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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Article in Hindu- Harrassed Husbands

In an ego-shattering exercise “harassed husbands” are out “demanding justice”,
says GEETA PADMANABHAN

In a televised Pune rally, Financial Analyst Dhaval Kadakia claimed his wife hit him if he refused to do household chores. Salim Bootwala, an entrepreneur said, “I divorced my wife in 1997. In 2006 she filed a case of dowry against me. The judge did not hear my case nor lookat the documents. On the basis of her complaint, I was sent to jail for four days.” P.R. Gokul wrote, “I am the victim, we are being harassed, you need to know the oppressors to believe me.”

In an ego-shattering exercise, “harassed husbands” are out “demanding justice”. Their main enemy is not the wife, not her greedy parents or conniving relatives. It is the legally recognised, constitutionally valid “monster” called Section 498A, IPC. Why? “Section 498A is the most vicious weapon in the hands of those who decide to be vindictive,” said Kalpana Murari, a divorce lawyer. “Under the Dowry Prohibition Act, the wife, relative of the victim or a welfare organisation could lodge a complaint against the husband and his family. This could put the family behind bars for 15 days.” The burden of proving his innocence is on the accused.

How these men fight is a lesson in “approach strategy”. They write blogs. They start websites and message boards. They have a forum. They hold meetings, training sessions and rallies. They go to the media. They listen, educate and inform. They send out fliers. They’ve set up helplines, use the RTI to gather information on convictions. They provide legal assistance. And they quote the Sushil Kumar Sharma vs Union of India case.

Supreme Court judges deciding this case felt 498A was being misused, “giving license to the unscrupulous to unleash harassment and wreak personal vendetta.” They said, “The provision was intended to be used as a shield and not as an assassin’s weapon.” In such cases, acquittal did not “wipe out the ignominy suffered during or prior to the trial.” The court asked legislatures to find ways to deal with the misuse, and the investigating agencies to function as “a watchdog and not as a bloodhound.”

“No investigation or warrant is needed before arrest and start of proceedings since the crime u/s 498A is cognisable and there is no punishment if the complaint is proved false - two major reasons why 498A is used as a pressure-tactic,” said P.R. Gokul who heads a Yahoo group of “victims-of-law” that calls itself SIFF (Save Indian Family Foundation). “Now SIFF is a registered entity, with a membership of over 50,000 people and over 20 NGOs,” he said.
Raksha, a Hyderabad-based outfit counsels men who consider suicide as an alternative for a bad relationship. “A lot of married men are desperate for help,” said Raksha president C.V.L. Narasimha Rao in an interview. Amitabh Das Gupta, President, Pune Chapter of Protect Indian Family Foundation wants “the existing laws amended to give enough powers to men.”

Not likely to happen soon. “Change this law? No way!” said lawyer Sudha Ramalingam firmly. “Section 498A came after a great battle to protect women battered within the walls of her husband’s home. Subjecting a wife to cruelty was not seen as injustice. Now bringing the culprits to book is unjust or a means of breaking the family!” She dismisses the argument of an innocent husband and his relatives being harassed by the abuse of this law as exaggeration. “Only after a preliminary inquiry is a prima-facie case made, FIR registered and the law set in motion. There are provisions for seeking anticipatory bail and proving their innocence to get acquitted.”

S. 498A is a handy tool for shady practices, men argue. Among them are [1] Pre-marital affairs. Marry the guy of parents’ choice, dissolve the marriage, collect funds and marry the old flame. [2] Extra marital relationship. [3] Extortion, serially, one marriage after another. [4] To alienate husband from his responsibilities toward his old and dependent parents [5] To obtain a favourable divorce settlement [6] To wrest child custody from the husband.

Sudha concedes that the law perhaps has teething problems. S.498A and the “Prevention of Women from Domestic Violence Act is needed today more than ever as women are getting educated and earning well but are helpless in their homes. If men treat their wives with dignity and equality there is nothing for them to fear.” Ah, then “Why is it that only men with high socio-economic profiles become victims of 498A?” asked Suresh, an entrepreneur. “Easy targets, better yield.” The World Health Organisation has explicitly cited the misuse of anti-dowry law by daughters-in-law as one of the primary reasons for elder abuse in India. Clinical psychologist Devdas suggests pre-nuptial agreements. “At some point, men will decide that a live-in relationship is better than a bash-in one,” he warned.

It’s stupid to talk of retribution. No one wants families to suffer. Discussing differences without malice may help resolve them. But you can’t help shaking your head while letting out a deep sigh. When will women learn to network so efficiently and mount a systematic campaign on and off the web?

Fact File
The number of cases under section IPC 498A registered in 2005: 58,319, cases dismissed at charge-sheet level: 10,491 (18 per cent), cases charge-sheeted on face value of complaint: 47,828 (82 per cent), cases where the accused were acquitted: 24,127 (41 per cent), convicted: 5,739 (9.8 per cent). For these 58,319 registered cases, 1,34,757 people underwent arrest under 498A and Dowry Prohibition Act.
Helpline for Harassed Husbands 9868142607, 9868142608, 9810170681

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Human rights are not for men-Daily Mail Article

By Melanie Phillips. First published in the Daily Mail, June 19 2003.

The government’s war against men is now plumbing ever more astonishing depths. On Radio Four’s Today programme yesterday, the Home Secretary David Blunkett could scarcely wait to boast of new proposals to deal with domestic violence.

Such crimes are indeed a serious matter. But the Home Office not only continues to distort them as overwhelmingly caused by male aggression against innocent women and children, against all the evidence that this is not the case. It is now taking a giant step towards fundamental injustice.

