Indian Media supports 498a and Family Destruction

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Recently the Law Commission was once again tasked with the job of reviewing 498a , and once again recommending if this needed to  be changed.  However the interesting thing is the stand that the media has taken on this whole issue. From the type of media reports of the media a few salient points are amply clear.

Media was thoroughly enjoying the gender war:- Innocent men going to jail, Mothers and sisters being imprisoned, Men coming out with a sense of vengeance. Some men creating ingenious methods like filing cases for giving dowry or thousands of dharnas and press conferences taking place on 498a all made for excellent masala news which the media seemed to enjoy. There is a sense of dissatisfaction in the media that these will cease of 498a becomes billable and people stop suffering. Let us further analyze this paragraph further.

Media’s agenda of family breaking may fail:- Lets face it, media loves to see breaking families. Not only does breaking families leads to more spicy news like increasing crime,  breaking families brings immense financial gain to the media and its advertisers. How ? Here is how ….

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Shoaib – Guilty Until Proven Innocent?

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Like a Lamb put before a Tiger, Shoaib Malik has been put in front of the anti-male Indian establishment!

Little does he ( nor Sania Mirza ) know about the anti-male and corrupt and ineffective  Indian establishment, nor does he understand organised Indian women.

Of course, you might say, it is fascism, if all marriages disputed are seen as criminal disputes. And clearly, Shoaib has not inflicted cruelty nor asked dowry from Ayesha, who claims to be married to him. This man is in fact a victim of cheating, conspiracy and mental harassment.

So, the government must make section 498a bailable and non-cognizable and amend CrPC 113 to make the accused “innocent till proven guilty” and also punish those who misuse the law to torture innocent people.

Secondly, the lady suffers from Obsessive Compulsive PERSONALITY DISORDER – a common disorder that  ( like other disorders, is unrecognized in the media ), runs in families. Some features of this behavioral disorder, are manipulation, aggression, depression, lying, irresponsible behavior and a life that has generally no purpose.

On one hand the Supreme Court and the media are promoting pre-marital sex, and other

hand they convert any relationship problem – that too with a Personality Disorder – into a  criminal offense. This is absurd.

WAKE UP, MALES! SPEAK UP!

Which idiot says the DV Act is misused?

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Day in and Day out, we get to hear so many cases of the women-centric laws being misused. Be it the 498A or the PWDVA (Commonly known as the DV Act), everyone around alleges that these laws are being misused by the legal terrorists to terrorize their husbands and their families and using them as Free ATM Machines.

However, a critical study of this PWDVA law itself, makes me wonder; is this law really being misused at all? Surprised? Let me give you some grounds to think…

  • The act is made to provide relief ONLY to the married women in a domestic setup.
  • It’s one of the only laws that are entirely drafted and finalized by Lawyers, and not the legislation. This seems to me like a lock designed by a team of thiefs; and you expect that lock to be theft-proof.
  • This law is also famous as being a clumsy copy of the notorious VAWA law of the US, which is under a lot of criticism already. Even otherwise this law is a direct offshoot from the US sponsorship towards breakage of Indian Family system.
  • This law defines Domestic Violence as anything that the wife feels as a cruelty towards her. It might include the husband not giving her money for Kitty Party, or even he calling her step brother an idiot.
  • The law provides the wife to accuse anyone in the domestic relationship, including 2 months old baby, 89 years old granny or an 8 months pregnant sister-in-law. And they’ll all be required to run from pillar to post in the Indian Courts for as long as the Complainant or the Judge wants.
  • The complainant under this act can ask for any amount of money from the husband as compensation. There’s no limits to her imagination.
  • The complainant can also ask for a “right to residence” in any house that she might have stayed with her husband, ever. In addition, she can also legally ask all the other residents in that house to evacuate it, on the pretext that she feels threatened by them.
  • The Complainant can file a case under this act at any time of her life, even after 12 years of her divorce from the accused (ex-) husband.
  • There is no penalty whatsoever for the complainant if the filed case is proven to be entirely false.
  • The Supreme Court of India has ruled very clearly that this Act is a Clumsily Drafted Law and so it should be scrapped.
  • This law is already declared as unconstitutional by the National Organization “Save Indian Family” in it’s National-level Shimla Meet 2009.

