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IPC Section 498-A: Misuse

Dedicated to the Victimised Indian Families, Who are falsely threatened & Blackmailed by the Indian Daughters-In-Law & her family members, and those Victimised families who are already falsely charged under the Section 498A. Its all about False charges of Dowry Law, Domestic Violence, Alimony, Marriage and Divorce. NOTE: All articles are my personal copyright. They may be republished if the source is acknowledged and a link provided to this site. This is not an Anti-Women Blog. Read Disclaimer.

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Location: Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Women go to the police with a complaint (may be false), but the system provides to record that as a criminal complaint and that data adds in to the National Statistics of Crime Against Women. When male goes with a genuine complaint the police at max can record a Non Cognizable offence against the women. That will never reflect in the statistics. Then how will one guage crime against men? Every 100 Suicides in India have 63 Males and 37 Females. Every 100 male suicides have 45 married males, and every 100 women suicides have 25 married Women. Married women suicides have default arrests of the inlaws under presumed dowry death. Married men suicides entitle wife for a 50% share in property. What kind of equality is this? I thank you for visiting my blog, Please visit again. And I welcome you to participate on my Blog. [indianhusbands (at-the-rate) yahoo (dot) com]. Click here for Main Page

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Husbands are Human Too - My Free Press Journal Article

IPC Section 498a was introduced in December 1983 to curb the Dowry menace in the society. This tool was made to empower a wife, who could file a complain against her warring in-laws. 498a was cognizable, non bailable and non compoundable. The state would appoint a ‘sarkari vakil’ to represent wife’s case against the husband and his family. 

But being non-bailable, this law has a major loop hole of arresting all accused without investigations including senior citizens, minors, mothers and sisters of husbands. 498a and other sections were soon frequently misused as a negotiating tool for alimony in a failed marriage, with no dowry in reality. Misuse later became a standard malpractice. Lawyers and police too joined the wife in the bargain, and the husband was reduced to an ATM machine. Supreme Court reacting to a Writ filed in 2005 [Sushilkumar Sharma v/s Union of India], termed misuse of 498a as LEGAL TERRORISM. 

With evolution of internet some wounded husbands had posted their story in forums, who later got connected. The numbers multiplied quickly, yahoogroup was formed where some 40 odd users including NRI’s initially got connected for brain storming. The need was felt to save the families from falling apart and hence this movement was named as SAVE INDIAN FAMILY in March05. They observed that both in post or pre 498a, the parents either disowned the son or got separated as a damage control exercise. There were death cases of senior family member of the husband’s side due to shock as a result of arrests. The family unit thus got shattered because of a case or one anticipated. Slowly in 3 months time the group grew over 500 families. Learned professionals with no criminal track record were the ones who comprised of this group. Today approx 40000 families across various groups are a part of this movement.

Often misled by lawyers, now group conducted its own indigenous weekly meetings outside Patiala house in Delhi, Cubbon Park at Bangalore, and National Park Mumbai, thus a self help group was formed with mutual bonding and knowledgebase grew for free with no monetary transactions. The victims came from very well educated middle class backgrounds with qualifications like MBA, Doctors, CA and Software Engineers. Later blogs and sites like mynation.net, saveindianfamily.org 498a.org etc came up. One of the oldest members Rishab says that when they surfed the web in 2004 there was no moral support or direction, now with blogs, sites, self pledged helpline numbers and teams, new victims get instant relief.

Advent of RTI in 2005 gave a major breakthrough to the victims who were facing identity crises in society, court rooms and police stations but the first relief came when media took a note of the figures that exposed the statistical scam in showing atrocities on wives. With Malimath committee appointed by the NDA government showed concerns over misuse, the CSR report stated 498a being unable to convict people beyond 2% due to lack of evidences, the hidden message was very clear that 98% of cases were not qualifying enough. To support this trend NCRB figures of 2006-7 revealed around 94% of accused were acquitted after the ignominious arrests, bailing and painful court battles with gross conviction again hovering in single digits.  This data was diligently analyzed by SIF’s qualified team. In 2007, off 87929 persons who completed trial, only 13247 persons were convicted thus giving a first level acquittal rate of 85%. 

Manpreet [age:28]  project manager by profession faced arrest along with his parents and a dozen relatives accused by his distressed wife who wanted to teach a lesson for not buying her a separate flat in her name. The cases filed were 498a, 406 streedhan, domestic violence act, and maintenance in spite of wife’s employment. He also had to face the harsh attitude of judges towards him being a male. 38 year old, Yatin’s confrontation with his adulterous wife got his entire family into criminal and civil cases at 3 different locations, Pune [Alimony], Buldhana [DV], Mumbai [498a], he says ‘with false cases on family and without my daughter I would have committed suicide. But SIF’s moral support with selfless help has made me an activist today.

From once a bunch of disgraced laughing stock to a strong 40+ NGO network across globe for Indian Men’s family welfare, with groups of separated fathers, plus women’s wing of mothers and sisters, the fraternity is optimist in bringing a change. 

“There is a lot more” says Rishab, “Law should be constructive not Dogmatic, Wives should be awarded interim jobs not alimony, as alimony is the root cause. Its like Lagaan that made pre-independent India hollow. When we can have Ministry for women and even animals, why not a ministry for men who contribute 82% of taxes” Rishab concludes with a smile.

[all names changed to protect identity]
[Jinesh Zaveri is an activist associated with Indian Family Foundation Mumbai] 

This article of mine was published in Free Press Journal's weekend supplement, who once again invited me to write, this time I wrote on formation of Save Indian Family, this was published on on 8th August 2010

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