NFHS Press coverage on 498A proposed amendment in Enaadu, Pranjevaani, Sanjevaani, Udayavaani, HINDU
BANGALORE: National Family Harmony Society, an NGO engaged in promoting the cause of “family harmony” and “gender equality”, has alleged that there is misuse of Section 498A of Indian Penal Code that relates to dowry harassment.
Speaking to presspersons here on Saturday, P. Suresh of NFHS said that under this section, a complaint can be registered without going into its authenticity.
He said that following complaints of misuse of Section 498A, and also to protect the interests of innocent persons, the Rajya Sabha has formed a committee to look into the need for amendments to the section.
Mr. Suresh said that before taking any decision on amending the section, the committee has decided to consult cross-sections of society and has invited applications.
Such applications can be sent in two copies in English or Hindi to Rakesh Naithani, Joint Director, Rajya Sabha Secretariat, Parliament House, Annexe, New Delhi – 110001.
Call Ph: 011-23035433, 011-23794328 or mail to email@example.com.
Having struggled hard to obtain legal means to break free from male dominance and depravity, are we women today at the point of endangering those very means?
The Committee on Petitions of the Rajya Sabha, under the Chairmanship of Mr. Bhagat Singh Koshyari, is considering a petition praying for amendments to Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. The petitioner has pointed out the extensive abuse and misuse of this provision.
Section 498A deals with the husband or a relative of the husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty.
Up in arms
Recently, sections of men who have been up in arms, demanding that the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, be made gender independent. The reason once again is that it has been misused by women causing unwarranted harassment to men, husbands in particular.
Nothing may really come out of the petition or the agitations immediately. Yet, they should serve to send alarm bells ringing in the mind of every self-respecting woman. I myself am a strong believer in the equality of men and women and the right of every woman to lead a life of respect and self-dignity. Yet, we cannot forget that we live in what is even today a male-dominated society. Women have had to struggle and fight male egoism at every step to get even a few benefits like the above legal provisions on our statute. The bill seeking 33 per cent reservation for women in the Lok Sabha and the State Assemblies was passed in the Rajya Sabha this year, after almost 14 years of its introduction, and it is anybody’s guess when it will be implemented.
The modern Indian woman with her new-found economic, social and political independence is no doubt kicking to break free from the fetters of subjugation and subordination which have haunted her since time immemorial. In this uphill task, she has to learn to use the law as a shield to protect herself and not as a weapon to attack. A handful of women are forgetting that any relationship, whether marital or otherwise, is not about who has the upper hand but about who complements the other and how.
Unfortunately today, aggressiveness has somehow become synonymous with “assertiveness” so much so that there are women who do not hesitate to file an FIR with the police or knock on the doors of the courts at the drop of a hat. A heated discussion or disagreement, a refusal by the husband to allow his wife to wear western clothes or go out with friends, some chiding by the in-laws could all easily be labelled as cruelty by some women and, with enough stoking by unscrupulous advocates, this snowballs into a legal battle which leaves nothing but a bitter taste and an empty purse.
Still a minority
No doubt, such women still form a minority, yet no one can overlook the harm they may inadvertently be causing to a large number of Indian women, who genuinely need the law to help them find a way out of their miserable and pathetic situations; also, many a time it is an escape route from what has become to them a living hell.
With more and more cases of abuse of women-centric legal provisions, the day may not be far off when the same men who conceded our reasonable demands start re-thinking.
With the joint family concept having become a thing of the past and with family ties getting weaker by the day, the need is for the establishment of several more counselling centres in colleges, offices, hospitals and even in courts. These must be manned by trained professionals who have in-depth knowledge of human psychology and behavioural patterns. People, especially youngsters, must be encouraged to seek the help of such centres.
In fact, all family disputes should be taken up only after it has been certified by a counsellor that the case is beyond counselling. Parents, family members and close friends can mediate and help the couple identify their actual problems and assist them in solving their issues amicably. Advocates also have a major role, for they can make women see the futility of their case and advise them accordingly, instead of stoking the embers into inferno.
Lastly, women themselves have the power to make or break their future. The modern Indian woman should not forget that every form of relationship calls for some give and take. Small compromises or adjustments need not be misunderstood as signs of suppression.
No woman should ever suffer cruelty or harassment of any form silently. Yet, before rushing to court, let her ponder over and see if it is indeed her rights that have been trampled upon or it is just her ego that has taken a beating.
For, let us not for a minute forget that we women still walk across a minefield and if we do not tread carefully, there is every chance of the mines blowing up not just our lives but also the future of women.
No woman should ever suffer cruelty or harassment silently. Yet, before rushing to court, let her ponder over and see if it is indeed her rights that have been trampled upon or it is just her ego that has taken a beating.
Zee TV’s Apno Ke Liye Geeta Ka Dharamyudh, a saas-bahu conflict, revolves around the misuse of Section 498A or the dowry laws of our country. A first for a serial…
Apno Ke Liye Geeta Ka Dharmyudh is the story of the shy but feisty Geeta Bhagat, the 19-year-old who stands up to protect her family who are victims of Section 498A. This law of the Indian constitution gives certain rights to women to use if they are being ill-treated in any manner by their in-laws. But unfortunately it is also abused by many. So while her mother-in-law, Malini Yadav, misuses it, Geeta tries to set things right.
Geeta is being played by Sargun Mehta, the bubbly Neetu of 12/24 Karol Bagh.However, this time round she will be seen sporting spectacles, and a plain Jane look, a complete contrast to her character, Neetu. “I could relate to Neetu who is a lot more like me as a person, but Geeta is a contrast in nature. I had to read the scenes carefully, and work on my body language and expressions to portray her convincingly,” says Sargun.
Urvashi Dholakia, who is best remembered for her portrayal of the scheming Komalika in Kasauti Zindagi Ki will play the shrewd and opportunist mother-in-law, Malini, who twists the law in her favour. The serial is a sort of comeback, for it is almost after three years that the actress will be seen flashing her dagger looks in a serial. “After Kasauti.., I started doing a lot of reality shows like Comedy Circus and Mithi Churi and consciously stayed away from playing negative parts. So when I was approached for this part, I was apprehensive at first. But I quite liked the concept of Geeta, and the role too was very different. I thought it would be a challenge to play a mother of four young adults and a part that was not exactly glamorous,” says Urvashi.
Interestingly both Sargun and Urvashi are aware of 498A and feel that the serial will create an awareness amongst women about this Section. “It’s very important for every woman in today’s world to know the law, and her rights. I know there are many women who do not know that after 6pm there has to be a female police officer present if she is taken for interrogation,” says Urvashi.
“With the serial, many such rules and laws will be highlighted which will help educate the women,” adds the 20-year-old Sargun.
Geeta is one of the two shows in Zee TV’s new primetime slot which starts from 6 pm from December 6.