Verbal skullduggery

Doublespeak is their forte!

chidambaramThe Honorable Indian Minister for Home affairs was asked the below questions on abuse of the dowry law in parliament. Before we even go into the questions and the home minister’s answer, we need to know and bear in mind that the home minister as well as his wife are both very learned and eminent lawyers and understand the Intricacies of marital and dowry laws better than anyone else. Incidentally the home minister’s wife was also involved in the High profile 498a case of Tamil Actor Prashant in 2007 (against the husband, of course!).

As is his wont (and that of every glib-tongued lawyer and feminist) the home minister plays the tried and tested trick of confusing dowry harassment law ( section 498a) with dowry death ( section 304B) – call it a red herring, if you prefer!

Below is the extract of the conversation from the resources available with the Lok sabha:-

Fifteenth Series, Vol. VIII, Fourth Session, 2010/1931 (Saka)
No. 15, Tuesday, March 16, 2010/ Phalguna 25, 1931 (Saka)
Page 10 , Date 16.03.2010

SHRI PRASANTA KUMAR MAJUMDAR :

Madam Speaker, every four minutes in India an innocent person, including the old parents and close relatives, is facing false dowry cases and sent behind the jail under Section 489-D which is non-bailable without any investigation and inquiry. No inquiry is required because the case is non-bailable. Only the statements of bridegroom’s family are taken into consideration.

MADAM SPEAKER: Please ask the question.

SHRI PRASANTA KUMAR MAJUMDAR : The Law Commission and many judges have recommended making the Section bailable but the Government did not do anything.

MADAM SPEAKER: Hon. Member please ask the question.

SHRI PRASANTA KUMAR MAJUMDAR : I want to know whether the Government has any proposal to make the case bailable or not. If it is bailable, please give details and if not, why?

SHRI P. CHIDAMBARAM:

I think I have already answered the question in part. I do not subscribe to the proposition that in most cases of dowry deaths, the provision is misused. That is not true. I gave you the numbers of cases that were registered in the last three years. Look at the number of people convicted. In 2006, 5144; in 2007, 5580 and in 2008, 5814 persons have been convicted. It may be true that in a few cases, indiscriminately, people may have been arrested and there may be some harassment but that is not true of the large number of cases. Therefore, we have advised the police that where a dowry death case is registered, they must exercise their discretion and arrest only those who appear in the investigation to be directly connected with the dowry deaths and not the extended family.

That advisory has been given. But I think on balance this provision is a salutary provision; a new offense has been created; people have to be punished when they kill young wives. If in a particular case there is an excess, there is a court system which will correct it. But to go, as I said, from one position to an extreme position and say there is massive misuse of this provision, Madam, with great respect, I beg to disagree.

Our comments:

Please see how the legally educated home minister dodges the question:

1) Section 498A and Section 304B are as different as chalk from cheese . 498A is the law that is invoked when a woman “claims” that she was harassed . This is the law that is most misused since it has got arrest on demand provisions and no investigations or evidence is needed .Looking at the severity of the misuse the supreme court of India has called the misuse of section 498a as “Legal Terrorism”. Section 304B is invoked when it is proved that a woman has been killed because to dowry .Section 304B requires a lot more evidence and proof and misuse is difficult since it is a life and death question. The honorable Lok Sabha member had clearly asked the Home Minister if section 498A needs to be amended due to its misuse and if not why ?

2) It does not take a legal degree to see that the Indian home minister very cleverly dodges the question on amending 498a and replies on why section 304B is must not be amended instead. He says ” I do not subscribe to the proposition that in most cases of dowry deaths(a.k.a section 304B, not 498A), the provision is misused. That is not true. I gave you the numbers of cases that were registered in the last three years. Look at the number of people convicted.”

Honorable home minister , why are you answering if 304B is being misused or not when the question clearly asks if 498A is being misused ?

The Home Minister the proceeds to state numbers for section 304B when the question asked was completely related to section 498A .

