Misuse of Anti-Dowry laws to blackmail husband
Increase of false dowry cases in which innocent familiy members go to jail and get harassed by draconian laws of 498a and 406 of IPC, which needs an amendment. Wife reports false cases for gaining hidden selfish goals ie, separation and blackmailing husband for money, jewelry & property.
Misuse of Anti-Dowry laws by wives to blackmail husbands
- It has become a custom in India, when lots of social and legal concerns are expressed for wives in cases of matrimonial disputes, but husbands and their family members are totally ignored. The Indian social and legal systems take for granted that most of cruelty is done by husband and his family to wife, but there are no provisions for crime against husband and his family members. It is the predicament of husbands when they are continuously tortured by cruel wives who get favors from everyone including courts, public administration and society. The life style of married couple have changed drastically in last few years that has made husbands and his family members more susceptible to domestic violence. It is not fair to pre-establish that domestic violence happens to a wife only in the Indian family. In a typical situation, a wife could act cruel to her husband physically, mentally or by her anti-social behavior. As in most Indian families, husband’s parents live with him, so wife can be also cruel to them. In such circumstances, many husbands and their old parents committed suicide after being neglected by everyone including the police, Indian courts and civil authorities. Many cases go unreported when wife and her aides cannot be punished due to limitations in our laws.
- Now days, the reason for most marital disputes is couple’s mental incompatibility and their rigid, taunting and inflexible behavior towards each other. Most of time such couples are conflicting on worthless topics when their views and ideas don't match. It increases misunderstanding in between the couple as neither they like each other's ways nor they want to live together. It results in unnecessary tension that affects the lives and behavior of both spouses. There could be a girl who does not want to leave her parents even after marriage as they have high emotional attachment. In such a case, their relationship starts dictating the husband-wife relationship which increases the risk of misuse of laws. The wife could pressure her husband to get separated from in-laws due to lack of her individual space and freedom. The wife may be suffering from Borderline personality disorder, or she could be her parent’s only child, or only daughter. If wife would live in joint family and regularly interacting with elder women of house, then the risk of law abuse decreases. There are causes that increase risk of misuse of laws against the husband and his family. Following are common reasons of harassment and blackmailing of husband and his family members by wife that could implicate the misuse of dowry laws:
(a) Asking husband for giving large sum of money (in lacs) for settlement of her siblings or for establishing her father’s business
(b) Sending regular money from the pocket of husband to her parents without his knowledge.
(c) Continuing her illicit relations with boyfriend even after her marriage or developing new extra-marital relations at her work place or in her neighborhood.
(d) Wife shouts showing her uncontrollable and aggressive behavior that may be a symptom of Borderline Personality Disorder or a psyche case
(e)Abusing the parents, sisters and brothers of her husband with filthy words
(f) Showing dishonesty and telling lies to husband and other family members on homely and usual affairs related to day to day life. Wife and her parents are perfect in telling blunt lies for selfish goals.
(g) Demanding the separation of husband from his old parents
(h) Demanding transfer of property and assets just after marriage to her name.
(i) Taking away and stealing the precious jewelry items that would also include items given by husband’s parents, without conveying anyone
(j)Leaving the husband’s house (matrimonial place) with kids without giving any reason to her husband or his parents
(k) Aborting the child without telling husband or his parents
(l) Asking divorce and large sum of money or property from his husband and charging husband with false stories. Blackmailing husband or his family members for money
(m) Threatening her husband, old in-laws and other members of family that also include unmarried women to get them into jail in a false dowry case.
(n) Wife complains of receiving threatening calls and registers a complaint against husband even if he has normally called her without any quarrel.
(o) Threatens to commit suicide if her undue demands are not met
(p) Parents of wife frequently accusing husband for not satisfying their daughter or want him to settle in their city or with them as ‘Ghar jawai’
(q) Defaming husband’s family in their neighborhood and in their relations by spreading false stories of her harassment and torture
(r) Wife visiting her parents frequently and staying for long without any reasons
(s) Wife never revealed her medical problems that affect marriage
(t) Wife’s parents never restrain her for wrong deeds and behavior rather give unconditional and full support, and in-turn falsely blames her husband and in-laws for wife’s every action.
