Time to Scrap Laws Which Turn Ordinary Men into Criminals!

Beginning Saturday, 4 October 2014, the death of Raghavendra Guruprasad and his two boys has been discussed in newspapers, on TV channels, and in the social media.

For those who have not heard about him, Guruprasad was an ordinary Indian male, with above average intelligence, who worked hard to get a good education, married for love ten years ago, had two boys with the woman he loved, and worked as an assistant professor at a University for a living. He was filled with thoughts of a long life of togetherness with his wife and children. Guruprasad wanted to ensure that his family, his most precious possession, remained intact, even if it meant that he had to face humiliation in private and public due to his wife, even if it meant he had to suffer physical abuse in the hands of his in-laws.

What Guruprasad was gifted in return was a package of lies, in the form of a divorce petition and a false criminal case under Section 498A of IPC. Despite being arrested, imprisoned and put through legal turmoil, and despite being physically separated from his wife and children, Guruprasad never gave up his efforts to reunite with them because he felt that his sons needed a father. He also desperately reached out to his wife only to be shunned and rejected over and over, which eventually led him to end his misery by taking his own life. Incidentally, Guruprasad had also written letters to various authorities that he could think of, pleading them to help him, before he gave up hope.

His last phone conversation with his wife, which is available online, was his last cry for help. He hinted at ending his life, and when his wife asked him (very coldly) as to what use it would be, he said, “I am not sure of what use it would be, but I am unable to endure this…”. When his wife asked him why he called and disturbed her, he replied saying, “You say that my phone calls disturb you, but I have been disturbed every moment that I have had to spend away from you, my family.” His 7-page suicide note describes his attachment to his wife and children, and the pain he was going through because of being forced to be away from them, and because of the social pressure and rejection he faced as a result.

If this was all there was to it, the print and electronic media would not have paid much attention. We would have seen a passing reference to “a faculty member of a University ending his life over marital woes”. The feminists would not have jumped up and down in live news rooms bashing him up, and along with him, the entire male gender, and using it as one more opportunity to highlight victimhood of women.

Guruprasad had written one last letter to the Ministry of Home Affairs about the sufferings of Indian men due to the draconian law, IPC Section 498A, and begged that it be scrapped so that more men do not have to suffer like him. For TV channels that love airing high-pitched verbal battles between feminists and men’s rights activists, this was definitely a topic they could milk to increase their TRPs during primetime news.

However, the main reason Guruprasad’s story grabbed so much attention was because he allegedly killed his sons before ending his own life. The feminists, the self-professed psychologists and psychoanalysts, and certain sections of the media isolated this specific detail, and made it a topic of discussion, to label Guruprasad “a psycho”, “a maniac”, “an inhuman, barbaric creature”, “a disgrace to mankind”, and more. They asserted that the filing of criminal sections and the divorce case against Guruprasad were justified, because he eventually turned out to be a violent savage, a pervert, a deliberate criminal, and a cold-blooded murderer. While IPC Section 498A has been facing sharp criticism from various quarters in the recent past, the feminists, in a desperate bid to defend the poisonous fruit of their labor, spared no effort to malign Guruprasad’s character and life as a whole.

The fact that Guruprasad fought and won rights to visit his children for a few hours, two days in a month, speaks about his fatherly love. The fact that the children were always excited and happy to meet with their father says a lot about how much the children loved him. Guruprasad’s suicide note reveals how much he cared about his boys, and in one part of his note he even mentions his worry about the fact that his wife treated his sons badly. It is hard to imagine how badly Guruprasad’s heart and spirit were broken that he chose to take his boys along with him. It is not hard to imagine that he may have worried about the fate of his boys growing up and surviving in an increasingly anti-male society before taking the drastic step.

During a conversation about Guruprasad’s tragedy, a friend said, “You know, it’s not two murders and a suicide…it’s three murders…” I was speechless for a moment. “Indeed!”, I thought, “it’s three murders”. The anti-male society, the feminists, the police, the legal system and judiciary, had together mutilated Guruprasad’s spirit beyond recognition and killed him, and, are thereby guilty of killing his children too. The same feminists who are berating Guruprasad for “murdering children”, would show no mercy towards the boys once they grow up into adults, and end up being emotionally castrated and slowly killed because of social misandry and brutal anti-male laws.

