OPINION

The Potential For Misuse of Laws in India

September 08, 2010
Sumanth

According to the mainstream Media, all laws are misused in India. That means, one can harass another person by filing false police complaints and court cases and this is a kind of norm in Indian judicial system.

However, the problem with many special laws for women and weaker sections of the society is, not just its misuse. Anyone who is accused under these special laws is considered guilty until proven innocent and is denied a fair trial. This violates Universal Declaration of Human Rights, of which India is a signatory. So, people who support laws, that violate human rights and deny a fair trial to the accused, should ideally be tried in some neutral countries for their crimes against humanity.

In India, a woman could file police complaints and cases against husband and any number of relatives or friends in following laws:

1) Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961: a woman can accuse her husband and relatives of taking dowry or demanding dowry. Needless to say, the police and the courts refuse to see any evidence of transfer of money from husband to wife by bank transfers or purchase of gifts, jewelry or house hold articles like TV or Refrigerator by husband by his credit card as evidence that no dowry is demanded or taken.

2) Section 498a of IPC: a woman can accuse her husband or relatives of subjecting her to cruelty. Cruelty means any act that can cause serious harm on body or mind, which can kill a person or force the person to commit suicide. This law is sometimes termed as dowry law (creating confusion) as it is almost always invoked in dowry cases.

3) Section 377 of IPC: a woman can accuse her husband of subjecting her to un-natural sexual acts (say anal sex).

4) Section 406 of IPC: a woman can accuse her husband of breach of trust by forcefully withholding her property (jewelry, personal usage items, her TV, her washing machine etc). A woman can falsely accuse the husband of the same even after taking all the jewelry or personal usage items.

5) Section 307 of IPC: A woman can accuse her husband of attempt to murder and force police to start an investigation.

6) DV Act, 2005: A woman can accuse her husband of domestic violence and seek a court order to evict the husband from his own home and she can demand monetary compensation as maintenance every month.

7) Section 354 of IPC: A woman can file a case against husband’s relatives on assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty.

In many cases, women file all these complaints/cases at the same time on the husband and his family often on the advice of lawyers.Poor and victimised women often do not use these laws as they are unable to pay bribe to police to register cases. Main aim behind filing so many cases on husband and his relatives is to force a costly out of court settlement and a quick divorce on a husband. The police and lawyers get their percentages out of the settlement amount.

In India, there are no safeguards against misuse of laws, especially when the complainant is a woman, the husbands with early stages of marital problems often live a scared, depressed life, sometimes with violent or suicidal thoughts.

A section of Indian men’s rights activists feel that the continuation of blatant misuse of laws by women is actually a blessing in disguise for men’s movement. They feel the main victims of these misused laws are that category of men and their families, who oppose or avoid in participating in the men’s rights movement. For example, Sania Mirza was a feminist and her husband Shoaib Malik was no friend of men’s movement. They getting into a case of dowry harassment and cheating involving Ayesha Siddique benefited men’s movement. Misuse of laws by women is the main source of supply for a thriving men’s movement, which aims to finish off any remnants of feminism in the world.

Recently, the Indian Supreme Court repeated its warning to the Indian Government and urged the Govt to take steps to stop misuse of gender based laws like Section 498a of IPC.

Such is the level of exaggeration of cruel behaviour on the part of husbands and their relatives that "to find out the truth is a Herculean task in a majority of these complaints", said a bench comprising Justices Dalveer Bhandari and K S Radhakrishnan.

Expressing concern at the rise in number of complaints under Section 498A, the Bench said, "We come across a large number of such complaints which are not even bona fide and are filed with oblique motives."


Here are Videos of a TV debate (in Hindi) of a heated debate between Three Feminists, one Masculist and a whole crowd of men’s rights activists. The feminists are: Supreme Court Advocate Pinky Anand, Editor of Manushi Madhu Kishwar and president of USAID-funded womenpowerconnect, Ranjana Kumari. The masculist was Swarup Sarkar of Save Family Foundation.

Part-1:

Part-2

Part-3


Sumanth is an Indian Men's Rights Activist.
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The Potential For Misuse of Laws in India

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