With all the above points about this particular act, don’t you think the law was specifically designed by the Lawyers Collective for the exact purpose to destroy the very fabric of the country?

Now that you know the background about this law, do you still think this law is being misused? I’d say not at all. The PWDVA, 2006 is actually Used properly for achieving it’s exact objective. The objective to destroy India and the Indian Family System, by destroying the very workforce of the country, i.e. the Men and their families.

So when a law is being used exactly as it was designed to be used, would you still call it a misuse? I’d not.

Who will save the men who are burnt?

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As I read this article, wherein Supreme Court judge is calling for hanging of people who burn brides, a hailstorm of thoughts crosses my mind. Being the Public Relations Officer of Save Indian Family Foundation, an NGO dedicated to promote the cause of Gender Equality and Family Harmony; I come across cases of men wronged by their wives on a daily basis wherein men are simply penalized for the mere fact that they are MEN.

One mere complaint of harassment from their wives, whether true or not, lands them in jail along with all their family members named in the complaint without any trial or investigation. Many lose their self-esteem, jobs even; commit suicide as evident from the suicide statistics available with the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). As per the statistics, 57593 married men committed suicide in 2007 vis-à-vis 30064 married women. Figures for 2006 were 55452 married men vs. 29869 married women while those for 2005 are 52483 married men vs. 28188 married women. Every year more and more married men are committing suicide. But still there is no protection given to men. A major contribution of this comes from the misuse of dowry laws against men wherein a social presumption works against them

Now coming back to the article I’ve referred, Markenday Katju, Justice, Supreme Court of India today made a statement that “Those who burn brides should be hanged.” But, who is going to prove that the bride was burned? Will a man be hanged if his adulterous wife puts kerosene on herself and dies of burning? Or if the parents of the girl kill their daughter and then put the blame on the husband, then will the husband be hung?

And when you make a gender biased statement, “Those who burn brides need to be hanged”, why is it that you are not ready to offer the same level of protection to married men who are burnt alive? What is their fault? According to the NCRB data 3400 married are burnt alive every year on an average.

Further, Justice Katju went on to say that, “They all say that. Every time they burn a bride, they say it was a suicide.” Now this is nothing short of imposing his own assumptions on to the society, a right which he does not have, not even as a Supreme Court judge. First of all, he has assumed that all married women who die of burning are killed by their in-laws. There is no basis for his assumption as death due to burning can happen due to any reason, even kitchen accidents, negligence by women, suicide etc. And it will definitely not be in the interest of justice to hang the husband for these cases but from what views have transpired out of Katju’s statement, it is clearly evident that he has taken a gender obsessed stand which is not acceptable from a Supreme Court Judge.

Justice Katju’s statements are a clear call for the need of Judicial Reforms. Also in addition, before hanging husbands for ‘allegedly’ burning brides, Justice Katju needs to remember that the police force does not conduct a fair inquiry into the incident and merely relies on statements and is thoroughly incompetent in collecting evidences. With such lousy investigation and presumptions working at the back of mind, justice cannot be expected out of courts and in such a situation; “Judicial Reforms” is the call of the day.

With M Veerappa Moily becoming the law minister and talking of “Judicial Reforms” as the first thing to be done, some hope is definitely restored because Judicial Reforms are utmost necessary in today’s times of deteriorating faith on the judiciary. With irresponsible statements coming from the judiciary, it is clearly evident that the intellectual level of the judiciary has severely degraded. SIFF calls upon all the citizens to take part in judicial reforms as that is the only way to reduce crime in the society. Today criminals have no fear of any punishment because either the judiciary is too slow and corrupt or is involved in social service with gender obsessed statements.

Justice Katju had also made controversial statement, Bow down before your wife wherein he told; listen to your wife, even if she sounds unreasonable. Such statements from the judiciary send a strong signal to men that they should not expect justice from the courts and the question still remains open, “Who will save men who are burnt?