Anyone truly concerned with civil liberties could not fail to have been appalled by Mr Blunkett’s comments. The problem was, he enthusiastically explained, that at present ‘you have to get someone through court’ before a domestic violence suspect can be restrained.

So his solution is to restrain them before they even get to court. In other words, he wants action taken against a man on the basis of an unproven allegation by a woman– made under the protection of anonymity, to boot. So much for this Home Secretary’s understanding of the presumption of innocence, the meaning of justice and the necessity for a trial of the facts.

Even worse, despite the fact that he has just given the women’s refuge movement extra millions in public funds, he thinks women should not have to move out when they claim they are being attacked. The men they are accusing should move out instead, pronto. So men will now be evicted from their homes simply on the basis of an accusation.

The way will thus be clear for a woman who has tired of her man to get the police to evict him, without the tedious irrelevance of having to ‘get someone through a court’.

These are proposals which are simply inimical to the rule of law. They also spectacularly miss the point.

True, some 150 people – the majority of whom are women -- are killed at home every year. But if we want to stop the appalling toll of domestic violence, we have to address the unstable relationships which are fuelling the phenomenon.

For unmarried partners present vastly more risks of physical abuse to both adults and children at home than do married couples. Transient relationships lead to more jealousy, insecurity and, in extreme cases, violence. Furthermore, unmarried individuals are far more likely to abuse a child in their care with whom they have no biological connection.

The Home Office itself has previously acknowledged that the dislocation arising from marital breakdown is a ‘key risk factor’ in domestic violence. Yet the government has encouraged the false belief that all relationships are equal in value.

While thus giving its blessing to domestic arrangements which give rise to violence between intimates, the government is choosing to pile the blame on men. For although it claims in passing that one in six men suffers from domestic violence, it says women are mainly their victims.

This is a wicked distortion of the facts. There is overwhelming evidence from dozens of international studies that women are as violent towards men as men are towards women. Women are indeed more likely to initiate violence. Even the Home Office – which persistently ignores this research -- reported some years back that equal numbers of men and women were initiating violence towards each other.

True, women get hurt more badly in such fights because men tend to be stronger. That is presumably why more women than men are killed in these disputes. But there is also much anecdotal evidence that many men are too ashamed to report their injuries.

The Home Office report reheats yet again a number of misleading old chestnuts. It says, for example, that one in four women suffers domestic violence. This is rot. It is a figure extrapolated from studies that don’t stand up to serious scrutiny – illustrating the dismal standards which characterise virtually all domestic violence research in this country, but which the Home Office not only slavishly relies upon but also funds.

Not only does the government distort the facts about violence between adults, but it ignores the role played by women in violence towards children. For all the evidence suggests that while men commit most child sexual abuse, women subject children to more neglect, physical injury and even murder.

An NSPCC study a few years ago revealed that mothers were the most frequent perpetrators of children’s physical injury, emotional abuse and neglect. This is hardly surprising since mothers generally have more contact with their children than anyone else.

In America, where trends are likely to be similar to Britain, the Department of Justice said that in 1999, three out of five maltreated children had been abused by their mothers. And in 2001, the US Department of Health and Human Services reported that 32.4% of child fatalities were committed by mothers, compared to 14.2% committed by fathers, 14% by non-parents and 25.1% by mothers and fathers acting together.

So the idea that men are responsible for the vast majority of domestic violence is simply untrue. Yet Mr Blunkett is urging women to make more such claims -- on the basis of which men are to be deprived of their homes, their children and their reputations.

These preposterous proposals are based on the extreme feminist belief -- which has captured the Home Office -- that all men are guilty. That’s why rape trials are now to be rigged, too, by weighting the burden of proof against the defendant. Many men are already victims of this egregious prejudice in the divorce courts, where unproven allegations against them are automatically believed and used to deprive them of contact with their children.

Clearly, some men are indeed guilty of violence against the women they live with or their children. But some men are guilty of other crimes, too. Yet this has not caused the government to tear up the elementary rules of justice in those cases. So why is domestic violence so different?

The answer is that men are being demonised as intrinsic rapists, wife beaters and child abusers as part of a broader agenda. It is nothing less than an aim to destroy the married family, cripple ‘male power’ by emasculating men’s role and undermine masculinity itself.

So men are given the impression they can no longer be breadwinners (unless they are separated from their children’s mother, in which case they will be pursued for money the length and breadth of the land).

Meanwhile, women are lured back into the workplace by a government fanatical in its feminist agenda. Only recently there was a report from the Women and Equality Unit which implied that it was wrong for women to stay at home with their children when they could be economically active.

At the same time, men are patronised as emotionally illiterate, and regarded as no more than walking wallets, sperm donors and mothers’ au pairs.

In fact, the biggest protection against domestic violence is marriage, the very institution the government is busy destroying. Domestic violence is far rarer within the stable and loving context that marriage affords than among cohabiting couples who are more prone to insecurity and jealousy.

Since the government’s approach is exposing hundreds of thousands of children to hugely increased risks of violence and abuse, Mr Blunkett’s pious assertion that he was ‘putting children first’ was enough to make one choke on the cornflakes.

By encouraging mass fatherlessness, this government is putting children last. These domestic violence proposals go even further: removing men not just from family life but from the protection of the law itself.

They are being turned into un-persons, excluded from the ambit of human rights (so much for the wretched Human Rights Act). And once again it is a male politician, in the emasculated Home Office, which is putting the boot into men.
Human rights are not for men
By Melanie Phillips. First published in the Daily Mail, June 19 2003.