It is quite easy to pass moral judgments against Guruprasad, but it would be good to resist that temptation and understand that it is extremely difficult for a common man to endure the trauma caused by false allegations, fabricated criminal cases (especially those filed by an intimate partner) and long drawn trials to prove his innocence. Thousands of ordinary men may have had the thought of committing murder or suicide, under similar circumstances, but a very small proportion of men actually act on it. Most men, who are otherwise bright, energetic, and capable of contributing their unique talents, knowledge and physical labor to the country, live miserable lives and die a little everyday, thanks to laws like IPC 498A.

I recall Prime Minister Sri. Narendra Modi’s Madison Square Speech in which he vowed to get rid of all the archaic, inane and useless laws, which make life difficult for the common citizen, and prevent him from functioning effectively in the society. He should have pinned socially dangerous laws like IPC 498A and the Domestic Violence Act and useless laws like the Dowry Prohibition Act to the top of the list.

The English rulers had gifted us with a self-serving legal system to destroy the social fabric of India and create a host of problems for the common man. During the next 66 years, the Congress Party and its Leftist allies enacted more and more laws only to create more and more problems, without ever resolving the existing ones. These past Governments, the law makers, the feminists, the police, and the judiciary are the actual reason why common law-abiding citizens like Guruprasad are driven to commit unimaginable crimes.

Guruprasad’s incident is not the first of its kind, but if we don’t want more such incidents to occur in the future, we need to say “NO” to State intervention in and criminalization of personal and family relationships. We don’t want a lawless society, but we will definitely benefit from becoming a society with less laws…and the first law that should be trashed is IPC Section 498A…YES…but that would require the present Government to exhibit the same courage and determination in tackling rabid feminism as they would to tackle terrorism.

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Modesty of Man

“Whoever, intending to insult the modesty of any woman, utters any word, makes any sound or gesture, or exhibits any object, intending that such word or sound shall be heard, or that such gesture or object shall be seen by such woman, or intrudes upon the privacy of such woman, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both”, reads Section 509 of the Indian Penal Code.

Section 354 of the Indian Penal Code prescribes a maximum sentence of two years in prison to a person convicted for outraging the modesty of a woman.

The Supreme Court of India has, on various occasions, elaborated on what modesty of a woman means. According to the apex court,

  • Modesty is a virtue which is inherent to a female owing to her sex;
  • Modesty is an attribute associated with female human beings as a class;
  • A woman, young or old, intelligent or imbecile, awake or sleeping, possesses modesty, which is capable of being outraged;
  • Modesty of a woman is outraged when the act of the offender is such that it is shocking and can be perceived as an affront to feminine decency and dignity. Example: slapping a woman on her butt, disrobing her, asking her for sexual favour etc.;
  • Mere knowledge that the modesty of a woman is likely to be outraged is sufficient to constitute the offence without any deliberate intention of outraging her modesty.
  • Section 354 will apply to all sexual acts committed or intended against a woman that stop short of penetration. (Note: The latest Criminal Laws Amendment Bill 2010 proposes to include ALL sexual acts as rape);
  • Lack of protest by a woman cannot be an alibi for the “offender” who has “outraged her modesty”.

Women’s organizations are also constantly up in arms about beauty pageants, movies and commercials indulging in “objectification” and “commodification” of women and outraging the modesty of women as a class. These gender zealots are of the firm conviction that female models and actresses are rather forced to trade their bodies and prance around half-naked purely to satisfy the perverse desires of men.

I will reserve my comments on how much I agree or disagree with the above laws or views on the modesty of a woman for a later time.

What I wish to point out here is the popular, egregious notion that men have no modesty to outrage, and the reinforcement of this view by our legislature, executive and the judiciary.

A more recent, very alarming trend spreading in India is the full blown attack on maleness and male sexuality in the print and electronic media, a phenomenon I found quite common in the United States.

Today, men and boys are routinely portrayed as idiotic, pathetic, uncouth and inferior creatures who are constantly in need of rescue by their “superior” wives, girlfriends or female relatives who are all set to overhaul them.

The society considers kicking, punching and slapping men as acceptable and even laudable behaviour on the part of women and girls.

Ridiculing male sexuality is considered harmless entertainment, and the few men and boys who protest are considered peevish and lacking in humour.

There are scores of men who, upon their modesty being outraged, resort to self-destructive behaviours such as giving in to substance abuse, depression and suicidal urges. One such “humourless” young man, incapable of handling “innocuous” attacks on his dignity and modesty, recently ended his life.

When I was growing up, I noticed that every time a woman or girl suffered injustice, insult or attack (real or perceived), in the hands of a male, someone would promptly ask the offender, “Don’t you have a mother or sister?” Men and boys in India are constantly reminded of their mother, sister and daughter no matter what another woman is pained about.

