Why DV Act is scary

Dear Ms. Chandrima,

 

In your article “What are men scared of?” in The Telegraph (link: http://www.telegraphindia.com/1061030/asp/calcutta/story_6933770.asp) you said, “But I was just wondering what made the men feel so threatened. There doesn’t seem to be much reason.”

 

People who do not understand why men feel threatened by the Domestic Violence Act will probably not even be able to imagine why women would feel threatened by this Act. Anyone who has been awake the last two decades knows how section 498A of IPC has been heavily misused, dragging innocent men and women into police stations, lock-ups and courts, thus depriving many young children of a happy childhood, many youth of productive careers and many senior citizens of mental peace in the last leg of their lives. Whoever said that India “loves to pass acts that will never be implemented”, must take a look at how IPC section 498A has been not only very poorly formulated but how badly it has been implemented.

 

As if this 498A fiasco is not enough jingoistic feminists have come up with another Act, along the same lines of 498A only with larger loopholes waiting to be used against many more Indian citizens. As, you, Ms. Chandrima point out, many women who really need protection from Domestic Violence will probably never know about it and even if they do, never use it. This law will be yet another weapon in the hands of unscrupulous women who will misuse it at the slightest opportunity. If men were living on an Island and have nothing to do with the rest of their family and the law is doing some sort of negative selection against genuinely abusive men, then there would be no problem. However, in a society where men and women live together what affects one affects the other. When a man is thrown out of his own house under true or false allegations of domestic violence or cruelty everyone who is dependent on him is bound to suffer. That will include dependent parents and siblings who can be male or female. It is unfair enough to penalize an entire family even if an accused man is truly abusive. Unfair is a subtle word to describe a situation in which an innocent man, along with his family, is tortured by misuse of law. Injustice is a subtle word to describe how women, who commit perjury and harass families for years on end go unpunished.

 

Many men suffer in silence in India unable to meet the unending financial and emotional needs of their wives. Some of them even face physical violence. This section of the Indian population is completely missed by the radar either intentionally or because men are too embarrassed to admit their misery lest they be labeled as sissies who cannot fix problems in their homes. On the other hand many a men of this category are facing threats or fighting false cases filed against them by their wives.

 

Domestic violence is committed by men and women and it is not always directed against the opposite sex. This is even more true considering the wide range of areas covered by the Domestic Violence Act. Where do husbands harassed by wives seek retribution? Where do women harassed by other their daughters-in-law seek protection? In fact every family that has so far been falsely accused and tormented in the name of Section 498A has been subjected to Domestic Violence as defined by the law. The only catch is that not everyone is covered by the law. On the other hand, victims of Domestic Violence are more vulnerable and at risk of being legally harassed by thoughtless women. That, Ms. Chandrima, is what all of us men and women are scared about.

— Uma Challa

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One thought on “Why DV Act is scary

  1. Awesome!!!! The idea which was in my mind for a long period is presented strongly and clearly without any ambiguity. My hats off to you ….

    What I wonder is, how can we correct the legal system which is already in force. Considering the vote bank and the fear of labeling as anti-female attitude party, it is very unlikely that a popular political party could come forward for this issue. So to bring it for discussion before parliament is also remote. In this scenario, is there any way in legal system to question its justice in the court and get it debated for its worthiness and effectiveness? Court is the right place where it has to be challenged. This would bring the issue to the focus point and may help in the verdict of similar cases.

    Family bond should grow stronger to prevent family breakups. Mutual trust needs to be nurtured for it. It should be realized that when a man is hurt, a woman will also get hurt and vice versa. This is because, in one way or other, man and woman are all dependent on each other.

    With all my concerns and strong support for women who suffers domestic violence, let me put my personal opinion. The implementation of IPC Section-498 A is very childish and it is similar to TADA where accused will not get any chance to prove him/her before going behind bars!!! In this scenario, how can an Indian judiciary system claim to be working for justice? Even TADA provision has been revised due to its draconian nature. In this context, we need to look for the possibility for redefining existing gender biased laws, keeping in mind the women who actually suffer. In short, actual victims, be it either man or woman, should get justice…

    Present “IPC Section-498 A” should be revised in such a way that if a woman accuses a man, accused and the people associated to him should not be sent behind bars unless and until the guilt is proved. Government can even think of giving free legal advice and guidance to assist woman who requires support, so that actual victims won’t get adversely affected.

    Like

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