My question to Justice Katju, “Can you?”, “Will you?”

Renuka Chowdhury, 54 MoS (Independent Charge) for Women & child Development

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New Delhi: Renuka Chowdhury, 54 MoS (Independent Charge) for Women & child Development

Result: -1/10

She was given independent charge of the Women and Child Development Ministry in 2006 after WCD, earlier under the Human Resource Development Ministry, was made a separate ministry. After three years, there is no marked difference in the condition of women and children in the country.

Her brief

In its manifesto in 2004, the Congress said that a nutritious mid-day cooked meal scheme will be introduced in primary and secondary schools across the country and the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) will be universalised to provide for a functional anganwadi in every settlement and full coverage for children below the age of six. Chowdhury was also expected to reduce incidences of maternal and child mortality and malnutrition.

Reforms derailed

In 1997, judicial guidelines were set on protection against sexual harassment at the workplace, but the “high priority bill” is still shuttling between the National Commission for Women (NCW) and WCD.

Child labour has not been abolished, apart from a few baby steps taken by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), under the WCD Ministry.

The demand for additional guaranteed financial support from the expenditure finance committee for the ambitious and controversial proposal to give fortified pre-packaged food—instead of hot cooked meals—to poor children as part of the revamp of the ICDS was trashed by the Planning Commission.

OPPORTUNITIES BLOWN

The UPA government dropped attempts to strengthen the anti-Sati law, more than 20 years after it was first enacted. The proposed law was expected to increase prison terms for those committing as well as glorifying the practice.

After the Nithari incident, Chowdhury stressed on the need for a database of missing children. Till date, the NCPCR is still juggling to get the figures.

Proposed to the Home Ministry that it grant amnesty to women prisoners. A year after, the issue remains untouched.

Once talked of taking up the issue of dumped NRI wives but there has hardly been any step forward in the direction.

State child commissions were supposed to be set up. A Bill was passed in Parliament in 2006, but other than in Delhi and Kerala, the commissions haven’t been set up.

What was she thinking?

After the Mangalore pub attack by the Sri Ram Sene, where young women were attacked in an alleged incident of moral policing, she championed the cause of progressive city youth by calling for a “Pub Bharo” campaign and claimed that Mangalore had been “talibanised”.

High point

The enforcement of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (2005) in October 2006.

Low point

When she said “women must not trust their men” and guard themselves against HIV/AIDS, her statement drew flak from all quarters.

VIEW FROM THE SHADOW

“Except some debates and wordy duels, nothing substantive happened. WCD is a very important department.” —Murli Manohar Joshi, former HRD minister in the NDA government

Did she get your vote?

She lost in Khammam, Andhra Pradesh, by a margin of 1.24 lakh votes.

Marry shades of grey!

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Harassed husbands? The SC’s recent observation calling for a review of dowry laws (on the grounds that they are often misused) might have women’s organisations up in arms but more and more ‘harassed’ husbands have been raising their voices after being falsely implicated. Sriranjitha Jeurkar investigates why many dowry cases no longer remain plain black and white today

My name is Kumar. I am 28 years old. I wanted to marry a poor girl, so that I could help a poor family. When I told my father about this, he suggested that I marry the daughter of one of his distant relatives, from a town in Andhra Pradesh. I believed that when he had chosen nothing but the best for me until now, he could not go wrong in this decision either. I agreed. I didn’t know much about the family, except that the girl’s father was a bus conductor. We demanded no dowry and even agreed to foot the wedding expenses.

It was a perfect wedding. My wife and I lived together for a month and she went back to her home for some rituals. That’s when I realised I had contracted a sexually transmitted disease from her. I was too embarrassed to tell my parents. When I asked my wife about it, she confessed that she had had an affair with someone else and had married me due to pressure from her family. “You didn’t ask for dowry, so we thought you had something to hide too,” she said.

I was shocked. But I wanted to save my marriage, so I asked her to come with me for treatment. She wasn’t interested. She told me that she would give me a divorce by mutual consent if I gave her Rs 5 lakh. And she didn’t want to discuss the matter with her parents because she was afraid they’d take away the money from her.