I eagerly wait for the day when women will be reminded of their fathers, brothers, sons, partners, male colleagues and friends every time they cause, commit or witness injustice, insult or injury against a man. I look forward to the day when men will shed their silence, stand up and thwart the slightest attack on the sexuality, dignity and modesty of men.

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International Men’s Day – 2010

PRESS RELEASE

INTERNATIONAL MEN’S DAY – 2010

All India Men’s Welfare Association (AIMWA)

International Men’s Day (IMD) is celebrated on 19th November the world over.

This year, on the occasion of IMD, AIMWA is felicitating three positive male role models namely, Dr. Viswanath Gogte, Sri. A.V. Gurunadh and Sri. Gangadhara Sastry for their extraordinary contributions to academic, civic and spiritual education, respectively. (Click here for invitation!)

Why celebrate Men’s Day?

In the recent years, it has become common practice to neglect, ill-treat and demean men in the society.  Male bashing (both physical and verbal) and portrayal of men as villains, idiots and inferior creatures is seen as an innocuous way of increasing profits of media houses and other businesses. Discrimination of men under law and violation of their human rights have become synonymous with empowering and protecting women.

Undermining the positive contributions of majority of men and exaggerating the misdeeds of a few has serious impact on the psyche of men and the self-image of young men and boys. Discrimination against men in areas of social services, social attitudes, social expectations and law is very demoralizing to the common men who lead decent, honest lives.

International men’s day is about celebrating and honoring men in our lives for all the contributions, services and sacrifices they make for the well-being of the family and society.  It is an opportunity to revive respect towards men and improve gender relations. It is an occasion to promote positive male role models, to reinforce the self-esteem and pride of young men and boys about being male. It is a day to remind everyone of the fact that men are human too and that they desire and deserve love, care and respect just as much as women do.

In an attempt to shed light on the various issues affecting men, All India Men’s Welfare Association (AIMWA) is organizing a conference where experts in various fields will share their observations and recommendations. (See invitation for details!)

  • Physical Health of men – Dr. Sudhir, BHMS, Kakinada

The National Family Health Survey does not consider men’s health important – enormous focus on women and children, and the mention of men only in relation to how they should contribute to the health and welfare of women and children, clearly indicates the apathy of the Government towards men’s health. No funds are allocated to conduct research on or develop remedies for diseases specific to men such as prostate or testicular cancers.  Since men define their lives largely by their professions and protecting and providing for their families, they tend to ignore illnesses, lead less healthy lifestyles than women, miss getting medical attention in time, and as other stresses in life increase, the diseases catch up with them. Men are more likely to die from heart disease, prostate cancer, stroke, infectious diseases, accidents and suicide. Males have a higher overall mortality rate than females at all ages (roughly 1.6 times greater). It is necessary to understand the genetic, environmental or age related illnesses which can affect men, and provide them with insurance to get the right kind of medical attention at the appropriate time.

  • Men as protectors – Sri. A.B. Pratap Reddy, A.P. Police Department, Hyderabad

Men as individuals and as a group are expected to protect not just their own respective families, but also, all women and children in the society. Right from the age of 7, a boy is trained to be an “unpaid bodyguard” to girls and women. Accordingly, anytime a girl or woman is in distress, one always sees men rushing to her rescue. The fire department, police, armed forces and all other security forces are filled with men. Even in forces where women are recruited, combat and other risky operations are considered the exclusive job of men. The country pays tributes once a year to all the fallen heroes who sacrificed their lives for the country. We also need to remember that the so-called protector too needs certain kinds of protection and support in order to perform his job efficiently on a daily basis. Government should pay close attention to improving working conditions, salaries, housing and professional development opportunities for men in uniform.

  • Men as providers – Sri. Manoj David, President, National Litigant Bench, Chennai

Men and boys are always expected to be and conditioned to become protectors and providers. Even though more women are entering the job market and defying their traditional roles within the family and the society, resulting in reduced employment opportunities for men, the society refuses to free men of their traditional duties of protecting and providing for women, children and the aged. Men who cannot provide for the family are considered incapable, unmanly and unfit for marriage and having children. So, men often undertake some of the most risky and challenging jobs in the society and put their lives at stake just to be a provider.  Financial hardships drive thousands of farmers, artisans and providers of crucial services to commit suicide. Treating men as ATMs and expendable commodities is nothing but abuse of their human rights, which must be opposed by individuals, society and Government.

