डिनर के लिए बैठे पति ने पत्नी से पूछा : यह जो सब्जी तुमने बनाई है , उसका नाम क्या है ?
पत्नी : क्यों पूछ रहे हो ?
पति : क्योंकि अस्पताल में मुझसे पूछा तो जाएगा कि मैंने क्या खाया था।
शादी के दूसरे दिन बेटी अपनी मां से : मेरी उनसे लड़ाई हो गई।
मां : शादी के बाद झगड़े तो होते ही रहते हैं , फिक्र मत करो।
बेटी : वह ठीक है पर अब लाश का क्या करूं ?
Asked how she knew Abhishek was ‘the one’, the former Miss World and actress says, “You know, it’s weird, but the moment we got together, it was a sense of coming home. Like I would have been surprised if we didn’t.”
Do they make compromises in their marriage? During an interview to a magazine, Abhishek said, “I don’t look upon any of it as compromise. The fact that she is in my life and I am married to her is of more importance and happiness to me than anything that I could possibly compromise on.” Adds Ash, “I think marriage takes for adjustment, not compromise, and it means doing all that you need to do to commit to your relationship. If there is anything that makes you feel like it’s a compromise, that means there is an area of discomfort, and that means there’s already something unsettling. But why talk of marriage and compromise? Life asks for adjustments and you do that. You are like water—you find your fit. You look upon life like that, why necessarily compartmentalise marriage?”
How does the couple think their 25th wedding anniversary would look like? Ash exclaims, “Wow. I don’t think that far. I can’t believe we just celebrated our third wedding anniversary. It still feels fresh, it feels like yesterday we were being congratulated for our marriage. A certain song starts playing, and it feels like yesterday. It doesn’t feel like a long time ago, and God willing, it continues to feel this way. We’ll be there in a flash, I think. I just didn’t think my life would pan out the way it has. In my initial interviews I would say one day at a time, and I am still holding on to that.” Keep the love flowing!
MUZAFFARNAGAR: Years of marriage might have reconciled the warring couple, but after their daughter, who took the vow around 36 years ago, filed a case for divorce, the two did some soul searching and found they were not‘‘compatible’’. Nearly 50 years after they got married, the couple have decided to seek divorce in the same court where their daughter has filed her case.
Madhu, who had married Lalit Wadhwa in 1974, sought divorce from him in 2009 due to a family dispute. She cited ‘‘irreconcilable differences with her husband’’ and moved court. While her mother Prem Narula (70) supported her decision, Madhu’s father, Shiv Chandra Narula (72) opposed it. The mother felt that there was enough logic in her daughter’s decision to seek divorce. She opined that her daughter had ‘suffered’ a lot over the years. Her father, however, maintained she could give her husband another chance.
The father’s support for the son-in-law and mother’s support for the daughter created a rift between the elderly couple, and Shiv Chandra last week filed for divorce from Prem in the same court in Saharanpur where their daughter’s case is pending.
Mumbai-based Raju Cherian, in the middle of a custody battle with his wife, ran away with his two teenaged children to Kerala. And in a shocking display of intrigue and pettiness, he told his children that if they stopped communicating with their mother, it would help him and his wife reunite. Innocent and unsuspecting, the kids fell for the bait and did not speak to or see their mother for two years. But soon enough the effect of prolonged separation from their mother started showing. His son, in a fit of rage, attacked his school teacher and was later sentenced to a juvenile home.
V Ravichandran,a US-based scientist pitted against his ex-wife Vijayasree Voora for the custody of their sevenyear-old son Aditya, issued advertisements in Indian newspapers declaring that his wife was an ‘international kidnapper’ who had run away with their son. The two got divorced in 2005, and the US courts granted custody of Aditya to his father. But Voora fled the US taking Aditya along. The FBI has issued a warrant against her, and the CBI, too, has sent lookout notices for the mother and son.She now carries a cash reward of Rs 100,000 on her head. When TOI-Crest finally managed to speak to Aditya, he said, “I want to dig a trench and hide there with my mom, so that even the CBI cannot find us. I don’t want to go to my dad.” Voora continues to move from city to city with her son, trying to hoodwink her husband and the authorities.
Far too often, parents go to extremes in order to win the custody, and love, of their children – without realising they have alienated them in the process. This is Simran’s story. By the time Simran’s mother won custody over her after seven years of an ugly and messy legal fight, she had lost out on her daughter’s smile and affection. The 14-year-old girl, who lives in Chandigarh, has emotionally isolated herself from her mother and pines for her father’s love. “I don’t want to recall those horrible days. My parents should have at least thought about my feelings, but they didn’t,” says a bitter Simran. She sorely misses her father, especially when her friends talk about their dads. “I just have a few memories of my father even though he is very much alive,” she adds, pain writ large on her face. Now she has asked her mother to send her away to a residential school as soon as she completes her class 10.
Like Simran, many other children from broken homes want to escape their parents. Clinical psychologists say the emotional ordeal such children undergo leads to serious commitment issues later in life. They feel inadequate and some vent their frustration – often physically – on friends, colleagues or spouses.
Kolkata-based psychiatrist Amarnath Mallik explains this behaviour citing the example of one of his clients, a 21-year-old engineer. He would serially dump his girlfriends for no apparent reason. However, a talk with Mallik revealed that the engineer loved to see his girlfriends suffer during and after a break-up. “Having grown up with his grandmother, away from his divorced parents, this was his way of getting even with fate,” says Mallik.
Fifteen-year-old Tupa is fighting similar demons from her past. She has twice been suspended from her school in Mumbai for violent behaviour. She was just five when her parents got separated. When her father used to pick her up on his visitation days, Tupa’s mother would hand her a list of dos and don’ts. Both her parents hurled a lot of lies at each other through her. Now, years later, Tupa is undergoing counselling as she is “very angry, resists all authority and does not trust adults”.
In the dark recesses of family courts, sparring spouses not only bury their marriage, they also write obituaries to childhood.
Though courts throughout the world insist that the welfare of the child is of paramount importance in custody battles, squabbling parents, numbed by hurt and stung by bruised egos, forget the trauma they subject their children to. They gloss over, sometimes deliberately, the changes brought about in the tender psyche of young kids, some of whom go into extended bouts of depression and endless crying, show signs of regression, attention deficit, nervousness, low self-esteem and an unwillingness to attend school.
“In teens, the tension and pain manifest as rebellion, substance abuse and bunking of school,” says Shelja Sen, a Delhi-based clinical therapist who regularly counsels children of parents who are in the process of separation. Such children struggle to understand why their parents are fighting, or why they are being asked to choose who they want to live with – the mother or the father?
“Parents in a bad marriage unfairly make children the target of their anger,” adds Dr Harish Shetty, a Mumbai-based child counsellor. More insidiously, parents often take undue advantage of their child’s innocence.
Every city has more than its share of horror stories of how custody battles harm the child.Not that there aren’t parents who don’t let their personal differences and dislike for each other influence their child.A divorced couple in Pune, for instance, has decided to keep a semblance of normalcy and civility in front of their children, especially at social functions and at school PTA meetings. The children,in turn,are grateful that their parents have spared them the name-calling, the one-upmanship and other power games. Over time, the children have accepted the reality and are well-adjusted – both at school and at home.
As Shetty says, “It’s important for parents to heal themselves first and then put their heads and hearts together in the best interest of the child.” Punebased psychologist and counsellor Sandy Dias Andrade has a word of advice: “Despite the feelings of conflict between two parents, it is important to not let them come in the way when dealing with custody issues. Do not use kids as confidantes. Spare them the details. All they need to know is that both parents love them, despite the circumstances leading up to their split.”
-Shobita Dhar with inputs from Daniel P, George, Chennai; Swati Deshpande, Mumbai; Supriya Bhardwaj, Chandigarh; Prithvijit Mitra, Kolkata; Kalyani Sardesai, Pune
It’s happening again. The media is uncertain whether supermodel Viveka Babaji left a suicide note on Friday blaming boyfriend Gautam Vora for driving her to end her life. Neighbours in the Bandra apartment block heard the couple fighting late on Thursday night. And the last entry in Viveka’s diary allegedly reads, “You killed me Gautam Vora.”
But does that incriminate Gautam in an abetment of suicide case under Section 306 of the IPC? It shouldn’t because Viveka, according to her elder sister Vineeta, had attempted suicide before, and was known to be hyper-sensitive, emotional, given to manic depressions, and lived a model’s life that flirted with drugs and alcohol abuse, loneliness, bad and broken relationships, the stress of insecurities and competition.
It’s also not fair to the guy in a case like this. Especially if the girl, as he discovers late into their relationship, is neurotic or even psychotic. We’re not saying this was Viveka’s condition. But certainly, only a loss of contact with reality could have led her to commit suicide. Her boyfriend, perhaps recalling how men in similar circumstances were hounded by the police, harassed by courts, and rejected by society, has gone into hiding already.
Cases in point are Miss India, model and TV host Nafisa Joseph’s suicide in July 2004 after fiancee Gautam Khanduja called off their wedding following differences of opinion over his earlier marriage and divorce. Her suicide led to his arrest and a case being filed against him that went on for quite some time. Likewise model and TV actress Kuljeet Randhawa’s suicide which brought her boyfriend Bhanu Uday under the scanner. Then there was air-hostess Sucheta Anand’s case in Mumbai two years ago where her boyfriend, co-pilot Arjun Menon, was arrested.
A study by BT has revealed that people are sympathetic towards men caught in such predicaments. And the general consensus is that unless the men are directly responsible for pushing the women to the edge, like in dowry deaths, they should not be held responsible, declared guilty, and punished. This is what our study revealed…
Not guilty, say the men
Narendra Kumar, designer
Of course, the man could be at fault, but not always the culprit. Men jump off buildings, too, and could be the victims sometimes. On one hand we say women and men are equal and on the other, the men are the first to be blamed. It all boils down to how well an individual can cope with a situation.
Kunal Kohli, filmmaker
Naturally, the suspicion will fall on the person closest to the victim, who’s been spending maximum time with her. It’s not fair because there can be a lot of reasons for a person to take such a step.
Acquin Pais, model
For someone to take such a drastic step means that he/she has been hurt/cheated by someone very close and dear to them. And usually, it is the boyfriend/ lover. In a superficial industry such as this, it can get extremely lonely. And most often than not, to get into such a frame of mind, it has to involve someone close to you.
Rahul DaCunha, adman
It’s too easy to blame suicide on spurned love. The guy can have been the last straw to an already suicidal mind.
Milind Soman, model
Unless you know, you shouldn’t talk. Useless speculation is a waste of time and energy.
Timmy Narang, businessman
It’s not fair. One always has the choice to stay or walk away from a relationship and take control of his/her life. It is not fair to blame others for your own weaknesses.
Pritish Nandy, writer
There are countless other reasons in today’s complex and extremely competitive world that can drive a girl to suicide. Why always blame a man? Relationships break down every day. Not everyone goes out and kills herself.
Chetan Hansraj, actor
When something drastic like this happens, the first reaction is to blame a bad relationship, thereby putting the blame on the boyfriend. It’s wrong, but then again, it’s natural.
Not guilty/ Medical experts
Psychiatrist Dr Anjali Chhabria says, “Not every suicide is a result of something traumatic in an individual’s life. It could be because of depression or the individual’s inherent personality. In borderline personality disorder cases, suicidal attempts are common. Indian society is women-oriented and there’s a natural tendency to blame the men when things happen. Until a matter is investigated thoroughly, no fingers should be pointed at anyone.” Suicides often take place due to career lows or failed relationships. Dr Rajan Bhosle, psychotherapist and relationship counselor, says, “Women are heart-oriented, their expectations are different. The man initially tends to make a lot of promises and later doesn’t keep them. That’s when the lady feels cheated and gets very demanding, which, in turn, pushes the man further away and they break up. However, the man can’t be blamed because both are responsible. She was wrong in putting all eggs in one basket and in believing that the end of one relationship is the end of the world.”