The government’s war against men is now plumbing ever more astonishing depths. On Radio Four’s Today programme yesterday, the Home Secretary David Blunkett could scarcely wait to boast of new proposals to deal with domestic violence.

Such crimes are indeed a serious matter. But the Home Office not only continues to distort them as overwhelmingly caused by male aggression against innocent women and children, against all the evidence that this is not the case. It is now taking a giant step towards fundamental injustice.

Anyone truly concerned with civil liberties could not fail to have been appalled by Mr Blunkett’s comments. The problem was, he enthusiastically explained, that at present ‘you have to get someone through court’ before a domestic violence suspect can be restrained.

So his solution is to restrain them before they even get to court. In other words, he wants action taken against a man on the basis of an unproven allegation by a woman– made under the protection of anonymity, to boot. So much for this Home Secretary’s understanding of the presumption of innocence, the meaning of justice and the necessity for a trial of the facts.

Even worse, despite the fact that he has just given the women’s refuge movement extra millions in public funds, he thinks women should not have to move out when they claim they are being attacked. The men they are accusing should move out instead, pronto. So men will now be evicted from their homes simply on the basis of an accusation.

The way will thus be clear for a woman who has tired of her man to get the police to evict him, without the tedious irrelevance of having to ‘get someone through a court’.

These are proposals which are simply inimical to the rule of law. They also spectacularly miss the point.

True, some 150 people – the majority of whom are women -- are killed at home every year. But if we want to stop the appalling toll of domestic violence, we have to address the unstable relationships which are fuelling the phenomenon.

For unmarried partners present vastly more risks of physical abuse to both adults and children at home than do married couples. Transient relationships lead to more jealousy, insecurity and, in extreme cases, violence. Furthermore, unmarried individuals are far more likely to abuse a child in their care with whom they have no biological connection.

The Home Office itself has previously acknowledged that the dislocation arising from marital breakdown is a ‘key risk factor’ in domestic violence. Yet the government has encouraged the false belief that all relationships are equal in value.

While thus giving its blessing to domestic arrangements which give rise to violence between intimates, the government is choosing to pile the blame on men. For although it claims in passing that one in six men suffers from domestic violence, it says women are mainly their victims.

This is a wicked distortion of the facts. There is overwhelming evidence from dozens of international studies that women are as violent towards men as men are towards women. Women are indeed more likely to initiate violence. Even the Home Office – which persistently ignores this research -- reported some years back that equal numbers of men and women were initiating violence towards each other.

True, women get hurt more badly in such fights because men tend to be stronger. That is presumably why more women than men are killed in these disputes. But there is also much anecdotal evidence that many men are too ashamed to report their injuries.

The Home Office report reheats yet again a number of misleading old chestnuts. It says, for example, that one in four women suffers domestic violence. This is rot. It is a figure extrapolated from studies that don’t stand up to serious scrutiny – illustrating the dismal standards which characterise virtually all domestic violence research in this country, but which the Home Office not only slavishly relies upon but also funds.

Not only does the government distort the facts about violence between adults, but it ignores the role played by women in violence towards children. For all the evidence suggests that while men commit most child sexual abuse, women subject children to more neglect, physical injury and even murder.

An NSPCC study a few years ago revealed that mothers were the most frequent perpetrators of children’s physical injury, emotional abuse and neglect. This is hardly surprising since mothers generally have more contact with their children than anyone else.

In America, where trends are likely to be similar to Britain, the Department of Justice said that in 1999, three out of five maltreated children had been abused by their mothers. And in 2001, the US Department of Health and Human Services reported that 32.4% of child fatalities were committed by mothers, compared to 14.2% committed by fathers, 14% by non-parents and 25.1% by mothers and fathers acting together.

So the idea that men are responsible for the vast majority of domestic violence is simply untrue. Yet Mr Blunkett is urging women to make more such claims -- on the basis of which men are to be deprived of their homes, their children and their reputations.

These preposterous proposals are based on the extreme feminist belief -- which has captured the Home Office -- that all men are guilty. That’s why rape trials are now to be rigged, too, by weighting the burden of proof against the defendant. Many men are already victims of this egregious prejudice in the divorce courts, where unproven allegations against them are automatically believed and used to deprive them of contact with their children.

Clearly, some men are indeed guilty of violence against the women they live with or their children. But some men are guilty of other crimes, too. Yet this has not caused the government to tear up the elementary rules of justice in those cases. So why is domestic violence so different?

The answer is that men are being demonised as intrinsic rapists, wife beaters and child abusers as part of a broader agenda. It is nothing less than an aim to destroy the married family, cripple ‘male power’ by emasculating men’s role and undermine masculinity itself.

So men are given the impression they can no longer be breadwinners (unless they are separated from their children’s mother, in which case they will be pursued for money the length and breadth of the land).

Meanwhile, women are lured back into the workplace by a government fanatical in its feminist agenda. Only recently there was a report from the Women and Equality Unit which implied that it was wrong for women to stay at home with their children when they could be economically active.

At the same time, men are patronised as emotionally illiterate, and regarded as no more than walking wallets, sperm donors and mothers’ au pairs.

In fact, the biggest protection against domestic violence is marriage, the very institution the government is busy destroying. Domestic violence is far rarer within the stable and loving context that marriage affords than among cohabiting couples who are more prone to insecurity and jealousy.

Since the government’s approach is exposing hundreds of thousands of children to hugely increased risks of violence and abuse, Mr Blunkett’s pious assertion that he was ‘putting children first’ was enough to make one choke on the cornflakes.

By encouraging mass fatherlessness, this government is putting children last. These domestic violence proposals go even further: removing men not just from family life but from the protection of the law itself.

