All the characters in the below story excerpt are fictitious and bear no resemblance whatsoever to any person living or dead, any resemblance is purely co-incidental.
Before going into the details of how the Mandavli Bill can be a serious concern for husbands, lets walkthrough a short imaginary story.
Ajay Mhandre is a hardworking professional who works as a business consultant in a reputed MNC, earning a handsome salary and had a nice and decent reputation in his office. Just like any other Indian man, Ajay is also married off to Shiela, who is a very beautiful, attractive and educated young girl. Ajay always encouraged her to work, given her educational background, but Shiela somehow refrained from doing so and preferred staying at home. Ajay does not force her.
Shiela always had an issue with the close proximity of Ajay to his parents, though they did not stay with them. However, one fine day they decide to visit the couple and hell breaks loose. Shiela makes a big issue out of it and tells Ajay clearly that his parents are not welcome. Ajay tries to reason with her, but in vain. Finally, she tells this to her parents and they ask her to wait till Ajay’s parents land there.
As soon as they land, Shiela and her parents swoop on them with the local police along with a complaint of dowry harassment under Section 498A. Ajay’s troubles only start from there, after that he is slapped with maintenance cases wherein she demands Rs. 40000 per month in two separate cases.
Ajay starts studying the law, as the defunct legal system of India refuses to give justice to him. And he comes to know that if his wife starts working he can save himself from the financial monster called “Alimony”. Ajay gives a tough legal fight-back, which forces his wife to start looking for a job as her parents start viewing her as a burden.
Just as Ajay was hopeful that Shiela would get a job and that would mean some relief to Ajay, his hopes come crashing down as Shiela is unable to land a job for herself.
The reason for Shiela not getting a job was not her technical incompetence or lack of experience, but her gender. Yes, you heard it right! Companies were increasingly shunning away from recruiting women and always preferred to recruit a man, if available with similar competencies.
And the reason for the strange behavior by Corporates was the upcoming “Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill, 2010” which had become popular as the “Mandavli Bill” because the bill empowered unaccountable local, gender-biased and anti-male NGOs to act as “deciding bodies” in complaints of Sexual Harassment and no corporate was ready to take the risk.
“Mandavli” is a Marathi word for “Settlement” which often gangsters do between warring parties. In this bill also, the complainant (female) would be entitled for compensation against complaints of Sexual Harassment, against the accused (male).
And the compensation amount would be decided in presence of unaccountable local, gender-biased and anti-male NGOs – resembling gangsters who would coerce the accused male to enter into a negotiation holding the complaint as the basis and threaten him with legal action and road-show in front of his house and by giving him a dose of male-hatred.
What the bill meant was that if any manager confronted any female employee with professional under-performance, the female employee had all the powers to just lodge a complaint of “Sexual Harassment” against the manager and ruin his career and create a nuisance for the company.
Moreover, such incidents have happened in real life as well, what with managers from Nokia running for their life and had their careers ruined in 2009 on one such complaint by a female employee who later on went on to commit suicide and the managers were held responsible for it.
No company would ever like to take the risk and thus there was a whisper going on in the corporate community against hiring females.
And the brunt of this fallacy would be faced by husbands like Ajay Mhandre. Being husbands, the judiciary won’t listen to them and would force them to pay aristocratic maintenances to their wives through their nose and yet another anti-male law would prevent their wives from getting jobs and this would further plug the miniscule chances of husbands like Ajay Mhandre getting any relief.
While this “Mandavli” bill would spell terror for males at workplace nonetheless, it should not be surprising if the indirect consequences of the bill lead to more and more husbands either committing suicides or killing their wives brutally – the only channel of communication left to a male that he is being harassed. This would further increase crime against women as well; crime against men anyways goes unnoticed.
The unthoughtful manner, in which the Govt. is rushing ahead with this bill, will only create more chaos at family and workplace.
This “Mandavli” Bill aka the Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill, 2010, should be dropped immediately lest the Govt. is least bothered about citizens and the disastrous socio-economic ramifications of such ill-conceived and redundant laws. It would suffice to end this article with a note that Section 509 of the IPC takes care of sexual harassment. This law is redundant and not required for any sane purpose.