Here we list a few steps you can take to ensure that you do not get framed in false allegations of S.498-A, what to do if you reasonably anticipate that a case is going to be filed against you, and the next step to take if a case has been filed:
· Primarily, do not engage in quarrels that are in any manner intimidating. Do not resort to any form of physical violence, not even if you perceive it not be harmful in any manner.
· If you or a member of your family is threatened in respect of being booked under Domestic Violence or 498-A, collect as much evidence as possible to prove that you are being threatened with being implicated.
· If you have reasonable cause to believe that the case may be filed, move the High Court for anticipatory bail.
· Make sure the case, if registered, follows the Guidelines issued by the Supreme Court in July 2017, regarding the constitution of Family Welfare Committees and the method of proceeding thereunder.
· Attempt settlement of the matter in an amicable manner, since the new SC Guidelines, empower District and Sessions Judge to dispose of the proceedings including the closing of the criminal case if dispute primarily relates to matrimonial discord.
· You can move for bail with at least one day’s clear notice to the Public Prosecutor/complainant since the SC Guidelines lay down that such an application may be decided as far as possible on the same day.
If you are in constant fear of a false case of dowry harassment and cruelty being filed against you, you might want to take adequate steps to ensure that you and your family would stay safe from malicious prosecution, arrest and time in jail. The massive changes made by the Supreme Court to the law in the July 2017 decision affords some protection to people who may be prosecuted on account of grudge, misusing the provision of law. But it is an ample example of how a provision originally intended for protecting the vulnerable classes would have to be cut down when misuse seems to exceed the actual use. The move comes as a blow to the actual victimized who will not be able to avail the benefits that were previously available under the law. The Supreme Court is now purporting to revisit the July decision and has sought Centre’s take on the matter. Read more about this in the upcoming posts.