Friday, December 15, 2006

Supreme Court scraps social act’s provisions

The Supreme Court on thrusday asked government authorities to promulgate same provisions in the law for punishing brides and bridegrooms who ask for or offer dowry. The apex court scraped two provisions of the Social Behaviour Reforms Act, 1976, terming them discriminatory between men and women in terms of punishment. A special bench of Justices Anup Raj Sharma, Ram Prasad Shrestha and Pawan Kumar Ojha declared Clauses 3 and 4 of the Act null and void, “as provisions are discriminatory and against Article 11 the 1990 Constitution”. The bench was responding to a Public Interest Litigation filed by Meera Dhungana on behalf of the Forum for Woman, Law and Development. According to the scrapped provisions, a bridegroom fa-ces up to one month jail term and Rs 12,000 to Rs 25,000 fine if he seeks dowry from the family of bride, whereas the bride gets up to one-year jail term and Rs 12,000 to Rs 25,000 for demanding gifts from the bridegroom. The bench directed the government authorities — the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs and the Parliament — to promulgate an equal provision in this regard. Advocate Dhungana had filed the PIL in the apex court one-and-a-half-year ago, claiming that the provision was against Article 11 of the 1990 Constitution.

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