Thursday, April 11, 2019

Supreme court expanding the jurisdiction of courts to provide relief to victims of dowry harassment

The Supreme Court held that a woman can complain against her husband or other relatives on dowry harassment case both in her matrimonial home or where she is living after being released from her in-laws.

In a decision to further expand the jurisdiction of courts to provide relief to the victims of dowry harassment, a bench comprising Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi has relaxed the rigour of the Criminal Procedure Code. Section 177 of the code mandates that criminal cases can be filed and trial can be conducted only in those courts in whose jurisdiction the offence has occurred.

In other words, where the incident of harassment took place, the Supreme Court has now scrapped or abolished the criminal case and the restriction of prosecution at the same jurisdiction.

In case of marital dispute, the woman has the liberty to do a case in a civil court for divorce, alimony, etc, where she lives. But in the case of dowry harassment by the in-laws, had to go to the court of the incident area for the criminal case.

On this basis, the Allahabad High Court had said in the case of Rupali Devi that cruelty is not a continuous offence under section 498A IPC, so it cannot be investigated outside the woman's in-laws area. However, the bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said that due to the harassment of the husband or his relatives, the stress of a woman going in-laws cannot be overlooked.If she lives in a parents home or somewhere else, the persecution of the in-laws also disturbs her. It will be considered as a crime in a parents home, even if the In-laws has done nothing.


In the current case, Rupali Devi challenged the Allahabad High Court verdict in the Supreme Court. The High Court rejected the application of Rupali Devi in ​​which he appealed to file dowry harassment case in the jurisdiction of the parents house.The High Court had said that it is not a continuous crime, in such a case the hearing will not be heard outside the jurisdiction of the in-laws' area.

Before Amendment 

In the case of dowry harassment, there was a provision to register cases where the incident took place. That is, if the woman is in-laws with her husband or wherever she lives with her husband, if there is any harassment with her, then the case is run in jurisdiction court of that area.