MASHAAL Forum Mumbai - Mothers And Sisters of Husband Against Abuse of Law.
Borivali E National Park Every Sunday - 11 am
Mulund E Deshmukh Garden Every Saturday - 5 pm
Call: 976 977 0 498
TOI Coverage on 8th of March:
When bad bahu harasses saas
Rebecca Samervel | TNN
Mumbai: A magistrates court recently acquitted a man and his aged parents in a case of cruelty to wife under section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code.The court held that the young wife,who made these allegations of cruelty and harassment over dowry,could not substantiate them.
It was a routine trial for the lawyers,but for the mother-in-law charged of abuse and harassment,the acquittal was a vindication of sorts.The 62-year-old woman felt she had come out of a nightmare.She is not alone,many others feel hurt and at the mercy of the legal process once their daughters-in-law or sistersin-law initiate a criminal case against them under section 498-A.
National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) says that between 2004 and 2007, 1.2 lakh women were arrested for an offence under section 498-A, the section many men find draconian,but which aims at preventing torture of helpless wives over dowry.
This Womens Day,a group of women and men have come together as Mothers and Sisters of Husbands against Abuse of Law (MASHAAL) to protest the misuse of section 498-A. The group is part of a local NGO, Indian Family Foundation, which aims tackle the abuse of law.
Are only wives women? What about the mothers and sisters of the husband This is only a wife-centric law, said Lata Mishra,an alleged victim. Her weekly dialysis treatment did not prevent her arrest when estranged daughter-in-law Arti charged her son Narayan and the rest of her family, including a mentally challenged daughter for cruelty and ill-treatment.
Although Lata and her daughter received bail the same day on medical grounds, her husband spent over 48 hours in jail and was suspended from work.He is the sole bread winner. My daughter is paralysed and we thought of suicide often, she said. But timely intervention from MASHAAL prevented the extreme step. We realised that there are many like us and we kept fighting, said Narayan, who began studying law.
The group has been meeting every Sunday for the last eight months and addressing grievances. The women allege that often, the law is abused by women seeking to extort money. While many admit that the law is a step in the right direction, its misuse is leading to legal terrorism, said the group.
In many cases,complaints are made on Friday to prevent bail, said Minal Verma,whose daughter-inlaw filed charges against the family four years ago.
Often,498-A complaints are filed by the affluent and educated. But after a flurry of complaints about its misuse, the law is being applied with caution for the last few years, say police officers.
(Names changed to protect identity)