A number of cases of marital dispute have been registered in Panchkula wherein women have accused their husbands or male in-laws of rape, committing unnatural act, molestation or forced abortions besides making dowry demand.
In a recent case, a woman police officer claimed that her husband committed unnatural act on her and also tried to make her abort her child. A case was registered in this regard on February 18. She also alleged molestation by her brother-in-law.
The complainant, who had got married in November 2007, claimed that her husband used to commit unnatural sexual acts against her will to insult her.
She narrated an incident dating back to 2015 when she was one-and-a-half-months pregnant and as how her husband forced her to abort the foetus by making her consume some tablets.
She told the police that about Rs 17 lakh were paid either as dowry or marriage expenditure.
In January this year, a doctor got registered a case of dowry against her in-laws, claiming that her husband, who is also a doctor, beat her up after she refused to undergo sex determination test.
She said she had to abort the child due to injuries.
A case under section 313 (for causing miscarriage without woman’s consent) and sections of dowry demand of the Indian Penal Code was registered. There is allegation of demand of Rs 51 lakh in this case.
In January, a woman alleged that her father-in-law sexually assaulted her but later it came out that the accused was medically unfit.
She was having a marital dispute with her husband. She herself had refused to undergo medical examination.
WE HAVE TO PROCEED AS PER LAW: POLICE
“We have to proceed as per the law where charges of forced abortion (section 313), rape (376), unnatural act (377) and molestation (354) of the IPC are pressed even if these cases are primarily related to dowry dispute. We rely on medical reports. If these allegations are found to be baseless, we remove these sections later on,” said additional commissioner of police (ACP) Munish Sehgal, under whose jurisdiction the Panchkula women police station, which handles such cases, comes. In May last year, a case of marital dispute was registered by two sisters married to brothers. Their younger sister, a minor, accused one of her brothers-in-law of molestation.
In June, a case was registered against some family members wherein the complainant accused her father-in-law of forced abortion, wrongful confinement and molestation. In September 2015, a case of dowry was registered wherein the complainant alleged that she was administered an intoxicant in her milk. In February, 2014, a woman levelled allegations of rape and dowry against her husband and in-laws claiming that the man was already married to a foreign national. In November that year, a woman alleged that her husband raped their threeyear-old daughter. A day before, she had complained that she was beaten up by her in-laws.
Most of these cases are either pending or have ended in a compromise or have fallen flat as the allegations were found baseless.
LAW BEING MISUSED, SAY LEGAL EXPERTS
Legal experts say that charges of forced abortion, rape, molestation and unnatural act are pressed to ensure arrest as after the Supreme Court judgment in the Arnesh Kumar case arrest in cases of marital disputes has become difficult.
Advocate Shailendar Kaur, who has been involved in mediation between couples in the Panchkula district courts, said, “These charges are pressed as they ensure arrest and in-laws are forced to compromise. In one such case, an engineer had to stay behind the bars for 25 days. The judgment comes after 3 years which is a sufficient time to strike a compromise and get good alimony.” Advocate Kanchan Bala, who is also involved in mediation, said, “Several such cases are being registered. It is a misuse of law. The real sufferers do not even come forward.”
APEX COURT JUDGMENT
In July 2014, the Supreme Court had delivered a judgment in the Arnesh Kumar case wherein it observed that “dowry laws are being used as weapon rather than shield by disgruntled wives”.