(u) Wife and her parents are very manipulative, frequently changing their stand and statements to confront their own words and promises. Wife’s family is notorious for wrong & cruel behavior in society
(v) Wife always complaining of financial crunch and henpecked situation to husband and others in family
(w) Wife’s side always ready to exhibit money and power and boast themselves of having good contacts in police, government and politics
(x) If husband would visit in-law’s house for meeting his wife in peaceful way, then also her parents could charge him for threatening and coming with goons ‘gunda’. In every possible way, wife's side wants to misuse laws and whole system for harassing and blackmailing husband and his family.
(y) Wife’s family handle husband with suspicion and don’t have any courtesy & respect for him
(z) If husband has filed for ‘Restitution of Conjugal Rights’ under section 9 (asking wife to come back to live with husband) or for Divorce in family court and his wife is opposing it. Usually in disputes, wife would oppose anything that husband would say, even if it in favour of marriage.
- The increasing number of cases of marital disputes are filed under the Dowry Prohibition Act in India. As if, the lawyers and the Indian laws are trying to prove every marital dispute as a case of dowry harassment by husband and his family members by enacting draconian laws like 498A and 406 of IPC. How can the law pre-establish the case of dowry demand out of vast possibilities of marital dispute cases? The law considers no provision for husband and his relatives to prove other reason of marital dispute for their innocence and for complaining against wife and her family members. No right is given to husband and his family members in laws to file complain of torture, abuse, blackmailing and harassment against the wife. The Indian laws are doing great injustice to humanity by not penalizing the real criminals for the marital disputes. So far, the laws have been sympathizing with daughter-in-laws ‘bahu’ in cases of marital disputes. The laws and courts are incapable to handle a situation when a wife is accused by victimized husband, but are more than ready to provide maximum relief to wife. In such a depressing condition, he is bound to undergo all the abuse, blackmailing, wrong charges, mental cruelty and punishment ordered by the courts.
- As laws are massively misused, cases of Crime against Women are rapidly increasing day by day. The dowry harassment laws are cognizable offence, in which the proof is not required and on the basis of statements of wife, police can put all accused in jail after arrest. But surprisingly when such offences are considered severe crimes, usually the complainant makes a compromise with accused. Social workers and counselors have acknowledged that most of false cases are brought by educated wives of middle-and high-income group families whose husbands can afford to shell out. These wives approach Crime Against Women (CAW) Cell or similarly functioning ‘Mahila Kendra’ for not to reconcile and live with husband, but to obtain their Streedhan back, negotiate huge alimony and get divorce by mutual consent. CAW Cell or Mahila Kendra would call husband for counseling until the girl's grievances are sorted out. If they don't achieve it, they insist on registration of FIR. Normally, the Enquiry Officer will be indifferent to what a husband would tell or show them as evidences against his innocence. Places like CAW cell has become place of harassment for innocent husbands and their family members who are falsely accused for dowry harassment by wife. In one such case, the 17 persons of one family were arrested under dowry law and finally the compromise was reached. It is increasing corruption in police and society as people allege that police threatened to oppose or delay granting of bail unless the accused family coughed up fairly hefty amounts as bribes. Others allege that many lawyers encourage complainants to exaggerate the amounts due to them as Streedhan (woman’s property), assuring them that they would get them a hefty settlement from the husband, provided they got a certain percentage as commission for their services in coercing the husband’s family. Wife usually uses provisions of 498A in the hope of enhancing her bargaining position against her husband and in-laws. In most cases of settlement, wife withdraws her complain u/s 498a and gives divorce after getting a huge amount. So the laws are misused for extortion of husbands with the involvement of women organisations, police and lawyers. Such instances have been increasing and the Supreme Court has identified them as “Legal Terrorism”. In such cases, the Lie-Detector Tests such as Brain Mapping Test and Narco-Analysis test should be used to get to the truth of the story. After seeing the plight of increasing number of harassed husbands and their family members, a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) DBCW Petition No.- 2825/05 Arjun Lal Vs State of Rajasthan, was filed at Rajasthan High Court, Jaipur bench for demanding such facilities for lie-detector tests by police and state authorities which is currently under consideration. As earlier Yasmin Hazarika, for long in charge of the Crime against Women Cell (CWC) once said "We need safeguards. A massive, thorough inquiry is absolutely essential before a case is registered". So the centers like CWC should be asked for cases where they conducted thorough inquiry, and found out that cases were wrongly fabricated.
