Samiksha Gupta, pursuing BBA,LL.B.(Hons.) from UPES,Dehradun.
WOMEN CENTRIC LAWS –THREAT TO MEN
Tears of women are visible to the society and the lawmakers however the society becomes blind when it comes to men’s tears. Women have statutory protection in all kinds of domestic violence, cruelty, harassment against her however in case a man is going through such crimes against him, then no specific law is made or any statutory provision is provided to protect him. Women institute false cases out of vengeance and It’s extremely easy for her to curtail into one’s privacy using social media and destroying his reputation. A woman can exploit a man legally if her complaint is treated prima facie as true and genuine, which is usually treated as the same. Several words in the provisions which protect women are not specified as to what they exactly mean therefore it takes everything relating to that word into it. Crime against women is non-bailable, cognizable and non-compoundable. Section 498A of IPC and dowry deaths laws are the most misused ones. These laws do not give women the power to misuse them and use it just to quench their thirst of Revenge. These laws not be used as a double-edged sword by women. The laws are the immunity given to women and it should always retain the spirit of the law.
Keywords: Domestic Violence, Section 498A, Prima Facie, Cruelty, Cognizable, Non-bailable.
Friedrich Engels German philosopher and social scientist in his classical writing Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State” stated that, “Woman was the first human being that tasted bondage. Woman was a slave before slavery existed”[i]. The exploitation of women was immense they were oppressed and ill-treated keeping them dependent, weak.
This is going on since ancient India from killing 7 newborn babies of Devaki by her brother Kans to Yudhishtir staking his wife Dropati into gambling and ordering his brother the Dushasan to strike her in the Royal Palace. The women during those days suffered discrimination in Silence. The elimination of such exploitation and discrimination against women were increasingly recognized by International as well as Indian community. Various laws were formulated to protect the woman as the law indicates that such brutal behavior is socially unacceptable and provides protection and access to support services to women.
In modern society, women are working hand in hand with the man and they are moving out of the houses more freely with free mixing of the genders. The youth promotes the concept of “no one is weaker than other”. Much progress has been made in prohibiting violence against women however now there is an urgent need to focus upon the harassment of man as the victim due to the women-centric laws and its arbitrary use. The tables have turned and innocent men are being exploited massively.
Favoring one gender at the cost of another gender is pure exploitation which was not the intention of the legislation while making women-centric laws. There stands an urgent need of evolution of women-centric laws which are more of a threat to men now. The woman does not deserve the laws which are used to threaten somebody. Though the principle of innocent until proven guilty is followed in India however when it comes to crime against women, it is seen that Court favor the woman and it’s presumed that his husband must be guilty. Now is the time to remove from the law all the privileges and disadvantages which are based on gender.
FREQUENTLY MISUSED WOMEN-CENTRIC LAWS
Laws protecting women are justified only with respect to the status of women in ancient times, however with so much modernization and progress in the thinking of the society to such extent the criminality amongst women is increasing at rampant number however with respect to the law there are still no changes made, it stands the same as it did decades back no matter how far the society has come. The male gender is highly victimized sect of the society.
The most misuse law by women is the dowry laws and the domestic violence laws, which was framed in order to protect the woman from the ill-treatment caused by the in-laws however now the law undercuts due process and puts the husband and his family behind the bars on the basis of only a written letter by the woman without any substantial evidence.
Dowry death laws, 498 A, and other matrimonial cruelty defined in Penal Code:
There exist several numbers of matrimonial cruelty defined in IPC when a married woman is subject to cruelty by her husband or his relatives it comes under Section 498 an of IPC and when demand for dowry is done by husband or relatives and she dies (unnatural death) within seven years of the marriage. The arrest can be solely made in these cases only on the basis of allegations made without any evidence or investigation. The intention of Legislature behind drafting such provision was to provide a shield in the hands of women to protect themselves however now it is used as a multipurpose sword against husband and his relatives. These laws are now more used as a weapon to Unleash personal grudges over trivial matters.
