Advocate V.K. Biju contended before a bench headed by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud that a similar issue is pending before another bench of the top court, on which notice was issued on November 8, and added that the court may consider issuing notice at least on one of the prayers in the petition.
The bench, also comprising A.S. Bopanna told Biju, representing the petitioners Sabu Steephen and others, the law commission can look at the suggestions on strengthening the dowry prohibition law -- to make it more effective -- instead of the court issuing notice in the matter. Biju pointed out that educated people give so much jewellery and gold to the children, and the children of daily wagers are suffering. The bench said it agrees that the issue raised in the plea is an important one, which requires sensitization of everybody.
Justice Chandrachud added that the plea has raised a very substantial grievance but these are matters imminently for the legislature to decide -- to give more teeth to the law. He cited the SC/ST Act, which was amended repeatedly to give it more teeth.
The bench noted that petitioners have highlighted that on the one hand, Parliament has stepped in by enacting legislation in terms of penal provisions such as section 304B and 498A of the IPC and Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 and by the formation of the National Commission for Women, yet the persistence of the social evil requires a fresh look by the concerned authorities to bring more teeth to the legislation.
The bench said: "we are of the view that it may be appropriate if the law commission of India considers the issue in all its perspectives. The petitioner is at liberty to submit a note of research on all relevant aspects for the benefit of the law commission on which further steps to consider the scope for legislative reforms may be duly considered".
The top court was hearing a plea by two social activists and a lawyer practising in the Supreme Court seeking certain concrete directions to curb the social evil of dowry.