Not guilty/Legal expert
Criminal lawyer Satish Maneshinde says, “In a large number of cases, suicides happen because of breakups or fights in relationships. Whenever there is a suicide, the police zero in on people who are connected emotionally or through authority (employer in the case of an employee committing suicide) with the deceased. They even book people under abetment of suicide to prove that they’ve carried out their investigations. Abetment means either to goad or assist or help in preparation or instigate a person to commit suicide. But none of these really apply when it comes to suicides related to relationships/ breakups. Most of these suicides are to do with the person’s individuality or character, it’s more inbuilt and it’s not viewed as acquired. So when the abetment cases go to court, after a full-fledged trial, the people are let off because of lack of evidence and because abetment cannot be foisted on these cases connected with relationships.
What the law says…
Section 306, IPC on abetment of suicide says: If any person commits suicide, whoever abets the commission of such suicide, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine. However, Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Himanshu Roy clarifies that mere mention of the man’s name in the suicide note does not make him culpable in each case unless it is convincingly proved that by his mental and physical harassment and abuse of the woman, he drove her to commit suicide.
RESERVATION FOR WOMEN IN ASSEMBLIES AND PARLIAMENT
Despite misgivings of tokenism, the 1993 measure of reserving one third of the seats for women in the third tier of the Indian democracy – Panchayati Raj and Nagar Palika – has proved successful in empowering the targeted group. But all attempts to extend the same principle to state legislative assemblies and Parliament have come to naught because of resistance, overt or covert, from various political parties.
However, the latest attempt made in 2008 seems promising, not the least because the Bill was introduced for the first time in the Rajya Sabha and, therefore, did not lapse when there were elections to the Lok Sabha the following year.
One sticky issue that has remained is that the proposed rotation of reserved constituencies in every election may reduce the incentive for an MP to work for his constituency as he may be ineligible to seek re-election from there.
COMPULSORY REGISTRATION OF MARRIAGES
In a bid to prevent child marriages, polygamy and desertions, the Supreme Court declared in 2006 that it was compulsory for all marriages to be registered. But when it reviewed the implementation of its verdict the following year, the apex court found that only some of the states had framed the necessary rules for compulsory registration of marriages. It was also noticed that those fresh rules were made only in respect of Hindus.
None of the states dared touch the Muslim law, partly because it apparently permits polygamy and partly because the Supreme Court judgment was liable to be misconstrued by minorities as an attempt to force a uniform civil code through the backdoor. The Hindu law was perceived to be more amenable to this reform as it already provides registration of marriage as an option.
ACCEPT IRRETRIEVABLE BREAKDOWN OF MARRIAGE
While divorce by mutual consent or no-fault divorce was introduced way back in 1976, no government has so far mustered the will to enact the next logical reform. Namely, to empower the courts to grant divorce even when one of the two parties is opposed to it and none of the prescribed grounds for divorce could be established. The Supreme Court has repeatedly called for the introduction of “irretrievable breakdown of marriage” so that the judiciary in India, as its counterparts in advanced countries, is empowered to grant divorce on coming to the conclusion that the marriage was beyond repair.
RESTRICT THE FREEDOM TO BEQUEATH ONE’S PROPERTY
The unfettered freedom among Hindus to bequeath their self-acquired properties to any person(s) of their choice has often worked against the interests of their female legal heirs, especially daughters. Experts have suggested that a Hindu should have the discretion to bequeath by a will only up to two-thirds of his properties. The remaining one-third of his estate should be governed by the succession law, which has been reformed in recent years to include daughters among legal heirs.
CHECKING ABUSE OF DOWRY LAW
The abuse of Section 498A IPC is as patent as the need to confer such protection on the wife from the cruelty of the husband or his relatives for dowry or otherwise. There is clearly a need to amend this law, if nothing else because women too (mothers-in-law or sisters-in-law )are often casualties of its abuse. In a bid to save this well intentioned provision from the odium of being a cover for blackmail, the courts have repeatedly directed that the police should not resort to arrests till they complete their investigation and file a charge sheet.
ALLOWING WOMEN TO COMPLAIN AGAINST ADULTEROUS HUSBAND
In one of its most anti-feminist provisions, the Indian Penal Code 1860 defines adultery as an offence that is actionable only between the adulterer and the aggrieved husband. But if the husband commits adultery, the wife cannot seek action against him and his sexual partner. The husband can get into trouble only if his sexual partner happens to be married and, then too, only from her husband.
Surprisingly, the Supreme Court upheld this iniquitous provision in 1985 on the ground that it was dealing with “a wrong against the sanctity of the matrimonial home”. But the Law Commission and the Malimath Committee on criminal justice reforms proposed that the adultery provision be made gender-neutral.
WIDENING THE SCOPE OF RAPE
For all the possible ways in which this extremely violent offence is committed, the definition of rape, provided in Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code 1860, hangs by a narrow thread. While “sexual intercourse” is a necessary condition, “penetration” is stipulated as a sufficient condition. This means that, however much he might have sexually assaulted the victim, the offence of rape is not made out unless the crime involved “penile-vaginal penetration”.
The Law Commission, therefore, suggested a fresh definition, which makes it clear that penetration could be of vagina, anus or urethra, with any part of the body of another person or object manipulated by another person. It also seeks to include oral sex and manipulation of any part of the body with sexual intent.
CRIMINALISING MARITAL RAPE
One leftover of the old notion that the wife is the husband’s property is the absence of any recognition of the fact that she could be raped even within the institution of marriage. Mercifully, the one circumstance in which marital rape is acknowledged by law is when the wife is less than 15 years old. Even so, she will have to lodge the complaint within a year and then the husband, upon conviction, would get a maximum sentence of two years. This is a far cry from the minimum stipulated sentence of seven years for rape.
Though child wives do need greater protection, there is no justification for the presumption that, unlike their counterparts in western countries, Indian wives above the age of 15 can never be raped by their husbands. The closest the law has come to recognising this crime is in the context of the 2005 Domestic Violence Act, which created a civil remedy for such victims even as it refrained from criminalising marital rape.
ENACT A LAW ON SEXUAL HARASSMENT
The Victorian vintage provisions dealing with “outraging the modesty” of a woman (Section 354 IPC) and “insulting the modesty” of a woman (Section 509) are clearly out of date. The notion of regarding a woman in terms of her “modesty” does not fit in with a world where she competes with men on equal terms. The Supreme Court sought to redress this anomaly in its landmark Vishakha verdict in 1997, when it laid down guidelines for dealing with sexual harassment at work place. This temporary measure, meant to be replaced by legislation, has proved ineffective as it depends on the responsibility of employers to create a remedial mechanism.
So, one option before Parliament is to enact a special law on the lines of the court guidelines. Another option is to amend the Indian Penal Code as suggested by the Law Commission in 2000. The panel recommended replacing the ‘outraging the modesty’ clause with one dealing with “unlawful sexual contact”, which would cover touching the body of any person other than one’s spouse “with sexual intent and without the consent” of such person.
HIGHER PENALTY FOR MOLESTATION OF CHILDREN
The Ruchika Girhotra case of last year has served to highlight a lacuna in the Indian law which, contrary to a progressive global trend, does not contain any special provision for child victims of sexual molestation.
While there are special provisions in Section 376 IPC for child victims of rape, where the minimum punishment is 10 years jail as against the norm of seven years, Section 354 IPC, covering all forms of non-consensual contact other than rape, makes no such distinction between adult and child victims. Hence, the “unlawful sexual contact” provision suggested by the Law Commission is designed to enhance the penalty for child abusers to seven years from the present level of two years for any molester.
PENALISE CLIENTS OF PROSTITUTES
The strict restrictions imposed by the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act on where and how prostitution could be practiced resulted in action being taken most of the time against the victims themselves. An amendment Bill introduced by the Manmohan Singh government in the earlier Lok Sabha in 2006 seemed to be a step in the right direction. But after it lapsed in 2009, with the dissolution of that Lok Sabha, UPA II has not so far revived the proposal of reforming the trafficking law.
The reforms included deletion of the provisions that penalised prostitutes for soliciting clients. Instead, the 2006 Bill for the first time sought to punish any person visiting a brothel for the purpose of sexual exploitation of trafficked victims. The provision to penalise clients of prostitutes has, however, raised apprehensions that it could drive the flesh trade underground and thereby block legal channels of support to victims of trafficking.
Marriage, dowry, relationships, family, marital discord: it’s a potent mix of human emotions and failings and nowhere is this more in evidence than in the misuse of the Dowry Prohibition Act (DPA).
Pushkar Singh, 34
Singh, a teacher, committed suicide after his wife allegedly implicated him in a false case for which he had to spend four months in jail. He hanged himself after his release, blaming his in-laws for his plight. He leaves behind a minor child and his ailing, aged mother.
| All in the Family
Brijesh Awasthi, 34
Brijesh claims that his brother-in-law borrowed money which he did not want to repay and in turn told his sister that Awasthi was planning to remarry secretly. Sunita committed suicide and his in-laws charged him with dowry killing. He is now bringing up his two daughters.
An incredible 9,000 husbands and their relatives (10 per cent of the total jail population) are languishing in Uttar Pradesh prisons under the provisions of the Act. Parents of estranged brides are increasingly lodging cases against their in-laws under the Act to “punish the husbands” and to also conceal the actual cause of the dispute between the couple.
“After murder cases, if there is any other crime sending the greatest number of people to jail, it is the Dowry Prohibition Act,” says senior IPS officer and Inspector General of UP Jails Sulkhan Singh. What that proves is that an Act meant to protect victims of dowry has become a weapon of vengeance and a mockery of the judicial system.
Indraneil Bhattacharya, a senior executive in a Lucknow-based private company, was married to Mausami Chatterji in 2002 and within five months their relations deteriorated. But they sustained their togetherness and had two children by 2008. “I requested her not to spend too much money on herself but she refused and finally filed a case under DPA as revenge,” says Indraneil.
“We have lost all our money in courts and police stations. Mausami and her kin have driven us out of our house. My parents, who had built the house with their hard-earned money, are now living in a rented house,” recalls Indraneil, who is now socially ostracised and economically broken.
The Act has caused so much trauma that Pushkar Singh, a teacher, even ended his life. Implicated under the Act, Singh was sent to jail for four months. He came back, wrote a letter blaming his wife and in-laws for implicating him in a false case of dowry and ruining his life. “I cannot face the society so I am ending my life” were his last words as Singh hanged himself. He left behind his aged and ailing mother and a child.
Another victim, Vikas Parihar, says his wife was a journalist who had illicit relations with the owner of a magazine, and when he protested she filed a case under the DPA. “I have lost my job, my money, my status in society and my family. My day ends running after police personnel and advocates. I have no money now. If I don’t contest the case, I would be convicted and sent to jail for a crime that I did not commit. But if I challenge it, I lose everything and may soon turn a beggar. What is the use of such a life?” says an emotional Parihar.
In an unusual case in Barabanki district, Saroj of Belia village was married to Ram Saran of Bhaisupur in 2006. One morning she was found missing from her in-laws house. Her father charged Ram Saran and his family with killing his daughter for dowry and disposing of her body.
The sessions court pronounced rigorous life imprisonment for Ram Saran and his family. But during the high court proceedings, the “dead” Saroj presented herself before the court, saying that she had eloped with her paramour and her father had out of vendetta filed a case against her husband and in-laws under the dpa.
There are, however, larger social and judicial issues here. Between 2000 and 2007, 795 minor girls and 1,300 minor boys were also booked under the Act. “In most cases the bride’s family lodges a complaint under the dpa against the husband and his family.
Instead of investigating the case, the police immediately arrests the accused. This is ridiculous. How can minor boys and girls be involved in a dowry case? They may not even know what dowry is,” says a senior government official who himself faced such a case. While the situation in Uttar Pradesh is scary, chaos reigns across the country over the provisions of the Act.
National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) figures reveal that in the five years between 2004 and 2008, no less than 3,36,842 cases were registered under the Act and 94 per cent of the accused were absolved of the charges. The figures show that the DPA is being grossly misused by the bride’s family.
The misuse has now triggered off counter activism with many organisations like Patni Pidit Sangathan, Save Family, All-India Male Welfare Association, Hyderabad MASA (Mother and Sister Initiative) and Forgotten Women coming up across the country. Salem in Tamil Nadu hosts a national-level meeting of victims of the wife in August every year.
