Celebrate Women’s Dignity before Women’s Day!

During my childhood, I often heard older women advise young girls in the family about the importance of being educated. It had little to do with the noble goal of gaining knowledge, but it was about something more practical. It was about securing employment so as to not depend on one’s husband completely, or being employable should the husband lose his health, life or limb.

It seemed, at times, that these old women were a paranoid lot who were overly worried about the possibility of ending up alone. However, I now know that some of the really wise women were actually focusing on the importance of living a life of dignity under any given circumstance.

As a child, I saw some married women, and also widows, who ran a “pooTakULLa illu” providing sumptuous meals to many hungry people, and using the money thus earned to maintain the household and educate their children. I saw women making and selling beautiful flower garlands. I saw women selling fruits, vegetables, bangles and other things. I saw women learn tailoring skills and sew clothes as a source of livelihood. I saw women learning typing and shorthand and become secretaries. I saw the more ambitious ones complete their bachelors degree and a B.Ed and become teachers. Some took the bank exams, worked as clerks and rose in the ranks to become officers too.

I still see some women constantly pushing their limits, trying to excel in what they do, and supporting themselves, while making a difference to others.

The common trait of all these hardworking women is that they held on to their dignity even through the roughest patches of their lives, and stood as good role models to their sons and daughters.

If I remember it correctly, it was sometime during the late 1980s that a strange notion of “women’s empowerment” began. Women were now being encouraged to exercise NOT their right to education, NOT their right to employment, but their “right to divorce” and “the right to be maintained by their ex-husbands”!

This new wave was pushing women to become quite the opposite of what the wise old women of my childhood were suggesting. Suddenly, it was a woman’s right to live the life of a parasite. It was a woman’s right to throw all her education and training, experience and wisdom by the wayside, and to appear in court as a mendicant seeking maintenance from her separated or ex-husband.

This new idea of “women’s empowerment” gradually began obscuring the erstwhile virtue of dignity. It was no longer important to remain positive, strong and self-reliant in the face of adverse family situations. It was more important to “teach men a lesson” by unleashing all the laws of maintenance and alimony, to achieve whatever one can, ranging from extracting paltry sums of money every month to extorting an obscenely fat one-time alimony.

As an adult, I have seen hundreds of educated and able-bodied women frequenting courts, presenting themselves as some of the most unfortunate, destitute and vagrant beings, with no abilities or skills needed for daily sustenance, and praying the courts to order their estranged husbands to maintain them.

Today, the most vociferous women’s rights activists and women’s empowerment advocates endorse and encourage parasitic existence of women sans dignity, personal satisfaction, professional enhancement nor spiritual enrichment. We have been forced to accept that this is NOT enslavement of women, but a veritable path to women’s liberation!

As a thoughtful gentleman puts it on his blog, today, “many women who can logically plot the route and plan their logistics to lawyer’s offices and courts somehow just stop themselves short of plotting their the route to their own earned livelihood and dignified living.

There are many people who believe that paying maintenance and alimony may hurt men but “being maintained” hurts the dignity of women even more. These people rarely exercise their freedom of expression for the fear of being labeled anti-women. However, this Women’s Day, a bunch of concerned men decided to take it upon themselves to remind the world about the need to uphold women’s dignity.

On 6 March, they all stood at traffic junctions carrying boxes labeled “Wife-maintenance fund”, and handed out pamphlets which carried the following note:

Dear Sir/Madam

I am petitioning the public for funds for MAINTENANCE as demanded by my wife. I believe that all adult human beings with a sound body and mind, whether MALE or FEMALE, are capable of working and earning for their own sustenance.

I believe that many wonderful women who have achieved success through hard work have done it on their own will with a sense of dignity and purpose. I also believe in giving the same education and ideals to my daughter also. I will discourage my daughter if she wants to depend on anyone else financially after she grows up. #REALWOMEN

If you think that women are incapable of working or doing hard work, it is a gross insult to all working women who struggle on a daily basis to maintain their sense of dignity. However, if you still wish women to completely depend on men forever; please donate some money to my wife’s maintenance fund.

But if you think that women are equal to men in terms of financial capability and hard work, please support the concept of women’s dignity by work. On this Women’s Day let us appreciate the achievements of so many wonderful working women in our lives and public arena.

Thanking You

These men are observing “Women’s Dignity Day” on 7 March, a day before Women’s Day.

What a thoughtful gesture! Women’s dignity should indeed come first because Women’s Day has no meaning in the absence of women’s dignity. I am sure all the wise old grannies and self-respecting young ladies would agree.

Women's Dignity-1Women's Dignity - 4Women's Dignity-2Women's Dignity-5Women's Dignity-7Women's Dignity-6Women's Dignity-3

 

Making divorce easy? Or barking up the wrong tree?

