Law on Dowry Harassment - Does it need an amendment?

Karnataka High Court on Monday said that the Govt. needs to spell out its stand on amendment of Section 498 A of IPC, which is related to Dowry harassment. The court has observed that the said section is being misused, because as per the provision, on the complaint of a woman, the police have to file a complaint immediately and without verifying the correctness of the complaint, arrests the Husband and his family member. The bench suggested that, instead of directly registering the case, the victim can file a complaint with Karnataka State Legal Services Authority and after three or six months if the case is genuine, police can take further action.

Personally, I don’t have the required qualification or knowledge to understand or analyse the actual motive of the court behind this suggestion, there must be certain strong basis and I don’t have the rights or knowledge to question them. However as a layman, there are a few things I would like to highlight.

Two things need to be looked into this suggestion. The dowry harassment provision is being misused. The law which has been made to protect the women of our country, which has seen numerous numbers of devastating effects of a curse called dowry, there are a few who are using it for individual benefit. But before looking at a radical change in the act, the lawmaker should also look for the benefits this provision has provided and the percentage of its misuse. Which law, act, section, sub section in our country is not being misused, does that mean that we will change all of them. What is the assurance that if the law is changed, it will not be misused? Perhaps, the misuse can be even more horrific.

The court has suggested that the victim needs to file a complaint with the Legal Services Authority and then an enquiry will be conducted for three to six months. Such provision will definitely discourage those who try to take benefit of the provision, but what about those who actually suffer, who are actually the real victim? Isn’t three to six months a long time to mentally harass the victim even more after a complaint is being filed? Will the culprits sit silently and wait for the judgement?

The court has the opinion that this time period will help to reduce the divorce cases. I couldn’t understand, how? In a conservative society like ours, will a man or his family accept a woman who had stepped outside and brought the ugly family matters in the limelight? What if the man accepts the woman in the eyes of the law but commits a more horrific act later? 

Dowry harassment is a sensitive matter and any amendment in the provisions should only be taken up only after the actual victim is benefited. However, I would reiterate that the Honorable Court and the Lawmakers have more knowledge and understanding than me.  


  1. Very valid points you have raised here! In the process of sifting between the genuine and fraud cases the real victims would be victimized for a longer period... I wonder, how the law makers didnt think of this aspect! :|

    1. I believe they must have thought about it, We can only hope that the law if changed becomes better.

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