- The laws dealing with marital abuse should be made balanced considering both husband and wife circumstances, with a provision for very stringent punishment for its misuse to act as deterrent. In cases of Crime against Women, complain is registered by wife against in-laws or mother-in-law, but Indian laws do not have provisions to deal cruelty to her mother-in-law, ‘Saas’ by daughter-in-law, ‘Bahu’. So it is wrong to say that anti-dowry laws provide safety to women, instead they provide safety only to Daughter-In-Law or ‘Bahu’. The fact is around two out of every three women prisoners in Tihar Jail, Delhi are detained in a dowry harassment offence. The threatening, abusing, maltreatment, conspiring, inflicting physical violence against husband and in-laws as well as subjecting them to cruelty - physical, mental or emotional should be duly recognized and considered under a new criminal law.
- The accused under dowry laws crime are rapidly increasing in jails across India. They are kept with hard-core criminals that severely impact their personality and thinking. Study should be undertaken in all jails about these prisoners who are prosecuted under dowry related laws. Our laws with loopholes encourage the wrong complains by wives, as there is no such counter check available to investigate the reality of any such crime informed by wife. In most cases, wife file false FIR under the pressure of her parents who think that police case will weaken their son-in-law, ‘damaad’ mentally so he and his family would agree to their demands, be it related to money, property or family related issues.
- The tradition of exchanging gifts in the marriage is prevalent and practiced commonly in Indian society, which is accepted as a social custom. Under the Hindu Marriage Act, whatever gifts are given to wife from her parents and guests are considered as ‘Streedhan’ which is her property. It is considered in Hindu society that daughter is gifted with share in father’s property and assets at her marriage. So the bride’s father wants to willfully and readily gift Streedhan to his daughter to increase his prestige and respect in society and in groom’s family. Thus, the husband is not the sole beneficiary who is later accused of demanding dowry from his wife, as he is nowhere related to willful conduct by his in-laws. The Indian laws charge husband and his family for demanding money, gift or property in marriage which is termed as ‘dowry’. It’s difficult to conclude that the gifts exchanged in marriage were willingly given by wife’s parents or demanded by husband. When the marriage turns sour, wife could manipulate her marriage gifts ‘Streedhan’ as demanded by husband and in-laws who would be accused by misusing the law. She can complain of harassment and torture for brining insufficient dowry as her husband and in-laws would be demanding more money, articles, or property. This entire story can be very easily fabricated by wife as it does not require any proof or evidence of mental torture or whatever has been said or done to her earlier. On the other hand, it is unexpected behavior of wife whose life is wholly supported by his husband and family members that include women also. All these circumstances points out flaws in present laws related to domestic violence. So the accused should not be made simply on basis of wife’s complain for demanding dowry, which need to be substantiated with other supporting facts of offence. The age old custom of exchange of gifts which is a ritual in India can not be easily eradicated by use of law only, but by promoting continuous efforts and emphasis on education for a change in social values and family traditions.
- The law u/s 406 of IPC related to ‘Streedhan’ is usually used by wives for extortion. After the dispute, overstated list of jewelry and other items are demanded by wife that is never existed or given by her parents in marriage. In many cases, when wife separates and leaves her matrimonial house, she takes away all her belongings and jewelry including the jewelry of her mother-in-law’s also, which never belonged to her but later, denies their possession. So these laws should ensure that Streedhan of mother-in-law be returned back to her and whatever is given to girl by her parents in marriage shall only be returned.
