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End the draconian Sec 498 (A)

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‘End the draconian Sec 498 (A)’

Thursday, July 08, 2010
By Prashant Hamine

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 / help@iff-ngo.org / 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.’’

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