“I have no hesitation in saying the Act has become a money-making machine for the police and lawyers,” says Vikas Parihar, another victim. Swarup Sarkar, founding member of the Save Indian Family Campaign, said over 2,000 NGOs are working all over the country for women’s welfare, but not a single one for the welfare of men.
Sarkar added that most dowry cases are registered against economically sound families and then a gang of police personnel and advocates start extorting from the groom’s family. “How can a mere verbal statement by a woman be made the ground for the arrest of an entire family, including minors and elders without an investigation? This is unconstitutional and illegal. Even the Supreme Court has issued directives to first investigate DPA-related complaints and then make arrests,” says Sarkar.
In view of a growing number of dowry-related cases, the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court has constituted a Mediation and Conciliation Centre in the court campus.
Senior lawyer I.B. Singh, chairman of the centre, said that in the last eight months, 622 cases were referred to the centre, out of which 500 cases were dowry related but there was not a single case in which dowry was the real cause of dispute. Shabnam Siddiqui, a member of the centre said: “The misuse is increasing in the middle and upper middle classes with a good economic and educational background.”
|After murder cases, if there is any other crime sending the largest number of people to the jails, it is the Dowry Prohibition Act.
– Sulkhan Singh, IG Uttar Pradesh Jails
Even the President, the Supreme Court and a number of high courts have expressed their concern over the misuse of the Act. The apex court has even described the phenomenon as “legal terrorism.”
Lucknow’s Nari Bandi Niketan holds 151 elderly women. “Most of them have to serve life terms,” says a senior jail official. Many of them cannot walk independently or perform their daily chores.
Most have been abandoned by their own relatives. A senior jail official said of these 151 inmates, 105 had no visitors in the last one year. The remaining 46 had just three visitors despite the fact that the jail manual allows 12 meetings. “These inmates are like our family members and we take care of them,” says the official.
Indeed, it is common to see women and men between the ages of 65 and 70 years serving a life term. Apart from the mothers-in-law, sisters-in-law too were in jails with their children.
Now the All India Mother-In-Law Protection Forum has come up to fight for their rights. Parihar says that the Act is taking a heavy toll on men, adding that more than two lakh married men committed suicide between 2005 and 2008 while the number of housewives was much less.
Now, men are uniting across the country and demanding a review of the Act. That will be little consolation to the thousands of victims of vengeance and greed, stuck behind bars with their future in tatters.
Lucknow, June 30: Three Muslim clerics in a seminary beaten up by three women for allegedly not conducting their “talaq” (divorce) proceedings in accordance with Shariat (Islamic) laws, police said.
Mumtaz alias Hina, Nishat Fatima and Arshi barged into the Madrassa Sultan-e-Madari in the Wazirganj area and assaulted the clerics – Mohd Afzar Zaidi, Sayed Musa Rizvi and Mohd Raza Sajid.
“The women alleged that the clerics conducted their divorce, keeping them in the dark. We have initiated an enquiry,” police spokesman Anand Srivastava told reporters here.
Meanwhile, the three clerics have registered a police complaint against the three women for assaulting them and damaging the property of the seminary.
The Hindu (From left) Justice M. Jeyapaul, Judge, Madras High Court; Justice, Elipe Dharmarao, Judge, Madras High Court and Excutive Chairman, Tamil Nadu State Legal Service Authority, Chennai; B. Gokuldas, Member Secretary, Tamil Nadu State Legal Services Authority, Chennai; M.P. Nirmala, Commissioner of Social Welfare, Chennai and P. Devadass Principal Judge and Chairman District Legal Services Authority, Chennai, on Legal Literacy and Awarness Camp on the occasion of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar’s 119 th birth anniversary in Chennai on Wednesday. Photo: S. Thanthoni.
Lack of training among police officers results in registering of criminal cases even for family disputes, said M. Jeyapaul, Judge, Madras High Court, here on Wednesday.
Speaking at a legal literacy and awareness camp organised by the Tamil Nadu State Legal Services Authority and the District Legal Services Authority, Mr. Justice Jeyapaul said the action of police personnel would divide the family and destroy chances of reconciliation among family members.
In his opinion one should keep the option of approaching the courts as a last resort to solve an issue. Instead they should try to find a solution to the problem through discussions.
The State Legal Services Authority was mainly created to create awareness among poor and the needy.
He also cautioned accident victims to be careful about brokers, who would assure them that a huge sum could be collected as compensation. The accident victims could contact the State Legal Services Authority for proper guidance.
Elipe Dharma Rao, Judge, Madras High Court and Executive Chairman, State Legal Services Authority, Chennai, said with the increased number of illegal activities it was necessary to have legal knowledge. This would help people to overcome problems. On the awareness programme, Mr. Justice Dharma Rao said on many occasions, such programmes did not reach the poorest of the poor. In order to achieve this the legal system needed to be strengthened. Providing legal literacy was the first step towards empowering the poor. To achieve this objective, people should be literate.
M.P. Nirmala, Commissioner of Social Welfare Department, said her department received more than 7,740 cases throughout the State. Most of them related to breakdown of marriages. Dowry-related cases were relatively less. She explained how the Social Welfare Department was taking steps to help women in distress by providing them the required support.
B. Gokuldas, Member-Secretary, Tamil Nadu State Legal Services Authority, Chennai and P. Devadass, Principal Judge/Chairman, District Legal Services Authority were among those who spoke.
It is Sleeping with the Enemy meets Ruthless People. But any way you cut it, this real-life story is such a perfect mix of Hollywood drama and comedy that it has doubtless got dozens of screenwriters scrambling for their pens across Beverly Hills.
When officials in California’s legislative departments received a petition from police detective John Pomroy of Pomona, near Los Angeles, they must have felt they were watching the latest instalment of Basic Instinct.
Mr. Pomroy approached California legislators, in particular Democratic Assemblyman Marty Block of San Diego County, with a very unusual plea. He requested Mr. Block’s help in closing a particular loophole in Californian divorce law that had bitten him hard personally — the right to prevent your ex-wife from running off with a chunk of your life savings if she hires a hit man from a motorcycle gang to have you bumped off.
Yes, you read it right.
According to reports, Mr. Pomroy went through a contentious divorce back in 2002 and his ex-wife, after turning violent due to alcohol and drug abuse, lost custody of their two sons. She apparently also lost some of her appreciation for the law — and possibly her grip on reality.
Instead of seeking legal recourse, the former Ms. Pomroy approached members of the feared Vagos motorcycle gang in San Bernardino County to kill her ex. What she clearly did not bargain for was the gang members alerting the police. Policemen reportedly disguised as biker-assassins taped a conversation with the ex-wife, leading to her arrest and subsequent conviction for soliciting murder.
Think this is twisted? There’s more.
Given the oddities of the law in California, Mr. Pomroy’s ex-wife was actually able to claim half of his wealth because she had not tried to kill him herself.
In other words, hiring an even more efficient killer enabled her to get away with serving a mere 22 months in prison, and then collecting a cool $70,000 from her ex-husband’s estate in the divorce.
Mr. Pomroy commented on his attempts to get the law changed, saying: “This Assembly bill is not going to award me anything retroactively; I’m not looking for that … I’m just trying to prevent some poor sap in the future who goes through this, to prevent him from losing his assets to somebody that’s trying to kill him.”
Assemblyman Marty expects the bill to pass unopposed in the State Senate this week.
According to a recent survey conducted by the AbsolutData Research and Analytics it was found out that “threat of sexual harassment”, “office politics” and “discrimination in pay/promotion” are among the main challenges that working women face at their work place. We spoke to a few women to check if they too face similar incidents.
Though women are working with men, there are still a lot of areas in the employment sector where one can find a gender bias. Harpreet Singh, who works for a private bank mentions, “In banks, women face a lot of discrimination when it comes to increasing the salary or promotion. In our bank for instance, promoting women up to branch manger level is common, but it is really difficult for them to get promoted to the position of a regional head. Most of the time men bosses give excuses like, women can’t handle late night shifts and often take leave due to family affairs; hence they are unfit for top positions.”
Kirti Mathur, an interior designer agrees and adds, “In offices women workers still face discrimination and gender bias. In our field too when it comes to visiting worksites or running around to collect goods, men are preferred. Also if there are a fewer number of women in a department, usually men try to sideline them.”
Though, office politics and gender bias are common problems seen in most offices, some women also feel threatened by sexual harassment.
Arkiti Nath (name changed on request), an HR manager says, “I often get complaints from women about misbehaviour by their bosses. There are a few male bosses, who try and take ‘favours’ from their female subordinates in the name of work. Usually women workers avoid such issues because they fear it might jeopardise their career in later stages.”
However, Smriti Das, a PR professional sums up and opines, “All these issues are present in the corporate sector and if a woman has to survive, she has to be quite smart and efficient in her work to be on the safe side.”
December 27: If the yardstick to classify a city as progressive is its economy, then Bengaluru could be described as such. But dig deeper and the picture that emerges is not very pretty.
Women are becoming targets of all sorts of crime more than ever before in the city, raising the hackles of activists, who would like to see a safer environment created for them.
The worst of it is , is that women are still being burnt for dowry and dying without a murmur for fear of the repercussions on the children they are leaving behind.
This year has seen a hundred per cent increase in crimes against women as compared to the first 11 months of the previous year. Until November 30 there were 1395 cases of crime against women in the city,including murder, molestation, eve teasing, rape and dowry deaths.
According to the Bengaluru police, there were 57 rapes, 30 eve-teasing and 239 molestation cases and 47 dowry deaths this year as against 15 rapes, 44 molestation cases and 18 dowry deaths last year. There were no cases of eve teasing at all last year, if the police is to be believed.
The rise in dowry deaths, which often pass off for ‘stove blast’ cases is particularly worrying.
On an average, six women are admitted every day to the specialised burns ward in Victoria Hospital and of them at least three succumb every 24 hours.
Says a policeman at the hospital, “The women seldom give a declaration holding their husbands or in-laws responsible for fear of their children being ill treated.”
Consequently most cases are registered as unnatural deaths and not as murders related to dowry harassment.
“There has been an alarming increase in newer forms of violence against women too. Sexual harassment at workplaces specially in call centres and the garment industry is increasing. But most cases go unreported,” says Donna Fernandes of Vimochana.
Domestic violence, which includes physical, sexual, verbal, mental and economic abuse is also a matter of concern as there is a 20 per cent rise in such cases every year. A voluntary counselling centre, Vanitha Sahayavani, run from the city police commissioner’s office receives upto a dozen such complaints every day, besides telephone calls from women in distress. Most of them pertain to domestic violence and sexual harassment.
Nishi Mitra, a member of Mahila Jagriti Sangh observes that a “culture of silence” prevents women from talking about the violence they face in their homes.
Advocate Sanjana R. says that while there are several cases of domestic violence, only the extreme forms are recognised under the legal framework. For instance marital rape is not considered an act of violence, she points out.
Many offences never even reach the police due to the social stigma attached to victims of sexual offences, according to a senior police officer.
“However, the recent trend of women raising their voices against sexual offences is heartening,” he adds.
Police commissioner Shankar M. Bidari, meanwhile claims that crime against women is on the decline in the city.
“There have been cases of husbands killing their wives over trivial issues, of a son killing his mother, or of a paramour killing his partner, but in such cases the police can do little. We request women not to even contemplate suicide when they are harassed. Instead, they must fight and the police is always there to support them,” he says
His view that crime against women is on the decline has, however, surprised many. Says Rajini Kalwad, a software engineer, “Its high time the police did more to prevent crime against women. Before arguing that it has declined the police should look up its own statistics,” she advises.
If there is one feeling that plagues all Indian girls, it is ‘expectation’. Girls are expected to defy society, get a job, get married, raise a family and love their elders. And now, they are officially expected to get better grades than boys! The recent move of many pre-university colleges to raise the cut-off percentage for girls has left Bengalureans wondering why the unfair gender bias? A move like this is not just about the ‘admission’ process but raises larger questions of gender equality and the ills of the Indian education system.
“The admission process of getting into Indian universities is complicated enough without further need to twist it with illogical ‘rules’ like this,” opines Vishaka George, 18, student, “Reservations and already high cut-offs make it tough for students in the general category to get into a college; now we have this unfair discrimination.”