- The concept of ‘Streedhan’ derives from Hindu religious customs that has another concept of ‘Kanya Daan’ meaning ‘donating one’s daughter’. The ‘Kanya Daan’ is performed when girl leaves her parent’s home after marriage, as she is self-willingly given to her husband. But in modern society, usually after separation, the wife returns back to her parents and ask maintenance from husband. In case of their separation the ‘Kanya Daan’ is rebuked so husband would not be responsible to support or maintain his wife according to religious customs. ‘Kanya Daan’ also establishes severe crime of wife’s parents of taking back married daughter to intend separation from husband after marriage. As per ‘Kanya Daan’, the wife’s parents should have no right on her after marriage so they cannot interfere. Their interference should be considered as breach of trust under the law for which they should be punished. As donation is not allowed to be donated once more to other, so father can not perform ‘Kanya Daan’ second time, which means that the girl can not remarry. It reaffirms that the circumstances of separation and maintenance are against the Hindu marriages customs.
- Domestic Violence Bill is in the process of becoming a law that needs proper review. The mental cruelty and torture to husbands should be covered under Domestic Violence Act. The circumstances as provided below shall be considered: If wife deserts her husband without any reason, or if she has an affair with some other man, if she doesn’t cook food and not performing marital responsibilities, if taken away the husband’s belongings and other jewelry, if threatens to commit suicide, if she has the potential of harming or injuring the health of members living in house. The safety of the persons aggrieved including the husband and his family members should be ensured in this new law. As in India, generally after marriage wife lives in the joint family in one house with parents and other family members. So, all the situations and circumstances should be taken into account before drafting the rules of the game. After marriage, she has to live with the present circumstances of house which she can not compel to change as per her desires. She cannot compel her husband to live in a separate house leaving his old parents who are abused by. Such elder abuse by daughter-in-law is rampant today in the Indian society and police and laws cannot give any security to those old aged parents. Police officers at ‘Mahila Thana’ deny to register complain by mother-in-law, ‘saas’ against her daughter-in-law, ‘bahu’. In many cases, such parents commit suicide after getting tortured by daughter-in-law and her parents, police and women organisations. Generally wife blames in-laws for dowry harassment and pressurize her husband to live separately from her in-laws. Usually this method is adopted by Mahila Kendras, women organizations and Crime Against Women Cell, by pressurizing the husband to sign an agreement that compel him to live separately with his wife agreeing to her unjustified demands. Such agreements should be revoked by getting an agreement copy and challenging them in courts.
- Suicide rates of married men in India are higher than females and their proportion increases with their age. As figures from Indiastat.com shows: for males in the age group of 30 to 44, the Suicide rate is a whopping 508 per 100,000 persons; for women it is 220. The Suicide rates among men in the age group of 45 to 59 are a shocking 1,812 per 100,000 persons and among women, nearly 550. However, among divorced males the suicide rate is 164 per 100,000 persons, but even in this class, among females the rate is only 63 per 100,000. While the suicide rate for separated men is about 167, for females it is only 41 per 100,000 persons. These figures clearly show that more husbands are compelling to suicide after their distrust in social and legal system. It is due to unbearable harassment, mental torture, disturbed family life, male bashing, financial pressures, marital problems and family pressures. They don’t get any support, but if a woman would suicide then feminists, women organisations, civil authorities, legal system and media would proactively come in support of victim’s family. Why are we ignoring husbands just because they are males?
- If someone misuses a criminal law like sec. 498A & 406 of IPC, who accuses husband and family members also for gaining hidden selfish goals, then in-effect it is a seven-fold crime. 1) against her husband and his family members, 2) against her children if any, who will suffer due to their separation and tension, 3) against the religious vows that she took during marriage to support her husband as a sati-savitri and sita, 4) against the sanctity of the court, 5) against the police & public administration who has supported her as a victimised women 6) against the society, social system and values who unconditionally trust and sympathise with her as someone’s daughter, daughter-in-law, wife, sister or mother and 7) against the womanhood which is in question due to her. Thereby, the misuse of laws like 498A is an offence that should amounts to seven times the punishment provided in a 498A conviction.
