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 legal system in India resembles many other common law systems based on legislation, historical customs and precedents set-forth by prior courts. The country’s Constitution provides the final word on India law and governing, which is administered by a court system broken into various “levels”
India’s courts are historically inefficient, with significant backlogs present within most levels of the legal system. As a result of extended backlogs, public sentiment toward India’s court system is low, with some calling for formal reform. To detractors, the right to justice stands as a fundamental principle, so they believe the burden is upon the state to deal with the slow-to-justice issue, by providing infrastructure adequate to handle the flow of the judiciary. It is currently estimated that there are approximately 14 judges employed for each million citizens in India.
The courts are also notoriously corrupt, with noted cases of bribery, influence peddling and other indiscretions on record. So where does these leave Indian citizens accused of crimes? The answer is a mixed bag, depending on the type of crime suspected, and the sex of the alleged offender.
While umpteen literature and corresponding social acceptance about women’s rights is available, there is an equivalent or probably larger gap for men’s rights. In fact, the very term, “men’s rights” comes as a misnomer for many.
The common misconception is that the concept of men’s rights is relevant only for those men who are wronged due to “misuse” of gender biased laws like Section 498A (dowry law), Domestic Violence Act, Section 125 CrPC (maintenance laws), Section 376 (rape law), Sexual Harassment Law, etc.
But, as truth is stranger than fiction, the concept of men’s rights is relevant for each and every man, each and every male. While one may argue, that the trigger of emergence of men’s rights movement has been due to innocent men being trapped in false cases, however, the underlying abuse of men is much deeper and ingrained than it appears.
It’s the gross injustice that men are subjected to, by the society merely because a woman has complained against the man that forms a larger chunk of abuse of men. Apart from this, the fact that the society does not believe in punishing abusive women compounds to the abuse of men as women continue abusing men unabated.
Relaxing on a fine evening after finishing the day’s business, I got a message on my mobile, “Sunanda Pushkar is no more….” from a friend. I thought he is kidding and asked him to complete the sentence, only to realize, I wasn’t updated on the latest news. Checking the news, I found it to be true – “Sunanda Pushkar, wife of Union Minister, Shashi Tharoor was no more”.
Before I could realize, there was an online storm on twitter and facebook demanding arrest of Shashi Tharoor and also that, a case under section 304 B, be booked against him. Ironically, this demand was coming from none other than the men’s rights activists. And a close scrutiny of the posts clearly revealed that it was a sarcastic take on the double standards and hypocrisy of the society that is generally after the man when a relationship breakdown happens or the woman (wife/live-in partner/girlfriend) in the relationship dies.
However, contrary to other cases, what we witnessed was a complete violation of law and the general practice. Instead of arresting Tharoor directly, the media and the Govt. wanted to investigate the case first (unlike other cases) and that too, on a letter from Shashi Tharoor to Sushil Kumar Shinde, the Honorable Union Home Minister of India.