This article describes how the mediation centers treat husbands and how husbands should treat them. It covers a week of an engagement of a husband with the mediation center.
Wifey filed multiple cases containing completely false and baseless allegations against hubby and family as the hubby was not ready to separate from his parents on the wifey’s demand. A brief summary of the cases is as follows:
- Wifey filed a dowry case (Section 498A) and got hubby and in-laws arrested. Before filing of the case, wifey demands INR 2 million for not filing the case.
- Then wifey filed a domestic violence case demanding maintenance of 40 K INR per month and 2 million as alimony.
- Then wifey files another maintenance case demanding maintenance of 40 K INR per month.
- Then, hubby files a case under Section 3 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, against wife and in-laws for admitting to “giving dowry”.
- Then wifey files divorce case.
- Then wifey files execution case.
Now, the domestic violence case went all the way to High Court and the High Court referred the case to the mediation center and date falls on a Monday.
Day 1 @ the mediation center:
Hubby was prepared to go for the mediation and talked with his lawyer in the morning,
Hubby: “What time I am supposed to be there?”
Lawyer: “12 PM.”
Suddenly, professional emergency erupts in hubby’s office and he is forced to seek an adjournment. Hubby convinces his lawyer to take an adjournment. Upon this, the lawyer asks for a convenient next date. Hubby says, any Saturday is fine for him.
Hence, his lawyer informs the mediator that today hubby won’t be available and he can come only on a Saturday. Wifey and her family objects to the adjournment being given.
The Deputy Director of the mediation center, who was at the helm of affairs on that day, bought the wifey’s concerns and refuses to give an adjournment as wifey’s family has traveled from another city to this city for mediation.
The deputy director threatened the lawyer of hubby that if the hubby does not turn up for 10 minutes, he will send the case back to the court. Lawyer informs this to the hubby.
Lawyer: “Mediator is threatening to send the case back to the court, if you don’t come now.”
Hubby: “OK, let him do that. I will file a complaint against the mediator that he did not follow the due process of mediation.”
After that, hubby is not aware of what transpired between the lawyer and the mediator. However, even after informing that the hubby won’t be available till Saturday, the mediator put the matter up for next day @ 11 am.
Day 2 @ the mediation center:
Hubby is in tension as to what can be done to handle the situation. On one hand, there is a professional crisis and on the other hand, mediation must be catered to. Finally hubby decides to send his old mother to attend the mediation, who has to travel 12 Kms to go to the family court to attend the mediation leaving hubby’s old sick father alone at home.
At the mediation center, mediation starts and the mediator, a middle aged woman who also happens to be the wife of a sitting High Court judge, explains the process of mediation to the mother and the wifey and asks the wifey to talk first.
As expected, the wifey starts with blatant lies leveling false allegations on hubby and family. Mother of hubby exposes her before the mediator with truth and wifey’s lies are properly taken care of.
However, wifey keeps on requesting to talk to the mediator in private, which the mediator happily obliges and asks the mother to wait.
After hearing both sides and after a lot of mudslinging from both sides, the mediator says that since this is the process of mediation, here the parties need to forget the past and come to a resolution and asks the mother of the hubby for a
Mother: “As it is a question of my son’s life, he only will have to decide.
Mediator: “When can he come?”
Mediator again starts pressurizing. Lawyer talks to hubby and informs the mediator that if hubby is forced to come then he might lose his job. Hearing this, the mediator exempts the hubby from appearance and asks the mother to discuss the matter with her son (the hubby) and appear before her the next day at 4 PM.
Day 3 @ mediation center:
The next day mother again goes to the mediation center. Seeing some chance to talk to the mediator, the mother asks the mediator.
Mother: “Madam, if you permit I would like to ask something.”
Mediator: “Please go ahead.”
Mother: “Why is it that, in your system the husband and his family never get justice and have to either bow down by paying a hefty ransom to wife’s family or fight cases for years together?”
Mediator: “No, it’s like that at all. We have a very fair system”.
Mother: “I run a helpline for mothers of sons who are abused by their daughters-in-law and I get a lot of distress calls from husbands and their mothers who do not get justice from the legal system. Even if we see the suicide statistics every year, then we see that double the numbers of married men are committing suicides compared to married women. Last year more than 62000 husbands committed suicide. Still husband and his family suffer in this system. Why?”
Mediator is silent and has no answer. By now, wifey enters the room and gets an adrenaline push seeing her mother-in-law and starts blurting. However, the mother interrupts her.
Mother: “I think these discussions are endless. I had come today as you had called but my husband is sick at home and I need to get back. I will not be coming here again. I am leaving now, you can update my lawyer.”
Later, hubby gets the update from his lawyer that wifey and family have proposed some “solution” from their side to the mediator but refused to reveal it to the hubby’s side and matter has been posted for Saturday wherein hubby has been asked to attend by 11 am.
The next 2 days pass and Saturday befalls.
Saturday @ the mediation center:
Hubby reaches the mediation center by around 12 PM. He and his lawyer enter the room. Upon entering, the hubby sees that there is small conference table around which wifey, her parents, their lawyers (2 of them), a man neatly dressed in formal suits and 2 young females are sitting. Hubby and his lawyer join them.