- The accused in a typical dowry law case are different members of family i.e., the husband, his old and sick parents (saas-sasur), uncles, sisters of husband (nanad) who could be unmarried, brother-in-laws of husband, sister-in-laws of husband (Bhabhi) and cousins. Such a complaint shall be properly checked for its authenticity that makes the whole family accused in a criminal offence under which the conviction rate is mere 2% of cases and when most end in compromise. The due consideration should be given to family members who are respected and responsible citizens of society and never involved in criminal activity earlier in their lives. All the family members should not be accused of criminal offence only on basis of statements of complainant rather shall be given a due chance to respond against complain. In cases when family members are made accused by a complainant who lived with them, the problem needs to be resolved with discussions and the complaint has to be earnestly investigated for its authenticity before taking any step against family members. The misuse of laws make irreparable damage to victimised family members, which can be prevented by providing stringent punishment to culprits that wreck the foundation of marriage and ultimately the society at large suffers.
- The contradiction appears when the mutual compromise gets reached in between the complainant and the accused in most of 498A cases in which offences are so severe that are non-bailable, non-compoundable and cognizable. The statistics show that accused u/s 498A of IPC (Anti-dowry law) are convicted to around 2%. The great deal of reconciliation and compromise efforts are done by judges during anticipatory bail cases of husband and family members and during the family court trials. The courts favor resettlement while neglecting the fact that how the family members can live with peace, happiness and respect with a person who has charged them for criminal offence. The family is also fearful of further false cases by wife if she would live with them. It is seen that cases under section of 498A are repeatedly registered against husband i.e., second time, third time or fourth time with inclusion of severe charges in different sections of law related to crime against women. It is pity that a criminal case is registered against the accused who has financially supported the complainant and allowed her to live at his place, which is unique in criminal cases of matrimonial disputes. In matrimony, a husband usually provides the financial support, place to live, manages the household work and renders safety to wife and his children. He takes risk to work hard for his family. But rather the husband becomes vulnerable to law abuse when he, his parents and other relatives can go to jail on basis of a simple complain of his wife. Most of such cases in which stringent punishment is recommended under law, are settled for a compromise. It means that the real purpose of law is not attained and thus it should be amended to take care of the circumstances and preventing its misuse.
- The law of 498A of IPC should be amended to make it bailable, compoundable and non-cognizable to prevent harassment and torture of all family members by their arrest so the case should be settled within a set timeframe. The delay in filing complain in domestic violence case should be considered as a way of threatening the husband and family members by making false allegations and charges. The new law shall be well capable and extensible to handle such situations. Regardless to say, that the present laws tantamount to the infringement of husband's rights in marriage in their present state. It’s not less than a blunder that such an ailing state has been persisting for around two decades and not much public protest and awareness has come for any delimiting factor on it. It’s a shame to talk of such state of laws in a democratic country like India, a nation of Gandhi.
- The Malimath Committee is ‘bothered’ by the offence being non-bailable and non compoundable, which makes “reconciliation and returning to marital home almost impossible.” The report of the Malimath Committee was submitted in April 2003. The "Study Report on Crimes Against Women - Role of Section 498-A, IPC in States of Delhi & Haryana" submitted by Mr. N.K Shinghal (Shinghal Report) commissioned a report on the functioning and implementation of section 498A by Mr. N.K Shinghal, who is a retired police officer. The Shinghal Report that notes “Most of the police officers, barring a few at senior levels and the defence lawyers, considered both the sections to be not only adequate, but also overtly biased in favour of women, leading to their increasing abuse.”
- The present law related to Adultery dismisses the adulterous acts of a woman, and makes man purely responsible for their combined adulterous act. A married woman involved in an extramarital relationship is legally innocent while the man who is having an affair with her will be committing a criminal offence, and could be imprisoned up to five years or fined or made to endure both under Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code of 1860. It is pity that an adulterous woman cannot be punished for even the abetment of crime. Such biased laws come in support of wife’s adulterous behavior that would further increase the unfaithful attitude towards marriage resulting in decline of moral values in society. Both genders should be covered under preview of Adultery law, as both genders are equally responsible to entangle into any such relationship that challenges the laws and rules of society. As one alone cannot be hold responsible for any such act that requires the willingness of both genders. Recently the Malimath committee report has recommended making adultery punishable for both men and women.
