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!

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What IPC? Cops set to arrest kids for killing ‘bhabhi’

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SASARAM: Can Class I and LKG kids torture and assault a woman to death? Or, to be more liberal, can children of this age collude with their

grown-up kin to execute a killing in their household? Indian Penal Code (IPC)’s Section 82 says: “Nothing is an offence which is done by a child under seven years of age.” But either Kaimur police have not read the rule book or they care a damn about it.

In yet another instance of sham police investigations making ridiculous conclusions in criminal cases, Chaniya Khatun, 6, and her sister Soni Khatun, 5, along with six other family members have been held guilty by police of having killed an 18-year-old woman.

With Kaimur superintendent of police P K Srivastava agreeing to the Bhabhua DSP Sanjay Kumar’s supervision note and ordering the arrest of the accused, the eight, including the two girls, are likely to be arrested “any moment now”. “I have already procured a warrant of arrest against the eight accused,” said R K Singh, station house officer of Sonhan police station.

It was the Sonhan PS which lodged an FIR in the case on September 2 this year after the court of Bhabhua chief judicial magistrate (CJM) forwarded a complaint case to it for investigation. In his complaint, filed in the CJM’s court on August 18, one Shah Mohammad of Khair village alleged that his 18-year-old daughter Akhtari Begum, who was married to one Md Tajuddin of Pawandi village in Rohtas district, was killed by her husband and in-laws on July 26 for dowry. As it happens in such cases, all the in-laws were named as accused.

On September 24, Bhabhua DSP Kumar along with the investigating officer visited Pawandi and supervised the case. He also interrogated the minor sisters and arrested the girl’s father-in-law. His supervision note concluded that the accusation appeared to be true as those named accused had tortured and assaulted Akhtari to death for dowry. Akhtari was the wife of the brother of Chaniya and Soni, who study in a primary school.

Srivastava just okayed the DSP’s findings and ordered the arrest of the accused. In case they elude police, their property will be attached, he further ordered.

Ironically, Srivastava on Monday evening told TOI: “Aisi galtiya hote rahti hai (Such mistakes keep happening)” if the children are named accused and witnesses also corroborate the accusation. When told about IPC and asked about police wisdom, he said: “We will do something about it now.”

A senior lawyer and member of the Bihar Bar Council described the police action as illegal. “Nor only does it border on incredulity, but it also reveals an insensitive face of the state police,” said Akhauri Mangala Charan Srivastav.

No this is not a one-off case of its kind. Earlier this month, this newspaper reported how an SP found the accusation true against all the members of a family in a case of kidnapping that never took place. So, all of them, including an octogenarian, were jailed for months.

In another case, an alleged murderer fooled police into arresting two innocent persons for the crime he had committed.

Taking cognizance of the two cases of “violation of rights of innocent persons by police” the State Human Rights Commission has sought a reply from director-general of police Anand Shankar.

No Arrest in dowry harassment matters!

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Translated from Hindustan Dainik (Click here for the Scanned PDF)

  • No arrest in matters where the maximum punishment is less than 7 years
  • Law commission gave report to home minister
  • No need to review the provisions of stay

The path is clear for the implementation of Cr.P.C. amendments that have mandated no arrest of the accused in cases leading to less than 7 years of imprisonment. Law commission, along with tightening the grip on police officials, has recommended the continual of recent amendements. The commission said it is un-necessary to ponder on the other section – 309. Staying the proceedings or not is a matter of court’s jurisprudence.

Under the new provisions 41-A, the police will not arrest the accused for crimes that are punishable with less than 7 years. In stead, the police can issue a notice ‘informing’ them that they should appear at the police station for investigations.

The commission said that the word ‘may’ should be changed to ‘will’ in the provisions. This implies that sending the notice to the accused should be made mandatory. Commission said this is to ensure that police officials do not benefit the accused under any political pressure or by unfair dealings. The commission also said that if the addressee of the notice hides own identity, then this can be a basis for arrest.

In the report, chief of the commission Justice A R Laxman clarified that the decision not to arrest the accused is equivalent to judicial directives. If a police official mis-uses powers, then he would be liable for contempt of court in addition to the departmental disciplinary action.

AMENDED SECTION 41-A: police will not arrest person accused with offenses punishable with less than 7 years. In stead, a notice will be issued to them. Only on a failure to follow notice can an arrest happen with the orders of a magistrate. Crimes like eve teasing, attempt to loot, and dowry torture will come out of the ambit of arrest. Till now, an arrest used to happen immediately after the registration of F.I.R. because offenses with more than 3 years punishment were cognizable.

Intention: stopping arrest in un-necessary and false cases. Also to reduce the crowd in jails

Opposition: Criminals will lose the fear of law

AMENDED SECTION 309: not to stay the case in the absence of lawyer

Intention: To reduce the burden of cases and controlling the tendency to delay proceedings for a long time

Opposition: lawyers said, this is against the natural principles of law. Accused will suffer because of this.

Sexual Harassment Bill to contain misuse clause !!!

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Finally, SIF’s voice is not only being heard but also been given due consideration.After relentless pressure on Law Ministry, the misuse clause in the proposed “Protection of Women from Sexual Harassment Bill” is going to be included. This is just a small victory for SIF, as we have a long way to go.

