For dowry-linked cruelty, Supreme Court restores ‘immediate arrest’


A three-judge Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra disagreed with the court’s July 27 judgment which diluted the rigour of Section 498A of Indian Penal Code which warrants immediate arrest of a husband and his relatives in a dowry-linked complaint of cruelty.

In the July 27 judgment, a bench of Justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and U U Lalit had cited data from the National Crime Records Bureau which indicated widespread misuse of Section 498A by women to get husbands and their relatives arrested and harassed for years. But the SC decided that abuse of Section 498A should not amount to curtailing the ambit of the law.

Section 498A was inserted in the IPC in 1983 with the object of punishing cruelty at the hands of husband or his relatives against a wife, particularly when such cruelty had the potential to result in suicide or murder of a woman.