Soon, the mediator (the man in the formal suit) introduces himself and informs the hubby that the madam who was looking into the case got some urgent work and she recused herself from the case and requested him to take over.
After explaining the due process of mediation and taking a summary of pending litigations between the parties (as explained at the beginning of the article), the mediator puts a question to the hubby.
Mediator: “Are you willing to live together as husband and wife forgetting the past?”
Hubby: “I will answer this question in the court.”
Now, the mediator is in a fix. If the hubby does not take decision on this front right now, he cannot proceed with mediation. So, he asks the hubby again.
Hubby: “Well, if we look at the history, we see that they are the ones who have initiated litigation and hence, they need to speak out first. I was told they have offered some sort of a solution to the mediator the other day and have refused to reveal the same to us. If they are tight-lipped, we are in no position to say a word. We are defendants here and hence powerless.”
Mediator smiles and persuades the hubby again.
Hubby: “Well, you see, I am not a getting a conducive atmosphere at all to speak. I have read the mediation center manual and it says that both the parties’ convenience shall be entertained while carrying out the process of mediation. I was all but prepared to attend the mediation on last Monday, but had to ask for adjournment as last minute unavoidable circumstances developed. And I was expecting a lot of co-operation from the mediation center but in turn, I got a lot of disappointment. I was told that someone from the center had threatened to send the case back if I do not show up for 10 mins. Well, it’s not just a question of 10 mins. I need to travel one hour back and forth, so it makes it total for more than 2 hours. The customer was sitting at my head back at the office. Shall I look after my job or run for mediation?”
The mediator appeared shell-shocked and after re-assuring that action shall be taken against the concerned person, also thanked the hubby for bringing this to notice.
Mediator: “It is a very serious thing to have happened. Do you know who said this?”
Hubby: “I was not here, so can’t say, my lawyers were here, so they should know it.”
Mediator: “I apologize for it. Are you comfortable talking in front of them?” (Referring to hubby’s in-laws here)
Mediator asks wifey and her family and her lawyers to wait outside. Now, the room contained the mediator, the hubby, his lawyer, and the 2 females who were the mediator’s assistants and were taking some notes.
As soon as the wifey and in-laws leave, hubby starts talking.
Hubby: “Well, you see, even in 2009 this case was referred to mediation and I had attended all the three dates and she attended none. That time, the center was giving dates at one month’s interval and now, when I am facing some inconvenience in attending I am being asked to come daily and I am being threatened and pressurized. Why this gender bias against me? Is it my fault that I am a man and a husband? I am terribly upset by this behavior and that’s the reason I am not feeling free enough to talk.”
Mediator: “I once again apologize and would greatly appreciate if you can tell me who passed the threat of sending the file back to the court?”
Hubby: “The Deputy Director of mediation.”
Mediator: “I will talk to him and I request you to please put aside the bitterness arising out of that behavior and help me by proceeding. So, are ready to proceed?”
Hubby: “I think we are”
Mediator: “Great. Thanks. So I would just suggest you to think of a way by which we can close all the pending matters once and for all and you both can move ahead in life. I want you to have some peace of mind and not have a life encompassed by litigation.”
Hubby: “Well, as you start this topic of peace of mind, then let me tell you that as far as court dates are concerned, this is what I do. I go to the court, have a sip of tea, have a plate of mixed fruits and then the judge gives next date and I come out.”
Mediator and the 2 females and hubby’s lawyer are not able to control their laughter.
Hubby: “The day I was sent to jail for being an innocent, I understood the meaning of life.”
There is an eerie silence in the room and the mediator’s face is stern.
Hubby: “I understood that there is no point in thinking/worrying about future. We just need to live in the present moment and be happy about life irrespective of the circumstances. And ever since my litigation has started, I have been implementing this principle in my life and I am very content about it.”
Mediator is speechless. Hubby continues.
Hubby: “I have become a men’s rights counselor and in the last 5 years, I have counseled more than 2500 distressed and victimized men. I am a part of men’s rights organizations that create awareness about problems faced by men in the society and constantly lobby with the government to create a gender neutral society and eliminate gender bias against men. I am invited by the Rajya Sabha to present our views on various laws. I had a 2 hour discussion with the Rajya Sabha on the Sexual Harassment at Workplace law and based on our presentations, the committee has recommended the law should be gender neutral. The Govt. of India regularly takes advice from me on gender law-making. So, these cases mean NOTHING to me. I am not at all interested in this mediation.”
Everyone is silent for at least a minute. After that, the mediator regains composure and speaks.
Mediator: “Well, I am extremely happy that you have been so frank and forthcoming. And it is heartening to see that you are fighting for men. I am also a man and might need to come to you someday. And if, cases give you energy to fight, so be it. I respect your decision and wish you all the best. At any point of time in future, if you have a change of heart and would like to come here, we would be happy. Wish you all the best for your future.”
Hubby thanks the mediator and leaves the room with this lawyer. As they come out, he observes a bout of anxiety in wifey camp as they wait outside. Hubby leaves the place and goes to the canteen to have a cup of coffee along with lawyer.