Around 15 National Family Harmony Society Members today met Union Law Minister Shri Veerappa Moily and handed a MEMO regarding heavy misuse of DV Act and harassment to husband and his family.
Jagadish Sir: Spoke about harassment to senior citizens in old age.
Altaf Sir: spoke about senior citizens being harassed in the name of protection to women.
Arnab: Spoke from legal point of view that even though article 15(3) provides laws can be made for women but as per article 15, discrimination cannot happen. Also which is the ministry for MEN welfare!!!
Suresh: Spoke about heavy misuse of DV Act and how the harassed members have outnumbered genuine victims. Also demands of National Family Harmony Society. How grabbing of property is going on in the name of Domestic violence act. Also there are 5 laws of maintenance and women file all 5 cases and husband has to run around court. They are heavily misusing laws. Also demanded to make DV Act Gender Neutral and to plug in scope of misuse. Also explained him there is no provisions for husbands who are victim of even physical violence.
Madhu: Spoke that in case of Child Custody cases only mothers are being given custody.
So all in all it was a good effort by NFHS and at short notice 15 members came….Thanks to all members who reached at short notice for the cause.
After listening to us for about 15 minutes Minister told he is completely aware of the misuse of these laws but he cannot take a completely extreme view on either side. He told he is already looking into issues of misuse. We also showed him todya’s Udaya Vani article and he again told a balanced view needs to be take. He spoke for about five minutes saying that these laws are made for the protection of women but he agreed that misuse has to be taken seriously and a solution has to be found fo that. To my argument that people who are being harassed due to these laws have outnembered those who are victims he simply disagreed and told that is not correct but again he told that he is aware of misuse.
MEMO Submitted to Law Minister
To: Bangalore / 10-Jun-2011
Hon’able Mr. Veerappa Moily, Hon’ble Minister of Law & Justice,
Ministry of Law and Justice, 4th Floor,
A-Wing, Shastri Bhawan, New Delhi – 110 001
Subject: Regarding heavy misuse of Domestic Violence Act
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 www.family-harmony.org / www.498a.org.in.
1. That “The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005” [hereafter referred to as the “Act” for the sake of brevity] was passed by parliament as Act No. 43 OF 2005 on 13th September, 2005 to provide for more effective protection of the rights of women guaranteed under the Constitution who are victims of violence of any kind occurring within the family and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
2. That subsequent to passing of the above said “Act” there is seemingly increasingly heavy misuse of the “Act” similar to the heavy misuse of 498A IPC.
3. That the parliament has passed this “Act” with good intention to provide speedy relief to the women who are victims of “Domestic violence” but as has been seen in the recent past that this “Act” has become a tool at the hands of greedy women to use it to harass their husbands and his family members in case of matrimonial disputes.
4. That there is an urgent and immediate need to address the issues related to the abuse and heavy misuse of the said “Act” which is breaking the families and since the family is the basic unit of the society and hence there are tremors and crack already appearing on the society.
a. The “Act” is providing relief only to the “young married women” contrary to the intention of the parliament. The result is “young married women” at the drop the hat are rushing to the courts with petitions and implicating the entire family members of husband by misusing the said “Act”.
b. The “Act” is being misused by many of the young, educated & intelligent women with corrupt intentions to satisfy their greed, grudge & fantasies. This law becomes more lethal when misused along with the Dowry Law or IPC 498A. The case under “Act” is usually filed just after an FIR U/S 498A of IPC is registered for the same cause of action.
c. When there is a dispute between the spouses and when the wife files a criminal cases like Dowry Harassment (IPC 498A) against the husband, it becomes impossible for him to continue to live with the wife. And if the wife claims for Right to residence in his house under this “Act”, then husband has to vacate the house along with his aged parent, as it is impractical to even think that husband and his wife can stay under the same roof that too when the criminal cases are pending. This leads to an unbearable harassment to the husband and his age old parent. Punishing him before beginning the trail is violation of his constitutional rights. In some cases the husbands will be re-paying their house loans, but because of the residence orders husband and his parent will be staying outside their houses in spite of paying for house loans, causing a great burden and hardship to them.
d. If the husband / his parents live in the shared house they have to face harassment of police / face multiple other criminal cases as per the wish of wife’s lawyer. So invariably husband and his old parents have to run away, sometimes without belongings and stay in a rented accommodation.
e. The wife can get an order prohibiting the husband from operating his own bank accounts including his salary accounts, making it impossible for him to live. In one case, wife first used 498A to send the husband & her mother-in-law to jail. As soon as they were released on bail, wife used “Act” to lock all their bank accounts & properties including the husband’s salary account. When they went home, they were beaten up by the wife & her kin and the husband & the mother-in-law were thrown out of their own house, thus making them penniless and homeless. This is how women are misusing this “Act” resulting in violation of basic rights of the innocent husbands & aged in-laws. Even in the cases of Dowry death the husband will get a chance to prove not guilty, but this “Act” first punishes the husband and then gives the husband the chance to prove not guilty.