Still, I was glad she had told me the truth. I told my parents. Then my company sent me abroad for a project. We applied for divorce by mutual consent, and before I left, both of us went to the family court on six occasions. After I returned to India, she went back home saying that her mother was ill, and didn’t return — not even to attend the hearings. All of a sudden, she started saying that she didn’t want a divorce, and demanded that I pay her Rs 25,000 a month as maintenance. She claimed that I was earning far more than I really was, that my family had a lot of property (which is untrue) and said we had thrown her out of the house because she refused to bring Rs 2 lakh from her parents. She claimed that her family had spent a sum of Rs 10 lakh to conduct the wedding. She even went to the extent of saying that we had forged her signature on the divorce petition!

She filed a dowry case, and I was named as an accused — along with my mother, dad, cousin and aunt. I was taken into custody and stayed there for seven days, despite my family producing documents, which refuted her claims. She told me that if I paid her Rs 10 lakh in cash, she would withdraw the case. But she also had another demand —that I give it to her in writing that I am impotent.

My aged parents had to wait for three months to get bail. We were stripped, and our fingerprints taken, as if we were petty criminals.

Until then, we knew very little about the law, and even less about Section 498A. My parents, at one point were on the verge of committing suicide. Due to all the stress, my performance at work suffered. I was terminated. Three years later, the case is still on — and I am still looking for a job. I received three job offers — all of which were withdrawn once they conducted a background check and found out that I had a case pending against me. My future looks uncertain, but there’s one thing I’m sure about: I have lost faith in the institution of marriage. I will never marry again.

Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code (Dowry Prohibition and Prevention of Marital Cruelty) is aimed at protecting the woman from harassment — from either her husband or her in-laws. But the loopholes in the law have led to misuse by women across the country. The common perception, that a helpless woman is abused for dowry by her husband’s family and the law is her only saviour — is being turned on its head.

Bangalore-based advocate Shankarappa, who has been practicing law for the last 18 years, handling many high-profile cases, says that he has seen at least 120 cases of dowry harassment in his career, “But unfortunately about 100 of the complainants had falsely implicated their husbands and husbands’ families.”

Advocate M T Nanaiah says that approximately 80 per cent of the 600 dowry-related cases he has handled over 32 years have turned out to be false implications. “Most of the remaining 20 per cent cases are mostly small disagreements that arise in every household. They get converted into dowry harassment cases.”

No warrant, no investigation

What is it about the anti-dowry law that makes such blatant misuse possible? First, the entire case hinges on the statement or allegations made by the wife.  A single oral complaint can land the husband’s family in jail. No investigation or warrant is needed before police arrest the husband or his family, or begin proceedings. It is non-bailable; the accused must appeal before the court to seek bail. It is not compoundable: the complaint cannot be withdrawn. Worst of all, there is no punishment against the petitioner if the complaint is proved false. Besides, legal experts argue, since the police do not require any proof before arrest, it takes away a basic human right.

“Once a woman lodges a complaint, the husband and his relatives are implicated. Even the police register complaints without investigation. They drag the husband, aged in-laws and even young children to the station. The charges may be proved false later, but a criminal record is a criminal record, after all,” says Shankarappa.

Lawyers say that most women who file false dowry complaints do so for a few common reasons: to get out of a marriage; to get money, or a favourable divorce settlement; if they had a premarital affair, and were married off by force; for child custody; if they want an attitude change in the behaviour of the husband or the family; to take revenge on their husbands, or in most cases, to get out of a joint family setup.

And ironically, the law that aims at helping women, ends up harassing women too. The Save Indian Family Foundation contends that on an average, 30,000 women are jailed every year in connection with dowry cases. “Once the woman files a complaint, the mother-in-law, sister-in-law are also arrested. Why restrict the law to protecting only the wife? What kind of protection do these women have?” asks Philip, whose family was falsely implicated in a case. Virag Dhulia, a member of the Bangalore Chapter of the Save Indian Family Foundation — an organisation that provides support to harassed husbands — narrates his horror story. “A few months after our wedding, my wife went back to her parents’ home and didn’t return. She said she wouldn’t return unless I agreed to live away from my parents. Then her family filed a dowry harassment case against us,” he says.