  • Emotional Health of men – Dr. Praveen Chinta, MBBS, DPM, MRCP, Hyderabad

Boys are discouraged from expressing their pain and feelings from the age of 7-8 yrs. This leads to fear of self-expression and even numbness to abuse for the rest of their lives. Men find emotional confrontations extremely painful when they grow up as they are no longer good at articulating their emotions. A lot of men take refuge in addictions like smoking or drinking to combat stress. Most men enduring emotional turmoil in marriage contemplate suicide and a substantial percentage of them (around 56,000 a year) actually commit suicide. Twice as many married men, compared to married women, commit suicide every year. Scientific research is necessary to understand the emotional health issues of men, especially the Indian male. There is a need for psychiatrists and psychologists to specifically focus on issues pertaining to men.

  • Men in old age – Smt. Kamakshi, Secy. Senior Citizens Forum, Hyderabad

While men in the “productive” age bracket are subject to the pressures of professional competition, family issues and financial problems, one expects that they would be relatively stress-free during their post-retirement years. However, due to the breakdown of the joint family system, and the advent of nuclear family and individualistic culture, more and more aged men are suffering from anxiety, loneliness, financial hardships and despair.  Many aged men also suffer neglect and abuse in their homes, but they appear to be better adjusted than women in similar situations, because men in general are not expressive about their emotions.  Overemphasis on professional and family responsibilities at the expense of their own health, and the ensuing stress could be the reasons why life expectancy of men is much lesser than that of women. As the physical and emotional health of aged men depends, to a large extent, on their lifestyles during their younger years, men need to maintain a healthy lifestyle so that they are more resilient and capable of coping with the challenges posed by age and age-related diseases and disabilities.

  • Men and anti-male laws – Smt. Rama Subhadra, Mahila Satta Legal Cell, Hyderabad

Many laws have been made in the last 60 years in the name of protecting women within and outside the home. These so-called pro-women laws such as IPC Section 498A, Domestic Violence Act, adultery laws, laws against rape and sexual harassment and family laws (divorce, maintenance and child custody) aggravate problems rather than mitigate them. These discriminatory laws are anti-male and anti-family, and serve as weapons that promote family destruction and large scale human rights abuses against men, women and children. They are tools of blackmail and extortion in the hands of unscrupulous women, law enforcement personnel, lawyers and judiciary. There is an urgent need to eliminate discrimination against men under law, make all civil and criminal laws equally applicable to men and women, and also to ensure that strict penalties are imposed on those who misuse the laws.

  • Respecting male sexuality – Smt. Uma Challa, President, All India Men’s Welfare Association, Hyderabad

Sexual arousal is easily discernible in men, whereas it is not obvious in women. As a result, men constantly face the allegation of being obsessed with sex. It is also believed that men always indulge in sex voluntarily, whereas women are thought to take part in sex either to fulfill the sexual or emotional needs of men or because they are forced to do so by men against their will. Male sexuality is often attacked to break a man down emotionally. Sexual exploitation and rape of men/boys by women is not acknowledged as an offense, and in fact it is considered as a non-existent problem. Today, male sexuality is ridiculed, insulted, misunderstood, undermined, disregarded, criminalized and everything but respected. Proper awareness on male sexuality is very important for both men and women. Provisions and laws for protection against sexual assault and abuse are as necessary for men as they are for women.

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Press Release – Announcing Int’l Men’s Day – 2010



ANNOUNCING INTERNATIONAL MEN’S DAY – 2010

International Men’s Day is an occasion celebrated the world over with the following core objectives:

  • To promote positive male role models; not just movie stars and sports men but common men who are living decent, honest lives.
  • To celebrate men’s positive contributions to society, community, family, marriage, child care, and to the environment.
  • To focus on the health and wellbeing of men and boys; social, emotional, physical and spiritual health.
  • To highlight discrimination against men; in areas of social services, social attitudes and expectations, and law.
  • To improve gender relations and promote true gender equality; in other words, eliminate misandry and end the gender war.
  • To create a safer, better world; where men, women and children feel secure within and outside the home, and grow to reach their full potential.

Since the inception of International Men’s Day (IMD) in 1999, the number of countries celebrating the occasion has been growing every year. While India joined the celebrations in year 2007, the number of nations observing IMD has crossed 40 this year.

In India, awareness about IMD is increasing, with more and more cities and organizations conducting public celebrations in the form of setting up websites and blogs, organizing road shows, vehicle rallies, meetings and conferences. This year too, many similar public events are being organized across the country to include men and women from all walks of life and to encourage everyone to celebrate and honour the men in their lives.