f. The wife can get an order prohibiting the husband from entering the shared household. This resulting in, he being thrown out of his own house without any cause. This “Act” enables the wife to capture the house of the husband and in-laws and throw them out. In many of the cases it has been observed that some women acting like goons misuse this “Act” to capture the hard-earned properties of the husband and in-laws, denying their basic rights. Once the wife gets the control over the property she can use that to accommodate her kin or bring-in her boy-friends.
g. Wife can file multiple maintenance suits for the same relief, one under this “Act” and another under Cr.P.C 125 or any other provision available just to harass the husband by making him run around different courts. This concept of misusing multiple maintenance provisions has gone beyond bearable limits. There are numerous complaints from victims and this has prompted us file a Public Interest Litigation, in Hon’ble High Court of Karnataka with Writ Pet. No. 9168/10.
h. Though this “Act” restricts the maintenance amount to be fair & reasonable, the Hon’ble magistrates in various courts are hardly giving attention to this clause. In a hurry to provide justice to the women they are passing meaningless orders with exorbitant amounts as maintenance without any justification. The high amounts of maintenance passed by the magistrates are being misused by the estranged wives for enrichment and luxury.
i. Some wives gets ex-party orders to get her belongings and come with police protection and take away all the evidences, photos, bank accounts, property documents, gold, cash, credit cards, everything what she knows and what her lawyer suggests along with important house hold items.
j. Since this “Act” assumes that whatever the women says as true, is highly vulnerable to misuse.
k. The misuse of the “Act” is so rampant that many of the parliamentarians, courts, Chief justices of various High courts have expressed their concerns over the misuse.
l. Many women are using the “Act” to settle score with husbands and to capture his properties.
m. There are instances of misuse where women had invoked the “Act” just after few days after the marriage as it was pre planed to misuse.
n. There are instances where the petitioner is well educated and capable of working and earning and in many cases working but in order to harass the husbands they resign from their jobs and invoke this “Act”.
o. The misuse is so wide and rampant that even though any order under the said “Act” is enforceable only against husband but in order to harass petitioner adds all the family members of the husband as respondent.
5. Delhi High Court in a case related to the “Act” on 13-08-2010 observed that “I therefore consider that the application filed by the petitioner under Section 12 of Domestic Violence Act was not at all maintainable. The petitioner had settled her separate house in America, her Passport was issued in America, she is doing job in America, she was adult and able to take care of herself, take her own decisions. She decided to live in America after leaving her parents here. If she has any right in her father’s property, she has already filed a suit for partition. An application under Section 12 of Domestic Violence Act was nothing but a gross misuse of the Act and I consider that she was rightly denied the interim relief of residence in the property left by her father. The petition is hereby dismissed.”
6. Even the Hon’ble Supreme court in Batra VS Batra observed that the “Act” has been drafted poorly. Terming the definition of ‘shared household’ in Section 2(s) of the Act as “not very happily worded”, the Bench said it “appears to be the result of clumsy drafting, but we have to give it an interpretation which is sensible and does not lead to chaos in society,”
7. This “Act” does not provide any provision or mechanism of punishment to the petitioners who misuse the “Act” which causes to the respondents.
a. Severe damage in the society as they are branded as “wife beaters” and “dowry seekers”.
b. Loss of jobs due to filing of false case under the “Act”.
c. Bad and defamatory publication in media and loss of reputation.
d. Financial loss due to false cases.
e. Harassment to the old parent of respondents due to running around court due to false cases.
f. Prospectus of sisters of husbands not getting married due to false complaint.
8. That the petitioner prays to amend this “Act” which is being heavily misused by thousands of women across India to settle score with husbands and due to which thousands of families are breaking. It is therefore respectfully prayed to amend the “Act” to include below suggestions.
a. To make the said “Act” “gender-neutral” by providing protection to MEN as well.
b. To increase the scope of the said “Act” beyond “young married women” to a cover a much larger section of victims irrespective of their age & gender.
c. To introduce a punishment clause in the “Act” in-line with section 387 to 389 of Indian Penal Code. A new rule should be introduced to protect the rights of the accused by sufficiently compensating the accused.
d. To add a new clause for protecting the human rights of the respondent husband.
e. To remove the role of Protection officer.
f. To make the trial under this “Act” in compliance to Indian Evidence Act rather than in compliance to Criminal Procedure Code.
g. To empower magistrates to order Suo Moto perjury and contempt proceedings in respect of exaggerated or false allegation in respect of domestic violence, cruelty when such allegations are proved to be false.
h. To make time bound conclusion of trial in 60 days.
i. To do away the practice of passing high Ex-Parte/Interim maintenance under this “Act” even when there no prima facie evidence to prove Domestic Violence.
j. To not consider “sole testimony” of women as gospel truth.
P Suresh, President, M Mahesh, General Secretary
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