SECTION 498A - USED OR MISUSED?

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE?

Domestic Violence is violence or abuse in a marriage or cohabitation with an intent to hurt and threaten the victim. It violates the basic human rights of a human being. In India, domestic violence has always been about women because men are always considered as the perpetrator. There are some facts this article is going to present which you may find absurd but it is the harsh reality.

According to the National Family Health Survey, 2004, violence is not always imposed on female partner/wife but many times by the male relative of the wife. Men are physically abused and threatened. Three crore men are facing domestic violence in India by their wife’s relatives.

According to a study conducted by My Nation along with Save Indian Family Foundation (Delhi) on domestic violence against men b/w April 2005-2006, 1650 men were interviewed on their personal matters which concluded that Indian women were dominating and abusive.

In a recent study 51.5%, men experience violence from their wife at least once in a lifetime.

All the laws related to domestic violation is women-centric and men have nowhere to go. There is a lot of NGOs fighting for women but there is hardly any government-backed NGOs for men. Even men make fun of other men by saying phrases like, Mard ko dard nhi hota (a man should not feel pain) or ye kya biwi se pitwa ke aagya (God! How can your wife beat you up?)


WHY MEN SUFFER IN SILENCE?

Fear of cases – The biggest fear of husbands is being charged of false accusations of dowry, domestic violence, and harassment case. Once these cases are filed, there is no going back because of the man-dominant society that will always favour the wife.

Protect children – Children mental is most affected in such cases. Once the husband-wife are separated, they do not have a stable environment to stay in. Obtaining custody of the children is very difficult for a father.

Feel ashamed – Men feel ashamed of being beaten up by their wife. In Indian society, if we see a boy crying its like, ye kya ladki ke tarah ro raha (why are you crying like a girl). Society starts questioning the manliness or the masculinity of the man. There’s a social structure of what men and women should be and if they aren’t, people become judgemental and starts pelting questions.

Parental pressure – In India men live with their parents which sometimes hinders the privacy of the couple as parents interference which leads to more problems. Men suffer a lot because they always end up juggling between the two.


MISUSE OF SECTION 498A OF INDIAN PENAL CODE

The section 498A states that ‘Whoever, being the husband or the relative of the husband of a woman, subjects such woman to cruelty shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine.’

As this offence is cognizable, non-bailable, and impromptu works on the complaint of the woman and can throw a man behind bars without any investigation. The man will be treated like a criminal that violates the basic principle of criminal jurisprudence “innocent until proven guilty.”

The women make false allegations against their husbands of the offence of dowry death section 304B in order to extort money or get to hurt the family. In the case Savitri Devi v Ramesh Chand & Ors, the court held section 498A is misused and exploited to an extent where it shooked the very core of marriage and proves to be harmful to the society at large.


In the case of Rajesh Sharma & Ors. vs. State of UP and Anr, the Supreme Court directed the police to not instantly arrest the accused under section 498A after a complaint is filed. The police need to verify the accusations before arresting. It was observed that “there was a growing pattern of cases where the women were misusing the legal provision to charge their husbands and his family members in criminal cases based on personal vengeance or ulterior motives.”

This section was drafted so that it can protect married women from their husbands but in recent years, this section has been misused continuously. Nowadays women are taking advantage of the term ‘weaker section.’ The judges have asked the Law Commission and Parliament to make section 498A a non-cognizable and bailable.

The law has always tried to protect the victims but what happens when the victim itself is the abuser?


PROTECTION AGAINST SECTION 498A

1. Section 182 of IPC can be used against false 498A cases, when the court finds that the allegations made were false, the culprit is punished with imprisonment of 6 months or with fine or both. The person is charged on the grounds of misleading the judicial system with false information.

2. The husband can also file a defamation case under section 500 of IPC.

3. The husband can also file for divorce under section 13 of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, on the grounds of cruelty.

© The People Bookmark | 2020

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