Dowry is one of the greatest social disasters ever confronted by our nation, and no enlightened society ought to endure this, and every effort is made to eradicate this evil practice. And on the other hand, the violence that affects an individual's life, including physical emotional and mental disturbance is known as Domestic Violence. It is an infringement of the basic human right. Different nations have recognized it as a genuine danger to an individual's overall development. India has likewise distinguished domestic violence at home as a brutal crime and provides help and security from it – sadly the help is extended just towards 'women'.
Furthermore, some corrupt wives unleash this devastation on her husband and his family only for the sake of luring money out of them. Domestic violence at home against men is nearly nil as there is no provision in any law to protect a man. Accordingly, we have numerous situations where women utilize their privileges to submit a bogus question against their spouses to irritate them. Besides, everybody, including our government, has neglected to address the viciousness suffered by men.
How husbands are affected
Lately, the criminal law has gone through some extremist changes to protect women, which has led to giving more teeth to the existing laws (D.P. Act, 498-A, 406 IPC and so forth). As these laws are non-compoundable and non-bailable, the chance of compromise between the spouses after suit is close to nil. It implies when the complaint is made, everyone named in the complaint is blamed in the law's eyes.
Section 498-A of the IPC is a criminal law wherein the wife, and her parental family can charge any or the entire husband's family of physical or mental cruelty.
Typically, the charged relatives in these cases include:
- Mostly women, of all ages (unmarried, wedded sisters of the spouse, his mother and sisters-in-law, old grandmothers and aunts.)
- Other maternal and fatherly family members and even small kids in the family.
Attributes of 498-A, Indian Penal Code-
- Cognizable – The charged can be arrested and imprisoned without warrant or examination.
- Non-Compoundable – The complainant can't be withdrawn by the petitioner (chances of living together respectively again are lost.)
- Non-Bailable – The accused should show up in the Court to demand bail.
Even on a single complaint of the wife, the husband and his whole family can be confined in a jail, with an estimated 40,000 allegations for every year and an average of 5 individuals from the husband's family implicated in each of these 498-A cases, around 200,000 individuals are straightforwardly affected by these cases.
It is pertinent to note here that, the genuine victims of the evil of dowry, the rural Indian women are not educated about their privileges and neglect to utilize these laws. Be that as it may, some Indian urban educated women have reversed the situation and are utilizing these laws as a weapon to release individual feud on their spouses and innocent family members.
The most recent addition in women's lawful cannons is 'The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act.' This law is pro-women and anti-men and assumes each man as a virtual torturer and assumes women to be the casualties. This law is profoundly vague and discusses verbal/financial and psychological mistreatment of women. Numerous husbands and their relatives, falsely implicated in these cases have committed suicide after being imprisoned, unfit to bear the social trauma.
Hon'ble Supreme Court and different High Courts have time and again demonstrated worry over this developing danger by seeing that "By abuse of the section (IPC 498-A - Dowry and Cruelty Law) new legal terrorism can be released. The section is expected to be utilized as a shield, and not as a professional killer's weapon says the Hon'ble Supreme Court. Simply because the section is declared constitutional, it doesn't permit deceitful people to wreck individual quarrel.
In the case of Sushil Kumar Sharma vs Union of India and others, the Hon'ble Supreme Court held that "the object of the provision is the prevention of the dowry menace. But as has been rightly contended by the petitioner, many instances have come to light where the complaints are not bonafide and have been filed with oblique motive. In such cases, the acquittal of the accused does not, in all cases wipe out the ignominy suffered during and before trial. Sometimes negative media coverage adds to the misery. Therefore, the question is what remedial measures can be taken to prevent abuse of the well-intentioned provision. Merely because the provision is constitutional and intra vires, does not give unscrupulous persons a licence to wreck personal vendetta or unleash harassment. Therefore, it may become necessary for the legislature to find out how the makers of frivolous complaints or allegations can be appropriately dealt with. Till then, the Courts have to take care of the situation within the existing framework."
Ample opportunity has been given to the legislators’/law implementation organizations/judges to pay notice and review these laws in the public interest to check the developing abuse of these laws to guarantee impartial justice and protect the sacred and pious institution of marriage.
