‘End the draconian Sec 498 (A)’
Indian Family Foundation (IFF), and Mothers And Sisters of Husbands Against Abuse of Law (MASHAAL) have demanded an end to the misuse of Section 498 (A), 406 of the IPC. Their contention has been that in more than 90 per cent of the cases, the law is abused by the wife just to settle scores with her in-laws and to demand exorbitant alimony
The battle of the sexes just got that more belligerent and glamorous with former Mr. India-turned-actor, Aryan Vaid, lending his muscle to the agitation of the IFF against misuse of Sections 498 (A), 406, and other sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) by wives and their parents, against their husbands and in-laws.
Upping the ante further, social worker and Nationalist Congress Party worker from Goregaon, Ravindra Gangurde, even threatened to commit suicide before the Rashtrapati Bhavan on August 15, if the government failed to remove what he terms as the ‘draconian lacunae’ which hold the husbands’ parents guilty without fair investigation or trial.
It was quite an unusual scene outside Goregaon Railway Station, with a motley group of IFF activists holding placards calling for dilution, modification or repealing of Sections 498 (A), 406, 304 (B), 497, 375, 375 (A), 375 (D), 376 of the IPC. They also demanded the introduction of Sections 498 (B), 304 (C), 113 (C) and 113 (D) of the Indian Evidence Act to maintain ‘gender equality’ and introduction of suo moto punishment for misuse of any law. The IFF activists later courted arrest under a peaceful ‘jail bharo andolan’ at the nearby Goregaon police station.
Talking to the ADC, Aryan Vaid said “Just to harass men, I feel that many times, the law is being misused. The Miss India does espouse the cause of women folk. I too being a former Mr. India, I thought of supporting the IFF’s peaceful, non-violent cause.”
Mona Malhotra, a part of the women’s wing, IFF, said “Many provisions of the Domestic Violence Act are against the law and negate the principles of gender equality. Although the law and its provisions are meant to protect women against injustices from the family, in reality, the law only takes note of the wives, leaving out other aggrieved women. In most cases, the mothers and sisters of the husband are subjected to harassment. The husbands and his parents are often asked to cough up unrealistic amounts of alimony ranging up to Rs.1 crore! There is no proper verification done, and it often takes years to gather evidence against the husband and his family members, who are often denied bail and suffer social humiliation.”
Jinesh Jhaveri of the IFF, who led the demonstration, stated, “The government one fine day during Christmas vacations of 1983 gifted this Santa Claus gift called Section 498 (A). Ever since then, the legal provision, more often than not, has been misused by the wives just to settle scores with her in-laws. Our subsequent queries and answers sought from the government under Right to Information Act has revealed that in the recent past, big time abuse of the legal provisions has been made by the so-called aggrieved wives against their in-laws. There is no reality check in place. If you can have ministries and departments for animal husbandry, fisheries, women and children, then why not for men? Why not a National Commission for men? We are going to submit our memorandum to the President, the Prime Minister, Chief Minister, Director General of Police and the Home minister.’’
Indian Family Foundation (IFF) demands include:
*Introduction of National Commission for Men and Ministry for Men’s Welfare.
*Modify, Dilute or Repeal – Sections 498 (A), 406, 304 (B), 375, 375 (A), 375 (D), 376, 497 of IPC.
*Introduce – Sections 498 (B), 304 (C), 113 (C) and 113 (D) of the Indian Evidence Act for Gender Equality.
*IFF holds weekly meetings at the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Borivli East.
*IFF can be contacted on 9769770498 / http://www.iff-ngo.org / email@example.com / IFF, B-702, Sumer Nagar, S.V. Road, Borivli West, Mumbai – 400 092.
Gangurde’s last stand
Gangurde while addressing the crowd said, “The constitution guarantees equal rights for men and women. But these legal provisions are bad in law as they do not take into account the trials and tribulations that the boy and his parents have to undergo. If giving dowry is a crime, then accepting it is also a crime. The aggrieved party is not even given a chance to prove its innocence. If the government does not agree to our demands then I am going to commit suicide before the Rashtrapati Bhavan on August 15.’’
As part of post card campaign, this week NFHS carried two post card campaigns.
Campaign1: To congratulate Chief Justice, TN for the Holiday Court Initiative. 25 # Postcards sent.
Campaign2: To Chief Justice, Karnataka demanding 6 additional family courts, Holiday court initiative, Evening Shifts etc. 70 # Postcards sent.
See the demands made in each post card for campaign2.
- Induct more judges and extend the court timings to late evenings.
- Family courts should start an evening shift in addition to the regular day shift.
- Due to the heavy pendency of the cases Family Courts should operate on Sundays also with additional judges.
- Additional 6 more family courts in addition to the existing 4 family courts should be opened without any further delay to cope up with the huge pendency.
- The Family Courts shall ensure that all matrimonial cases be disposed within a period of Six months.
- The Family Courts to officially suspend the practice of summer vacation to the benches till the time limit of Six months is met.
- The Family Courts to officially state that no new cases to be taken till the old ones are disposed.
- All long-pending (one year and above) cases should be transferred to the Fast Track Courts to dispose of within a time limit.
- Family Court records must be computerized so that old cases can be disposed on a priority basis and cases can be tracked scientifically.
- As there are overload on the court on a particular date and less-load on some dates hence the practice of giving dates in the open court must be stopped. Instead dates must be given by the computer section like in Supreme Court or judges should be given computer training and computers must be installed so that dates are given in a scientific way.
- The tendency of one party to drag the cases to delay the proceeding must be dealt severely with heavy cost and other means.
- Judges must be sensitized to the fact that they are dealing with the cases involving “Human life” that are driven by “emotional issues” in case of matrimonial issues which are very different from a criminal case.