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Police restrained from investigating dowry case

Staff Reporter

"Only DPOs are empowered to probe; police have a limited role"

MADURAI: The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court, on Wednesday, restrained the Karur Superintendent of Police and the Inspector of All-Women Police Station from investigating a dowry case.

Justice D. Murugesan granted the interim injunction on a writ petition moved by A. Senthil Kumar (31) of Aravankurichi in Karur district. The petitioner's wife had lodged a complaint against him and five others under Section 4 (penalty for demanding dowry) of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 and few other IPC provisions.

According to the petitioner, only the dowry prohibition officers (DPO) were empowered to probe dowry cases and the police had a limited role to play in such matters. He claimed that his wife had preferred a false complaint against him following a matrimonial dispute between them.

The petitioner submitted that the Tamil Nadu Dowry Prohibition Rules, 2004, were framed following a Supreme Court ruling in a public interest litigation. As per Rule 4, any aggrieved person or parent or other relative of such person or any recognised welfare institution can complain about dowry harassment to the DPO.

On receipt of such complaints, the officer was empowered to investigate the issue and the role of police would arise only after the matter was referred to the court for prosecution, he said.

Pointing out that the State Government had appointed District Social Welfare Officers as DPOs, the petitioner alleged that despite such an appointment, they were not engaged to perform the duties.

The petitioner's counsel, V. Subramanian, contended that the rift between the couple would widen further, if false dowry cases were probed by police officers, who would be keen on launching prosecution and arresting the accused. On the contrary, the dowry prohibition officers would try to solve the problem amicably and pave way for uniting the couple, he said.

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