In Hyderabad, All India Men’s Welfare Association (AIMWA) and All India Forgotten Women’s Association (AIFWA) are organizing a gathering of men and women on 18 November, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Basheerbagh Press Club where experts in various fields will be speaking about the physical and emotional health of men, issues men face as protectors and providers, problems men encounter during their old “unproductive” age when they cease to be protectors and providers, discrimination against men under law, devaluation of men’s lives and the growing disdain and disrespect against male sexuality (See invitation for details). The valuable inputs of these experts will be compiled in the form of a Resolution, with a list of necessary measures and achievable goals.

The highlight of the event would be “Celebrating Positive Male Role Models”. We will be honouring three ordinary men who have been doing extraordinary work in the areas of academic, civic and spiritual education, respectively.

On 19 November, we will request a brief audience from the Governor of Andhra Pradesh, to personally greet him on the occasion, and to submit a memorandum seeking the establishment of a State Commission for Men, so that we become the first State in the country to dedicate a government body to men as an acknowledgement of the many positive contributions, services and sacrifices our men render to make life comfortable and secure for everyone within the family and the society.

 Through the memorandum, we will also request the Government of Andhra Pradesh to develop, sponsor and support programs for

  • Addressing various issues affecting men within and outside the home or workplace;
  • Men’s health and well-being, focusing on illnesses specifically affecting men, including occupational health hazards;
  • Education on avoiding addictions and de-addiction programs for rehabilitation of persons prone to substance abuse;
  • Providing social, occupational and financial security to farmers, fishermen, artisans and other crucial service providers so as to stop their suicides;
  • Ensuring better working conditions, salaries and professional development opportunities for men in uniform, be it law enforcement, armed forces or other security forces.
  • Creating detention centres to hold men accused of offences rather than putting them in jail straight away, and improving the overall conditions of prisons for convicts.

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AIMWA – International Men’s Day 2010

Click the image below to enlarge!

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Housewives, prostitutes and beggars

I recently participated in a TV discussion on why prostitution is on the rise in the country. I shared the panel with a closet feminist and a radical feminist, both of whom were of the opinion that prostitution was better than marriage since the house is unsafe for a woman, and she would at least get paid for her services if she were a prostitute.

I returned home thinking about their wise utterances and went to bed discussing the same with my husband.

I said, “For decades, feminists have claimed that one out of three women is unsafe in her own house. They have told us horrendous tales about how it was daily grind for men in the country to abuse, assault, set afire and murder their wives. They lobbied for laws which would facilitate a woman breaking her shackles and barging out of the “tyrannical household” or throwing her alleged oppressors out, whichever is convenient. They ensured that every woman who had a problem “clearly understood” that all her problems were because of men, marriage and the household.”

“By the same token,” I continued, “feminists have also been shouting off of rooftops that streets are terribly unsafe for women. They claim that everyday nine out of ten women are subject to manhandling, rape, sexual assault, acid attacks and what not. While they believe that, ideally, a woman should able to walk safely on the street at midnight, they are constantly scaring themselves and the rest of us in the society about how women are unsafe on the street even during the day.”

“What then, is the solution for women? Where do they go? What can they do?” I wondered loudly.

All of a sudden my husband had an epiphany and said, “A WHOREHOUSE!”

“YES,” I agreed, “This is brilliant! It is neither the house nor the street. It is something in between – the utopia that my feminist friends on TV spoke so highly of. They have to be right. That’s where they think our women would be safest, well paid and properly fed, and that’s why prostitution, with the more fashionable label of ‘commercial sex’, is on the rise.”

I then thought of how far we have come thanks to the feminist movement from pre-independence days.

We had a time when prostitution was a recognized profession and we had the Devadasi system. The system was severely condemned by communists as the handmaid of patriarchy. Their unrelenting crusade against the oldest profession resulted in a legislation for the “prevention of immoral trafficking” in 1956.

While this “prohibitive” legislation decriminalized prostitution, a few decades later, the Government went a step ahead and tacitly legalized commercial sex and sex tourism, recognizing how it can financially empower women and thereby boost the economy.

Today, we are at a point where we are talking about prostitute rights. While we have women’s rights champions like Brinda Karat who proclaim that “Society should have no right to control what women wear or do”, we have others who say, “If you respect a woman’s right to say “no” to sex, you should also respect her right to say “yes” to sex.”

Simultaneously, all heterosexual relationships have been prostitutionalized so that a woman can claim compensation for all sexual or non-sexual, real or imaginary interactions at any time during or after the relationship.