They are being turned into un-persons, excluded from the ambit of human rights (so much for the wretched Human Rights Act). And once again it is a male politician, in the emasculated Home Office, which is putting the boot into men.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Information which one could send media about misuse of Women-protection laws

IPC 498a: Unlike other cases, one complainant’s(wife) vengefulness can get an entire family(husband’s) arrested and the subsequently caught in legal wrangles for an extended period of time.

No investigation or warrant needed before arrest and start of proceedings(since the crime u/s IPC 498a is cognisable), and there is no fear of punishment even if the complaint is found to be false later (after investigation or lengthy trial), these are two major reasons why IPC 498a is misused widely as pressure-tactic(reasons of misuse are mentioned towards the bottom of this mail)

Only 2% conviction in 498a- an ineffective law prone to misuse(research report by Center for social research). See the section - "Findings of the Study": Nearly five crore married women in India are victims of domestic violence (DV). Only 0.1 percent (1 out of 1000 DV cases) of these are being reported. Out of 100 cases that are ordered for investigation under 498A, only in 2 cases the accused get convicted


Supreme court itself terming this trend of misuse as Legal Terrorism[Sushil Kumar Sharma Vs. UOI and Ors - Writ Petition (C) No. 141/2005].(see excerpts of this SC judgement and US and Canadian Consular warnings about misuse of IPC 498a at : http://at498a.blogspot.com/2006/07/please-report-on-misuse-of-ipc-section.html )

An innocent man gets arrested u/s 498a every 5 minutes, a lady gets wrongfully arrested every 23 minutes, a minor child(under 18) arrested every day, a senior citizen every 2.4 hours(source National Crime Research Bureau): http://www.rakshak.info/sitebuilder/preview/resources_MP_appeal.html & http://at498a.blogspot.com/2008/01/innocent-gets-arrested-every-5-minutes.html

1000s of Victim cases: http://victims-of-law.blogspot.com/

100s of media clips: http://www.youtube.com/group/saveindianfamily

High socio-economic profile of victims(IIM, IIT, Software engineers, Merchant Navy, NRI, Industrialists, Rich husbands/family): Easy targets and better yield in case of money extortion.


Save Indian Family Movement: Brief History of SIF, Objectives and FAQ
SIFF(Save Indian Family Foundation) came into formal existence in 2005 as a yahoogroup of individual members and NGOs. Nevertheless , the movement can be traced back to 2003 when a group of individual members coordinated themselves and helped each other with information and other relevant issues, through internet discussion boards, emails and some other yahoo groups. At present SIFF is a registered entity, with a membership of over 50,000 people and over 20 NGOs.

SIFF’s primary aim is to facilitate a better family system for the progress of a family and hence positive progress of India.

Read more about our Save Indian Family scope, awareness and other objectives......... at: http://at498a.blogspot.com/2007/09/sif-awareness-article-for-newsletter-of.html


SIF Found with help of RTI(Right to Information Act in 2005) (Source: Ministry of Home Affairs, RTI No. 24013/20/2006-SC/ST-W) :

Also take a look at the article which appeared in 'Harmony' magazine, about organisations fighting against legal terrorism(which has reported the below data too, also blogged at http://at498a.blogspot.com/2008/04/caught-in-vise-article-about-sif-in.html).
Nos of cases u/s IPC 498a registered in 2005: 58319
•Nos of Cases Dismissed at charge sheet level: 10,491 (18%)
•Nos of Cases Charge sheeted on face value of complaint: 47,828 (82%)
•Nos of Cases Where the accused were not guilty (Acquitted): 24,127 (41%)
•Nos of cases where the charges were genuine (Convicted): 5739 (9.8%)

For these 58319 registered cases, 134757 people underwent arrest under 498a and Dowry Prohibition Act.
Age wise distribution:
Below 18 years: 358 (0.2 %)
Above 60 years: 4744 (3.5 % )
between 18-60 : 129655 (96 %)

World Health Organization (WHO) WARNS

The World Health Organization (WHO) has explicitly cited the misuse of anti-dowry law by daughters-in-law, as one of the primary reasons for elder abuse in India. (Pls refer: http://www.saveindianfamily.org/blogs/2005/06/26/elder-abuse-in-india And http://www.who.int/hpr/ageing/MissingVoices.pdf & http://whqlibdoc.who.int/hq/2002/WHO_NMH_VIP_02.1.pdf, page 21)
It mentions: "In india there is a law that in intended to protect the daughter-in-law from abusive in-laws. A daughter in law can go to the police station and lay a complaint that she is being abused by her in-laws, and the in-laws are arrested on her word alone. However the focus group participants reported that some daughters-in-law are using this law as a form of elder abuse,by making false police reports. In general, participants stressed that the lack of caring attitude by daughters-in-law was a major problem. (India)"

US GOVT WARNS

Whenever we talk about NRI marriage fraud, why DON’T WE TALK ABOUT Dowry law misuse? Even the US govt. realized the problem of Dowry law misuse in India and they have also displayed a travel warning on their website, warning US citizens(Persons of Indian Origin) going to India for marrying Indian girls for details pls read: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1139.html)

It mentions: "A number of U.S.-citizen men who have come to India to marry Indian nationals have been arrested and charged with crimes related to dowry extraction. Many of the charges stem from the U.S. citizen's inability to provide an immigrant visa for his prospective spouse to travel immediately to the United States. The courts sometimes order the U.S. citizen to pay large sums of money to his spouse in exchange for the dismissal of charges. The courts normally confiscate the American’s passport, and he must remain in India until the case has been settled. There are also cases of U.S.-citizen women of Indian descent whose families force them against their will into marriages to Indian nationals."

