Saturday, November 11, 2006


DV and 498a - What's next?

Anyone who has been awake the last two
decades knows how section 498A of IPC has been heavily
misused, dragging innocent men and women into police
stations, lock-ups and courts, thus depriving many
young children of a happy childhood, many youth of
productive careers and many senior citizens of mental
peace in the last leg of their lives.

As if this 498A fiasco is not enough jingoistic
feminists have come up with another Act, along the
same lines of 498A only with larger loopholes waiting
to be used against many more Indian citizens. Many
women who really need
protection from Domestic Violence will probably never
know about it and even if they do, never use it. This
law will be yet another weapon in the hands of
unscrupulous women who will misuse it at the slightest

In a society where men and women live
together what affects one affects the other. When a
man is thrown out of his own house under true or false
allegations of domestic violence or cruelty everyone
who is dependent on him is bound to suffer. That will
include dependent parents and siblings who can be male
or female. It is unfair enough to penalize an entire
family even if an accused man is truly abusive. Unfair
is a subtle word to describe a situation in which an
innocent man, along with his family, is tortured by
misuse of law. Injustice is a subtle word to describe
how women, who commit perjury and harass families for
years on end go unpunished.

Many men suffer in silence in India unable to meet the
unending financial and emotional needs of their wives.
Some of them even face physical violence. This section
of the Indian population is completely missed by the
radar either intentionally or because men are too
embarrassed to admit their misery lest they be labeled
as sissies who cannot fix problems in their homes. On
the other hand many a men who belong to this category
are facing threats or fighting false cases filed
against them by their wives.

Domestic violence is committed by men and women and it
is not always directed against the opposite sex. This
is even more true considering the wide range of areas
covered by the Domestic Violence Act. Where do
husbands harassed by wives seek retribution? Where do
women harassed by their daughters-in-law or
sisters-in-law seek protection? In fact every family
that has so far been falsely accused and tormented in
the name of Section 498A has been subjected to
Domestic Violence as defined by the law. The only
catch is that not everyone is covered by the law. On
the other hand, victims of Domestic Violence are ever
more vulnerable and at risk of being legally harassed
by thoughtless women.

A lot of people cite official statistics of dowry and
other kinds
of harassment to support anti-dowry laws and DV act in
their current form. Come to think of it, who has
collected this data? How have they collected it? And
who has checked their validity? Very often the number
of cases that are filed in police stations or courts
are the basis for the official statistics of dowry
harassment. So, if you make a law that gives women
unlimited scope to fabricate lies and get away with
perjury and if women keep filing false cases then the
statistics will always be on the rise. Then you can
argue more strongly in support of your own hypothesis
and the need for biased laws.

of cases are rotting without trial for years under
section 498a...False cases that have been filed
against men AND WOMEN who are being tormented by the
police and courts as we speak. And when all these
victims of misuse of law get acquitted will those
statistics be publicized to support the introduction
of new laws that punish women who are abusing laws?

Apart from all the pain and suffering endured by
victims the society incurs a huge cost because of
false cases. Right now India is busy filling up
lock-ups and courts with innocent citizens who could
otherwise have spent their time to add to the
productivity of the country. In addition, frivolous
lawsuits that drag on for years distract attention
from real crime that needs to be addressed

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