A woman who chooses her hearth and home is not left behind either. She is tagged with the honorary title of “prostitute” as feminists believe that she is unaware that she is only trading sex for social and financial security, and they will not take “no” for an answer.

We surely have come a long way, baby!

While I was still marvelling at this astounding progress, I saw a news item which said that the recent Government Census clubbed housewives, prostitutes and beggars into a group. What a timely gesture by the Government!

While housewives have already been clubbed with prostitutes, would it not be unfair to ignore the scores of women who have taken to a glorified form of begging by standing before the Courts of Law for maintenance and alimony from their estranged husbands?

Feminists have not only taught women to shun all the age-old encumbrances imposed by marriage and family but also to shed all inhibitions associated with parasitic living. Accordingly, there is no trace of shame in these modern liberated women, but it is with a sense of pride and entitlement that they artfully exact money, thus claiming their rightful inclusion by the Government in the club.

The feminists have reduced housewives into prostitutes and beggars long ago. The Government has just made it official by grouping them in the Census.

Why, then, is the Supreme Court cross about it? Beats me!

Copyright ©Uma Challa, 2010

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The Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill – 2010

The Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill 2010 focuses on women’s right to protection against sexual harassment at the workplace. The Bill cites their right to equality, right to life and right to live in dignity enshrined in the Indian Constitution.

The Bill and its architects patently undermine the basic truth that sexual harassment is neither about sex nor gender, that it is about power, and that a woman in power can be every bit as abusive as a man.

Most importantly, the Bill undermines the Indian Constitution and its provisions which state that men and women have the same right to equality, the same right to life and the same right to live in dignity.

The Bill implies that it is alright for men to be subjected to sexual harassment including unwelcome sexually determined behaviour, physical contact, advances, sexually coloured remarks, showing pornography, sexual demand, request for sexual favours or any other unwelcome conduct of sexual nature whether verbal, textual, physical, graphic or electronic or by any other means.

The Bill requires that Committees for redressing grievances be comprised of persons “committed to the cause of women”, thus, betraying NCW’s never-ending urge to pamper the female AT ANY COST, even if it means innocent men are penalized, the law and justice dispensation system are taken for a ride, and public resources and time are squandered to satisfy the whim of a dishonest, criminal minded, depraved woman. With Committees filled with individuals “committed to the cause of women” and not to the cause of truth, law and justice, is it hard to foretell the fate of males in an institution or the society as a whole?

The Bill contains provisions for “conciliation” and “settlement” between the “aggrieved” woman and the respondent. If “conciliation” happens and “settlement” is arrived at, no further inquiry will be conducted but if “conciliation” fails and “settlement” is not arrived at, then an enquiry will be conducted.  Similarly, if the terms and conditions of “conciliation” and “settlement” are not met by the accused man, an enquiry will be conducted.

When sexual harassment at workplace is hyped as a grievous crime which warrants a special stringent law, what is the purpose of the “conciliation” and “settlement” plan? Is it not simply a new means to blackmail a man to heed to the terms and conditions of the so-called “aggrieved” woman?  In what way is this law different from dowry and rape laws, which are used as weapons of legal terrorism and extortion?

The provision for monetary compensation to the “aggrieved woman” is quite an incentive to convert harmless non-sexual interactions and consensual sexual interactions into sexual harassment as per the complainant’s convenience or whim and opens up a novel and lucrative money earning mechanism.

The Bill requires that up to one fourth of an employee’s salary, or proceeds from sale of his goods or property should be paid as compensation to the “aggrieved” woman. The liability to pay monetary compensation will be treated like arrears of land revenue, and the accused will be forced to cough up money under the threat of imprisonment and fine. In other words, the punishment for not paying compensation is bigger than the penalty for the alleged offence of sexual harassment (i.e. apology, suspension, termination of job etc.).

The NCW has outdone itself once again by inventing a new concept of “punishment”, and concomitantly, a new business model, with least regard to addressing the offence of sexual harassment or the social need to provide a secure working environment for men and women.

With such egregious provisions, will not the Bill tempt women to make false allegations of harassment to claim monetary compensation or force settlements? Will it not encourage persons to sexually harass someone and pay up to be let off the hook  – in essence, the richer the person, the more their unsaid “post-paid harassing privileges” and the easier their escape from punishment?

The Bill goes a step further to encourage women to misuse the provision as it leaves it to the discretion of the concerned organization to take action when a woman files a false complaint or furnishes false evidence.

