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Thursday, April 17, 2008

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

1 comment:

Shani said...

The RSS feed on ur blog seems not to be working fine.

Go to my blog and on the left panel scroll down to see - Awareness Campaigns & Tips to Counter 498a Misuse

You will see that ur feeds are not showing up. All other are -- can u figure out why ??