While ruling that women were increasingly misusing Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, the Supreme Court ought to have been more conscious of the prevalence of domestic violence, and the difficulties women face in approaching the police. When faced with evidence of a poor conviction rate, instead of inquiring whether the prosecution was poorly conducted, the Court assumes that the “disgruntled wives” filed false cases. Ironically, while the courts convict husbands and their families in cases of dowry deaths, the woman’s invocation of Section 498A when she fears for her life or demands her share of the matrimonial home, earns her the accusation of being a “disgruntled wife”. – Indira Jaising, Senior Advocate, former Additional Solicitor General (ASG) of India and Executive Director, Lawyers Collective Women’s Rights Initiative.
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