Come July 2nd 2014 and the nation went berserk on a landmark judgment passed by the Supreme Court of India directing the police not to arrest without following due procedures in dowry cases and there were reactions coming in from all sides – positive and negative.
Some over-enthusiastic people even went to the extent of thinking that dowry law has now been diluted and men can breathe easy as its misuse would be curbed now.
And thus it made me think – “Is dowry law abuse the only issue men face?”
Also, how does one judgment ensure that men won’t be arrested in other false charges? In a society, where we have a plethora of anti-male laws, such a hope is far-fetched and wrought with imagination.
In the last one week, I came across 2 such instances wherein men have been arrested under Section 107/151 on a complaint of creating public nuisance without trial or investigation.
The real issue isn’t that of Section 498A being misused merely. The real issue is the absence of the concept of men’s rights in the society. As a result, men have no dignity in this country and any man can get arrested on a complaint of a woman even without investigation or due compliance with laws and legal procedures and on one would bat an eyelid on that.
Section 498A is merely an example of one such law which is being widely and conveniently used to “jail men at will” because of the negative social context created around dowry against men, mainly due to feminist media spreading lies and misinformation about women’s issues.
However, that does not mean that men can be arrested only under Section 498A. Because, it’s not Section 498A that’s responsible for arrests of innocent men and the underlying torture and extortion of men therein, but an anti-male social mindset, fueled by misandry (social hatred against men) which validates abuse of men, which is responsible. Owing to which, literally any complaint by a woman against a man can be used as an excuse to arrest the man without following due procedures.
Moreover, there are many other such legal provisions like Domestic Violence Act, Section 125 CrPC which have covert provisions for arresting men. As we saw above even petty sections like 107/151 are being used to arrest men, also many a times sections 307, 506B are invoked to get men arrested.
- Section 498A is not the only weapon available to arrest men sans evidences, and
- Arrest is not the only issue which men face as we see further.
Men face emotional abuse, financial abuse, verbal abuse, social abuse as well in the society. And of all these, the financial abuse is the one that’s paramount. In fact, all other types of abuses are pivoted around the financial abuse.
It’s always expected of the man to earn money and spend it on others, which means that he must sweat and earn and then spend the earned money on others. Even the advertisements and content in media are flavored with the message of men spending their money on others being a great thing.
In fact, a man who spends money on himself is tagged as non-caring and selfish. The same argument does not hold good for a woman. Most working and earning women spend money only on themselves and once again, no one bats an eyelid.
And then, men who do not wish to do so or can’t do so are very easily tagged as criminals, and their abuse is socially validated. This is a serious issue from men’s rights perspective; more serious than a one-time arrest, since the abuse herein is lifelong.
And it is the very mindset from which the concept of alimony and maintenance arises wherein a man has no relief available. Even though he might have been abused to the core in the marriage, still he would be ordered to pay maintenance to his wife by courts as courts also work on the same social mindset of penalizing the man as he is not willing to spend money on his wife. There is no respect for a man’s choice here and this is an issue from men’s rights perspective.
And interestingly, even the Govt. is hitting men on this front. Since there is a lot of hue and cry about dowry law misuse and innocent men getting arrested, the Govt. seems to be offering some mild dilution of arrest law to men but at the same time it also proposes to widen the definition of dowry and giving the woman a choice as to where she wants to file the case. If that is done, it would actually increase problems for men since more false cases would be registered and men would be made to run to remote locations to fight cases.
Moreover, at the maintenance front, still is the men who need to prove that their wives are working and earning rather than the courts using their authority to find the information out. And, if a man is unable to find out the employment of his wife then, even if his wife is working, he will be ordered to pay maintenance to her.
Often women dump men in relationships and then trap the man in false rape cases. Men, on the other hand, make their best efforts to reconcile the relationship and are also willing to marry the woman, but because the woman is no longer interested in the man or is interested in another man, she would trap this innocent man in a false rape case whose life would be hung on the gallows trying to prove himself innocent of a crime that he did not commit.
Other than these cases, there are many other forms of abuse that men undergo silently in daily life. And many a times, it’s their own family of men, which abuses them. Men are suppressed emotionally by their own families and this emotional suppression is unheard of. It comes out only when men share their pain with someone who listens to them. However, the natal domestic abuse that men undergo goes largely unreported, unrecognized and of course unaddressed.
Till the time, this larger social mindset pitted against men does not change for the betterment of men, merely stopping automatic arrests or saying misusers would be punished are all paper tigers and promises in the air. Society must stop hating men and must not abuse them.