- More laws should be made for providing justice to harassed husbands. If the husband died of unnatural death within 7 years of marriage, the case can be registered against his wife for conspiring her husband’s death, and for mental torture and cruelty. If wife is given a large amount as alimony from husband, then she should give in writing that she would support herself and possibly any children from the received alimony so thereafter will never marry again in life to seek another support. If she marries again, the whole alimony should be returned back to her ex-husband with interest.
- The basic problem with the present laws dealing with domestic discord and marital abuse is absence of providing effective remedies through civil laws, as the whole matter has been put under the jurisdiction of criminal laws, with very draconian provisions to make their implementation stringent. Criminal laws like 498A have been massively used in cases that can be dealt with civil procedures to put undue pressures on husband. This make cases much complex to tackle that misleads and delays the final outcome to solve marital disputes. Marital problems and circumstances should be categorized differently to deal properly, effectively, carefully and in timely manner. Out of situations described below in different sections, the criminal law shall be enacted only in conditions A, B, C, D and E; Rest all situations described in sections F till O should be dealt with the civil court procedures only.
A) Death of wife or husband due to dispute in-between them.
B) Wife or husband survived the life threat that is related directly or indirectly to marital problems.
C) Wife or husband often does physical abuse, blackmailing or any such threatening
D) Marriage was based on fraud and wife or husband wants to dissolve it because of this fraud
E) Wife or husband is cheating the other, as in case of an affair or any other misconduct and maltreatment.
F) Wife or husband demands from other that cannot be fulfilled.
G) Giving and taking the Dowry i.e. demand for any property or valuable item or security, which is demanded from wife after or before her marriage.
H) Wife or husband gets abused, tortured and harassed by him/her and in-laws who interfere in-between them to alter their present state of living standards, family and cultural values, living place and family adjustments.
I) Wife or husband feels continuously abused and ignored
J) Wife or husband has abandoned other without any cause.
K) Wife and husband are separately living due to differences
L) Wife or husband wants divorce as a final solution to their disputes
M) Wife or husband is indifferent, response less, irresponsible towards other.
N) Physical ill-health of wife or husband was not disclosed earlier to marriage which is not permitting a healthy and successful married life.
O) Separated couple is interested to come together to again work out their marriage
- It is seen that most cases of misuse of dowry laws are reported by urban families and wives who are well-educated, aggressive and keep threatening to go to police and court for a false charge. Such wives are well capable to earn their living, but still they demand heavy maintenance amount from their husbands on separation. It is sometimes even more than what husband earns or wife can earn. Supreme Court has also declared this malpractice as "Legal Terrorism" only after knowing that such incidents are on a large scale. But as usual, National Commission for Women denies any knowledge of such cases of misuse of dowry law. The issue is not of law misuse, but its greater propensity for the misuse. It can only be controlled through proper channels like the women organisations, Crime against Women Cell and Police. Out of these, the CAW cell and Women organisations will undoubtedly have the biased opinion on misuse as they are serving in wife’s benefit so they will be reluctant to act against her and to share any such data or case openly. And police would do without much initial enquiry with limited duties under the pressure and false propaganda of women organisations. It proves that false feminism has high-jacked the police, legal system, government and politics in India, and the husbands has no justice.
- The government statistics of cases related to ‘Crime Against Women’ show a pseudo image as it also includes numerous false cases registered for gaining sympathy of law and other government authorities and system. These cases are manipulated to show the aggrieved women, but actual situation gets proven during the trial of cases. The complete picture of Crimes against Women is produced by considering the judgment orders in their trials that show only around 2% conviction. Behind the false propaganda are the women organizations and NGOs that are chasing big funds and aids in the name of welfare of women and children. Due to the corruption in the system, organizations are getting easy money from government and other international organizations and they are surviving by doing propaganda of wrongly manipulated facts and data.
