Agartala, Sep 18 (IANS) Tripura on Monday became the first state in the country to set up family welfare district committees to deal with the issue of fake and biased complaints by women against their husbands, in-laws and husband’s relatives, as per an apex court directive.
State Governor Tathagata Roy in the presence of Chief Minister Manik Sarkar and other high dignitaries formally launched the family welfare committees in all eight districts in Tripura at a function in Tripura High Court.
Tripura is the first state to have formed such committees, Tripura High Court Chief Justice T. Vaiphei said at the event.
“After filing of complaint by a woman against her husband, in-laws and husband’s relatives, the district family welfare committees would scrutinise the complaint, try to mitigate and mediate between the two sides to settle the dispute,” T. Vaiphei said.
“After the district family welfare committees have submitted their report, the police officials would start appropriate legal action.”
Quoting Supreme Court Judge Adarsh Kumar Goel, Vaiphei said that Tripura High Court is the first high court among 24 High Courts in India that has constituted family welfare district committees.
Tripura High Court Judge Subhashish Talapatra said in the Rajesh Sharma versus state of Uttar Pradesh case, the Supreme Court on July 27 directed that each complaint of cruelty to a woman by her husband or his relatives, which does not involve tangible physical injuries or death, shall be referred to the family welfare committee of the district.
“This apex court judgment is based on the court’s observations that section 498-A of the IPC (Indian Penal Code) is abused by some women, particularly to harass elderly in-laws. The apex court cited the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) data in support.”
The family welfare district committees may comprise para-legal volunteers or social workers or retired officers or even the wives of serving officers, but the panel members will not be called as witnesses if the police or magistrate decide to investigate a particular case.
Judge Talapatra told IANS that over 80 per cent frivolous, fake and biased cases across the country are filed by a section of women against husband, in-laws and husband’s relatives.
“Such fake and prejudiced cases are the cause of huge damage to a large number of families and harm the dignity of innocent people,” Judge Talapatra said.
He said that the Supreme Court in its directions said that the new system to deal with the section 498-A of the IPC would be for six months and the National Legal Services Authority (NLSA) would submit a report in March before the apex court on the performance and outcome of the district family welfare committees across the country.
“After getting the report of the NLSA and considering other related aspects, the Supreme Court would take the next steps on the issue,” Judge Talapatra said.
Both Governor Tathagata Roy and Chief Minister Manik Sarkar in their speeches welcomed the Supreme Court’s steps.
Sarkar called for passage of the women’s reservation bill. “To empower women and to maintain equality, the much-expected legislation on one third reservations for the women in Parliament and state assemblies must be enacted at the earliest,” Sarkar said.
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