National Crisis:Families in Extreme Distress:IPC498a Misuse
(contributed by Pendyala , SIF Member, and member of a mauled-by-498a NRI family)
We've read umpteen number of stories of exploited daughters-in-law in Indian newspapers. It is high time that the news media covered the sufferings of other women of the society: mothers and sisters. More and more mothers and sisters are being victimized by the abuse of anti-dowry laws, as can be seen from a few news items in the old issues of your own newspaper.
If anyone of the readers still wonders why a daugher-in-law would abuse the laws, she should google for 498a: There are THOUSANDS of highly talented young men wasting their lives, stuck in false dowry cases. Old parents are committing suicides, unable to take the humiliation and police harrassment. Innocent sisters, brothers, and other kith and kin and their family members are being dragged into the false cases, arrested without enquiry or notice.
Families are torn apart. Old parents of NRIs cannot see their children for years until the case is settled, while the sadist cruel bride enjoys to hearts content. Still the government doesn't act.
498a is probably the only law in the world where the accused is presumed to be guilty without even any investigation or enquiry or witnesses. It has so ruthlessly trampled upon human dignity and human rights. Still the government doesn't act!!
One probably needs to get into the shoes of the victims to understand the pain and see who is behind the garb of these modern "brides harassed for dowry". These conniving brides seem to be dangerously smart in words and deeds. Otherwise, they cannot get support of so many people for so many years to harass the innocent husband's family, based on an utterly false complaint. Even the victim husbands cannot see through their designs until the police wakes them up from sleep one morning.
Law is like a weapon, which protects the innocent. Just like misusing a weapon is many times devastating than breaking it, misuse of laws deserves many times severe punishment than breaking the laws. Legislation already seems to provide for punishment for misuse of laws. Why then is that we don't see people who misuse laws, at least those who do it this blatantly, being
punished? What will deter others from misusing laws?
Our constitution protects our right to a dignified life and our pursuit for happiness. Any law or
procedure that works against this fundamental principle of governance would be ultra vires. The legal framework should support innocents like the Ambatis from day one and discourage miscreants who try to ruin their dignity and peace of mind.
I am appealing to all the people, particularly those who are part of the legal establishment of the country to strongly discourage these fraudulent brides. By filing a false complaint, they are affecting the credibility of the women who are genuine victims, thereby depriving them of appropriate recourse provided by the law. For every one woman filing a typical false complaint there are at least two women accused: husband's mother and sister. Statistics may show that there are more women who are traumatized for life because of the false 498a complaints than the genuine victims who benefited from it.
Our forefathers have already provided sections in the penal code to help prosecute fraudulent complainants. I earnestly request the authorities to use the sections effectively to discourage and punish the miscreants to deter others with similar bent of mind. These fraudulent, cruel, sadistic brides are an utter disgrace to womanhood and should not deserve any sympathy from
anyone. Crime does not have a gender anyway.
As the ancient saying goes, "Dharmo rakshati rakshitaha," meaning, if you protect dharma now, it will protect you and your progeny in future.
So, here is my earnest request to one and all to do their might in preserving justice before it becomes hard for them and their progeny to find it when they need it. Let not the misuse of
anti-dowry laws ruin the unit of civilization and the social fabric: the family.