A day at the State Legal Services

The following conversation is real. This is how men are bullied in counseling sessions recommended by family courts. This conversation also stands as a glaring proof that Section 498a of IPC is only used as a blackmailing weapon and extortion tool. It is witness to the fact that our society thinks it is only fair to treat men as ATM machines.
_______________________
Counselor to 498a wife: What do you want, amma?
498a wife:
I want a divorce.
Counselor to victim husband: Are you willing to give her a divorce or do you want to reunite with her?
Victim husband: Sir, I cannot talk about divorce or reuinion while I have a false 498a case on me.
Counselor to victim husband: Why not? She wants a divorce, just give the divorce, let her move on and you also move on. She has been wailing all along and saying that you did not treat her well and that you had unreasonable expectations.
Victim husband: Sir, I did not expect anything unreasonable. I just wanted to be an equal partner and wanted her to live a life of mutual respect with me.
Counselor to victim husband: How can your wife be an equal partner? Here is what I think of a wife. When I wake up in the morning. I have some needs…toothpaste and brush, coffee, tiffin, newspaper, hot water, clothes and lunch. In the afternoon I answer her phone call and say “how are you?”. In the evening when I return home I want food and have some more needs. From what I can see you are being unreasonable. Did you write a letter to her saying you cannot live with her the way things were going with your marriage?
Victim husband: Yes, Sir.
Counselor to husband: Well, that is cruelty to her and she has the right to file 498a.
Victim husband: Sir, you have listened to her so long. Please read her petition, Sir. You will understand my position. I was the one who has been harassed by her and her relatives.
Counselor to victim husband: No, I cannot read. I just want to hear what you want right now. Will you give her a divorce or not?
Victim husband: Sir, this is not fair ground. Nobody has ever listened to my side of the story till date. I have been fighting a false 498a case for more than two years. Even my passport has been taken away from me as a bail condition. I lost my overseas job, lost my visa status, and I have been unemployed ever since.
Counselor to victim husband: It does not matter. Leave all that stuff and even 498a behind. We will take away the 498a if you give her a mutual consent divorce.
Victim husband: But sir, there are many guys I know who have been forced to give a divorce because the wife wants it and then they were left in the lurch fighting false criminal cases.
Counselor to victim husband: Don’t worry about all that. We will take care of removing 498a if you give her the divorce.
Victim husband: Sir, I have been portrayed as a criminal in the society when I have done nothing wrong. I want to fight my case and prove my innocence.
Counselor to victim husband: Look, 498a is not a big thing and if you fight it it will take you many years. Instead, just give the divorce, and get rid of 498a. It is better to settle out of court. Also, as a matter of my personal principle and as a moral value followed in our Hindu society, you are responsible to take care of your wife. You are able and qualified. So, I want you to pay her maintenance.
Victim husband: Sir, but I was the one who was harassed by her and her relatives since the day of the wedding. And she is the one that filed for the divorce. And I am the one who is unemployed. And I am fighting a false criminal case under section 498a.
Counselor to victim husband: Don’t worry about all that. 498A case is nothing serious.
Victim husband: But, Sir, it is quite serious for me. She filed this case while my father was dying and I was even prevented from seeing his face for one last time. I could not even attend his last rites.
Counselor to victim husband: Look, you have to put all that behind.
Counselor to 498a wife: Did any of your family members come along?
498a wife: Yes, Sir, my sister and others came.
Counselor to 498a wife: Ask your sister to come in. I will tell her what we are going to do at the next meeting.
Victim husband: Sir, even my sister is here. Please let her come in and listen too.
Counselor to victim husband: Not necessary.
Victim husband: But, Sir, she is my family.
Counselor to victim husband: No, not necessary. Anyway, you are the final decision maker.
Counselor to 498a wife and her sister: The guy will give you a divorce if you take the 498a charges away. So, next time, both parties will bring your respective proposals for mutual consent divorce. We will see you in a week’s time.

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4 thoughts on “A day at the State Legal Services

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  3. Pingback: అనగనగా ఒక రోజు — స్టేట్ లీగల్ సర్వీస్ సెంటర్‌లో | Ekalavyas

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