has 280 women who are mother-in-laws. The cell so formed is to keep the women away from hardcore women criminals. The new clause being misused led the police put in force a system before arrest.

If a wife who complains of dowry harassment then the police will make her husband the main accused and in-laws can be taken in only if a DCP rank officer okays it and ACP rank officer in the area where the husband stays has to give permission to arrest the man.

Jailers say that the mother-in-laws are old and not able to cope with the jail environment and sister-in-laws who are mostly not married and in their twenties are shattered as this would lead to them being ostracized by society. Jail authorities don’t give those booked under dowry cases the rough treatment.

Supreme Court which termed the anti-dowry law as a tool for legal terrorism has now made it difficult to make arrests. Without a magistrate’s nod, no arrest can be made. Police will have to give proof of dowry harassment to get the permission.

In case of dowry death, the husband’s blood relatives or those related by marriage can be charged. Similarly if no arrests are made then the police will have to inform the magistrate the reason for not doing so within two weeks of the complaint registered.