How can a generalisation that girls fare better than boys be made into an official rule, without any consistent statistical data to back it? “Girls work harder than boys and it shows in the results, yet we are the ones to suffer!” says student Apeksha Arun, 19, “Rules like this don’t help students get the best education; they help colleges gain popularity and increase their chances of having the ‘best of the best’,” she adds.
So are colleges trying to get elitist or is this a measure to get girls to give more than 100 percent, since they are the so-called smarter lot anyways? Says Sriranjan Thirumalai, an 18-year-old student, “This move will not encourage girls to study harder, it will just discourage them. The guys-girl ratio will increase in different streams and girls might be forced to study in colleges of low repute. Even as a boy, I agree that grades matter, not the gender,” he says.
In a country that is raising its voice against female infanticide and other social evils, the girl child continues to get the short end of the stick. Not only is this legally and morally wrong, but proves that urban women are at risk of discrimination as much as their rural counterparts. “How can the government expect a woman to be independent and self-sufficient if she is not given an equal chance to attain education?” asks Philomena Peris, ex-chairperson of Karnataka State Commission for Women, “Equality today is a fundamental right, yet shameless concepts like this are given a nod. It is no wonder we are facing brain drain.” she adds.
Looks like our brightest minds continue being a victim of the ‘Indian mindset’. Something is seriously going wrong and Gen Y want answers.
April 29: The Chennai corporation on Thursday passed a landmark resolution to reserve 50 per cent of the seats in the civic body’s council for women.
All political parties welcomed the resolution, with PMK floor leader Jayaraman even saying that his party would be happy if women were given a 52 per cent quota in the prestigious council.
Opposition floor leader Saidai P. Ravi pointed out that the Chennai corporation would become the second civic body in the country to have 50 per cent reservation for women. Only the Jaipur corporation currently reserves 50 per cent of its seats for women.
The Chennai corporation presently has 52 women councillors, including deputy mayor R. Sathyabhama, in a council of 155 members.
Stolen kisses and afternoon lunches. Reading poetry and exchanging gifts. Sounds like fairy-tale romance? Well, if claims of a certain Ms Lisa Rundle are to be believed, all this was, actually, sexual harassment! Stumped? Welcome to the 21st century work place — a space where the professional and the private converge to create an inadmissible but expected by-product– complications. And lots of it.
Until last week, all was going hunky-dory for David Davidar, poster boy of the publishing industry and the then CEO of Penguin Canada. He had an enviable job, a reputation as the man who made Penguin a name to reckon with in publishing in India, his wife to give him company, and he loved what he was doing. Then came the office romance (or shall we say “consensual flirting”). And the inevitable kiss-and-tell stories followed. Before he knew it, he had made headlines for all the wrong reasons. The clinical timeline of his relationship with Ms Rundle, published by his own counsel, only added fuel to the fire. As of today, Davidar is unemployed, back to swades and will possibly have to cough up damages worth $100,000. Lisa Rundle will walk away with a sack of money and all our sympathies.
It raises a million-dollar (excuse the pun) question: How difficult, or easy, is it for the woman in the Indian work place? With the rise of India Inc and the rise of the ambitious Indian career woman, are we set to witness a rise in harassment incidents within open-plan offices and close-knit teams? Who is to blame? Is it the women, fighting for survival and recognition among accounts and balance sheets? Or the sleazy male boss/colleague who believes his ‘yearly bonus’ includes the right to touch, letch, verbally harass the other sex sharing work space with him.
Closer home, recently, a teacher who had gone for a job interview was asked by the principal of a popular school in Chattisgarh to sing a ghazal and explain how she breastfed her child. She walked away, angry and hurt. In another incident, a female employee of a call centre was harassed by her team manager who constantly told her she had “a beautiful body”. He took the liberty to make his point by rubbing her thighs. What did she do? Nothing. She is the sole earning member of her family. Sexual harassment is also rampant in the garment industry, where the power play is between factory supervisors and higher officials and the young girls from poor families, who form the majority of the industry’s workforce.
Clearly, there’s something wrong with the work culture in India. What is it? Is our social conditioning contributing to such behaviour in the work place? Says Munira Sen, director, Common Purpose, “We need to re-examine the social mores of this country. Men and women are segregated right from childhood — they attend single-sex schools, sit in separate tents at weddings. But when they enter the workplace, these barriers are broken. Different genders, castes, classes and communities come together, often leading to a situation where many people don’t know how to handle being in a space with so much diversity.”
At the same time, corporates continue to make ever more ambitious plans to increase diversity at the work place. Without making some fundamental changes in attitudes and social mores, this can only fuel what’s already a raging problem.
Working in an office today is not just about one’s professional ability. It’s also about being able to handle relationships and situations. A woman, especially, has to maintain a balance between keeping her job and staying within the parameters she finds comfortable.
But that’s not to say that only women fall victim. Many corporate professionals believe that the new independent, ambitious Indian woman, eager to climb up the corporate ladder, poses a threat to men as well. Says Arunima Lahiri, consulting senior communications director, LinOpinion, Lowe Lintas, “Many girls use the system. They are ambitious and know this is a fast-track. They get starry-eyed about the rich boss with his flashy cars and unlimited credit cards. Slowly, it turns into a relationship. And when the promises made by the boss are not kept, the girl cries foul! I have been in the corporate world for over 25 years. I have never been harassed because I make my intentions very clear.”
Vijay Jacob, a vice president with Grey Advertising, agrees, “In the creative fields, women come to work in shorts and dresses. That does not mean the men automatically start sexually harass her. It’s not the clothing that is provocative, the behaviour is. If her persona is provocative, such incidents have a higher chance of occurring.”
Undeniably, though, it is usually the woman who is the victim —whether in plush corporate offices staffed by men in grey suits, in dingy government buildings where the babu reigns supreme, in flashy new-age technology and service companies, woman are crying harassment. And it’s getting widespread and worse, with students being harassed by professors, and hospital nurses complaining of rape by colleagues.
What can corporates and bosses do to save themselves the embarrassment and legal embroils of a sexual harassment charge? K. Vaitheeswaran, founder-CEO of online shopping mall Indiaplaza, offers a stringent code of conduct, “As a higher up, you must treat all employees in exactly the same manner — whether male or female. Also, avoid any physical or social contact unless absolutely necessary.”
But one wonders if that is a solution in an era when enterprise success also makes a very contradictory demand on the members of a team – that they share a certain sense of bonding and camaraderie?
With the ever-growing list of men who have faced ignominy including such names as Phaneesh Murthy, the former head of sales of IT giant Infosys, who had to quit following the charges, Punjab ‘supercop’ K.P.S. Gill, IAS officers, top military generals, and now David Davidar, it seems men in privilege positions seem unable to learn a crucial lesson — don’t misbehave ‘cause the women aint keepin’ quiet no more.
* * *
Priya Kapoor, editorial director, Roli Books
“Sexual harassment at the workplace is a sensitive topic, with many grey areas since it can be exploited by both men and women. In the publishing industry, forming a relationship with colleagues is important because you will be interacting with a large but close-knit team. When you spend a lot of time with a few people, these things can happen. It takes a lot for the woman to come out in the open and complain. Ultimately, individuals are responsible for their own actions. The higher a person’s position, the more careful he/she needs to be.
Vidisha Pavate, supermodel
“Models are like beautiful architectural buildings. People want to take photos of them, stare at them, try to touch them. This is our profession. We cannot be narrow-minded. Yes, you will find people taking extra time to drape a saree on you or trying to take advantage of you during a photo-shoot in an exotic location. But, sometimes, the designer might take time to drape a saree simply because he is a perfectionist.
So, we models learn to build an instinct that helps us differentiate the sleazeballs from the professionals. It is unacceptable to touch our thighs for no reason or make physical contact while talking to us. However, in the fashion industry, more than the females, it’s the men that complain about sexual harassment since many people here are gay.”
Kerala Government on Tuesday said it would consider closing down the controversial ‘Abhaya Kendram’ centre at Agali in Palakkad district following complaints of sexual harassment from five girl inmates.
The home minister, Mr Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, said five cases, including attempt to rape, had been registered against two persons who run the centre of Kochi-based ‘Raksha Villa’.
Police investigation are progressing and steps have been taken to arrest the culprits, he said in the Assembly, adding, the five girls, who made the complaint, were sent back home along with their parents.
The CPI (M) leader, Mr K.S. Saleeka, said 32 inmates were in the Kendra which was functioning “unauthorisedly” since 1993.
Among the inmates seven girls, including the complainers, were in the age-group of 15 to 25, she said.
She wanted strict regulations for the conduct of such centres and demanded closing down of the Kendram.
The harassment of the girls, all from Ernakulam district, came to light after they fled the centre on Friday last and were found at Olavakkode railway station the next day.
The girls were at the centre for the last two to three months to cure depression, it was stated.
Kerala Social Welfare Board Chairperson, Ms Girija Surendran, who visited the centre, is expected to submit a report to Chief Minister, Mr V.S. Achuthanandan, after a probe.
It is high time the ambitious Indian woman of today is able to articulate her desires and ambitions at the work place. Men have always had the privilege of being ambitious and treating career progression as their territory. Early on in my career, there were times when I was told by male colleagues, in very critical tones, that I was too ambitious for my own good. As if it was wrong for me to be treading on their ground!
The work place is a very difficult space for a woman to tackle because of the power relations that exist. Men still occupy positions of authority and they can use that power to get hold of the woman, which can take the form of harassment and, sometimes, even assault.
Although many organisations have mechanisms to deal with the problem, they do not address the root of the problem. The question we need to ask is, even if actions are taken against the perpetrator, say a loss of increment, a demotion and in extreme cases dismissal, is that justice enough for the victim? It cannot give back the loss of dignity in being treated as a sexual object.
The main problem in Indian society is that a lot of men are not aware that what they are doing is violating a woman’s dignity. This mentality has been naturalised in our society. You can be walking down the road in jeans and a spaghetti top and an unknown man feels it is okay for him to ask you to cover up! What is required in our workplaces are sensitisation workshops that can teach both men and women the red lines and what they must watch out for in the office space.
— Urvashi Butalia, founder-director of Kali For Women is a writer and publisher.
(As told to
Blaming Mickky Pacheco, the former Goan Tourism Minister for the death of his girlfriend Nadia Torrado is definitely justified, but his deceased lover too is responsible for her gruesome death. Yes, she didn’t ask for a grisly end (she is said to have mistakenly consumed a tube full of rat poison instead of toothpaste!), but whatever made her, a married woman, get romantically involved with him? Mr Pacheco at first glance looks like a thug, and sadly for Nadia, his features matched his personality to boot. What it is that makes women fall for men like Mickky Pacheco?
Journalist Shivani Bhatnagar was knifed to death because her IPS officer lover Rakesh Sharma found her to be too clingy.
And the poetess Madhumita Shukla was seven months pregnant when she was murdered. Her lover, a then minister in Mayawati’s government, Amar Mani Tripathi, and his wife were accused of getting her killed.
Some women find “powerful” men attractive and love to share proximity with them. They appear to be blinded from common sense and are willing to shed partners, reputation and inhibitions to be with their love interest.
Love or lust for a better life really does seem to blind these girls because they fail to truly understand their paramour’s character or what he is capable off. Amar Mani Tripathi had no less than 33 criminal cases pending against him even when things were rosy between him and Madhumita. It’s bewildering that Madhumita, who knew him so intimately, decided to rub him the wrong side by refusing to let go after he made it clear to her that she was now nothing more than a nuisance in his life.
After making the blunder of falling for an unsavory character, it’s surprising that these women don’t learn to be careful around them. Why push someone’s buttons or disagree with them when you know they can stoop to any level to get their way?
When things don’t go your way, slowly figure a way out of the relationship. If parting as friends isn’t an option, let them give you the boot.
Shivani, Madhumita, Nadia refused to let go and instead of just getting dumped, ended up killed.
Washington, DC: A woman in the US has been accused of doctoring a pornographic photo of a woman having sex with a dog by putting the face f a 13-year-old girl in its place.
Danette Stark, 37, from Utah, appeared in court on June 28 to face 18 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, who was attending the same middle school as her daughter.
Prosecutors said she created the image, put it into fliers and distributed them at Northwest Middle School in Salt Lake City.
Stark was spotted on surveillance video entering the seventh-grade bathroom at the school on the second to the last day of classes.