Dhulia recalls how his parents, who are in their sixties, suffered for months — the fear of being arrested, anxiety about the regular court visits, and the outcome of the case, the shame and humiliation, all adding to their health problems.

In what is probably the first such instance in the State, Dhulia has filed a complaint against his wife for giving dowry. “My wife has, in her complaint, stated that she and her parents gave me dowry in the presence of their relatives. According to the Dowry Prohibition Act, taking, giving and abetting the giving of dowry is a crime — the giver and taker are equally culpable. I have not accepted dowry; but if as per her claim, she says she has given dowry, then she is guilty too.”

He says that at first, the police refused to file an FIR. “Then I went to the ACMM Court. The magistrate there took cognizance of this complaint and asked the jurisdictional police to investigate into the matter and file a report,” he explains.

Even four months after the court’s order, no action has been taken, Dhulia alleges. “I have now filed an RTI application to get information about the progress of the investigation, but have still not received any info.”

Help is at hand

The social stigma was what prompted Arun Murthy, yet another ‘498A victim’ to set up Sangyabalya — a helpline for ‘husbands and families victimised by the anti-dowry laws.’

The helpline was set up in 2003, after Murthy’s sister-in-law filed a dowry harassment complaint against his younger brother. “She was from an orphanage, and she said we had demanded dowry. It was ridiculous,” Murthy says. After his entire family — including his mother and sister were implicated — Murthy’s brother, a hardware engineer, lost his job and became a mental wreck. “I saw how the system works — people are arrested on Friday evening, so they cannot get bail. They have to stay in jail till Monday. And consider this — if you are a government employee, and you are in jail for more than 24 hours, even if under false accusations, then your job is in jeopardy.”

Murthy then wrote to a newspaper, and received many calls from other victims. That’s when he set up a helpline for these harassed husbands. A few months later, Sangyabalya was registered as an NGO.  “A lot of people are on the verge of suicide after being arrested. We give them moral support.  Sometimes, the lawyers take them for a ride, so we extend legal aid too. But most importantly, it is a collective voice for proper representation of our problems,” he says.

The Save Indian Family Foundation, another organisation that aid people implicated under Section 498A, was first set up as an online community, but later evolved into an NGO. The Foundation now has set up helplines for men in distress. The members of the Bangalore chapter meet at Cubbon Park every Saturday. New members who approach the Foundation are given moral support, and legal advice. “Usually when someone is implicated like this, he tends to feel that he is the only one facing such a problem. When they come here and see that they are not alone, then they feel that they have some support.”

Members of the foundation, who come from various backgrounds — from software to government service — study the law and help each other with inputs on how to fight their cases.

There are several other organisations working for these ‘harassed husbands’, but most of them have common demands. “The problem arises from extravagant marriages. The giving and taking of dowry should be tackled. No one makes it a point to stop this at the source. After all, prevention is better than cure,” says Dhulia.

Murthy agrees, “There should be a mandatory registration of marriages with a record of all gifts exchanged. These gifts are referred to as dowry when things go wrong. And such disputes are family matters. There should be proper counselling available, before the woman goes to the police.”

He adds, “The law in itself is not bad. What we need is thorough checks and balances to ensure that it is not misused. We assume that women are all white and men, all black. We must acknowledge that there are shades of grey everywhere.”

But most important, these organisations say, is to make provision for action against those who file false complaints, and to ensure that no arrests are made without proper evidence. “Once the complainant sends her husband and his family to jail, chances of reconciliation are few. She thinks its a victory. But that’s the only victory, things go downhill from there,” Murthy says.

That probably underlines the need for a thorough review of the law as it exists now. The loopholes have to be plugged, activists say, and soon. For the welfare of the women, so that genuine victims of dowry harassment do not suffer because of those who have misused the law. That is the only hope, for the welfare of hundreds of women across the country.