Supreme court in the case of Dr N.G. Dastsne Vs. S. Dastsne it was held that physical cruelty might be caused by the husband but it’s not universally true but it is the opposite in the case of mental cruelty because in the majority of cases mental cruelty is caused by the wife to the husband.
In another case the high court held that making any unsubstantiated allegations amounts to causing mental cruelty to the husband. Men’s right organization describes harassment of men as legal terrorism which is caused by men laws. Amit Gupta from the organization says that it falls under Section 498 A of IPC, and is widely misused and is a kind of legal terrorism upon the man. He added that “as opposed to the common belief, married men are victims of domestic violence than women” and that there is a need for reform in these laws.
In the case of Narendra v. K. Meena,[ii] the husband was continuously forced by the wife to live separately from his parents and other family members wherein the husband was the sole bread earner of the family and the wife did not want to divide his husband money onto his parents th, therefore, accused him of fake charges of extramarital affairs with their maid this is not it is she attempted to commit suicide by burning herself without any reasonable ground in order to blackmail her husband, the two-judgment held that such continuous pressure will be called cruelty by wife on husband. The bench was also of the opinions that if the wife would have been succeeded in her intentions the husband would have entangled into clutches of law. Only one event was sufficient to get his life miserable.
According to provisional data of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), a total number of 16,352,4,204 and 531 cases have been registered under the Protection of Women against Domestic Violence Act in 2005,2012,2013 and 2014. Out of 90,000 too on,e lakh cases investigated every year, nearly 10,000 complaints of dowry harassment turn out to be false, which means that these Acts are one of the most abused and exploited laws in the country.
There are various other provisions in law which protects the women or it would be better to say that which are misused by women or are used against men. Laws in India perpetuate the notion that women are somehow naive, gullible, weak and lack the agency a man possessed criminalization of laws like “consensual sex” between the minors is considered as the rape committed by the boy.
Section 125 of CrPC deals with the provision of maintenance which states a girl is legally entitled to get maintenance from his father until she gets married and after marriage from the husband however boys are entitled for to intendance only till the turn the age of 18. A woman cannot be jailed for the crime of not flinger income tax. According to Hindu inheritance law if a woman dies without a will the rights of a h husband’s heirs above the rights of her parents.
Therefore, it’s an urgent need of the society to Reform these arbitrary laws and the crime against women should be properly investigated and inquired before putting the husband or his family behind the bars.
The Supreme Court of India through its various judgments has taken several initiatives which promo tender neutral laws. There have been several instances when women misuse the power given to them just to quench their thirst of Revenge. Any law protecting Women must have an objective that the consequences of such law shall not have lacerations on men’s entire life. The worst consequences of these laws are the suicide of innocent husbands and they are not able to prove their innocence even if they owe themselves innocent the society still thinks they are the culprit. Another consequence is that crime against women are non-bailable cognizable which becomes Bane for men who are innocent. There is a necessity to recognize this problem and take various steps like Re look provisions which have severe consequences on men, courts need to do proper enquiry and police investigation without presuming that the husband is guilty and has committed the crime until and unless they have proper evidence against him, rigorous prosecution of all these false cases and false evidence would be done[iii], the male generation in the society is no longer stronger than the women, one false case against men can affect the entire social life of him, I needed proper special laws should be made for men. A lot of women empowerment is done now we need men empowerment. In any case no, innocent person should be made suffer on account of unfounded baseless and malicious allegations. It is to be noted that the role of investigating Agencies courts is that of a Watchdog and not a Bloodhound to men.
[i] Ashima Obhan, Virnda Patodia, India: Women Centric Changes In Indian Law, (april,5,2019), https://www.mondaq.com/india/human-rights/795312/women-centric-changes-in-indian-law#:~:text=German%20philosopher%20and%20social%20scientist,a%20slave%20before%20slavery%20existed%2
[ii] Narendra v. K. Meena, Recent Apex Judgments (R.A.J.) 664 (2016)
[iii] Prathibha Kumari , Women Centric Laws: Consequences faced by Males, http://www.legalserviceindia.com/legal/article-3390-women-centric-laws-consequences-faced-by-males.html