Salt Lake County District Attorney Lohra Miller said a custodian found the fliers in the bathroom and contacted local authorities, and Stark admitted that she made 30, but police recovered only 18 of them.
“If anyone sees copies of these they need to turn them over to police immediately,” Fox News quoted Miller as saying.
“If they distribute it, make copies or put on the Internet, they are committing a crime of distributing pornography under Utah law,” she stated.
Stark allegedly told police that she believed the unidentified girl “wronged” her in some way.
Police say Stark found the photos on the Internet and placed the fliers, which included derogatory comments directed toward the girl, into several students’ lockers in addition to the bathroom.
Miller said that this is the district’s first case of social networking bullying, and they are trying to keep the 13-year-old girl’s identity as private as possible.
“She is traumatized by the event,” Miller said.
“We are trying to keep her privacy protected as much as possible to help keep her life as normal as possible,” she added.
P R E S S R E L E A S E
NFHS SUPPORTS THE ALL INDIA JAIL BHARO CALLED BY “Ravindra Gangurde”
About National Family Harmony Society®: “National Family Harmony Society®” NFHS is a Non Governmental Organization (NGO) promoting the cause of “family harmony” and “gender equality”. It is registered under “The Karnataka Societies Registration Act, 1960” and is based in Bangalore. We have branches in more than 16 states and in abroad too. We have approximately 14500 members all over India. To know more about us please visit http://www.family-harmony.org / http://www.498a.org.in.
Subject: National Family Harmony Society (NFHS) along with Indian Family Foundation (IFF), Mother And Sisters of Husband Against Abuse of Law (MASHAAL), All India Forgotten Women’s Association (AIFWA) and All India Men’s Welfare Association (AIMWA), are supporting Mr. Ravindra Gangurde of Shree Shravanbal & Shree Laxman Bhikaji Gangurde Seva Kendra, who has called for a “Jail Bharo Andolan” on 6 July 2010.
National Family Harmony Society, hereby, announces our support to Mr. Ravindra Gangurde’s “Jail Bharo Andolan” as a sign of protest against arbitrary arrests of ordinary law-abiding citizens under IPC Sections 498A, 304B, Dowry Prohibition Act and related laws. We submitted a letter today to the Commissioner of Police, Bangalore requesting for permission to submit a memorandum to him personally on 5th July.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states:
- Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
- No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
- Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.
- No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence or to attacks upon his honor and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.
In blatant violation of all the above rights, thousands of husbands and their families are arbitrarily arrested every year, without evidence or investigation, under IPC Sections 498A, 304B, Dowry Prohibition Act, and related wife-centric laws which presume that the accused are “guilty until proven innocent”.
National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has noted the misuse of dowry laws, arrest of innocent individuals and the resultant overcrowding of prisons. NHRC has urged the judiciary and law enforcement agencies to take measures against these abuses. High Courts across the country and the Supreme Court have condemned the misuse of dowry laws. The Commissioner of Police, Bangalore had issued standing instructions vide memo to check arbitrary arrests. The DGP, Karnataka has also issued a circular to implement 11 guidelines issued by Honorable Supreme Court of India regarding arrests and detention of Individuals in Cr WP No. 539/1986 and Cr WP No.592/1987. By taking note of the heavy misuse of the 498A IPC, recently on October 20, 2009, Union Ministry of Home Affairs had issued an advisory to all the state Governments and Union Territories. National Commission of Human Rights also has issued guidelines regarding arrests.
Nevertheless, abuse of police powers continues and unnecessary arrests have only been growing in the State of Karnataka. Police routinely enter people’s homes at ungodly hours, take accused men and women into custody, and incarcerate them in the name of “protecting women from cruelty and harassment”. Innocent citizens are illegally detained, humiliated, subjected to mental and physical torture, blackmail and extortion. The honor and reputation of these accused individuals is simultaneously attacked through media trial and unrestrained slander by women’s organizations every day. Thousands of men and women have been driven to suicide due to the trauma of false cases, arrest, prolonged trials and the resultant humiliation and financial troubles they have to endure.
According to statistics published by the National Crime Records Bureau in 2007 alone, an overwhelming 94% of the individuals arrested under IPC Section 498A were found not guilty. A closer look at individual cases under Section 498A reveals that arrests are made by lower cadre police officials without proper justification and only with the intent of terrorizing innocent citizens and extorting money from them under the threat of imprisonment and long-drawn legal battles.
Our numerous pleas to the Government of India to stop arbitrary arrests of citizens under IPC Section 498A have fallen on deaf ears. On the other hand, new laws are always on the anvil (sexual assault, work place harassment, acid attacks etc.) which stress on immediate arrest of men upon mere accusations made by women.
While it is amply clear that under the prevailing circumstances, arrest is inevitable for any man facing allegations of abuse or assault, it is imperative that innocent citizens are prepared to go to jail even if they committed no crime. Ordinary law abiding citizens and their kin should be freed from the fear of jail and the concomitant feelings of humiliation and suffering so that they do not drive themselves into depression, ruin their health or end their own lives.
In light of the above facts, we, the National Family Harmony Society (NFHS) along with Indian Family Foundation (IFF), Mother And Sisters of Husband Against Abuse of Law (MASHAAL), All India Forgotten Women’s Association (AIFWA) and All India Men’s Welfare Association (AIMWA), would like to extend our support to Mr. Ravindra Gangurde of Shree Shravanbal & Shree Laxman Bhikaji Gangurde Seva Kendra, who has called for a “Jail Bharo Andolan” on 6 July 2010.
We had sought permission of the Commissioner of Police, Bangalore to submit a memorandum to him personally at the Commissionerate of Police in Infantry Road on 5th July.
Following enclosures were submitted along with request letter.
A) The Commissioner of Police, Bangalore
B) Circular by The DGP, Karnataka
C) Advisory by Union Ministry of Home Affairs
D) Arrest Guidelines by National Commission of Human Rights
E) Letter from Mr. Gangurde calling for “Jail Bharo Andolan” – Marathi and English Translation
F) Article from The Sunday Indian; Dowry Law Sec 498(A) – How and why the law is an ass.
For more information please contact
P Suresh, President, M Mahesh, General Secretary,
National Family Harmony Society National Family Harmony Society
You are also requested to visit
Bangalore, June 26: Bizman claims his wife was having an affair and thrashed him when he caught her red-handed
Caught in the act with her lover, a woman allegedly beat her businessman husband up with the lover’s help, and fled with gold ornaments.
A businessman has filed a complaint against his wife who eloped with her lover with gold valuables, after beating him mercilessly.
BS Manjunath, a resident of Rajajinagar, said that the attack happened when he caught the duo red-handed and objected to their relationship.
In his complaint to Subamanya Nagar police, Manjunath said that he had been married to Savitha for 13 years and they had a 12-year-old son.
“We were happy until one-and-half-years ago when I invited my friend N Shankar home. Soon Shankar and Savitha got acquainted, and started having an affair,” he said.
When Manjunath came to know, he raised objections but Savitha did not listen to him.
Manjunath caught the duo red-handed and a fight ensued. Savitha, on Shankar’s instigation filed a dowry harassment case against her husband in March.
Manjunath was summoned by the police and advised to file a counter complaint accusing Shankar of spoiling his married life after hearing his side of the story.
The police also summoned Savitha and advised her to stay with Manjunath for some more time. In the meantime, Shankar demanded a share in Manjunath’s property on behalf of Savitha.
When Manjunath did not agree to this, Shankar who claimed to have acquaintance with rowdy elements, attacked Manjunath on June 16, while he was at home.
While Manjunath was in hospital, Savitha took advantage of the situation, and ran away with the valuables worth Rs 80,000, that were kept in the house.
The Subramanyapura police have taken up an assault and theft case against Savitha and Shankar.
New Delhi, June 11: Three laws – on dowry, indecent representation of women and juvenile justice – as well as a draft bill on sexual harassment at workplace are top priority for the government this year, says Women and Child Development Minister Krishna Tirath.
The laws to which the ministry is contemplating seeking amendments are the Dowry Prohibition Act, the Indecent Representation of Women Act and the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act.
Tirath also wants probes into honour killings at the behest of caste councils.
“New enactments and amendments of existing laws are one of our top agendas for the year 2010-11. The draft bill on sexual harassment in workplace is ready and awaiting the central government’s approval,” Tirath told IANS in an interview.
The sexual harassment in workplace bill envisages that every workplace, whether organised or unorganised, should have a forum to take up complaints pertaining to sexual harassment.
It also includes a new clause which brings students, research scholars, patients and women in the unorganised sector within the ambit of the proposed law.
In the case of the organised sector, there will be internal complaint committees, in the absence of which a penalty, including deregistration of the institutions or a fine of Rs.50,000 for a first-time offence, will be imposed.
On the issue of honour killings of young couples who dared to go against the diktats of khap panchayats (caste councils) and marry within the same gotra or ancestral lineage, Tirath said she has asked the National Commission for Women (NCW) to probe “such retrograde social practices”.
“The government and the ministry of home affairs are considering legislative measures – amendment of the Indian Penal Code, the Special Marriage Act and the Indian Evidence Act – to tackle the matter.
“We have also asked the NCW to look into allegations of such killings and suggest measures on how to combat such retrograde social practices,” Tirath said.
Talking about the Dowry Prohibition Act, a senior official of the ministry told IANS: “We received the proposed amendments in the Dowry Prohibition Act from the NCW and are currently in talks with the legislative department on the same.”
“There is criticism that the law holds the taker of dowry responsible and not the giver. So a lot of points have to be taken care of while vetting the proposed amendments,” the official said.
The minister said the proposed amendments in the Indecent Representation of Women Act were also submitted by the NCW and are now being assessed by the ministry. The Act prevents indecent representation of women through advertisements or in publications.
The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act, which provides a framework for protection, treatment and rehabilitation of children in the purview of the juvenile justice system, is further sought to be amended to make it more stringent, effective and child-friendly.
“The main idea behind amending the laws is to make them more effective in protecting the interests of women, and also children,” Tirath said.
The ministry is also holding a conference of state ministers in charge of women and child development June 16 to review the implementation of various laws relating to women and the girl child.
“There will be a review of the implementation of the Domestic Violence Act, the Dowry Prohibition Act and the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act. The state ministers’ opinion and suggestions will be taken into account for further action,” an official said.
The ministry is also planning to expand the services of the child helpline (1098) – from 83 districts to 305 districts in the country.
In a shocking incident on June 19, a woman registered a complaint against her husband and in-laws under section 302 of IPC. She claimed that her husband and in-laws tried to kill her first by strangulation, then by poisoning her and after failing in both attempts, they abandoned her at her parents’ house in Kalyanpur police station limits. The harassment was allegedly over dowry demands for a motorcycle and cash. The hapless woman, Gudiya, tortured beyond endurance, collapsed as soon as she reached her parents and was admitted to Lala Lajpat Rai Hospital, where she died on Sunday morning.
In a similar incident on June 17, Ram Kumari of Dallapurwa in Bithoor, soon after `Tilak’ ceremony, had the groom and his family arrested for demanding cash from her family.
The two incidents highlighted the prevalence of a social evil like dowry, even in this day and age. As per the records provided by an NGO, as many as 21 cases of dowry deaths (section 304 B of the IPC) have been reported in the district alone till June 20, while 40 cases have been listed under `cruelty meted out to woman by her husband and his relatives’ (section 498 A of IPC), which is also linked with dowry demands.
“These crimes are in fact a matter of concern, as they reflect the condition of women in our society,” said Neelam Chaturvedi, a social activist, who runs an NGO. Chaturvedi further feels that the dowry death cases in the district “need a thorough investigation to effect a decline in this ever-growing social evil”. She is actively involved in the fight against crimes against women in the city.
Chaturvedi said that the crimes against women also have roots in the “peculiar masculine syndrome that exists predominantly in our society”. After being subjected to physical or sexual abuse by husbands, the women either end their lives or are murdered, she added. Reports stated that the city witnessed at least one dowry death every day. Even though section 304 B of IPC imposes severe punishment against practice of dowry in any form, no marriage “can be solemnised’ without some form of dowry, said an official, working for women who have faced harassment due to dowry demands. Police records say some 30-40 cases are filed every year. But few get relief from the courts, according to city-based Sakhi Kendra, an NGO that deals with women’s issue.