(Some names have been changed to protect identities.)

Review necessary?

Justice J D Kapoor of the Delhi High Court had recommended a review of the dowry laws. He suggested that Sections 406 (misappropriation of dowry articles) and 498A (harassment for dowry) be made bailable and if necessary, compoundable, in cases where no grave physical injury has been inflicted.

He had observed, “There is a growing tendency to come out with inflated and exaggerated allegations roping in each and every relation of the husband and if one happens to be of higher status or of vulnerable standing, then he or she becomes an easy prey for blackmailing and bargaining.” Some suggestions of the judge are:

Such cases should be investigated by civil authorities, and cognisance taken only after findings. Only police officer above the rank of ACP should investigate harassment and misappropriation of items. A DCP should investigate dowry death cases.

When minor, schoolchildren are named, they should not be arrested or sent to court.

मैं आज की नारी: एक आत्मकथा

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नमस्कार

मैं आज की सक्षम नारी हूँ
राष्ट्रीय महिला आयोग की आभारी हूँ

मैं उस विलुप्त मूर्ती की एक अन्तिम अवशेष हूँ
जिसे कभी माता शब्द से पहचाना जाता था

मैं मेरे माता पिता की लाडली हूँ
मैं मुक्त हूँ, मैं मनचली हूँ
घरेलू काम से वंचित, मुझसे कोई भी काम नही करवाया है
सोचती हूँ की इस मुक्ती से, क्या मैंने पाया है?

नारी कभी सहनशीलता और संस्कृति की मूर्ती थी
नारी कभी सक्षम सुंदर और सम्पूर्ण परिवार की स्फूर्थी थी
आज मैं न सहनशील हूँ और नाही सक्षम हूँ
सम्पूर्णता में मेरे नारी पूर्वजों से कई गुना कम हूँ
न मैं गृहस्ती संभाल पाऊँ , और नही पति की सहचारी हूँ
मैं आज की अस्थिर, अपर्याप्त और असम्पूर्ण नारी हूँ
राष्ट्रीय महिला आयोग की आभारी हूँ

मदिरा सेवन के विरुद्ध कई हमने निदर्शन किए
इस प्रकार के कई समाज सेवक प्रदर्शन किए
आज मैं पूर्ण मुक्ती से मदिरा सेवन करती हूँ
धूम्रपान के कलुषित धूम्र में स्वास लेती हूँ
आज्ञापत्र पकडाई है मुझे देश के उन्नत नारी ने
पंख प्रदान किए है मुझे शाशन की अधिकारी ने

अनुशाशन हीन शाशन की अवैद कर्मचारी हूँ
कहने को मैं आजकी नारी हूँ
राष्ट्रीय महिला आयोग की आभारी हूँ

जानती थी मैं की नारी के प्रति सामाजिक सत्कार था
न्यायशास्त्र का दुरुपयोग मेरा जन्मसिद्ध अधिकार था
शोक ग्रस्त है एक परिवार , सदैव जहाँ पर प्यार था
पति बेच कर धन मै पाऊँ , ऐसा कुछ विचार था

न मेरे पास आज पति है, और नही मेरी परिवार है
न मेरी अभिमान मेरे पास है , और नाही किसीका प्यार है

माता पिता वृद्ध है आज, और भाई सुखी गृहस्त है
मुझे इस स्तिथी में लाने वाले आज सभी बहु व्यस्त हैं
किसीका साथ नही है आज, और धन से भी कुछ भोग नही
सुखी गृहस्ती जीवन का , इस जीवन में मुझे योग नही
क्या मैं बन पाऊंगी आज, पुन: किसीकी प्रिया?
क्या मैं जोड़ पाऊंगी रिश्ते , जिसको मैंने तोड़ दिया?
दुष्ट आयोग की प्रेरणा से, हर कोई सुख मैं हारी हूँ
आज मैं सचमुच एक अबला दुखित नारी हूँ
राष्ट्रीय महिला आयोग की आभारी हूँ

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