Today, All India Forgotten Women’s Association and All India Men’s Welfare Association are staging a peaceful demonstration near the Women Police Station, CCS, Hyderabad, between 10:00-11:00 a.m. as a sign of protest against arbitrary arrests of ordinary law-abiding citizens under IPC Sections 498A, 304B, Dowry Prohibition Act and related laws. This demonstration is in support of Mr. Ravindra Gangurde’s call for a nationwide “Jail Bharo Andolan”.
It is a well-known fact that today, a husband and his kin can be arrested upon mere allegations of a wife, without any evidence or investigation under IPC Sections 498A, 304B, Dowry Prohibition Act, and related wife-centric laws which presume that the accused are “guilty until proven innocent”.
The real motive behind these arrests is to terrorize ordinary law-abiding citizens and to extort money from them under the threat of imprisonment and long-drawn legal battles.
It has to be noted that complaints on celebrities and influential persons are treated with utmost care, investigation to ascertain facts is given great importance, and in almost all cases arrest is avoided, whereas, ordinary law-abiding citizens are abused, threatened, blackmailed and arrested in gross violation of our Constitutional and Human Rights.
Several authorities have observed that anti-dowry laws are among the most abused laws in India:
- The President of India, High Courts of various States, the Supreme Court of India and the World Health Organization have noted the misuse of dowry laws.
- The National Human Rights Commission has issued guidelines to stop unnecessary arrests.
- The Commissioner of Police, Hyderabad, issued standing instructions through a memo vide No.L&O/M6/1315/2002 to check arbitrary arrests.
- The AP Police Dept. has a web page entitled “Abuse of 498A” on their Department website.
- The Union Ministry of Home Affairs issued an advisory to all the State Governments and Union Territories on checking the misuse of Section 498A.
Our numerous pleas to the Government of India to stop arbitrary arrests of citizens under IPC Section 498A have fallen on deaf ears. On the other hand, new laws are always on the anvil (sexual assault, work place harassment, acid attacks etc.) which stress on immediate arrest of men upon mere accusations made by women.
Under the present circumstances, it is imperative that our fathers, brothers and sons are prepared to go to jail along with us even if they committed no crime.
“Jail Bharo” campaign is aimed at freeing ordinary law-abiding male citizens and their kin from the fear of jail and the concomitant feelings of humiliation and suffering so that they do not drive themselves into depression, ruin their health or end their own lives.
We are submitting a memorandum to the Commissioner of Police, Hyderabad, today, to convey our intent to encourage people to fill up prisons and not apply for bail, unless strict measures are taken to prevent lower cadre police officials from abusing their powers in the name of “protecting women from cruelty and harassment”.
We demand a complete ban on Police involvement in marital counseling as marriage is a civil matter, and since Police intervention in everyday marital issues and allowing them to indiscriminately file criminal cases on the accused husband and in-laws is resulting in destruction of families and ruining the lives of scores of individuals.
We also demand that no arrests of any of the accused (man, woman or child) are made without proper investigation and written approval of police officials of the rank of DCP or above. The family members alleging “dowry torture” or “dowry killing” of their daughter should be promptly prosecuted if they allege or are found to have given dowry because according to Dowry Prohibition Act, giving dowry is also a crime.
NOTE: Aryan Vaid, former Mr. India and the first Indian to win Mr. International title endorses our “Jail Bharo” campaign.