For instance, Rashmi, a housewife, who had come to the city from Lucknow after a love marriage, is now fighting a dowry case against her husband’s family for allegedly harassing her over dowry payments. Another activist, Archana said that two to three women are taken into Lala Lajpat Rai Hospital’s burn unit every day. The latest arrival is a young woman from Kanpur Dehat, who has 80% burns. The victim said her husband poured kerosene over her and told her to die. Doctors at the burn unit told TOI that the condition of girl is critical. Another woman patient in the unit said that that her husband, who is an alcoholic, took all her jewellery and then demanded more dowry from her parents, so she went into the kitchen, poured kerosene over her body and set herself ablaze.
As per a senior high court lawyer, “It is all the more agonising that aggrieved persons, after the police refuses to buy their version, have to move court for relief and justice.” In one such case reported from Narwal, Vinay Pandey, whose sister had died under suspicious circumstances owing to the alleged cruel treatment of her in-laws in December, 2009, failed to get a case of dowry death registered, he had to file a petition in local court, which has now issued a directive to the police to register a case against in-laws of his sister.
Another victim who testified in the court said she suffered regular beating and mental torture at the hands of her husband of 5 long years, before ending her marriage.
“Physical harassment and abuse was part and parcel of my three years of married life. My husband always demanded dowry from my parents, but as my parents were unable to give it, he used to beat me. I left my husband. At present I am staying with my parents,” said a dowry victim from the city, who did not wish to be named.
Vijayawada, June 28: Adding a twist to the sensational Naga Vaishnavi murder case, Morla Srinu, one of the accused, alleged that the girl’s mother, Ms Narmada Devi, the Pedana MLA, Mr Jogi Ramesh, and a senior DCP were involved in the murder.
He was produced in court in Vijayawada on Monday amid tight security. After attending court, Srinu started making the allegations against Ms Narmada Devi and Mr Ramesh.
In February, Naga Vaishnavi, 10, was kidnapped and burnt in a furnace in Guntur. Her father Palagani Prabhakara Rao, a Vijayawada-based businessman, died of cardiac arrest after the incident.
Rao had two wives, Ms Venkateswaramma and Ms Narmada Devi, the mother of the victim. The murder was attributed to a quarrel for property. The killers’ plan to murder Vaishnavi’s brother did not come off.
The police arrested P. Venkatarao Goud, brother of Ms Venkateswaramma, and his aides, Morla Srinivas and Jagadish, for the murder. They were produced in court on Monday.
Ms Narmada Devi denied the allegations and asked that the culprits behind the murder of her daughter to be punished immediately.
Mr Ramesh denied the allegations and asked why Srinu would not have informed the police if his allegation was true.
Mangalore: Two scholars at Mangalore University have quit their research projects, accusing a professor in the biosciences department of sexual harassment. The junior research scholars — one from Delhi and the other from Mangalore — have sent their complaints to Karnataka governor HR Bhardwaj, the chancellor of all scheduled universities in the state.
Vijaya and Shalini (names changed on the request) have complained to the vice-chancellor, Shivashankar Murthy, and registrar Chinnappa Gowda also.
“We have received a complaint from students saying professor Thippeswamy of the biosciences department had misbehaved with them,” Murthy said. “We will investigate it,” he said.
“We have an anti-sexual harassment committee in the university which has a lady police officer, besides university officials, feminists and others,” Gowda told DNA. “But this committee was not notified about any sexual harassment by these two students.”
“The committee is active in the university,” chairman Prof Mutheria Begam said. “But the students never approached the committee with a complaint. The committee will take the complaint filed with the registrar and the vice-chancellor and investigate the matter,” she said.
“I was working with this fiend of a professor (referring to Prof Thippeswamy) on a project on biodiversity,” Shalini, who is from Mangalore, said. “He used to call me and Vijaya at odd hours, and even on holidays when the campus and the department were totally deserted. We would not have minded if the calls had been only about work. But he used to take that opportunity to crack silly and obscene jokes. He would also misbehave with us when we were alone,” she said. “When Vijaya and I rebuked him, he stopped guiding us in the project.” The project was funded by the university from grants received from funding agencies.
Vijaya, who came from Delhi, had told a few senior research scholars in the department about the professor’s alleged misbehaviour. “She had even slapped the professor once,” one of the senior scholars, who did not want to be named, told DNA. “But that did not stop his advances. One day, he misbehaved with another scholar. That very day, she (Vijaya) walked out of the project.”
No police complaint has been filed against the professor, because the research scholars feared more harassment from the police. Vijaya’s parents, who have arrived from Delhi, said they would send a complaint to governor Hansraj Bhardwaj through proper channels. “My daughter’s tormentor will have no place to run,” they said.
A hundred years after Father’s Day was commemorated, fathers in India are still pitted against rigid ancient laws and struggling for equal right over their children…
Some believe that greeting-card companies are responsible for bestowing random days with the titles
of Father’s Day and Mother’s Day to boost sales. Nevertheless, people these days do play along and give an extratight hug to the person being honoured on the particular day. This month, fathers are enjoying their time under the spotlight, and they’ve come a long way since this day was actually established in 1910. June 20th marks the 100th anniversary of Father’s Day! A 100 years ago, listening to a pastor sermonise about mothers and the then newly-established Mother’s Day, Sonora Smart Dodd, who had been raised by her father – a Civil War veteran – after her mother expired, decided to institute a day to honour fathers too.
Fathers then were mostly perceived as ‘lazy, sleazy and drunk’, and Sonora hoped to give a leg-up to their image. A hundred years later, Father’s Day does get much hype, though still not as much as Mother’s Day, and there are still several struggling to be acknowledged at par with the women of the families, and be given the same rights as the mothers when it comes to their children…
“My wife Anubha Deveshwar had filed for divorce and child custody case simultaneously in Bangalore Family Court on 12th Jun 2009. She was granted custody of my daughter Shreya, who was 4.5 years old at the time, solely on the basis of her allegations. The judge’s order said: ‘Considering the facts and circumstances of the case..’.; however, the order was granted ex-parte without giving me a hearing. So, the right words in judge’s order should have been ‘Considering only the allegations made by petitioner…’” laments Vivek Deveshwar, a 38-year-old father from Bangalore. Vivek is one of the several people who joined the nation-wide protest organized by the All India Men’s Welfare Association (AIMWA) on 18th June and boycotted the Family Courts. Their grouse against the Family Courts is that it ‘blatantly discriminates against fathers, heartlessly separates them from and prevents their access to their own biological children.’ “So many fathers will be pining for their children on this day. They’re unable get over the fact that allega they cannot communicate with their children and convey to them that they haven’t abandoned them; that it is because of circumstances that they’ve been separated,” shared Uma Challa, President of AIMWA. “It is almost impossible for Indian fathers to get custody of their children,” said Satya Kumar, Founder of 498a.org. “The Hindu Marriage Act is of 1955. The laws are very ancient.
When the laws were written, only 1% of the women worked while now about 25% work. Kids in the custody of working mothers are no better taken care of than kids living with fathers. The mindset of
people needs to change. There should not be women’s right and men’s right but the government should implement common family rights,” suggests Kumar. “Father’s day, Mother’s day or any other such day is just another opportunity to show your love for each other. At times, the occasion can present a chance to patch-up things, to clear the muck and start things afresh,” says Dr. Sanjay Chugh, Senior Consultant
Psychiatrist. Perhaps that’s why one of the demands being made by AIMWA is that ‘when a person or couple approaches court for divorce, counselling of the parents by professional counselors should be given first priority.’ This Father’s Day, let’s hope that it doesn’t take another hundred years for fathers to
get their due.
TV soaps with bizarre, regressive storylines pay scant respect to notions of women’s empowerment. Yet, they seem wildly popular and, according to some studies, empowering too. Are these script writers more in touch with reality than literal-minded activists and journalists?
In the current political climate, women’s empowerment is occupying mindspace because of the debates engendered by the Women’s Reservation Bill. The buzz it has generated unconsciously becomes a filter for evening television viewing. Suddenly prime time TV fiction on all the major Hindi channels seems even more bizarre than it normally does, a collective antithesis to any notions of empowerment. Seen in terms of direct messaging, these sagas threaten to turn the clock back quite drastically. The most cheerful among them (currently), “Ye Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai” on Star Plus, has the young bride pleading with her mother-in-law not to hand over the house keys just yet — I am not ready for this responsibility, she pleads sweetly.
Judging by the popularity of these dramas, female empowerment as we understand it would seem to be the last thing on any viewer’s mind. Marriage and is associated rituals are the central motif in one tale after another. The anxieties of “moo dikhayi” or the viewing of the girl by the boy’s parents (“Sasural Genda Phool”, Star Plus), the family politics being played out in the background of the sangeet ceremony in households with impending weddings (“Agle Janam Mohe Bitiya”, Zee and “Palkhon ki Chaya Mein”, NDTV Imagine), the tribulations of some recently weds (“Mann ki awaaz Pratigya”, Star Plus and “Jyoti”, NDTV Imagine) and those of some long married (“Na aane is des mein Laado”, Colours) are what make for entertainment. The air is always thick with rasams, or rituals, the emotions are choreographed, the settings have the spatial characteristics of gilded halls rather than homes.
Women’s empowerment as debated in the political arena is about women stepping out of the confines of home and hearth to discover their potential. Indian soap operas are about tussles for power over home and hearth and their near resolution before more twists and turns appear. They depict domestic violence — one of the brothers kicks his wife repeatedly in “Pratigya”— even as his sister who is at her marital home is busy calling her husband and in laws “saale kuttey” (dogs). Women getting slapped is common, the impotent husband knocks over his distraught wife in “Laado”, she in turn pulls his hands to her throat and pleads with him to strangle her. In “Jamunia”, the family attempts to burn a girl. Is a country that favours such entertainment seriously ready for women’s empowerment?
But academics argue that one is being far too literal. A book published this year, Prime Time Soap Operas on Indian Television by Shoma Munshi (Routledge), makes the point that regression is in the eyes of the beholder. If you view prime time soap operas through the lens of development communication, and as direct instruments of social change, you will find them guilty of regressive portrayal: stereotyping women, even celebrating misogyny.
But if you view them as sites of contestation you will understand why viewers often take positive messages away from them. Munshi argues that in fact such soap operas do empower women. NDTV Imagine’s creative head tells the author that soaps in India are responding to social realities of their time. Rama Bijapurkar, the researcher on market strategy and consumer behaviour, tells her that families find reflections of their own life problems in soaps. And according to the consumers of these soaps, as opposed to indignant journalists and social activists, there are solutions to be found in them, strong women to take away lessons from.
Munshi’s documentation of the story lines of “Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi”, “Kahani Ghar Ghar ki”, and “Saat Phere — Saloni ka Safar” are enough to establish that all manner of dreadful, cruel, lawless and amoral things are par for the course in the life of a soap. Intra family rape, murders, mothers killing sons, you name it. Apparently people watch all this and come away not just entertained, but even empowered. She bases her conclusion partly on empirical research by Robert Jensen and Emily Oster on the effects of cable television in rural areas of India.
Their analysis relies on a three-year panel dataset covering women in five Indian states between 2001 and 2003, years which were a time of rapid growth in rural cable access. During the panel, cable television was newly introduced in 21 of the 180 sample villages. They compared changes in attitudes and behaviour between survey rounds across villages based on whether (and when) they added cable television. “After cable is introduced to a village, women are less likely to report that domestic violence towards women is acceptable. They also report increased autonomy (for example, the ability to go out without permission and to participate in household decision-making). Women are less likely to report son preference (the desire to give birth to a boy rather than a girl). Turning to behaviour, we found increases in school enrolment for girls (but not boys), and decreases in fertility (which is often linked to female autonomy).” They said their findings were consistent with existing work on the effects of media exposure.
Knowing their viewers
So, may be the writers and producers of these tortuous sagas understand their viewers better than literal minded journalists do. From the current crop of serials, a very good example of enthusiastic consumption of a bizarre plot line is the serial “Mann ki Awaaz Pratigya”. The production house, Star TV, bills it a “fight against disrespect of women”. And what does the lead character do? She marries a goon who eve-teases her. Then she tells him that he can win her body but not her love. You fight disrespect by marrying the eve-teaser, taking the battle into his home.