Canadian Govt. Warns

Canadian Consular affairs info for Canadian abroad ( http://www.voyage.gc.ca/dest/report-en.asp?country=128000#6 ): Excerpt--> Growing numbers of Canadian citizens have been caught up in marital fraud and dowry abuse in India. Most cases involve Indo-Canadian males who abandon their wives in India after cheating them out of large sums of money. Other cases involve misuse of India’s Dowry Prohibition Act. This law, which was enacted to protect women and makes demanding a dowry a crime, is sometimes used to blackmail men through false allegations of dowry extortion. Individuals facing charges may be forced to remain in India until their cases have been settled or pay off their spouses in exchange for the dismissal of charges. To avoid such problems, you are advised to register your marriage in India along with a joint declaration of gifts exchanged, as well as consider a prenuptial agreement

Girls use it for any reason but genuine (other than Harassment and cruelty, also see signs of impending false 498a), see some of the root causes for this legal terrorism:

Pre marital affair, agreeing to marry groom of parents choice with a plan to dissolve the relation by false case u/s498a, once the girl does it her parents will have to support her and finally cede to her choice of partner.

Ego, high-handedness, vengefulness

Extra marital relationship, money-mindedness

Borderline personality/Bipolar disorder, pregnancy blues/post partum psychosis

Extortion, there have been a lot of cases where wives were extorting money by misusing 498a serially, one marriage after another.

To alienate the husband from his family and his responsibilities towards his old and dependent parents

To acquire husband’s property and extort huge sums of money

To obtain a favorable divorce settlement

To wrest child custody from the husband by leveling false charges of cruelty against him

To dominate the husband and harass his family thereby creating conditions for coercion

See an earlier related post, on data which could be sent to Media.

Women misuse laws meant to protect them- DNA Article

Published after PIF's press conference on 2nd April, 2008.
Wednesday, April 02, 2008 22:59 IST

Are women using the laws meant for their protection against men? Speak Up found the answer to be affirmative at the Women Against Misuse of Women-Protection Laws seminar held by the Protect Indian Family Foundation. The solutions, however, are not as easy as they may seem
Innocent families are being victimisedWe want to highlight the misuse of women protection laws. Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code was passed to protect women against marital cruelty and dowry harassment. This allows the arrest of the husband and his relatives solely on the basis of allegations made by the wife, without any evidence and investigation. Section 498A, being non-bailable, allows punishing the accused by imprisonment even before the guilt is established. Unfortunately, it is increasingly being misused by women to settle scores with their in-laws and husband. Innocent families have been imprisoned only on the basis of the wife's allegations. We want to help such families get justice. Several authorities have noted that almost 98 per cent of cases filed under Section 498A are based on false accusations. —Mohanlal Gupta. President, Protect Indian Family Foundation

We underwent emotional traumaM y family and I have been at the receiving end of women protection laws. My brother's wife wanted to divorce him. To make the divorce process easier, she filed a harassment case against us under Section 498 A of the IPC. We always treated her with respect and it came as a shock. This completely shattered my brother and plunged him into depression. She didn't even spare a thought about the one-year-old child she has with my brother. My family had to go through a lot of mental and emotional trauma. We had to run from pillar to post to prove our innocence. It's been three years now and she has not produced any evidence to substantiate her claims. She has realised that her case is weak and wants to reconcile with us now. But the case is in our favour and we are waiting for the court's verdict. —Shilpa Rane

How can they arrest without proof? Section 498 A of the Indian Penal Code needs to be revised. Such laws will only be misused by women for personal gain. Which couple does not fight? We should encourage couples to sort out their difference mutually. Dragging each other to court and implicating family members will only lead to a complete breakdown of the social fabric of our society. My family and I went through a harrowing time after a relative registered a complaint against us under the draconian 498A of the Indian Penal Code. In case of an accident or murder, law requires proof before action can be initiated against the accused. So why does the law allow innocent families to suffer merely on the basis of a false complaint. There's an urgent need to look into the misuse of women protection laws. —Manju Bharghav

Lawyers are equally responsibleOnly Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code allows the arrest of the husband and his male and female relatives, irrespective of their age and health, without any evidence and investigation. I am not against the law. But I do think we need to find ways to stop its misuse by women. If a woman registers a complaint under Section 498A, police are bound to take action. But all complaints are not genuine. Many women misuse the law to harass their in-laws. Recently, a woman approached me. She wanted to file a complaint against her husband under Section 498A because her husband had failed to keep his promises. I turned down her case and advised her to resolve the issue amicably. Now, another lawyer has taken up her case. I think the lawyers too are equally responsible for the misuse of the women protection laws. —Madhavi Pillai. Family counsellor and advocate

Abusers of the law should be jailedMy NGO is creating awareness on the misuse of the Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code. We have already organised about 25 press conferences in cities such as Lucknow, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Delhi. This law came into effect to prevent women against domestic violence and harassment for dowry. It is an important law but the practice of arresting people without investigation needs to be changed. Most women misuse the law not only to extract money from their spouses, but also due to career constraints or adjustment problems faced by them after marriage. Misguided advice turns petty quarrels into big fights. I too have been at the receiving end. Earlier, I used to feel very lonely and didn't know whom to approach. According to me, the person who misuses laws should be arrested and put behind bars.—PR Gokul. Director, Protect Indian Family Foundation

