Subject: Protest at Bangalore against discrimination of husbands and their families by Court System and “intimate terror” by wives.
Save Indian Family Foundation (SIFF) is organising a Dharna on 7th May against intimate terror on husbands by wives, from 10 am to 1:30 pm in front of Town Hall. Today, the discrimination against men by government and court system has gone beyond tolerable limits. SIFF helpline in Bangalore is: 98457 46684. Every week, more than 10 distressed men call the helpline.
The abuse of husbands and their families have been increasing at a rapid rate in India. If a man has any marital problems, then he is considered a criminal by the Govt and Court System, without verifying truth or facts. Government is institutionalizing legal processes to terrorize men and is contributing to worsening of marital conflicts. Not just the anti-dowry law, a husband in marital problems faces an average 5 complicated court cases in different courts for years. Such men also lose contact with their children.
Last year, more than 80,000 cases of dowry harassment were filed against husbands and their families under Section 498a of IPC. Most of them are false. After protests by SIFF for last 6 years and media coverage, Indian Parliament accepted a petition for amendment of this law. However, many female MPs including Brinda Karat and Speaker Meira Kumar are opposing the amendment of Section 498a, meant to stop arbitrary jailing of husbands and their families.
These female MPs forget that a husband’s mother or sister is also a woman and they are dragged to police stations and jails without investigation or evidence in false cases. Supreme Court has termed the misuse of Section 498a as “Legal Terrorism”.
Jailing and multiple court cases and discrimination break men emotionally and financially completely. Most men lose jobs as they are unable to go to work regularly due to court cases and mental stress. Many men have become suicidal due to such prolonged court battles. Men are asking, “Can we trust the court system of India?” Recently, a young man was ordered to pay Rs.25000/- per month as maintenance to his estranged wife in a marriage of just 6 months. Even a Govt Employee does not get Rs.25000/- pension per month after working for 30 years.
Many men are facing “intimate terror” from wives in their own house and are living constantly under fear. Examples of Intimate Terror include:
1. Daily abuse, nagging, hitting, biting by wife followed by threats of police.
2. Asking husband to separate from his parents or cut off relationship with parents.
3. Threats or blackmail by wife of (committing) suicide.
4. Threatening by wives of filing legal and criminal cases against husband and his parents, and even other relatives.
5. Not allowing husband to play with or hold his own small child.
6. Wife openly having an extramarital affair and being blasé about it, with the intention that she can use women-centric laws as weapons in case husband finds about it or confronts her, or files for divorce.
All this “Intimate Terror” becomes unbearable as men know no one will believe them and there is no where they can go for protecting themselves or their parents. Research has found that men go through extreme post traumatic stress disorder due to intimate terror by wives. The Govt has systematically institutionalised harmful policies and indoctrinated the police and the courts to discriminate men and turn a blind eye to their problems with the excuse of women’s empowerment. There is no compassion or sensitivity left in court system.
Just recently, a family of four (two sons and their parents) committed suicide in Pune being unable to bear the constant torture and threats of dowry cases by one son’s wife. Police have not even arrested the accused woman even one month after filing of FIR.
Today, there are an increasing number of women who are going into marriages without any commitment, whereas most men are considering marriage as an important social commitment. When marriage breaks and men get into multiple legal cases or go to jail, they get a shock of their life.
In Bangalore, now even poor men like auto-rickshaw drivers are facing intimate terror from wives. As they are not internet savvy, often they have difficulty in approaching SIFF helplines. Many of these poor men are getting suicidal and often their suicides are dismissed by police as suicide of some alcoholic, who quarrels with wife.
Last year in Karnataka, 8209 males have committed suicide compared to 3986 females. Across India, one married man is committing suicide in every 9 minutes. Men’s suicide has increased in spite of economic boom as men are committing suicide being terrified due to threats and blackmails by wives.
In last 5 years, more than 550,000 men and 163,000 women were arrested or jailed under dowry law (section 498a) without investigation or evidence. According to reports, more than 98% dowry cases are false where as real victims of dowry harassment rarely go to police, while Govt takes no steps in curbing extravagant marriages.
Save Indian Family demands the following from lawmakers, government, and judiciary:
1. Change in the attitude that injustice to men gives justice to women.
2. Making dowry law (Section 498a) bailable, and non-cognisable, which is overdue since last 8 years.
3. Women, who file false cases to harass husbands and their families, must be punished, so that it creates a deterrent.
4. Legal Provisions for protecting of men from threats, abuse, blackmail and intimate terror by wives. All biased laws must be made gender neutral.
5. Changes in maintenance laws to ensure that maintenance to a wife is based on tenure of marriage and women who earn salaries must be excluded.
6. Men can be asked to pay maintenance for children only when he is allowed to bring up the child in a shared parenting arrangement between wife and husband. As often women demand money for the child, while not allowing the man to even see the child.
7. Creation of Separate State Commission for Men (SCM) and men’s helpline to counsel suicidal men and to create policies to understand problems of poor men.
Government must recognize the futility of creating so called women-empowerment laws to bring either positive social change or women empowerment. Laws related to Dowry (1961), Cruelty against married women (IPC 498a) have been in existence since decades, but are totally ineffective in achieving their original intentions. Maintenance laws need to be rationalised. At present, these laws make men pay huge sums of money to wives every month as maintenance and hence encourage family breaking. If a housewife gets Rs.25,000/- per month (from husband) for getting separated, then its same as rewarding women for getting separated. Often, parents force the girls to get separated for the sake of this money.
It is sometimes said that women-centric laws are meant to protect weaker sections, but there is no evidence given by State or Judiciary as to how many genuine victims get relief from these laws, versus how many innocent people and families face humiliation, trial, and persecution by State and Judicial machinery in false cases forced upon them.
Judiciary needs to get in touch with reality that more harm is being done by spending 5-10 years in court cases, while trying to find the truth in matrimonial cases, which they are unable to find anyway going by Supreme Court’s own admission. Instead, the focus has to shift on punishing or dismissing those cases where rampant false allegations are made against other spouse and against families. The focus of judiciary has to shift from ‘find the needle called truth in a haystack of false allegations’ to ‘immediately dismiss cases and prosecute those who are filing false allegations’. That alone will put fear in minds of unscrupulous people and give confidence to law-abiding citizens that courts can be approached for justice.
The most frequent reason for suicide of men is “family problems”, not economic problems as often perceived. The suicides of men increased rapidly with economic growth in last 15 years.
Gender wise, Statistics of number of victims of Murders, Suicides and Accidents all over India
Male Victims-24,441, Female Victims-8,718 Total Victims-33,159
Culpable Homicide Not Amounting To Murder (Sec.304 and 308 IPC) During 2009
Male Victims=3,529, Female Victims=753 Total Victims=4282
Dowry Death Convictions (75% dowry death cases are false and lead to no convictions)
In 2009, 2008 and 2007 the dowry death convictions are 1882, 1948 and 1946 respectively.
These dowry deaths are too small a number for a country of 1.2 billion people.
Male Victims=276,333 Female Victims=80,688 Total Victims=357021
(Male Victims=77.4%, female Victims=22.6%)
Male Victims=81,471 Female victims=45,680 (Total Victims=127151)
(Male Victims=64.1%, female Victims=35.9%)
Total Victims of Suicide, Murder and Accidents:
Male Victims=361,333 Female Victims=135,839
Male Victims: 73%, Female Victims: 27%
So, who is more vulnerable in Indian Society? The males or females?
Who is more likely to be a victim? A male or a female?