Sub: Shimla Declaration of the National Conference of the Save Indian Family Movement.
Save Indian Family (SIF) movement is a non-funded, self-supported movement and has been formed with a multi-dimensional strategy to form at least 100 NGOs all over India working in the area of Men Welfare. On the 15th of August 2009, 100 leaders from at least 25 NGOs representing 40,000 members participated in a 2 day National Conference in Shimla with a resolution of not to celebrate the Independence Day on August 15 this year.
Leaders of the SIF movement feel that India is not an independent and a democratic country because men in general and married men in particular are being discriminated against to the point that their constitutional rights are being infringed and challenged especially those granted under Articles 14,15,20 and 21 of the Indian Constitution – the mother of all Indian laws.
- Article 21 of the Constitution provides for Right to Liberty, however today one unverified complaint of mental and/or physical harassment from the wife under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code lands a man and his old parents, pregnant sister and minor children behind bars and his Right to Liberty is challenged as neither is any investigation being done to verify the tenacity of the complaint nor evidence is collected to corroborate the allegations.
- Article 20 of the Constitution says that no person shall be tried twice for the same offence, however, in marital matters the man and his family face multiple litigations/prosecutions/trials for the same alleged cause of action under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, Domestic Violence Act, Section 125 CrPC (maintenance), Section 24 of the Hindu marriage Act, Divorce case, child custody case etc. These multiple and parallel litigations for same alleged offence clearly and blatantly violates Article 20 of the Indian Constitution.
- Article 15 of the Constitution says that for the weaker sections of the society including women and children, the Govt. shall provide for Special Provisions to work for their welfare. Nowhere does it give the Govt. the liberty to formulate special, redundant and gender biased laws against the natural principles of Cardinal Justice. However, the laws mentioned above have been formulated and this practice is in violation of the Article 15 of the Constitution of India.
- Article 14 of the Constitution provides for Right to Equality before law. However, in Domestic Violence Act, firstly men are not provided protection against domestic abuse from their wives and in-laws and secondly the complainant woman’s sole testimony is considered as evidence of violation of protection order enough to convict the man. Both these practices do not place men and women at equal footing before the law as men face severe discrimination and their Constitutional right under Article 14 is challenged.
Under such a scenario, the men’s rights NGOs under the aegis of the SIF movement have lost the significance of celebrating Independence Day as they feel India is not a democratic country but a fascist country where arbitrary arresting a particular section of the society is considered as social service. SIF Leaders feel celebrating Independence in a country, where the Constitutional Rights of men are not respected, is like insulting freedom fighters like Bhagat Singh, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Chandrashekhar Azad, etc.
- 123,000 innocent women (mothers, sisters and other female relatives of men) have been arrested in the four years period (2004 – 2007) whereas even the so called “Barbaric British Govt.” arrested only 40,000 women in 40 years.
- Every year on an average 55200 married men are committing suicides with the number shooting to 57593 for 2007 vis-à-vis 30000 married women as per National Crime Records Bureau. Whose life is in more danger? Is the pain of a mother/sister less when she loses a son/brother?
- 98% of dowry harassment cases filed against men have been found to be false and it is the wife’s family who has been extorting money from the man by treating them as FREE ATM MACHINE by threatening them with false allegations and dragging them into frivolous and malicious prosecution.
- In the five years span (2001 – 2006) an estimated 13,00,000 men have lost their jobs – a vast majority of them due to frivolous and arbitrary arrests – whereas 14,00,000 women have gained employment. Who needs empowerment, men or women?
- Men pay 82% of the taxes and more tax than women at the same salary level.
- SIF declares Section 498A of the IPC and Domestic Violence Act as Unconstitutional and demands a National Level Committee be setup which would include SIF Leaders as well to investigate into the constitutionality of these laws.
- Institute National Commission for men to study men’s issues and give recommendations to the Govt.
- Form Men’s Welfare Ministry to address men’s issues.
- Replace the word “Husband” and “Wife” with “Spouse” and “Man” and “Woman” with “Person”.
We conclude the Shimla Conference with this.
Date: 16th August 2009 Thanks and Regards
Place: Shimla Public Relations Officer
Save Indian Family Foundation