- The women organizations like National Commission for Women, NCW needs to be appraised for their funding from government as such organizations and allied NGOs are working as political outfits to fulfill their self-interests. In the name of women power and empowerment, they are promoting family bound terrorism by recommending new amendments in laws to make more biased laws that can be misused for blackmailing the innocents. The society has a right to information now, so each detail of their activity of such organisations shall be enquired. The laws that consider offences related to social rituals of marriage and family members should be frequently dealt with proper reviews and feedbacks while considering consequences of its implications. Any amendments in such laws shall be considered only after the proper reviews and feedback of all sections of society. The laws that deal with ‘Crime Against Women’ are widely considered as overtly biased laws in support of daughter-in-law ‘bahu’ only. It is seen that such laws are made or considered for further amendments with strong recommendations and propaganda of ‘National Commission for Women’ (NCW) and few eminent NGOs and feminists, but reviews and opinions of other sections, institutions and organisations are totally ignored and never considered by the government. In a diversified and democratic country like India, it’s totally unjustified and insane to draft any law or any amendment, only on recommendations of few selected representatives who would be beneficiaries in effect of the law. These laws can only prove to be biased that would result into greater injustice and chaos in society at large as they disturb the very basic unit of any society, the family. It is hard to understand the predominant role played by NCW in making of such laws, which is not a representative of all sections, rather a government organisation working for women (peculiarly a daughter-in-law ‘bahu’). The research studies should be undertaken in different sections of society for any amendment in laws or for implementing new laws that deal with family life, as it impacts each and every one of us.
- A human rights violation is happening in this regard, and our administrative system is ignoring this fact, as they usually say “we cannot do anything, these laws are such, and even if we will try to help the innocent people, the women organizations will abuse us all over”. So such is the nexus of these government funded women organizations that even police and civil administration is fearful to raise the alarm. It has observed though many Reports, Newspaper articles and Judgments given by many High Courts and Supreme Court that wives are rapidly misusing laws against husbands. An independent working agency at central government level should be set-up to review atrocities against men that go unreported probably due to their gender only. An organization should be made to undertake the wide spectrum research for appraising the authenticity of laws that provide loopholes to such unscrupulous wives. A ‘National Commission for Men’ or ‘Manav Aayog’ should be set-up to safeguard the rights of men i.e. Right for a livelihood, Rights in Marriage & Divorce, Right to Child Custody, Right to live in his property, Right to denial for sharing any of his property, money and assets with other person including his wife, Right to prove his innocence, Right to support and live with his family members, Right to leave abusive and non-productive relation or partnership and Right to complain against his wife or any other woman.
- The NRI husbands gets harassed, tortured and blackmailed to give large amount of money as alimony and maintenance to their wives when dowry harassment cases are registered against them. Their plight is such that they can’t easily prove themselves innocent. Due to distance, as they are unable to deal properly with the authorities and legal procedures to prove their innocence. These NRIs are harassed when their arrest warrant are released to Interpol and embassy without doing any enquiry. In some cases, Indian authorities ask foreign embassies to cancel their visa also. When they arrive in India they are arrested at airports as criminals, their passports are seized and are stopped to go back to their job abroad. Some of them have severely suffered due to loss of their parents because of their mental harassments by police and court dealings. In such cases, the wife demands maintenance amount up to Rs. 50 thousand or even 1 Lac per month. This should justify the false case of dowry demand on husband who can pay Rs. 1 Lac every month as maintenance to his wife. They are not given child custody, whereas in west, around 50% husbands fight for child custody and win, where as wife has to prove that she is capable to raise the kids. Due to this harassment, the USA state Dept. has already issued warning to foreigners for not traveling for marriage to India. It is really unfortunate for India to depict such a horrific image internationally of Indian Legal System.