It was not at all an easy win. WCD, NCW and Lawyer’s Collective tried their best to thwart the effort. They even recommended to delete the Clause 12, that deals with punishment for the women who misuse Sexual Harassment at Work Place law. It really amuses me with the kind of logic these feminists use. The proposed bill offers redressal measures for women employee at workplaces who have been victim of sexual harassment. The procedures defines that the organisaton will have an internal committee that will look after such cases and guilty will be punished as per their defined service rules. When talking of misuse, these feminists say Indian Penal Code contains provisions to deal with misuse of law. The need is to strengthen it. It is really laughable, when the law in itself is not covered by IPC, how come IPC section come into play when there is misuse. Law Ministry has rightly dismissed the logic.

This brings to an important aspect. 498A, 304 B and DV Act are separate provisions, dealing specifically with grievances of a wife. Aren’t these greivences covered under IPC. We have extortion law for demand for dowry, murder law for dowry death and hurt law for domestic violence. Where has their logic of strengthening IPC gone ? Why do they want a separate law when issues of wife are concerned ?

When it comes to misuse of law, they talk about provision already in IPC and when it comes to cruelty on wife, they want a separate law even when IPC provides for it. This could only be to meet specific agenda of extorting under the legal framework.

Legalised Extortion, a la feminist style.

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.

Bridegroom complains of dowry harassment!

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AFTER BRIDES, it is now the turn of bridegrooms to complain about dowry and seek action against in- laws.

A case has come to light where a man complained to the police that his in- laws gave him dowry he never demanded.

Nishant Saini had married Anjali Dargan in 2007, but the marriage boat rocked within six months when Anjali walked out of the house in which they were living and slapped a dowry case against Saini.

She alleged Saini had taken Rs 1.45 lakh in dowry, given in two instalments of Rs 1.2 lakh and Rs 25,000. Saini, however, refuted the allegations. In a counter- complaint to the police, he blamed his in- laws for forcing him to accept the money he said he never demanded.

But the police refused to lodge a complaint. He then complained to the Delhi Police chief, seeking action against his wife and in- laws. In 2008, Saini moved court. He charged his wife and in- laws with committing an offence under the Dowry Prohibition Act.

The Act stipulates that anyone who demands or gives dowry can face punishment. “ We urged the court to direct the police to register a case against the bride and her parents,” said Pradeep Nawani, the lawyer for Saini.

The court directed the investigating officer of the case to file a report. Four months after the order, the officer failed to submit a report and told the court no case can be registered against the bride or her parents.

The court slammed the officer and directed two senior Delhi Police officers to take action against her.

Guidelines set by the Delhi High Court state that the police, before arresting a person under the Dowry Prohibition Act, must investigate the case and the bank accounts of the bride’s parents to verify if the sum of money they claim to have given in dowry.

Also, according to Supreme Court guidelines, a station house officer is duty- bound to register a case if it is a cognisable offence.

Men are committing suicides due to Domestic Violence

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Bangalore, 11 April: Canadian citizen of Indian origin Mr. Syed Makdoom committed suicide recently, unable to bear the pain of separation from his child by his estranged wife with whom he was involved in a custody dispute. He had been fighting a court battle since 2005 with estranged wife in Bangalore after misunderstandings cropped up between the two. As per Mr. Kumar Jahgirdar, President of Non Governmental Organization, “CRISP”, Makdoom committed suicide as he was unable to bear the mental torture meted out to him. On this, Panduram Katti, President, Save Indian Family Foundation, raised a point that there has been a phenomenal increase in suicides by men and this tells us that they are being tortured to a very high level.

As per statistics by National Crime Records Bureau analysis in the year 2007, 158,000 married men committed suicide in the last 11 years. Some Non Governmental Organizations believe that the main reason of increase of suicides of married men is the mental torture and harassment meted out to them. Jahgirdar receives a lot of cases where men are tortured. He said most of these cases are either cases where Domestic Violence Act has been misused against them or those cases where they are a victim of acute mental stress and depression in absence of any available channel of relief from Domestic Violence that they suffer from. Often the torture culminates in men’s suicides.

Panduram Katti also told that social problems like divorce and domestic disputes are increasing. Foundation did a nationwide survey on about 334 couples and found out that when it comes to confidence and strength, husbands are much weaker than their wives. This is manifested by their mental stress. As per Katti, this ultimately leads to suicide for many men.

Foundation member Virag, told that all over the country 158,000 married men have committed suicides in the last 11 years due to domestic violence. Especially after 1998 the suicide rate has shot up and risen by 40% he added. As per him, every week 50 cases are received by the Foundation. Karntaka Rakshana Vedike member Prem Kumari has said that every week she receives around 300 cases of domestic violence out of which 50-60 cases are of men facing domestic violence.

As per Jahgirdar, around 2 years back, Domestic Violence Act was passed by the Parliament, And after the enactment whether there has been a reduction in the number of incidents of domestic violence on women is a matter of research, however, men’s suicides have increased a lot and because of that men’s harassment coming to forth is a matter of concern.

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