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