Some complaints are made in angerThe rampant corruption in our system has led to misuse of women protection laws. When an angry wife approaches the police, she is received by lower rank officers. Depending on her husband's financial condition, these officers advise the woman on further course of action. Mostly, women from lower income groups don't file such complaints. It's usually the financially well-off women who register complaints under Section 498A. I think only an officer of the rank of commissioner should look into the matter. In many cases, the wife gets angry and rushes to the police station. A senior officer would listen to her grievances and give her sound advice. It may be possible that the woman took the step in anger and may change her mind later.—Balkrishna Shetty. President, Human Rights and Development Organisation
How many laws are there for men?Many women are using the laws to satiate their greed for money. They use the law to extract money from the husband and in-laws. In fact, the law is being used by women against women. Old mothers and pregnant sisters have been sent to jail on the basis of mere allegations. I am not against the law but I am against its misuse. There are many laws to safeguard the interest of women. How many such laws do we have for men? Even they need legal protection. My brother was implicated by his wife. She registered a complaint against him under Section 498A. Our family went through a very difficult time. I recommend that those who misuse the law should be severely punished. We can't solve marital problems by dragging families to court and sending them to jail. —Anita Kumari

A senior officer should investigateWe need laws to protect women against marital cruelty and dowry harassment. However, I feel there's need to revise the stringent Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code. At present, the accused is arrested as soon as a case is registered under Section 489A and the investigations are carried out later. Old and ailing parents and relatives of the husband have been jailed. I think it should be made a bailable offence. Since the nature of charges is very serious, the matter should be investigated by an officer of the rank of deputy commissioner or commissioner. Many women are using the law against their in-laws and husband to extract revenge. Each one of us is equally responsible for the rampant corruption in our system that allows one to misuse such laws. —Mohan Pillai. Advocate

Caught in a vise- Article about SIF in Harmony Magazine

Just as there are helpless women being tortured for dowry by their in-laws, there are silvers being harassed on false charges of seeking dowry and cruel behaviour. Rajashree Balaram presents the other side of the story

In March 2003, the Committee on Reforms of the Criminal Justice System set up by the Ministry of Home Affairs, chaired by Justice V S Malimath, suggested amendments to Section 498 A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) on the plea that it was being misused. Section 498 A is a criminal law under which a woman and her parental family can charge the woman’s husband and any or all of his family members, including elderly parents and minor-aged siblings of physical or mental cruelty. Anyone charged with Section 498 A is liable to be arrested by the police without any initial investigation.

To analyse whether Section 498 A was actually being misused as indicated in the Malimath Committee Report, the Centre for Social Research (CSR) in Delhi conducted a survey across Delhi, Karnataka, Rajasthan and West Bengal. What emerged out of one-on-one interviews and focus group discussions — involving victims, accused, families of both sides, police, lawyers, judges and NGOs — was a grim picture of oppression and manipulation. On the one hand, nearly 50 million Indian women were found cowering under statistics of domestic violence. On the other, 6.5 per cent of the cases studied were proven to be false. Just as there are helpless women being tortured for dowry by their in-laws, there are silvers who are being harassed on false charges of seeking dowry, mental harassment and cruel behaviour. Many innocent elderly citizens are being dragged into court unscrupulously by their daughters-in-law and their families under allegations of Section 498 A, Section 3 & 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act and Section 406 of the IPC — Breach of Trust, which refers to non-return of the gifts and jewellery given by the woman’s parents and relatives during the wedding.

Although preliminary investigation is required after the registration of the First Information Report (FIR), arrest warrants are issued without examining whether family members are actually abusive or have been falsely implicated. What might be merely a case of mutual incompatibility or clash of ego between the couple sometimes ends up being portrayed as collective abuse of a woman by her in-laws. Elderly parents are more vulnerable to being arrested and put in jail even before the trial begins. As most men in India continue to live with their parents even after marriage, parents are often accused of poisoning the minds of their sons against their daughters-in-law, and are therefore usually held influential in causing mental and physical harassment.

Section 498 A is cognisable (accused can be arrested without warrant), non-compoundable (complaint cannot be withdrawn by the petitioner) and non-bailable (accused must appear in court to request bail). The World Health Organisation has even reported that legal abuse of the elderly in India is among the highest in the world along with Lebanon. Alongside, it states that dowry laws in India are being used as a weapon for ruthless abuse of the elderly (Source: http://www.who.int/ageing/projects/elder_abuse/alc_ea_ind.pdf)

A Right to Information application directed to the Ministry of Home Affairs in 2005 revealed some shocking figures. In 2005, among the 58,319 dowry cases that were registered, 10,491 cases were not charge-sheeted because they were based on frivolous grounds. In the same year, 134,757 people underwent arrest for 58,319 complaints under Section 498 A and Dowry Prohibition Act. Among these, 4,744 people who were accused were above 60 years of age and arrested without any verification of the veracity of the complaint. (Source: Ministry of Home Affairs, RTI No. 24013/20/2006-SC/ST-W)

The lengthy trials for cases booked under Section 498 A can go beyond seven years and drive many families to yield to extortion, blackmail and compromise through hefty out-of-court settlements. As most silvers are not aware of the complexities of the legal machinery, they are also vulnerable to being misguided by corrupt elements in the judiciary and end up running from pillar to post. There have been instances where men and their old parents have committed suicide owing to the humiliation and public mudslinging that inevitably follows a single night spent in police custody.

Experts cite many reasons as possible triggers for misuse of gender-biased laws: speedy divorce and settlement of alimony; deep-seated insecurity prompting the woman to alienate her spouse from his family; an easy way to dissolve a marriage that was against the woman’s wishes. Often, cases are also motivated by financial greed or a desire to settle scores following a clash of ego between the couple. As the menace gains larger proportions, support groups are springing up all over the country to raise their voice against it. Most of them are led by people who have been victims earlier. Harmony meets four such groups.

