Enough laws exist in India to protect women from domestic, matrimonial and sexual violence. They, according to women activists, are good only in paper. On one hand the women continue to suffer under violence with no much hope for the victims to have easy access to justice despite having those laws on our statute book. On the other, some of these provisions are largely being misused by educated and powerful sections of disgruntled women as a sharp weapon, rather than a shield, to harass their innocent husbands and their relatives. Even bed-ridden relatives and those living abroad were put under arrest and detention in a quite number of cases. The Section 498A of Indian Penal Code (IPC) is one such provision, now under limelight for unleashing what is called legal terrorism.
The Section 498A however could neither prevent nor reduce anti dowry harassments substantially. But it unnecessarily brings in many innocent people to the scenario of criminal prosecution. The right solution in this issue is to make the legal provision well balanced by including punishment for those who file false cases along with stern action on the wrong doers. The provision will serve its right purpose only when it must be able both to protect women from unjustifiable harassment and to keep the innocent relatives away from undue prosecution – which is more painful than the punishment itself, in Indian scenario.