In addition, the Bill grants immunity to misusers of the provisions by precluding all information including identities of the parties, information related to “conciliation” and “settlement”, enquiry proceedings, findings and decisions or actions from the ambit of the Right to Information (RTI) Act. The Bill defeats the main purpose of the RTI Act which is to maintain transparency and accountability in the system and disempowers the persons involved by violating their right to know details pertaining to their own case.

While any fair minded person would frown upon the Bill for the reasons stated above, one cannot help being appalled at the audacity and impudence exhibited by the Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) in making the most sexist and discriminatory remarks as a defence for not making the Bill gender neutral.  The Ministry stated -

“The overwhelming nature of sexual harassment is sexual harassment of women on account of their female sex. Harassment of men cannot be put on the same footing character wise or incidence wise. Protection of men is also not the mandate of Ministry of WCD”.

Countries around the world including the US, UK, and all member countries of the European Union have gender neutral sexual harassment prevention laws. Even Pakistan, which passed a similar Bill in January 2010, embraced the principle of gender neutrality. However, the Indian Ministry of WCD is deliberately ignoring the nature and gravity of sexual harassment, espousing the most regressive approach, and revealing its brazenly anti-male and anti-social agenda.

It is also worth perusing the track record of NCW in cases of sexual harassment against women. For instance, 3 years ago, Mrs. Archana Pandey, a middle aged Indian woman, filed a complaint of sexual harassment and attempt to rape on the UNICEF India Chief, Cecilio Adorna, and subsequently approached the NCW for assistance. The seriousness of the allegations notwithstanding, NCW adopted an apathetic and nonchalant approach leaving Mrs. Pandey to her own devices in her fight against a huge International organization. This is just one instance which exemplifies the double standards and moral bankruptcy of the principal architect of the Bill.

It should be noted that through this Bill, which smacks of desperation to pamper unscrupulous women, the NCW and WCD are taking yet another step towards disempowering women. The Bill is not only insulting to self-respecting, honest and hardworking women but it can also discourage employers from employing competent and reasonably qualified women for the fear of this proverbial “Sword of Damocles” hanging over their heads.

Thousands of concerned citizens and several organizations have sent representations requesting the Ministry of WCD to make the Bill gender neutral and to include a strict provision to address misuse. The Union Law Ministry strongly favoured the incorporation of a misuse clause to avoid situations similar to those being faced in domestic violence and dowry harassment cases.

Nevertheless, this Monsoon Session will witness the tabling of another Bill which tramples upon men and demeans women, a Bill which neither cares about preventing sexual harassment nor about providing security at the workplace, a Bill which is yet another weapon of blackmail and extortion, a Bill which promotes gender war.

If the esteemed members of the Parliament throw all caution to the wind and let this Bill pass, the country would have no choice but to brace itself and be ready to face a social Tsunami.


 

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The Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill – 2010
 
The Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill (SHWB) 2010 focuses on women’s right to protection against sexual harassment at the workplace. The bill cites their right to equality, right to life and right to live in dignity enshrined in the Indian Constitution. 
 
The Bill and its architects patently undermine the basic truth that sexual harassment is neither about sex nor gender, that it is about power, and that a woman in power can be every bit as abusive as a man.
 
Most importantly, the Bill undermines the Indian Constitution and its provisions which state that men and women have the same right to equality, the same right to life and the same right to live in dignity.
 

The Bill implies that it is alright for men to be subjected to sexual harassment including unwelcome sexually determined behaviour, physical contact, advances, sexually coloured remarks, showing pornography, sexual demand, request for sexual favours or any other unwelcome conduct of sexual nature whether verbal, textual, physical, graphic or electronic or by any other means.

The Bill requires that Committees for redressing grievances be comprised of persons “committed to the cause of women”, thus, betraying NCW’s never-ending urge to pamper the female AT ANY COST, even if it means innocent men are penalized, the law and justice dispensation system are taken for a ride, and public resources and time are squandered to satisfy the whim of a dishonest, criminal minded, depraved woman. With Committees filled with individuals committed to the “cause of women” and not to the cause of truth, law and justice, is it hard to foretell the fate of males in an institution or the society as a whole?

The Bill contains provisions for “conciliation” and “settlement” between the “aggrieved” woman and the respondent. If “conciliation” happens and “settlement” is arrived at, no further inquiry will be conducted but if “conciliation” fails and “settlement” is not arrived at, then an enquiry will be conducted.  Similarly, if the terms and conditions of “conciliation” and “settlement” are not met by the accused man, an enquiry will be conducted.

