Director, Rajya Sabha, Secretariat,
No.201, 2nd Floor, Parliament House,
New Delhi – 110001
Subject: Opinion on misuse of The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (PWDV Act)
- The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (PWDV Act) was drafted by the Lawyers’ Collective with many loopholes in it leading to “Gross Misuse” with the sole intention of monetary gains for the lawyers as well as the complainant.
- Violence can happen to any member be it a family member (father, mother, son, daughter, husband, wife or child) or anyone else beyond the family (uncle, aunt, friend, servants or employee).
- The law states that any women facing violence is entitled to monetary maintenance by the alleged perpetrator of violence.
- The male members are barred from filing this case.
- Only the female members can file a case against the male members of a family.
- Under this act the property of the alleged perpetrator of Violence can go to the victim.
How the Act is “Grossly Misused” to ruin the social fabric and harms men and their families:
Although the name of the Act is “Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, almost all the cases are filed only by wives or daughters-in-law (DIL). No other women members (viz. mother-in-law, sister-in-law, etc) of the family are allowed to file the case, even if they are truly victims of domestic violence, often perpetrated by other female family members.
These cases are filed for all reasons, except real domestic violence happening. The reasons for filing such cases could be:
- The wife/DIL cannot adjust in the matrimonial home or
- To avenge the in-laws if her demands are not fulfilled or
- To usurp the property of the husband or in-laws or
- To seize a hefty monetary benefit or if the woman is mentally or
- Physiologically or psychologically sick and this fact being hidden from the in-laws at the time of marriage or
- If the marriage has happened against her wishes or
- To hide adultery on her part to name a few.
Filing a case under this Act is as easy as ordering a Pizza for these young women as no proof or witness is required to prove the validity of their allegations. The report of Protection Officer which is never questioned is also eyewash – a mere clerical formality.
The concocted and fabricated allegations of the complainant are regarded as “Gospel Truth” by the judges who never question the truth and “Interim Maintenance” is passed on the first hearing mostly without even giving the respondent husband and his family a chance. The biased attitude of the judges on the pretext of following the law is remorseful and unjust. All the evidences and witnesses of the respondent are conveniently ignored by the judges. No patient hearing is given to the husband by the judges as they avoid the effort of giving a fair trial.
This law is most commonly used by the young, educated, capable of earning and empowered women of today in order to extort their husbands in the name of maintenance and protection.
In most cases even if the woman is earning, she intentionally hides these facts from the courts to extract hefty maintenance or to seize property.
The lawyers of the complainant make exaggerations of the concocted and fabricated complaints popularly known as “Harassment Templates” and thus mislead the courts.
The judges are driven away by crocodile tears of the complainant. Just because the respondent is a man he is forced to bear the burden of maintenance.
The trials are dragged by the complainant so as to claim interim maintenance for a longer period on one or the other pretext.
The Law allows dual maintenance. Section 20 (d) of the Act allows maintenance over and above Section 125 CrPC which violates the essence of Article 20 of the Indian Constitution and hence the current form of this Act is unconstitutional.
According to the Apex Court, Honb’le Justice SB Sinha and Justice Markandey Katju in Appeal (civil) 5837 of 2006 observed:
No doubt, the definition of `shared household’ in Section 2(s) of the Act is not very happily worded, and appears to be the result of clumsy drafting, but we have to give it an interpretation which is sensible and which does not lead to chaos in society.
Section 32 of the Act allows sole testimony of the complainant as the basis of imprisonment to be sentenced to the respondent. This violates the essence of Articles 20, 21 and 22 of the Indian Constitution, once again rendering the Act unconstitutional.
What are the Negative Consequences of a false case?
- The innocent husband and his family is cruelly dragged to the court and has to bear the inhuman torture of harassment and social humility for no fault whatsoever but because the law supports the malicious woman in a wrong cause.
- The wounds of such humiliation, mental and emotional torture endure the whole life-time as the society and the judiciary also believes it to be true. No one questions the validity of the complainant but condemns the in-laws. This is against humanity.
- The husband and his entire family are shattered to such extent that their faith in the judiciary and the law and order of the nation is totally lost.
- The impact of the sufferings on the husband and his family is so great that even the other male members in his family and friends also shudder at the thought of marriage, even the mother and sisters in his family fear the coming of another woman in the family in future.
- The monetary loss is never compensated in a false case; the husband bears the double cost of litigations as well giving maintenance to an undeserving woman over and above the responsibility of his own family. Will the judiciary ever think over this fact or just continue with the old rusted mode of granting maintenance to the wrong doers who take the law in their hands for selfish motives.
- Lakhs and even Crores of rupees are being paid by husbands across the country to such unscrupulous wives, and all this money is completely tax free income for the extorting wives, while the poor husbands have to pay the tax even for this unwanted loss. This is against the basic Income tax laws.
What Amendments are suggested to the law?
- The law should be made “Gender Neutral”. Even the name should be changed to “Protection from Domestic Violence Act”.
- The recommendations to amend the law should be prepared after taking into account the views of all the stake holders like the All India Mother-in-Law Protection Forum, the various men’s rights organizations, etc.
- Trials under the Act should be strictly subject to the CPC and the Indian Evidence Act and criminal suggesting terms like “jail, “bail” etc. be removed from its text.
- Unconstitutional sections like Section 20 (d), Section 32, Section 36, etc. be deleted from its text.
- Ambiguous sections like Section 2(q) and 2(s) be rewritten.
- The law must include a clause that will prescribe equal punishment for false complaints as it suggests a punishment should the complaint be found bonafide.
- No interim maintenance to be passed until the allegations are proven beyond doubt.