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Talk Point: Section 498-A: Most cases are filed to make monetary gains out of a failed relationship

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Senior bureaucrat Aruna Sharma has lashed out at what she calls the “narrow approach in the name of women’s rights”. She believes this has led to a rampant misuse of law by women, asserting that such “activism” is resulting in men losing faith in the judiciary and the institution of marriage.

Is the call to revisit some of our gender laws and their implementation valid or exaggerated?

While a number of Supreme Court judgments have taken cognisance of the misuse of Section 498-A of the IPC and even gone as far as calling it “legal terrorism”, no government has so far taken any action in this regard for fear of being termed anti-women.

Little do they realise that the mothers and sisters of falsely implicated husbands are also women in distress, and as many as 40,000 women get arrested every year under Section 498-A. An alarming number of cases registered never lead to a conviction. Most cases are, in fact, filed to make monetary gains out of a failed relationship. All family members are implicated in order to put maximum pressure and extort as much money as possible from the groom’s side. The police stations, mediation centres and the judiciary itself – all pressure the groom’s side into paying hefty amounts and “settle” the case.

Here are other sharp perspectives on Aruna Sharma’s comment on women misusing laws:
Shailaja Chandra: former secretary to the government of India, former chief secretary, Delhi
Chitleen K. Sethi:  Associate Editor with ThePrint
Nandita Singh: journalist, ThePrint
Nirupama Rao: former Foreign Secretary and Ambassador

If a crime has indeed been committed, and the allegations in the FIR are true then why take money and settle? Encouraging such settlements is a signal to those who file frivolous cases that they may continue to take money, and settle cases and laugh their way to the banks, while the life, careers, dignity and self- esteem of men and their families go for a toss. The consistently rising male suicide rate (93,000 per year) the domestic issues (including matrimonial discords) which spur them continue to be ignored by the government.

We are running an all-India helpline for men in distress (8882498498) to support those who have been at the receiving end. Some of these men are driven to the extent of giving up their life. A lot of them have lost faith in the judiciary and marriage alike, while the government is in denial.

Amit Lakhani is the President of the Men Welfare Trust

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  1. You will always hear the same comment – dowry, where will the poor women go? Clearly, we choose to forget that there is something called istri dhan which in all those cases highlighted above is returned. Can we recall a single case where a woman has been arrested on a complaint of adultery (which is not neutral in India) or arrested on charges of domestic violence filed by the husband or his family? To gain sympathy we will always say where will the poor girl go? suddenly after taking money where do these not so poor women go who are educated and working and successful?

    Surveys say more men have committed suicide than women. it is very easy to file a case against men for domestic violence or rape and mind you there is no punishment for filing a false case. Man is never poor…

  2. It’s said that a biggest enemy for a women is women. These laws are justified and implement to save stressed women who are being harassed. But the misuse by women on 498A is going to hit them badly. Evey week I see a story of men suicide nor able to handle the legal terrorism by wife. All this can end if police and judiciary stop biasing women. False complaint can be stopped by the investigation police officer but instead they route it to Courts and avoid risk. This is where women are winning the battle. This is most horrible harrasment for any Innocent person to stand and testify and prove his innocence. What is the difference between Person doing crime Vs person being honest.

  3. What about when a man gets married cheats and exploits a woman and deserts her and kid and washes hands to take responsibility. Not all women do it for monitory gain but for justice and to sustain with her child . And today’s world for a single parent to survive on her own salary and bring up a kid is really difficult. One cannot generalise all cases similiarly and penalise the woman who are actually suffering where men are happily walking loose and enjoying … Law is not that stupid enough to validate who is who ! Please don’t come to conclusions and statements without validating cases or people .

    • Thanks for your valuable thinking mam…already we have law for all those innocent women who are getting actually assaulted by men & their inlaws…why we are defending if it already we are talking about misuse of these cases….not every woman is innocent & not every man is guilty. Only the thing is here what about the innocent humans whether he/she. We only want an equality in legal forums not asking to dispose the current act. So think again. It’s not the matter of gender it’s the matter of justice for innocent one’s. Just because of misuse laws are getting loose for innocent girls aswell. Someday it will definitely get loose & again you will fight for it…right ?

  4. And I also feel so bad for both side who are innocent, they want to live their life peacefully but what to say….feminism is high rather than a innocent life. Needs some legal & good decisions to resolve these issues. Most of these cases will goes in favour of girls because police wants money, legals wants to extend these cases as much as possible & at last settlement comes & groom side has to pay if still they are innocent.

    We says beti bachao beti padhao…we are in favour but people understanding it really different…they are using their daughter’s as much as possible & daughter’s don’t even using their mind to choose what is wrong & what is right…hai na ?

  5. Miss Pooja, you are saying right that bride side giving money to groom’s side but they don’t have any proof..but mam think again you are paying because bride want a high earning guy & well settled family… These demands are also indirectly comes into dowry as well because this is demand similar to dowry. But it not comes under judiciary..right ? I never heard & seen that a rich bride side is giving dowry to a poor groom side. Even they don’t think to marry a poor guy. These kind of action supports dowry itself because you want to purchase a guy & a guy is ready for sale itself…. So don’t blame wrong please. Change system not thinking.

  6. N by the way.. have u seen the female suicide rate.. Even in a divorce most of the time female is considered as the one guilty by society n she faces problem in getting married again. These cases are settled with money as the groom side gives back the dowry(often less than what was given) and girls family wants to move ahead with mutual consent divorce. The contested divorce takes 2-3 years..

  7. I think ma’am should go in root cause first. In Indian society dowry is prevalent n when a relationship failed , boy’s family doesn’t return money n there is no proof regarding giving the money. Where would a girl go.. That’s why these cases go.. some cases may be monetary gain but they are very less

    • Do you have statistics to back your claim? If “some” cases are for monetory gain or fake than why the conviction rate is so low??

  8. It’s because of women who falsely implicate their husband and in-laws that the real women in distress are also looked on suspiciously.proper investigations must be done by police and if ever they find the woman filing wrong cases ,those women must be imprisoned .That’s the only way to deal with this

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