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HC for checks in dowry law

New Delhi, May 21 (PTI): Delhi High Court has suggested that dowry-related offences be made compoundable and bailable if no grave physical injury is inflicted, to check misuse of laws.

Justice J.D. Kapoor recommended that investigation into these offences be vested in civil authorities like executive magistrates and cognizance be taken only after his findings on offences under Section 406 (misappropriation of dowry articles) and Section 498-A (harassment for dowry).

“Till such a mechanism is evolved, no police officer below the rank of ACP for the offences under Section 498/406 of the IPC and DCP for the offences under Section 304-B of the IPC, i.e. dowry death, should be vested with investigation...,” Justice Kapoor said.

“Where minor school going children are named, they shall not be arrested and be sent to the court for taking cognizance and further proceedings,” the court said. “Their arrests ruin their future life and lower their self-esteem.”

The judgment came on an appeal challenging a trial court decision to frame charge of dowry harassment only against the husband and father-in-law and the charge of misappropriation of dowry against the husband alone and not against other members of his family.

Upholding the March 13 order of metropolitan magistrate Nisha Saxena, Justice Kapoor said the only allegation that the petitioner’s brother-in-law and sisters-in-law did not like or accept the customary gifts brought by her did not amount to harassment or cruelty as contemplated under Section 498-A.

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