One scene has the couple standing around while the goon’s mother and father discuss the fact that the bride did not let her husband near him on her wedding night. The father suddenly sticks his gun at his son’s head. The son narrows his eyes and dares his father to kill him. Later his mother is told by his father, that she needs to have her tongue chopped off with a pair of scissors because she interrupts when the menfolk are talking.
But on a blog called ‘TV serials and TV shows’ there are 53 comments about Pratigya and here’s what viewer postings say: “it is best serial.” “It is best story. This story is Power of women. I like Pratigya Character.” “Excellent concept. its needed to see by all girls and women. very good and congratess to teem of pratigya. (sic)” “Its a pretty gud serial i liked krishna’s character.” “PRATIGYA serial is very good story.” “I should tell this or not but i like Krishna the way he speaks in the serial the story is good hats off to your team why i see that show is because i like Krishna a lot.”
Krishna is the goon who is the raffish protagonist. “It’s a very nice serial. I love krishna’s eyes.” “Pratigya serial is very good. Every character is very natural and Krishna Bhaiya is awesome. His dialogue delivery is wonderful. I like him very much. In fact I am going to crazy about him.” If this degree of appreciation needs comprehending, here is another visitor comment which offers an explanation: “The serial has started off well…the challenge is to sustain the interest. Krishna is a typical young brat from North Indian which would appeal to young audience.” Young audiences are discovering that harassing her is the way to get the girl you want? There I go being literal again.
However not all academics think people will take away the right messages from regressive seeming soaps. Osmania University media academic Padmaja Shaw has just started a blog called WAVE, Women Against Violent Entertainment, in order to build a movement against violent programming on media that targets women.
If serials are to be judged as sites of contestation, are all kinds of ideas, however offensive or bizarre, fair game to be aired? The new wave of serials which are purportedly on social issues — “Ballika Vadhu”, “Na Aana is Des Mein Laado”, “Kashi”, “Uttaran” — serve up pounds of regression for every ounce of progressive intent.
Kashi, the daughter of a poor postman wants to go to school, but the enraged school master says the school will shut down if a poor man’s child crosses its threshold. All the families in the area promptly stop sending their children to his school. Till Kashi retreats and hides outside, suitably cowed. It will take many episodes more for her to triumph. Catalytic messaging, doubtless, for a country that has just passed a right to education act.
In “Laado” the current site of contestation is the body of an older daughter-in-law who has remained childless. Ammaji, the matriarch, decrees that since her impotent son is unable to impregnate his wife she should be sent to another man to become pregnant, so that the family can have a male heir. Despite their habitual subservience to her whims, the family reacts with horror and rejects the idea. Very well, she says, then my youngest son (already married) will impregnate her.
TV script writers don’t seem like the right kind of change agents to many of us. But apparently with their own seemingly regressive approach, they are!
The Andhra Pradesh government on Wednesday launched the Society for Protection and Empowerment of Women and Children and an Integrated Child Protection scheme to facilitate effective protection of women and children by synergising the service chain of government, non-governmental organisations and private sector.
It also released a protocol on minimum standards of care in homes for victims of sex trafficking to effectively combat trafficking of women and provide all care and support to the victims.
Andhra Pradesh is the first state in the country to set up the society for women empowerment as well as frame the protocol against trafficking, according to Chief Minister K. Rosaiah, who launched these programmes at a two-day workshop organised by the Women Development and Child Welfare Department here today.
“There are several laws for the protection of women but unfortunately they are not being effectively implemented, resulting in growing violence against women.
As many as 10,000 cases of dowry harassment (domestic violence) are being registered in Andhra Pradesh every year while there is an increase in incidence of women and children being trafficked.
Every year, an estimated 20,000 women and children are being trafficked from AP alone,” the Chief Minister noted.
MORAL SUPPORT: Police Inspector Maragatham Charles honouring a gender volunteer during the launch of a Women Support Centre in Tiruchi on Monday. Photo: Special Arrangement.
Women subjected to sexual harassment and/or abuse in work place, and those suffering due to domestic violence can henceforth count on public support. Tiruchi-based People’s Development Initiatives (PDI) has started a Women Support Centre to offer counselling to suffering women and address their problems. The PDI has extended in Tiruchi the initiative it has been carrying out in Salem. Legal guidance and counselling is being offered at Salem through an advisory committee consisting of advocates and journalists, PDI chief functionary Ambalavanan said, adding that in Tiruchi, the initiative was earlier confined to the 15 slums in which the PDI has been working.
The Tiruchi Centre will function through a Committee comprising advocates and senior academics. While affected women always have the option of approaching the police department and courts, the Centre will serve the counselling needs of those who hesitate to approach the official system in the first instance, Mr. Anbalavanan said.
The idea for starting the Women Support Centre in Tiruchi was mooted during December 2009 when the Rajya Sabha Member N. Siva interacted with participants of a Women’s Convention organised by the PDI, he said.
The Centre was launched on Monday as part of the International Women’s Day celebrations by Academic Director of Anna University – Tiruchi Puratchikodi in the presence of Inspector of Cantonment All Women Police Station Maragatham Charles.
Dr. Puratchikodi exhorted the participants mostly comprising women of Self Help Groups not to believe in the notion that women were responsible for crimes against their own ilk.
It was the society that turned women against women, she felt. The Inspector called upon women to immediately bring to the notice of the police instances of eve-teasing in public places or buses. Not responding to such acts by mischief-mongers would be tantamount to abetting the crimes, she said.
The participants numbering about 400 assembled at Beema Nagar after taking part in a rally that was flagged off by Mayor S. Sujatha from the Corporation. They raised awareness slogans and carried placards.
Women in need of moral and legal support can contact the PDI gender counsellors on 94895 71790.
According to father Pramod Rath, his daughter Prakriti had got married with Sweta Kumar Das three years back. Sweta is an OAS officer and he was working as a Welfare Officer in Koraput while his native village is Nilanakshetrapur Sasan under Khallikote Police Station Ganjam.
During their marriage, they had given all the gifts and even had deposited 25 lakhs in the name of their daughter Prakriti. However, her husband Sweta wanted that 25 Lakh to be deposited in his name and he was demanding since marriage, alleged father of Prakriti while adding that due to the dispute over 25 Lakh, their daughter was with them for nearly one and a half year. But later on, her husband had taken her after a compromise.
Father Rath has informed that Sweta had taken their daughter to their village on last Saturday. But on Tuesday, they got a phone call and were informed about the serious condition of their daughter. When they reached, they found the dead body of Prakriti at the local hospital.
Following the death of Prakriti, her husband Sweta is absconding, alleged Pramod Rath while seeking justice for his deceased daughter allegedly killed for dowry.
The couple has a two year old daughter and she had been taken by grandfather Pramod, a resident of Berhampur Bada Bazaar area.
FIR had been lodged alleging dowry killing and dead body had been sent to the MKCG Medical for post mortem.
The Central Committee member of Communist Party of India (M), Subashini Ali stressed the need for eradicating the social evil of ‘dowry’ from the society.
Addressing an anti-dowry regional level conference here on Sunday she said that the government should come forward to enforce strictly the anti-dowry law for the benefit of unmarried women from the poor and downtrodden.
The government should come forward to appoint adequate officials and give them certain powers to enforce anti-dowry provisions strictly in the society. All the marriages irrespective of caste and religion should properly be registered. The expense incurred in connection with conducting marriage should be shared by the parents of bride and bride-groom, so that unnecessary quarrels would not erupt in future, she said.
Various social and non-governmental organisations should come forward to create awareness among the people on equality. Gone were the days when the women confined themselves within kitchen. Now they excelled in all field on par with the men, Ms. Ali added.
She urged the women to come forward to conduct series of agitation against the prevailing dowry system in the society.
A recent discussion with my good friend on what I felt about the idea of divorce set me thinking about the ambivalence with which we generally tend to approach the subject. While we have learned to accept divorce, we’d much rather not think about it, unless we are forced to. I believe that our ambivalence is largely owing to the fact that we’ve not quite made up our minds on what precisely marriage means to us.
Traditionally, marriage has been considered a sacrament and this is the way most older Indians approach the institution of marriage. Obviously, in this situation, divorce becomes a moral dilemma, for, who would be comfortable engaging in sacrilege? Which explains why thousands of couples in the country, despite strongly feeling the need to separate from their partners for often very legitimate reasons, have hung in there and seen their lives through in an atmosphere of barely-manageable marital toxicity. Younger Indians though, don’t necessarily see marriage as a sacred institution. Which perhaps explains why they are willing to consider the possibility of divorce when their marriages are not configured for emotional fulfilment.
However, it is still not easy even for young Indians to get blasé about divorce, for the sacrament theory of marriage is still strongly imbued in the hidden depth of their psyches, and perhaps their DNA even. So, despite the fact that the nation’s lawmakers have recognised the validity of divorce in certain situations, Indian couples approach Family Courts with some considerable trepidation.
Indian divorce legislation has rightly not made it easy for people to rush to divorce courts. The easiest form of divorce is that obtained by mutual consent, if both partners are mutually agreeable to a parting of ways. However, this is often not the case, for, one of the partners refuses to consent to a divorce for whatever reason. In such a situation, if the other partner still wants a divorce, the only option available is to unilaterally approach the court for divorce on certain specified grounds such as cruelty, desertion, mental disorder, adultery and so on. Obviously, the accused partner has a right to ‘contest’ the allegations, and the burden of proof is on the accuser to prove to the court that the grounds on which divorce is sought really exist. Very often, it is extremely difficult to prove these beyond reasonable doubt, as a result of which many divorces go through lengthy and expensive legal processes which benefit none of the players. And it is not uncommon for the partner whose mind is made up on the issue of divorce to resort to unfounded allegations to strategically enhance the probability of divorce. However, this is now set to change.
Very recently, the Indian cabinet has recommended amendments to divorce provisions under the Hindu Marriage Act and Special Marriages Act, whereby ‘irretrievable breakdown of marriage’ will be considered an acceptable ground for divorce. In other words, even if one partner is unwilling, if the partner who approaches the court can prove that the marriage has irretrievably broken down, or if the accused partner is resorting to delaying tactics and avoiding court appearances, then the courts will be empowered to dissolve the marriage (of course, there will be lots of checks and balances and things may not be as simple as they sound). This is the equivalent of the much-debated “no-fault divorce” in the United States. Although the no-fault divorce first made its appearance in the state of California about 40 years ago, the other states took their own time adopting it (the state of New York is only now in the final stages of doing so). In fact, for many years New York state prided itself in having among the lowest divorce rates in the US and many New Yorkers now fear that there will be a flurry of divorce applications owing to the no-fault divorce, which is exactly the fear in the minds of many people in our country with this proposed amendment. However, such concerns are baseless, for, research has documented that although there is usually an initial increase in divorce applications when such legislation is enacted, things level off after a while, for, the rates of the ‘contested divorces’ progressively decrease.
Which brings me back to the point that I initially started exploring. If the laws of the land endorse the fact that some marriages can break down irretrievably, then marriage can no longer be viewed as a sacrament. Then how are we to think of it? A contract? I wouldn’t really take such an extreme perspective. I would much rather consider marriage as a special relationship that provides all human beings the possibility of peace, health and happiness, but only if it is appropriately configured. For this to happen, one needs to usher three Cs into marriage: Commitment, Connectedness and Companionship. I would much rather we work towards such “no-fault marriages” and consider “no-fault divorces” only if, despite exhausting ourselves trying, we’re still not able to get the marriage right. And since there are enough couples out there getting it right, I remain optimistic that the divorce rates in our country, which have been arguably pegged at about 11 divorces for every 1,000 marriages, are unlikely to veer too sharply northwards.
The writer is the author of the just-launched Fifty-50 Marriage: Return to Intimacy and can be contacted at email@example.com
The brother of a Post and Telegraph employee who died in a fall from the third floor of the building where his estranged wife was staying has lodged a complaint accusing his sister-in-law of murder.
