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State relief for ‘harassed’ husbands


MUMBAI: Men accused of ill-treating and beating up their wives for dowry may now breathe a little easier in the state. The state, say activists, is among the first to have issued guidelines to the police to conduct pre-arrest investigations into complaints made under Section 498-A of the IPC.

Sandip Kedia, president of Child’s Right and Family Welfare, a local NGO working for the rights of “harassed husbands”, said the guidelines issued in May 2010 by the state home deparment will now ensure that the police don’t make immediate arrests on receiving a complaint. “Usually the police rush to arrest the husband and even his aged or ailing parents, and investigate later,” said one member. The guidelines suggest that police ought to also first send husbands and wives for a marital counselling session.

Usually these cases do not result in convictions. A research study states that only two percent get convicted. “My father passed away due to a heart attack, even before the case ended. We were treated as outcastes by relatives and neighbours. Even today, I have cases against me but can’t afford a lawyer,” said one dejected man Ajeet Sakhalkar.

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