Making divorce easy? Or barking up the wrong tree?

– Uma Challa

Published by MyIndMakers 

“lEchiMchi, nidra lEchiMdi mahiLaa lOkaM, daddarilliMdi puruSha prapaMchaM…” https://youtu.be/MmVujeuCKmI (the women’s world has woken up from slumber, and the man’s world shook with panic) was a song I used to love as a child. As a fiery young woman, I frowned upon what I thought was “misogyny” on the part of one of the greatest Telugu lyricists ever. Now I admire the clarity of thought of Sri Pingali Nagendra Rao gaaru who penned the song way back in 1962, at a time when the country was still tolerant to truth.

 

To elaborate on Pingali gaaru’s poetic rendition of facts, the first Lok Sabha in India in 1951 had 22 women MPs. Soon after, in 1955, with the advent of the Hindu Marriage Act (HMA) in 1955, Indian society was, for the first time, introduced to the concept of “divorce”. Contrary to its title, the HMA has nothing to do with marriage. It does not explain what marriage means nor does it enumerate the responsibilities of a wife and husband towards themselves, each other, their children, both sides of the family or the society. It enumerates circumstances in which a Hindu marriage can be legally broken. It was introduced to enable women who could not tolerate marriage to legally liberate themselves from wedlock, and to claim share in the marital property in the name of maintenance and alimony (HMA Section 24).

 

The most common grounds for divorce – cruelty, desertion, impotence, adultery etc. – are not only poorly defined, but are also difficult to prove. In addition, because litigation involves evidences and arguments from both parties, HMA did not prove as “empowering” to women as was envisioned by women’s rights activists (WRAs).

 

Enacting the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act of 1956, which entitles a woman to be maintained by her husband during her entire lifetime (Section 18), and CrPC of 1973, which extends maintenance to wives indefinitely even after divorce (Section 125), did not do the magic either, since they still involved time taking two-sided legal procedures.

 

In the year 1983, the Parliament passed a criminal law, Indian Penal Code 498A, which made “cruelty towards a married woman” a cognizable and non-bailable offence. Here, the word “cruelty” was left undefined and allowed to be a function of a woman’s perception and her lawyer’s imagination. Divorce and maintenance cases, combined with this draconian criminal section, which allows immediate arrest and incarceration of the husband and in-laws, proved to be fantastic tool of blackmail, vengeance and extortion in the hands of disgruntled wives for many years. It was accompanied by vigorous campaigns by WRAs to “sensitize” the police and the judiciary to be sympathetic towards women. Even such drastic measures did not prove to be “empowering enough” according to WRAs, because not all husbands succumbed.

 

The conviction rates under IPC 498A remained very low and the law only gained notoriety for its misuse. The hope that all husbands could be reined in and forced to pay a “monetary compensation/settlement” under the fear of arrest and criminal prosecution started waning.

 

In 2005, a new and elaborate civil law, Protection of Women from Domestic Violence (DV) Act was introduced. The act not only categorized every possible male action as an act of domestic violence, it also made provisions for a wife and a live-in partner to use DV accusations to claim monetary reliefs including maintenance (Section 20) and residence rights (Section 19) in the same property where the alleged violence had occurred.

 

Every year, several thousands of Indian women leverage the power sanctioned to them under these laws to terrorize husbands and to extract alimony and maintenance from them. Still, the utopia envisioned by the WRAs remained elusive since entangling a man in multiple litigations ensured neither speedy divorce nor quick extraction of maintenance and alimony.

 

In 2013, the Rajya Sabha approved the Marriage Laws (Amendment) Bill which, once again, claimed to make “divorce friendly for women” by providing for the wife, a share in the husband’s immovable property, after “irretrievable breakdown of marriage”. The Bill empowered the courts to decide the “compensation amount” from the husband’s inherited and inheritable property. Recognizing the “grave and far-reaching legal, social and economic implications of the proposed amendments” as pointed out by senior citizens groups and NGOs working for men, the NDA Government’s Law Ministry decided to put the Bill on hold.

 

According to news reports, there is now a fresh proposal “to explore the possibility of making it easier for women to walk out of a marriage”. This brand new endeavor, backed by the Minister of Women and Child Development, Maneka Gandhi, proposes to give legal validity to prenuptial agreements.

 

The Economic Times (18 Sept 2015) quotes an official of the Ministry of WCD who stated that the introduction of prenuptial agreements will “save marriages” because, “once, the liabilities, assets and responsibilities are decided in advance, a husband will be more careful and cautious in seeking dissolution. He would have a clear idea of the amount of alimony he will have to pay to his wife”.

