The Law Commission on Tuesday decided to seek the opinion of different sections of society on its proposed review of stringent provisions of the anti-dowry law, which faces widespread complaints of misuse. The Law Commission is considering changes in the section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, which deals with physical and mental cruelty by husbands and their relatives against wives over dowry.
Currently this section allows the police to arrest the accused named in a complaint without a warrant and even before investigation. Besides, there is no provision for a compromise between the two parties to the dispute.
The Commission will seek the opinions from public, NGOs and Bar Councils to firm up its views before submitting the report on the controversial issue.
According to the consultation paper released by the commission, it has sought views on three main issues — whether it is feasible to categorise the offence as bailable, to allow the complainant to withdraw a complaint in case of a compromise with the court's permission, and if the police should retain the power to make arrests.
"We are examining how to give a human touch to this section, which has a very high potential for misuse. Our concentration is to make the offence bailable, non-cognisable and compoundable," said commission member justice (retd) Shiv Kumar Sharma.