Dhananjaya (45), a resident of Sampige Layout, had gone on Tuesday night to meet his wife Padma who lives with their two children in a flat on the top floor of the three-storied building in M.C. Layout. Seeing the flat locked, Dhananjaya went to the terrace and jumped. Residents rushed him to the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences, where he died on Wednesday morning.
Following his death, Dhananjaya’s relatives came to the Vijayanagar police station and demanded action against Padma whom they accused of pushing him from the terrace.
Although the police registered a case of murder, Deputy Commissioner of Police (West) B. Shivakumar said: “Dhanajaya’s wife was not at home at the time. We will proceed with the case after we receive the autopsy report.” The police said Padma had filed a dowry harassment complaint against her husband who had been arrested by the Vijayanagar police. He later came out on bail.
नई दिल्ली. वधु पक्ष कई मामलों में दबे-छिपे दहेज देता है। ऐसे में इस सामाजिक बुराई को खत्म करने के लिए उसके खिलाफ भी मामला चलाना जरूरी है। अतिरिक्त सेशन जज कामिनी लाउ की अदालत ने यह व्यवस्था दी है।
सेशन जज के मुताबिक, ‘दहेज दो तरफा लेन-देन है। यदि देने वाला इसे नहीं दे तो लेने वाला ले नहीं सकता। ऐसे में लेने वाले और देने वाले दोनों को दहेज निषेध कानून की धारा 3 के तहत जिम्मेदार बनाया जाना चाहिए।’
अदालत ने कहा कि दुर्भाग्यपूर्ण है कि यह कानून कागजों में ही सिमट कर रह गया है। यह भी दुर्भाग्यपूर्ण है कि इस कानून को निष्प्रभावी बनाने में वधु पक्ष का भी हाथ होता है।
लाउ ने कहा, ‘दहेज शर्मनाक ढंग से मांगा जाता है, दिया जाता है और सामाजिक परंपराओं की आड़ में लिया जाता है। यह समाज कल्याण संबंधी इस कानून को सख्ती से लागू करने का समय है।’
यह मामला सुनील गर्ग की पत्नी उमा देवी से संबंधित है। उमा ने सेशन जज के सामने पेश याचिका में मेट्रोपॉलिटन मजिस्ट्रेट के आदेश को चुनौती दी थी। इस आदेश में दहेज देने के लिए उसके परिजनों के खिलाफ एफआईआर दर्ज करने को कहा गया था।
Mumbai: A man is generally expected to bring the house down after learning about his wife’s extra-marital affair. However, if his reaction is not dramatic enough, that does not mean he will lose his right to get a divorce on grounds of adultery. So says a new judgment from the Bombay high court.
Khar-resident Venkat had married Padma on June 2, 1991. A son was born to them in 1992. However, Venkat, a Hindu priest by profession, suspected that Padma was having an affair with her uncle Raju and confronted her. He also said that once, when she had assumed that he was asleep, he had walked in and caught her in a compromising position with Raju.
Padma, he contended, had confessed to the relationship in front of her parents. So in 1996, Venkat asked her to leave his house.
In the family court, however, Padma refuted allegations of adultery and sought restitution of her conjugal rights with Venkat. In a counter-claim petition, Venkat had sought divorce alleging adultery and cruelty.
To this, Padma, in her reply, had said that she was courteous to Raju as he was a relative, and that did not mean she was having an affair with him. She added that Raju frequented their home as he was a distant cousin of Venkat’s as well. At the time of deposition in court, however, she flatly refused to recognise Raju.
In 2002, the family court decided against Venkat, holding that the allegations of cruelty or adultery were not substantiated. It held that not cooking properly and not giving a bath to their child do not amount to cruelty. The court also discarded the evidence of Venkat’s witnesses — his land-lord and a social worker who was present when Padma and Raju had confessed to their relationship.
Also, the court noted that in May 1996, even when he had seen Padma returning from Raju’s room at 2 in the morning with her blouse buttons open, Venkat had not raised a hue and cry about it. The court felt that Venkat would have reacted strongly if the allegations were true.
Although the high court agreed with the family court that cruelty had not been proved in this case, they felt that Venkat had a strong case for adultery. Justice AM Khanwilkar and justice AA Sayed wrote in their order, “The fact that the appellant (Venkat) did not react aggressively or take any stern action by itself does not affect the truthfulness of his evidence. The fact that the incident had occurred is corroborated by the admission given by the respondent (Padma) as well as the co-respondent (Raju).”
Also, the inconsistency in Padma’s written statement, which accepted that Raju frequented their house but refused to identify him in court, punctured her case. “This was the easiest manner in which she has successfully avoided any further questions which could confront her about her adulterous relationship,” the court held.
“Merely because the appellant did not react provocatively or aggressively after the incident, that does not mean that the incident had not taken place. If the incident had not taken place, there was no reason why the appellant would have refused to cohabit with the respondent,” the judges held and granted a divorce to Venkat 14 years after he had separated from his wife.
* (Names changed to protect identities)
The Delhi High Court has asked a man to purchase a house for his wife to live separately from her in-laws or be ready to go behind bars for not fulfilling a condition arrived at during mediation in the trial court.
Justice S N Dhingra asked the woman, who had filed a criminal complaint related to dowry harassment against her husband and in-laws, to find out a house, available at Rs 18 lakh, which would be bought by her husband.
The court, meanwhile, granted protection to the man by restraining the police from arresting him for 30 days – a period during which he would buy the house and start living with the woman.
“The applicant be not arrested for 30 days. In the meantime, the Investigating Officer/SHO shall approach the complainant (wife) who shall within one week locate the house which is available within Rs 18 lakh and the applicant shall purchase that house in the name of the complainant in terms of the compromise.
“In case, the house is not purchased within 30 days, this order (protection) shall exhaust itself and the Investigating Officer shall be at liberty to arrest the applicant,” the court said.
The court passed the direction while hearing an anticipatory bail application of a man as the similar protection granted to him earlier had been cancelled by a
trial court due to his failure to comply with the condition imposed during the mediation process.
According to the written compromise arrived at on the basis of a mutual consent, a house worth Rs 18 lakh in the name of the wife was to be purchased within two months and both the parties were to live together in that house.
The court noted that the husband had failed to comply with the compromise conditions decided on February 18, 2010 to end the matrimonial battle also involving divorce and maintenance cases.
New Delhi, Jun 25 (PTI) Pulling up the city police chief for not taking action against his erring officers, the Delhi High Court has issued direction for initiating criminal proceedings against three police personnel for falsely implicating a man in a criminal case.
Justice S N Dhingra passed the order on a plea by Manjeet Singh Chug who alleged that police are trying to protect three officers by not acting against them despite directions given in this regard on behalf of the Lt Governor.
“Registrar General of this court is directed to send a complaint under Section 195 CrPC for initiating criminal proceedings against the concerned police officials for falsely implicating the applicant (M S Chug),” Justice Dhingra said.
Deserted Fathers Favours Single Parenting
CHILD RIGHTS INITIATIVE FOR SHARE PARENTING (CRISP) in association with SAVE INDIAN FAMILY FOUNDATION (SIFF), whose members are deserted Fathers and elderly citizens will share their love and affection with the mentally retarded children at the Mother Teresa Home, Sector 23, Chandigarh, on the occasion of the Father’s Day, here tomorrow.
These deserted fathers have lost faith in judiciary and are has been deprived off meeting their own blood. The members of the organisation have been seriously effects from the Parental Alienation of children due to single parenting in divorce/separation. They now favour single parenting. These deserted fathers are given limited hours of meeting their son/daughters by Indian Judiciary that too after fighting for years for their visitation rights.
Judicial & Governmental Apathy:
“The way justice is administered, the child is separated from the father (mostly) for years! One has to “apply” for “visitation”* that takes years to “grant” and even then for a paltry time. Innocent children suffer because parents are separating & fight for their egos! Our judicial mechanism has a deplorable understanding of child welfare based on biased and outdated social concepts. The father is a relegated to a mere “visitor”, eliminating involvement in the child’s life and just a “maintenance” paying ATM machine. It virtually condemns the child to an illegitimate. This is neither in the child’s nor the family’s interest and destroys the foundation for the future generation”, said Mandeep Puri, the coordinator, Chandigarh Chapter.
“The organisation terms the judiciary as Anti-Child, Anti-Father and Anti-Family. Divorce/ Separation are between spouses. Not child and parent. This is common sense. There is no law requiring a normal father to keep away from his child, in divorce/ separation proceedings”, Vikas Kapur, a member of the organisation.
Time: 2.30 PM ONWARDS
Date: June 19, 2010
Venue: Mother Teresa Home, Sector 23, Chandigarh
|New Delhi, Jun 27 (PTI)|
|Sunday, June 27, 2010|
|Observing that the anti-dowry law has been reduced to a ”paper tiger” due to the bride’s family giving away dowry in many cases, a court here said they also need to be prosecuted like the groom’s family to eliminate the social evil.|
|“Dowry is a two way traffic and unless there is a giver there can be no taker and it is for this reason that in order to eliminate this evil both the giver and taker have been made liable (under Section 3 of the Dowry Prohibition Act),” Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau said.”It is not possible to leave one and book another,” the court said while resenting the prevalent practice of the bride’s family giving dowry.”It is unfortunate that this legislation has been reduced to a mere paper tiger and what is more unfortunate is the fact that it is none else but the family of the woman (involved in the marriage) who is responsible for non-accomplishment of this legislation,” the court said.It further said the social welfare legislation meant to remove the evil of dowry should be implemented effectively.
“Dowry is shamelessly demanded, given and received under the pretext of social compulsions. It is time that this social welfare legislation (Dowry Prohibition Act) is ruthlessly implemented and none is permitted to take the shield of social compulsions. This has become all the more necessary in order to check the misuse and abuse of Special Laws,” ASJ Lau said.
The court also said the expensive gifts given by relatives to a couple before and after marriage must be brought to the notice of authorities for levying taxes.It passed the observations while dismissing a plea of a woman seeking to quash criminal proceedings initiated against her family for giving dowry, which came following a complaint by her husband who faced dowry harassment charges.
In the case, Uma Devi, estranged wife of Sunil Garg, had challenged the order passed by a Metropolitan Magistrate in October last year directing registration of an FIR against her family members for giving dowry during her marriage in April 2008.The magistrate had ordered registration of the FIR on Garg’s complaint referring to her admission of giving gifts and money to his family.
डॉक्टर ने मन ही मन कहा – ”कमाल की बहादुर औरत है!” फिर उस औरत से बोला – ”ठीक है, जैसी आपकी मर्जी। इस कुर्सी पर बैठ जाइये और बताइये कौनसे दांत में दर्द है।”
औरत ने दरवाजे के पास खड़े अपने पति को आवाज दी – ”चलो! डॉक्टर साहब को दांत दिखाओ!
पत्नी (पति से)- सुनो जी, अगर तुम्हारे इसी रफ्तार से सिर के बाल झड़ते रहे तो एक दिन मैं तुम्हें तलाक दे दूंगी। मुझे गंजे लोग बिलकुल पसंद नहीं है।
पति (चौंककर)- अरे! मैं भी कितना बेवकूफ हूं, कुछ अच्छा मांगने के बजाए भगवान से हमेशा कहता रहा कि मेरे बाल सही सलामत रहें।
पति (पत्नी से)- क्यों न आज की चाय हम बाहर चलकर पी जाए।
पत्नी (पति से)-क्यों? तुम्हे क्या लगता है कि मैं चाय बनाते-बनाते थक गई हूं।
पति- अरे नहीं, दरअसल मैं ही कप प्लेट धोते-धोते तंग आ गया हूं।
पति (दु:खी होकर)- हां वह सचमुच योग्य थे, जो तुम्हारे फंदे में फंसने से बच गए।
एक भिकारी :हे सुन्दरी इस अन्धेको कुछ दे दे॥
पति बोले : कुछ दे दो, तुमे सुन्दरी बोलता है ये सचमे अन्धा है।
और अब 3 कैसे?
दुसरी बोली: वो कभी कभी माफ़ी मँगाने आ जाते थे…
पत्नि ने हैरान होकर पूछा- क्या बात है, आज बडे अच्छे मूड में हो।
पप्पू- आज संत ने कहा कि अपने दुख और परेशानियों को खुद ही हंसते हुए उठाना चाहिए।