Petition to President Re Jail Bharo
Honorable President of India, Bangalore
Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi – 110011
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.
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.
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.
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), are extending 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 request your personal attention to stop the heavy misuse of Gender Biased laws such as 498A, 304B, Dowry Prohibition Act and related laws.
- Direct the Union Government to immediately implement recommendations of Law Commission to make 498A bailable.
- Direct the Union Government to bring in amendment to stop arbitrary arrest of elderly persons, children and pregnant sisters.
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.
P Suresh, President,
National Family Harmony Society