Shri V Malimath
Chairman, Law Commission of Karnataka
Sub: Concerns of Save Indian Family Foundation cornering around judicial reforms.
Save Indian Family Foundation, Bangalore is an NGO dedicated to promote the cause of Gender Equality and Family Harmony. We commandeer the cause of those grief stricken families who are victimized by the misuse of laws like Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, Section 125 CrPC, Child Custody laws to name a few.
As your good office might be aware, of late, these sections have come under scathing criticism by support NGOs all over India under the aegis of the Save Indian Family movement of which Save Indian Family Foundation is also a part. We have our national and international helplines to cater to distress calls received from victims of misuse of the above laws by disgruntled in – laws and extortionist wives aptly termed by the Honorable Supreme Court of India as Legal Terrorism.
Marriage as an institution is increasingly becoming a prey to changing times, and to a cultural war between the Conservatives and the Liberals. As per studies conducted in Mumbai and Delhi, 40 % of marriages are heading towards divorce. The younger generation, being made a scapegoat in the changing times due to the ensuing cultural war between Conservatives and Liberals, wastes its useful youth in the precincts of the litigating corridors of the family courts, criminal courts and magistrate courts waiting in long queues being expectant of receiving justice.
But sadly enough expected reality is light years away from ground reality. In actual reality matrimonial cases especially those of divorce proceedings and criminal proceedings under Section 498A run for years together without any result. As a consequence of which,
- The Youth and vigor of Young Women and Men are lost by the time the Family Court renders it decision – be it Just or unjust.
- The family Court cannot restore the Youth and Vigor of the Young citizens/spouses nor compensate for their loss of youth.
- Suicide rates are on the rise especially amongst married / separated men due to the undue sentimental balance of the courts towards women which is being used to advantage by criminal minded women. In three years (2005 – 2007) 1, 65,528 married men have committed suicide as opposed to 88,121 married women as per suicide statistics by National Crime Records Bureau.
- In the last 11 years (1996 – 2007) 1, 56,000 husbands have committed suicide directly due to Domestic Violence. Suicide rate for married men have gone up by 6 times as compared to that for married women in 2007 as compared to 2006. Family problem is numero uno killer for men and women alike contributing 27.75% to the suicides in 2007 and 29.8% in 2006.
- More and more children (for wedlocks where children are involved) are losing the custody / access of one of the parents (fathers generally) leading to the foundation of a fatherless society which will again lead to the figures which we are already observing in the United States of America as laid down below,
- 5 times more likely to commit suicide
- 32 times more likely to run away from home.
- 20 times more likely to have behavioral disorders
- 14 times more likely to commit rape.
- 9 times more likely to drop out of high school.
- 10 times more likely to abuse chemical substances (become drug addicts)
- 9 times more likely to end up in a state-operated institution
- 20 times more likely to end up in prison.
- 3 million teenage girls have sexually transmitted diseases
- At least 1 out of 4 teenagers (between 14years to 19years) suffers from sexually transmitted diseases.
Some other mishappenings worth considerate of your good attention are:-
- Statutory mandate of law for disposal of cases by 6 months and day to day hearing is not at all followed by the Family Courts.
- The Rules framed by the High Court to dispose of cases at least within one year is flouted by granting long, luxurious and indefinite adjournments by Family Courts.
- Even when the High Court orders specific time limits for disposal of particular cases, the Family Courts do not respect such orders.
- No rules governing the procedures are framed according to NCW recommendations.
- No rules at the discretion of the Family Court as provided in the Family Court Act are also framed.
- While the Act requires recording of the gist of evidence only, the Courts elaborately records every word uttered by the witnesses religiously thus wasting the precious judicial time.
- In the name of appointing of Amicus Curie’s the Family Courts are taken over by advocates, though the Family Courts Act vide. Section 9 and 10 has specifically banned appearance by Advocates.
- Practicing lawyers of family Court are appointed as counselors and mediators thereby defeating the purpose of counseling and mediation.
Rampant corruption, undue sentimental and gender bias, delayed (denied) justice are some of the problems with which currently the judiciary is plagued with, leading to a serious and drastic deterioration of the faith of the “Stupid Common Man” in the institution of judiciary. We beseech you to take immediate note of situation and take appropriate actions to repose faith in the judiciary lest people stop flocking to the “Temple of Justice” for justice and take the law in their own hands.