In Arnesh Kumar v. the State of Bihar, (2014), in an endeavour to guarantee that police officer doesn't capture the charged pointlessly, and Magistrate doesn't approve detainment nonchalantly and precisely in cases under Section 498-An IPC, the Court gave certain directions (nonetheless, the directions apply additionally to different situations where the offence is guilty with the detainment of not more than seven years) which include:
- Police officials not to consequently arrest the accused when a case under 498-An IPC is registered. They ought to satisfy themselves about the necessity to arrest under parameters moving from Section 41 CrPC (the judgment sets out the parameters).
- Police officials will fill the checklist (containing indicated sub-clauses under Section 41(1)(b)(ii) CrPC) and furnish the reasons and material requiring the arrest.
- The Magistrate will approve confinement exclusively after recording its fulfilment on the police officers' report outfitted.
- If the police officers neglect to comply with the directions, they will be at risk for departmental action and court contempt.
- Failure of the Judicial Magistrate to comply with the directions will make him liable for departmental action by the suitable High Court.
Rajesh Sharma v. The State of U.P., 2017- In this case, the Supreme Court offered directions to prevent abuse of Section 498-An IPC, which were additionally altered in Social Action Forum for Manav Adhikar v. Association of India, 2018. These directions include:
- Complaints under Section 498-A and other associated offences might be examined exclusively by an assigned Investigating Officer of that area.
- If a settlement is made between the parties, it is available to them to approach the High Court under Section 482 looking for seeking quashing of proceedings or some other request.
- If a bail application is filed within at least one day's notice to the Public Prosecutor/complainant, the same might be decided as far as possible around the same day. Recovery of disputed dowry things may not, without help from anyone else, be a ground for refusal of bail if maintenance or different rights of wife/minor children can, in any case, be secured.
- In regard of people normally living out of India, appropriating passports or issuance of Red Corner Notice ought not to be a daily practice.
- These directions won't have any significant bearing if there should be an occurrence of tangible physical injuries or death.
Ram Kumar Nanki vs State of Madhya Pradesh [Criminal Appeal No.814 of 2020]- The Supreme Court has acquitted a man convicted by the Trial Court and the High Court in a dowry death case. In this case, the accused's wife had passed on by setting herself on fire. The dying declaration indicated that the reason for which the deceased set herself on fire was the household fight with the husband. Thus, both the Trial Court and the Chhattisgarh High Court considered this dying declaration and statements of certain witnesses to convict the accused under Sections 304-B and 498-An IPC. He was condemned to be detained for ten years.
Then the counsel for the accused brought to the Supreme Court's notice that the dying declaration revealed that the deceased herself poured lamp fuel oil upon her and set herself burning and that the testimony of the concerned doctor very much upheld the dying declaration. He contended that the vague claims against the accused by certain witnesses couldn't be taken to be adequate proof of dowry-related harassment. The bench including Justices L. Nageswara Rao, Vineet Saran and S. Ravindra Bhat, permitting the allure, held that the dying declaration shows that the deceased's immediate cause to set herself afire was the domestic quarrel with the husband. The dying declaration gives details as to how the deceased suffered burn injuries and disclosed the immediate cause for her to take the extreme step. There is nothing on record to indicate that the dying declaration was obtained by fraud or misrepresentation or that the statement was not correctly recorded. It was recorded by a doctor, an independent person and satisfied all the requirements.
In case a false complaint is registered against men by their wife, they have two choices: to defend their case and wait for the judgment or file a counter case against their wife and prover them wrong, as detailed underneath.
Men can protect themselves and their family from being sent to prison given the false complaint. They have the following alternatives to safeguard their family and themselves:
- Record all conversations (voice, chat, email, letters, and so on) with those threatening and keep the originals in a protected place and not produce the actual evidence before anybody.
- Gather evidence to demonstrate that they have neither demanded dowry nor have accepted it nonetheless.
- Gather evidence to demonstrate that the wife moved out of the obligation of marriage for no legitimate explanation.
- This evidence will be productive at the time of getting anticipatory bail or notice bail from the Court.
Document RCR (Restitution of Conjugal Rights)- Suppose the wife has left her husband's place after all the threatening. In that case, men can file RCR (Restitution of Conjugal Rights) referencing the conditions that she ought to concur on before she begins living with her husband once again.
The false objection against men is increasing each day, and it's a significant issue as it disregards basic fundamental liberties. The issue is obscure to anyone; everyone knows how women abuse the law's provisions to satisfy their unlawful demands against their spouses. The Supreme Court is additionally working hard on bringing amendments to laws protecting Indian men. In this light, in its judgements, the Court laid out a few rules against the arbitrary arrest of men in section 498-A cases.