MAN CELL, Delhi Even the caller tone of R P Chugh’s mobile phone is a loud proclamation of his 25-year long crusade. Try calling this Supreme Court advocate on his mobile phone and it trills the song Mujhe meri biwi se bachao (save me from my wife). A man who has suffered badly at the hands of his own wife, Chugh has spent more than two decades defending men from false claims of domestic violence and dowry harassment. The flamboyant advocate remembers his formative years when he grew up with Marxist ideologies and worked for women’s emancipation. Chugh admits to almost turning into a misogynist after he suffered from severe harassment from his wife in his first marriage. “Almost 87 per cent of the women in Tihar jail have been booked under Section 498 A, many of them old women, who have been accused of torture and cruelty without any trial,” says Chugh. He agrees that laws against dowry harassment and domestic violence are necessary in our society where millions of women do suffer submissively. But he also feels that fair amendments are urgently required otherwise “these laws will be rampantly used to victimise an innocent man for heavy compensation or simply harassment or blackmail.”

SANGYABALYA, Bengaluru Arun Murthy, 47, a freelance writer, established this forum for harassed husbands and their parents in June 2003. He was driven by his own experience when he was summoned to court in a false dowry harassment case filed by his brother’s wife four years ago. An arrest warrant was issued against Murthy and his family. Later, he wrote an article in a local newspaper venting his anguish and decided to start a help line to reach out to other people caught in similar situations. Within three days, he received over 600 calls. His friends — two architects — lent him space in their office and telephone accessibility two hours twice a week. Within three months, Sangyabalya was registered as an NGO with its own dedicated 24-hour helpline. Today the group attends to over 25-30 calls every month. A significant number of callers are NRIs. “The notion that NRIs would be more vulnerable to parting with money under duress make them easy targets,” says Murthy. Sangyabalya has 250 members, including an advocate and a counsellor, who meet every fortnight to share grievances, and discuss legal loopholes and ways to overcome them.

“What rankles is that no punitive action is taken against a woman, even when her allegations are proved to be false,” says Murthy. He emphasises that even the Supreme Court has labelled the misuse of Section 498 A as “legal terrorism” and admitted that “many complaints are not bona fide and have been filed with an oblique motive. In such cases, acquittal of the accused does not wipe out the ignominy suffered during and prior to the trial.”

“Many families turn bitter under the twin assault — loss of employment and unfair allegations,” says Murthy. “The stigma attached to being in police custody can wipe out employment opportunities and can lead the man and his family to severe financial despair.” He has a three-pronged approach to the issue: suggesting correct legal measures to counter the charges; providing a platform where they can share their woes; and campaigning for the rights of the victims. “Sangyabalya offers them a chance to share, learn and heal,” says Murthy.

PROTECT INDIAN FAMILY, Mumbai These days, M R Gupta, 55, spends most of his time poring through heavy tomes on Indian law. The civil engineer is appearing for his LLB exams because he wants to be fully empowered when he fights his daughter-in-law who has filed false allegations of harassment against Gupta’s family under Section 498 A. He is the director of Protect Indian Family, an offshoot of Save Indian Family — an international network of NGOs and individuals for victims of misuse of gender-biased laws.

Gupta shares his crusade with P R Gokul, 34, the other director of Protect Indian Family forum and a past victim of false charges of dowry harassment. Gupta and Gokul meet coordinators and members every Saturday at Gupta’s cybercaf√© in Mulund, Mumbai. The forum took shape when Gokul expressed his views in an online chat group while he was fighting the allegations against him. Today Protect Indian Family has 200 members in Mumbai and branches in Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Jaipur. Gokul still remembers the plight of his own parents who were jailed without investigation.

“There are many helpless old couples who approach us,” says Gokul. He has observed that silvers feel guilty and responsible about their sons’ plight as, often, they have arranged the match. According to him, the couple should have the freedom to explore their emotional and mental compatibility before marriage. As a case study, Gokul points out a case where a man and his widowed mother lost possession of their own house when they were falsely charged with mental harassment and domestic violence.

SAHANA, Hyderabad At a recent conference on the misuse of gender-biased laws, a young woman confessed that she had framed her husband’s family falsely under charges of dowry harassment. When asked for her motive she simply said that she had done it on the behest of her parents who wanted her husband to come and stay with them. “The woman wanted to know how she could extricate her in-laws from the shackles of law but she didn’t know that the damage was already done,” says Durga Prasad Kollu, a 30 year-old IT professional and the president of Sahana, a Hyderabad-based support group that had organised the conference. Sahana has over 100 members. Most of them meet every Sunday to discuss the correct legal action for victims and to offer a sounding board.

In 2005, when Kollu was posted in Switzerland, he was summoned to India on false charges of dowry harassment filed by his sister-in-law against his family. The case still drags on and Kollu says his brother, who was earlier an IT engineer, has become a recluse, drained of all his money. Sahana has help lines in Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Jaipur, Kanpur, Kerala, Kolkata, Mumbai, Nasik, Pune, and in the US. It receives about four to five calls every week. Almost 55 per cent of the callers are parents of victims. Besides campaigning for better legislative measures, Kollu likes to try a refreshing approach to reduce their agony. Recently, he took members on a trip to Nagarjunasagar Fall.

