Thursday, June 8, 2023
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SC raises questions on child custody, men’s rights & misuse of 498A IPC in 2 separate judgements

On Wednesday Supreme Court asked the Attorney General of India, K.K Venugopal to present his views on important matters of child custody and men’s right under the domestic violence act.

The matter came to the jury’s attention after a man from Gujarat field application to meet his children but was denied by the session court and Gujarat High court. Citing the unavailability of the mother’s consent his appeal was denied both the times after which he approached the Supreme Court.

According to Section 21 of the Domestic Violence Act, “Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, the magistrate may, at any stage of hearing of the application for a protection order or for any other relief under this act, grant temporary custody of any child or children to the aggrieved person (the woman) or the person making an application on her behalf and specify, if necessary, the arrangements for the visit of such child or children by the respondent: provided that if the magistrate is of the opinion that any visit of the respondent may be harmful to the interests of the child or children, the magistrate shall refuse to allow such visit.”

On this, a bench of chief justice N.V Ramana and justices A.S Bopanna and Hima Kohli asked the Attorney General, to what extent the law can favour the woman over the man. On which AG asked for two weeks to give a detailed report on how the act can be misused against the men seeking visitation rights.

The case in hand, where the man was denied the privilege of visiting his children, as the woman (mother of children) has filed a case under the Domestic Violence Act against her husband, his sister and his brother-in-law.

Earlier, on Tuesday, while hearing another case the Supreme Court on Tuesday had said, that with Friction rising in marriages, there is “increased tendency to employ provisions such as 498A IPC”, which was “aimed at preventing cruelty committed upon a woman by her husband and her in-laws by facilitating rapid state intervention…, as instruments to settle personal scores against the husband and his relatives”, Supreme Court said Tuesday.

A bench of Justices S Abdul Nazeer and Krishna Murari said this while quashing an FIR against the in-laws of a woman who had accused them and her husband of cruelty and harassment for dowry.

The bench further stated that it “has been highlighted by this court in varied instances, that a criminal trial leading to an eventual acquittal also inflicts severe scars upon the accused, and such an exercise must therefore be discouraged.”



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