GENDER RELATED ISSUE
MISUSE OF ANTI-DOWRY LEGISLATION
Supreme Court has ordered a number of safeguards to prohibit the misuse of the antidowry provisions, under section 498a of IPC.
Anti Dowry Act 1961
• It prohibits the giving and taking of dowry.
• It had consolidated the anti-dowry laws which had been passed in certain states.
• It defined dowry as any property or valuable security given or agreed to be given in connection with the marriage.
• It does not apply for the presents given at the time of wedding.
Changes by Supreme Court • It called for involvement of civil society and sensitisation of investigation officers.
• The court ordered setting up of Family Welfare Committees (to be set up by District Legal Services Authorities) in every district to look into complaints related to Section 498a of IPC.
• No arrest should normally be affected until the committee submits its report on the matter.
• There must be a designated officer to investigate such complaints who should be cautious in matters of bail. • The court also made it clear that these directions will not apply in offenses in which there is tangible physical injury or death.
Related Provisions of IPC
• Section 498A- Whoever, being the husband or the relative of the husband of a woman, subjects such woman to cruelty shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine. It is separate from the Anti Dowry Act.
• Section 304B relates to Dowry Deaths.
The two recent developments related to triple talaq are:
• Recently, constitution Bench set aside the practice of instant triple talaq (talaq-e-bid’a) in Shayara Bano case.
• Also, Lok Sabha passed ‘The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017’.
• In 2002 case, a two-judge bench of the Apex Court had delegitimised this instant talaq (Shamim Ara case). However, it was invalid only when it was not properly pronounced and not preceded by attempts at reconciliation.
• This latest ruling completely and unconditionally invalidates talaq-e-bid’a
• The Koranic procedure of talaq is the only way by which Muslim husband will be able to divorce his wife from now on.
The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017
• It makes all declaration of talaq, including in written or electronic form, to be void and illegal. It defines talaq as talaq-e-biddat or any other similar form of talaq pronounced by a Muslim man resulting in instant and irrevocable divorce. Talaq-e-biddat refers to the practice under Muslim personal laws where pronouncement of the word ‘talaq’ thrice in one sitting by a Muslim man to his wife results in an instant and irrevocable divorce.
• Offence and penalty- It makes declaration of talaq a cognizable and non-bailable offence. A husband declaring talaq can be imprisoned for up to three years along with a fine.
• Allowance- A Muslim woman, against whom talaq has been declared, is entitled to seek subsistence allowance from her husband for herself and for her dependent children. The amount of the allowance will be decided by a First Class Magistrate. • Custody of minor children will be determined by the Magistrate.