Sahana: 09848280354, http://www.sahanaindia.org/; Sangyabalya: 09845715737; Protect Indian Family: 09224335577 http://www.protectindianfamily.org/; Man Cell: 011 27491446, http://www.mancell.i8.com/

Featured in Harmony Magazine, January 2008

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Arrest guidelines in case of 498a(cognisable crimes)- Judgement -Joginder Kumar Vs State Of UP

Arrest guidelines in case of 498a(cognisable crimes)- Judgement -Joginder Kumar Vs State Of UP




Video Details: NDTV News- Delhi Police Commisioner's Circular (No Arrest without Investigation or Sanction from ACP?DCP- in case of complaints under IPC sections 498, 406


Commisioner of Police, Delhi has issued a circular to all police stations in Delhi,
The instructions in this circular are:1)Full investigations before any arrest in case of Indian Penal Code sections 498a & 406 2)Sanction of ACP required for arrest of prime accused, sanction of DCP required for arrest of other co-accused. There three such circulars from Delhi police now.

See a Tv program about this Delhi police circular in CNN-IBN

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A Plea to file RTIs for all states to get Similar Circulars to all Police Stations in the state


IMPORTANT : This message is of common interest, for all Indian States- if we do this exercise all over India we will make a quantum jump in tackling the menace of 498a(arrests by police could avoided to a large extent, even without Anticipatory bails). So please read carefully

Hi SLV,

Here is some stuff which you have to use with conviction(they are not the panacea you are looking for, but they could be, if you use it well. The Hyderabad group has used these material and had avoided an arrest(See http://groups.yahoo.com/group/saveindianfamily/message/83251 and its threads), so take the help of the Delhi group and do it for yourselves, but you need to do some work too ok, here is the plan)

See the links below, mainly

1) Hyderabad Police Commissioner has issued a memo to all AP police stations based on the judgement(Joginder Kumar Vs State of UP) , there will be similar memo issued by Commissioner of Police to all Police stations in delhi, similarly in other states of India (since the judgement below has directed all the states to issue such a memo and most likely all the commissioner of police would have issued them around 2002 like in Hyderabad). So take some help from our delhi team and get the Similar memo for Delhi through Right to Information(RTI, similarly others can do for their states).

2) judgement(Joginder Kumar Vs State of UP- Powers Of The Police To Arrest )

3) judgement(Allahabad HC reiterating the judgement of Joginder Kumar Vs State of UP)

Hope you are in touch with the delhi team, if not ask someone to contact them tomorrow(Saturday) when they have their weekly meeting in Patiala House(Gate no.2, at the Lawns there, from 4PM to 7 or so). For phone numbers see http://www.savefamily.org/)

Hi All in the group,

I wish all the states do this RTI work and get the respective commissioner memo which follows the Judgement of Joginder Kumar Vs State of UP. These memos will help the local groups to avoid arrests of families accused of false 498a, if we do this all over India with at least some rate of success we would have made a quantum jump in tackling the menace of 498a.

1) Here is the link to the judgments and Hyderabad Commissioner Memo:
http://ipc498a.files.wordpress.com/2008/03/hyd-police-comm-memo-498a-no-arrest.jpg

for complete details see http://ipc498a.wordpress.com/2008/03/29/hyd-comm-of-police-no-arrest-without-permission-of-dcp-in-498a-cases-2002/

There will be an equivalent of this order from the Delhi police commissioner, etc.(other State guys please put RTIs to fish out the respective Commissioner of Police memos, there is one in Mumbai which I am going to get soon), get that through RTI.

2) Powers Of The Police To Arrest In Accordance With Joginder Kumar Vs State Of UP
http://ipc498a.files.wordpress.com/2008/03/joginder-kumar-vs-state-of-up-apr-1994.pdf

Read the contents of this link as well to get the complete picture:http://ipc498a.wordpress.com/2007/09/23/magna-carta-and-joginder-kumar-vs-state-of-up/

3) Allahabad HC Reiterate Powers Of The Police To Arrest In Accordance With Joginder Kumar Vs State Of UP
http://ipc498a.wordpress.com/2007/10/29/allahabad-hc-reiterate-powers-of-the-police-to-arrest-in-accordance-with-joginder-kumar-vs-state-of-up/

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Whenever members manage to get the Memo of CP of their respective states through RTI, please send a scanned copy to me by private mail, so that I can get them incorporated in the Survival Guide(take a look at this wonderful resource if you all have not : http://ipc498a.files.wordpress.com/2008/04/a-guide-to-surviving-ipc498a-apr-2008-indexed.pdf ).
Warm Regards,

Gokul,
http://gokul.go.to, 9821414336(Mumbai)

Editor - www.siftimes.com , Director- http://www.pifngo.info/

Protect Indian Family: "For Family Harmony.. Against Legal Terrorism"

Re: Can CAW arrest?
Posted by: "stupidlawvictim"
Fri Apr 11, 2008 10:48 am (PDT)
I have read the survival guide. It was definitely helpful. However, there are some issues ... Since the complaint at CAW cell is already made, apparently we can notget AB as easily. The girls side will also be brought to table andthey will try to stop it. If I get AB in Delhi, apparently I can get it very easily for a fewdays (say 15 days). However, if my in laws dont file a FIR by thattime, it is waste. Say, they file the FIR on 20th day and police comesto arrest on 25th day, the AB would have already expired. Lastly, it is only my old parents who are in India. If they arearrested, yes, I will be afraid of that possibility. My father can noteven move. My sister will be appearing for 12th. It will be disastrousif they are arrested. Net net .. I dont have a fool proof plan to tackle the summon from CAWcell. I and my old parents need help

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You can send this petition to your Commissioner of Police to try and avoid arrest in case of false 498a: http://at498a.blogspot.com/2008/05/impending-498a-send-this.html

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A related order of High Court Chennai: TN women cops use third degree to solve wedding woes