Courts asking litigants to seek God’s help in getting divorce is a saddening reality. Why should the citizens take the burden of the expense of judiciary when they are not ready to take their responsibility and want to throw off everything to God? Such instances of judicial complacency warrant strong condemnation and act as a catalyst in further degrading the already degrading faith in the judiciary.
Draconian laws like Section 498a, and the Domestic Violence Act, already drawn the ire of the Honorable Supreme Court earning dubious distinctions like “Assassin’s weapon” and “Badly Drafted”, have become weapons of family destruction, marriage erosion and a legal opportunity to encash a bad marriage at the expense of men folks in the country. And all these practices seriously and heinously jeopardize the basic human rights of husbands and breed contempt.
We wish to submit the following prayer before your lordship:-
- The fear of Contempt of Court is lurking like a dead ghost over law-abiding litigants who are terrorized to raise their voice against injustices going on against them due to judicial complacency, stereotypic assumptions and overstretched judicial leniency. The concept of Contempt of Court needs to be redefined objectively, like a law and should not be kept open to interpretation of anyone’s imagination or discretionary powers. The mere presence of the concept of the Contempt of Court should not behold a citizen from taking steps to ensure ends of justice and a citizen should not be deterred to voice concerns which impediment the path to natural justice and legal equality.
- Marital cases filed more than two years back, and still in the pending stage should be disposed off in the next six months as a compensation for the time litigants have already lost due to judicial delays in cases. This will lead to drastic unloading of the unwarranted pressure on the courts to meet targets.
- Frivolous, absurd and morally correct litigations like Shilpa Shetty kissing Richard Gere are not something the judiciary should waste time on. Prima facie rejection of cases, based on absurd allegations, illogical timelines and unexplained delay between filing of cases and cause of action, should become a norm. This will also lead drastic to unloading of the unwarranted pressure on the courts to meet targets.
- For child custody related cases, visitation to fathers should be granted in either one month of filing or two hearings, whichever is earlier. Also the visitation granted should be of such nature that it builds a sustainable parent child relationship.
- Alimony for doctors, lawyers, professionals, engineers, MBAs, CAs and the likes should be rejected prima facie and concept of lifetime parasitism be replaced by a better concept to provide interest free sustenance loans returnable in 3-5 years upon obtaining gainful employment. Voluntary incapacitation by capable spouses asking for maintenance to be made a punishable offense to discourage it. Moreover interim maintenance should not be allowed to be used as a dole leading to treatment of husbands as FREE ATM MACHINES.
- Form study circles with members from Save Indian Family Foundation who are acquitted of 498A cases, some high scholars and a few High Court judges to study husband’s issues.
- Granting of bail under Section 498a should be a norm rather than an exception and the granted bail should not attract stringent conditions rendering it ineffective in spirit if not in letter.
- Respect the dignity of husbands.
- Computerization of all court records, case details and case status in order to determine the load on a particular date, before next date is given. Often it happens that on some days there is a lot of load on the courts while on other days it is relatively less burdened. Such random fluctuations of work pressure can be reasonably smoothened with the help of IT and computerization. Other benefits include prior notification to litigants if the judge is on leave on a particular date.
- If 3 consecutive dates pass in a case and no progress happen then the judge/magistrate should be held responsible for that.
- Increased transparency into the functioning and administration of courts via enhanced respect of applications filed under the Right to Information Act.
- Provision of suo motu inquiry on all the judges involved in cases which are more than 5 years old. Failure to co-operate with the inquiry should lead to automatic termination of the service of the judge.
- Multiple provisions for maintenance viz. Domestic Violence Act, Section 125 CrPC, Section 18 – HMA, Section 24 – HAMA etc. should be simplified and normalized to one single provision as people are entangled in multiple litigations for the same alleged cause of action leading to infringement of Constitutional Rights vide Article 20,21 and 22 of the Indian Constitution.
We sincerely hope the above letter will be taken in positive spirits and the lacunae in the system resulting in great misery for the citizens will be looked into with immediate attention.
Thanks and Regards
Public Relations Officer
Save Indian Family Foundation, Bangalore