When sexual harassment at workplace is hyped as a grievous crime which warrants a special stringent law, what is the purpose of the “conciliation” and “settlement” plan? Is it not simply a new means to blackmail a man to heed to the terms and conditions of the so-called “aggrieved” woman?  In what way is this law different from dowry and rape laws, which are used as weapons of legal terrorism and extortion?

The provision for monetary compensation to the “aggrieved woman” is quite an incentive to convert harmless non-sexual interactions and consensual sexual interactions into sexual harassment as per the complainant’s convenience or whim and opens up a novel and lucrative money earning mechanism.

The Bill requires that up to one fourth of an employee’s salary, or proceeds from sale of his goods or property should be paid as compensation to the “aggrieved” woman. The liability to pay monetary compensation will be treated like arrears of land revenue, and the accused will be forced to cough up money under the threat of imprisonment and fine. In other words, the punishment for not paying compensation is bigger than the penalty for the alleged offence of sexual harassment (i.e. apology, suspension, termination of job etc.).

The NCW has outdone itself once again by inventing a new concept of “punishment”, and concomitantly, a new business model, with least regard to addressing the offence of sexual harassment or the social need to provide a secure working environment for men and women.

With such egregious provisions, will not the Bill tempt women to make false allegations of harassment to claim monetary compensation or force settlements? Will it not encourage persons to sexually harass someone and pay up to be let off the hook  – in essence, the richer the person, the more their unsaid “post-paid harassing privileges” and the easier their escape from punishment?

The Bill goes a step further to encourage women to misuse the provision as it leaves it to the discretion of the Organization to take action when a woman files a false complaint or furnishes false evidence.

In addition, the Bill grants immunity to misusers of the provisions by precluding all information including identities of the parties, information related to “conciliation” and “settlement”, enquiry proceedings, findings and decisions or actions from the ambit of the Right to Information (RTI) Act. The Bill defeats the main purpose of the RTI Act which is to maintain transparency and accountability in the system and disempowers the persons involved by violating their right to know details pertaining to their own case.

While any fair minded person would frown upon the Bill for the reasons stated above, one cannot help being appalled at the audacity and impudence exhibited by the Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) in making the most sexist and discriminatory remarks as a defence for not making the Bill gender neutral.  The Ministry stated -

“The overwhelming nature of sexual harassment is sexual harassment of women on account of their female sex. Harassment of men cannot be put on the same footing character wise or incidence wise. Protection of men is also not the mandate of Ministry of WCD”.

Countries around the world including the US, UK, and all member countries of the European Union have gender neutral sexual harassment prevention laws. Even Pakistan, which passed a similar Bill in January 2010, embraced the principle of gender neutrality. However, the Indian Ministry of WCD is deliberately ignoring the nature and gravity of sexual harassment, espousing the most regressive approach, and revealing its brazenly anti-male and anti-social agenda.

It is also worth perusing the track record of NCW in cases of sexual harassment against women. For instance, 3 years ago, Mrs. Archana Pandey, a middle aged Indian woman, filed a complaint of sexual harassment and attempt to rape on the UNICEF India Chief Cecilio Adorna, and subsequently approached the NCW for assistance. The seriousness of the allegations notwithstanding, NCW adopted an apathetic and nonchalant approach leaving Mrs. Pandey to her own devices in her fight against a huge International organization. This is just one instance which exemplifies the double standards and moral bankruptcy of the principal architect of the Bill.

It should be noted that through this Bill, which smacks of desperation to pamper unscrupulous women, the NCW and WCD are taking yet another step towards disempowering women. The Bill is not only insulting to self-respecting, honest and hardworking women but it can actually discourage employers from employing competent and reasonably qualified women for the fear of this proverbial “Sword of Damocles” hanging over their heads.

Thousands of concerned citizens and several organizations have sent representations requesting the Ministry of WCD to make the Bill gender neutral and to include a strict provision to address misuse. The Union Law Ministry strongly favoured the incorporation of a misuse clause to avoid situations similar to those being faced in domestic violence and dowry harassment cases.

Nevertheless, this Monsoon Session will witness the tabling of another Bill which tramples upon men and demeans women, a Bill which neither cares about preventing sexual harassment nor about providing security at the workplace, a Bill which is yet another weapon of blackmail and extortion, a Bill which promotes gender war.

If the esteemed members of the Parliament throw all caution to the wind and let this Bill pass, the country would have no choice but to brace itself and be ready to face a social Tsunami.

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