This is tried and tested trick that many feminists use when asked if 498a needs to be amended. They immediately switch the conversation from 498A to 304B and justify the existence of 498A because of a crime which comes under section 304B. , which is exactly what our lawyer Home Minister did here . For the nonlegal professional who does not understand the difference between section 498A and section 304B the answer of the Home Minister will sound totally credible .

3) Also notice that the Home Minister also quotes not the “number of convictions” under section 304B ( which is firstly irrelevant to begin with since question was on 498A ) but the “number of people” convicted under it. This was done since the number of cases and convictions under section 304B are too less to portray any serious threat of dowry death .Considering that single conviction results in 4 people getting jailed then the total number of conviction would be no more than 1500 .The Home Minister knows this and hence quotes the “number of people” getting convicted and not the number of “convictions”. Being an eminent lawyer himself he should have known better.

How committed the Indian government really is for eradicating dowry?

1) The central ministry for Women and Child Development has not spent a single Rupee on stopping dowry exchanges and extravagant marriages ,while Pakistan has started the one dish law to eradicate extravagant marriages in their country.

2) Instead of stopping dowry the government is openly encouraging dowry loans . State Banks create loans specifically for paying marriage expenses of women and paying dowry.The state bank of Hyderabad Kanya Vivah Suvidha Scheme is one such example of how Dowry loans are openly available from Government banks.

3) The Home Minister dodges questions on 498A abuse and gives a totally irrelevant answer related to section 304-B of IPC.

The original text of the Lok Sabha Discussion and the home ministers reply on dowry can be downloaded in PDF form from this link.

[End of our comments]

16.03.2010
9
(Q. No. 261)
(HINDI Text)
THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS (SHRI P. CHIDAMBARAM):

Madam, Parliament makes the laws, but as everyone is aware, implementation of these laws is in the hands of the State Government and the State police. We have reviewed it and we have collected the data. That data is given in Annexure-I and Annexure-II, which is part of the answer. We have given information about cases registered, cases charge-sheeted, cases convicted, persons arrested, charge-sheeted and convicted, in Annexure-I and Annexure-II. These are reviewed in the Police Conferences that are held from time to time; they are also reviewed in the Regional Meetings from time to time.
But I wish to submit to this House that the implementation of laws especially criminal laws lies with the State Government and the State Police.

16.03.2010
(Hindi text)
10
SHRI P. CHIDAMBARAM:

Madam, my respectful submission is that it is not possible to make a sweeping statement that anti-dowry laws are being misused. Just look at the numbers. In the three years, 2006, 2007 and 2008 for which final figures are available, 7618, 8093 and 8172 cases under dowry deaths have been registered. These are appalling numbers. It is possible that in a handful of cases complaints have been made against a large number of people, there is some attempt to misuse these provisions. But one cannot say that in all these cases, the provisions have been misused.

We have, therefore, advised the police to act without bias, to register the case, investigate and arrest only those who appear in the investigation to be directly involved and not to arrest all and sundry. But I do not think we should go from one extreme to another and say, there is sweeping misuse of these provisions. There are large numbers of young brides, young wives being killed, and we must be sensitive to that fact, and we must take strong action whenever a dowry death is reported.

SHRI PRASANTA KUMAR MAJUMDAR :

Madam Speaker, every four minutes in India an innocent person, including the old parents and close relatives, is facing false dowry cases and sent behind the jail under Section 489D which is non-bailable without any investigation and inquiry. No inquiry is required because the case is non-bailable. Only the statements of bridegroom’s family are taken into consideration.

MADAM SPEAKER: Please ask the question.

SHRI PRASANTA KUMAR MAJUMDAR : The Law Commission and many judges have recommended making the Section bailable but the Government did not do anything.

MADAM SPEAKER: Hon. Member please ask the question.

SHRI PRASANTA KUMAR MAJUMDAR : I want to know whether the Government has any proposal to make the case bailable or not. If it is bailable, please give details and if not, why?

