The Supreme Court said on Monday that prosecuting social evil like dowry requires law reform and asked the Law Commission to look into the matter.
Appearing for petitioners Sabu Steephen and others, lawyer VK Biju argued before a bench headed by Judge DY Chandrachud that there should be a district-level dowry prohibition officer and that no certificate no dowry should be required for the marriage certificate.
He said a similar matter was pending in another bench of the higher court, on which an opinion was issued on November 8. He said the court may consider issuing an opinion on at least one of the petition’s prayers.
The council was looking for some concrete directions to stem the social evil of dowry.
The bench, which also includes AS Bopanna, told Biju, however, that the remedies sought are in the area of legislative policy and that there are restrictions on the jurisdiction of this court under Article 32 of the Constitution to developing remedies that essentially require legislative reform.
“At the same time, a dialogue on reviewing measures that would support existing legislation on the subject can be initiated,” the bench said.
“We are of the view that it may be appropriate for the Law Commission of India to look into the matter from all angles. Petitioners are free to submit a research note and on all relevant aspects for the benefit of the Commission of law”, the bench added in his order.
During the hearing, Biju pointed out that educated people give so much jewelry and gold to children, and daily betting children suffer.
The bench said it agreed that the issue raised in the plea was important and needed everyone’s education.
The bench said these are looming issues for the legislature to decide. He cited the SC/ST law, which has been amended several times to give it more teeth.
The petitioners pointed out that on the one hand Parliament has intervened by enacting laws in terms of penal provisions such as Sections 304B and 498A of the IPC and the Prohibition of Dowry Act 1961 and by the formation of the National Commission for Women, but the persistence of the social evil requires a fresh look on the part of the authorities concerned to give more teeth to the legislation.
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