- It is unjustified for a wife to demand maintenance from a husband who is accused of a criminal offence such as 498A and 406 of IPC. The accused husband shall not maintain and support the same complainant, against whom he has supposedly committed the criminal offence. In cases of divorce also, it should not be necessary to give maintenance to wife. The marriage is the result of a situation when both the bride and groom owe responsibility towards each other. As per the seven vows that take place during the Hindu Marriage ceremony, both take responsibilities towards each other. But after separation, both would stop being responsible to each other as both shall act according to their free will. After divorce, even when wife is not liable to fulfill any of her duties towards him, it is husband’s responsibility to provide regular maintenance to ex-wife. If wife is not bound after divorce, then why the husband is bound to pay to his wife. And if she is capable to earn her living then why should she ask from her husband.
- The great media exposure and the cosmopolitan culture is highly inflecting the behavior of men and women and so the marital relationship. The attitude towards marriage is rapidly changing all over India. Earlier they used to debate on joint families breaking into nuclear families and these days the discussion is on the nuclear families that are breaking apart further due to individualistic and selfish approach. It has to do with the impact of overall society on a human character; the ‘Sati Savitri’ character of sympathy, honesty, devotion, commitment, tolerance and sacrifice has no more remained a role model for the modern wife. It is evident from the fact that women constitute 55% of the primary petitioners who are filing for Divorce according to a recent story published in a national magazine. Today, wives are seeking financial security and demanding high lifestyle comforts, money, gifts, luxury, freedom, friendships, equal statue quo etc from their marriages. This has made newly married husbands to live under great mental pressure to fulfill wife’s demands apart from doing high-tension jobs. Many young men are prone to much stress and responsibility today, when they struggle to establish their family independently at a much younger age while living separately from their parents due to their jobs.
- The law of 498A of IPC is a cognizable crime in which a police officer may arrest a person without a warrant. In such crimes, the police has a direct responsibility to take immediate action on receipt of a complaint or of credible information, visit the scene of the crime, investigate the facts, apprehend the offender and arraign him before a court of law having jurisdiction over the matter.
- A total of 50,703 cases of Cruelty by Husband & Relatives were reported in the country during 2003 with an increase of 3.0% over 2002. Significant increase of 800 percent was reported from UT of Delhi over the previous year (from 135 cases in 2002 to 1211 cases in 2003). Nearly 16 percent of such crimes reported in the country were reported from Andhra Pradesh (8,167) only. The statistical data of Incidence & Rate Of Crime Committed Against Women In States, UTs and Cities During 2003 has the following conclusions: Delhi city has highest 2888 incidences in country, ie 14.8% Percentage Contribution To All-Cities, and has 22.6% Rate Of Total Cognizable Crimes carried out in Delhi. Surprisingly Kolkata has 725 incidences i.e. just 3.7% of all cities, and has 5.5% Rate Of Total Cognizable Crimes. Mumbai has 881 crimes i.e. 4.5% Percentage Contribution To All-Cities, and 5.4% Rate Of Total Cognizable Crimes. Bangalore has 1227 incidences, i.e. 6.3% of Percentage Contribution To All-Cities and 21.6% Rate Of Total Cognizable Crimes in the city. Hyderabad city has 1945 incidences which is the 2nd highest in country i.e. 9.9% Percentage Contribution To All-Cities and 35.1% Rate Of Total Cognizable Crimes. It shows the Delhi figures of 22.6% that is really exaggerated for which the real reasons need to be investigated from authorities. Cities like Mumbai and Kolkata have around 5.5% rate of total cognizable crimes. The great difference in figures of Delhi and these cities shows that certain procedures have been adopted by the state authorities in Mumbai and Kolkata.
- To save Indian families from marital discords, self-help groups should be formed in every community, company and business. Promotion of awareness programs on ‘Pledge of not taking dowry’ among the youth should be done through phone helplines and Internet. Post-marital counseling should be provided to couples who are both working, living independently and feeling stressed out due to work pressure, other financial and family burdens. A joint declaration should be signed by both husband and wife that they have not taken any dowry in marriage, and so their problems are not related to dowry harassment.
- Various self-help are been formed by victims of abuse of dowry law, that provides support though helplines in Delhi, Mumabi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Chandigarh and many other places. More information is available on websites: www.498a.org, www.saveindianfamily.org, www.mynation.net, www.pariwariksuraksha.org