16.03.2010
11

SHRI P. CHIDAMBARAM:

I think I have already answered the question in part. I do not subscribe to the proposition that in most cases of dowry deaths, the provision is misused. That is not true. I gave you the numbers of cases that were registered in the last three years. Look at the number of people convicted. In 2006, 5144; in 2007, 5580 and in 2008, 5814 persons have been convicted. It may be true that in a few cases, indiscriminately, people may have been arrested and there may be some harassment but that is not true of the large number of cases. Therefore, we have advised the police that where a dowry death case is registered, they must exercise their discretion and arrest only those who appear in the investigation to be directly connected with the dowry deaths and not the extended family.

That advisory has been given. But I think on balance this provision is a salutary provision; a new offence has been created; people have to be punished when they kill young wives. If in a particular case there is an excess, there is a court system which will correct it. But to go, as I said, from one position to an extreme position and say there is massive misuse of this provision, Madam, with great respect, I beg to disagree.
SHRI MANISH TEWARI : Though this question may not strictly fall within the ambit of the Home Minister, since he is a very eminent lawyer, I think he will possibly be able to answer it. My question is that there are reports which have appeared in a section of the press that the Government is intending to amend the definition of rape to sexual assault in order to make it gender neutral. Is it a fact? Is the Government considering such a proposal? If that is so, what is the rationale behind this amendment?

My second part of the question is…

MADAM SPEAKER: You should just ask one question.

6 thoughts on “Verbal skullduggery”

  1. Most of the cases relating to dowry harassment are women centric. It is highly deplorable that given the present scenario of its misuse, the legal provisions need to be fair and judicially reviewed so that justice can be rendered to husbands also

  2. Sir, I too was affected by this leagel terrarisam. I was thinking to start a foram to help people who are affeted. I am willing to join hand with you to render justice. I bow your great effort.
    Solomon G.

  3. Seems that the laws are made taking into consideration the womens living in rural or tribal areas.
    The judiciary should be intelligent enough to understand the difference between women living in rural and urban areas.
    Are all womens living in Mumbai / Delhi are the godess?

  4. Hello Everybody

    I am also a victim of misuse of 304B. My in-laws are AWARE of the fact even they lodged an FIR. Currently I am on Bail from Patna high court BUT after coming from jail my office has NOT allowed me to join (waiting for their reply since 9th sept, 2010). I was a senior software engineer in a MNC in NCR.

    Incident Details:
    1. We are blessed with twin baby boys in sept, 2009
    2. My office planned to send me London so I took them to my native place.
    3. Planned was postponed after this she assumed that I did not want to keep her with me so I made a false story (even after showing the VISA she was not ready to believe me).
    4. I was not taking her back here because my VISA was valid till 13-Apr-2010, so office may send me any time and one more important reason was take care of twins will be difficult for her.

    Now we come to know that wife of my brother-in-law(who has lodged the FIR) has also committed suicide in 2001 and they were also facing similar case. My wife (before marriage) was also in one of the accused. Three accused arrested/surrendered in court and my wife was sent to his MARRIED sister.

    Six year latter they married this girl to me in 2007 with changed (duplicate) name against her wish. She wanted to marry younger brother of her brother-in-law, where she was hidden during police investigation in 2001. She had started threatening us like she will commit suicide and you all will be forced to sell each bricks of this well furnished home. We had informed her Father, Mother and Brother many times.

    She was studying in class 7 at the time of incident (2001) with the same as in FIR lodged against them. I think they did not follow the process of name change like making affidavit and publishing in the news paper.

    We have their FIR No, Anticipatory bail request number at Patna high court and we are in process of getting the complete case details. My father-in-law was a army personal so we are also trying to get her name from his service record.

    Now I want to know that whether it will be helpful in defending us or making a counter case against them.

    Best Regards,
    RK Raja

    1. Please Read this …and pass it on …Really Pity for the men living in this country .. they are only good to work hard and save money so that some one else could enjoy .

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