 

The article also quotes another senior official of the Ministry who supported prenuptial agreements as a way to counter the “judicial delays on account of backlog of cases”, and the “delaying tactics husbands resort to”.

 

It is noteworthy that for the last 60 years, champions of women’s empowerment have been preoccupied with women obtaining an easy divorce and collecting maintenance and alimony by hook or crook. Their proposal to legalize prenuptial agreements is neither novel in its approach nor noble in its goals.

 

Aside from the fact that this initiative too has nothing to do with really empowering women, here are just a few problems with prenuptial agreements:

 

  1. Hindu marriages are religious unions and not legal contracts, even when they are registered and legally recognized. A prenuptial agreement is a contract, with the terms and conditions of separation spelled out. It cannot be applied to Hindu marriages without stripping them of their religious sanctity and the underlying philosophy of the union of two souls.
  2. While prenuptial contracts do lay down the terms and conditions of separation, the contracts are not binding nor strictly enforceable, and there are no provisions anywhere in the world to penalize a partner who does not comply with the terms of separation. However, the proposal to include punishments for “offending” spouses in Indian prenuptial agreements is nothing but another attempt to criminalize the marital relationship, pamper women and penalize men.
  3. In spite of having a prenuptial agreement, a woman will still be able to claim that she signed the prenuptial agreement under duress. She will still be able to file complaints under IPC Section 498A, the DV Act and other related civil and criminal provisions.
  4. Rich men will use prenuptial agreements to get rid of women by paying money, and unscrupulous women will use prenuptial agreements as a way to make quick money. We, as a nation and a culture, might do better by just legalising prostitution rather than prostitutionalizing the Hindu marriage in the name of empowering women through delusional and deceitful means.

 

It is about time the Ministry of WCD stops barking up the wrong tree and looks into positive ways of empowering women by helping, stimulating, supporting and encouraging them to achieve true economic independence. It is time we realize that unless women learn to want economic independence and unless they work hard to achieve it, without depending on maintenance and alimony, all the talk about empowerment and equality is meaningless.

 

It is time the “women’s world” awakens to this reality and embraces ways that are uplifting to themselves and the entire society, rather than those that shake men with fear and shatter their lives.

 

Alimony.9

 

 

Feminists bully, India Times succumbs!

India Times ran an informative poster campaign about men’s issues on International Men’s Day, 19th November, 2015.

Feminists have exposed their intolerance for any discussion about men’s issues and the celebration of International Men’s Day. They bullied India Times into retracting the article from their website and forced them to issue an apology. Here’s the apology note by India Times:

India Times apology

Ironically, India Times only recently updated its cover photo to one which says, “Not afraid”.

Not afraid

Of course you are, India Times! You are just plain afraid!

Thanks to the internet and social media though…Truth can be deleted from a website, but cannot be completely erased!

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Thanks to https://legalfighter.wordpress.com/2015/11/22/indiatimes-bows-down-before-feminists/#comment-3258 for saving, reproducing the posters and making them available for download.

 

Jail Bharo Photos

Please find photos of Jail Bharo Andolan in Hyderabad at the following link:

http://picasaweb.google.com/trpartha/6JulProtest?authkey=Gv1sRgCNWB_5To_IjZIg&feat=content_notification#

Memo to Commissioner of Police – Hyderabad

The following is the memo submitted to the Commissioner of Police in Hyderabad on 6 July 2010, as part of our Jail Bharo Andolan.

*****

6 July 2010

To

The Commissioner of Police

Hyderabad

Subject: Joint Memo by AIFWA and AIMWA seeking strict measures to end the misuse of anti-dowry laws.

Dear Sir,

I am writing on behalf of All India Forgotten Women’s Association – an organization dedicated to promoting true gender equality and fighting against the misuse of protections and privileges granted to women – and All India Men’s Welfare Association – an organization working for men’s welfare and fighting against all forms of discrimination and abuse against boys and men.

At the outset, we would like to thank you for allowing us to stage a peaceful demonstration in support of Sri. Ravindra Gangurde’s “Jail Bharo Andolan”. We would also like to use this opportunity to present before you, the changes we seek in the law enforcement system to check misuse of IPC Section 498A, 304B, Dowry Prohibition Act, and related wife-centric laws which presume that the accused are “guilty until proven innocent”, and have therefore turned into lethal weapons of blackmail and extortion.

Several authorities have noted that in close to 98% of cases filed under IPC 498A, the accusations are false and that the complaints were only filed with ulterior motives. Several authorities have noted the wide spread misuse of this law.

  • The Supreme Court of India termed the misuse of IPC Section 498A as “Legal Terrorism”.
  • The Delhi High Court termed IPC Section 498A “the most abused provision”.
  • The World Health Organization, in its report on India clearly cited Section 498A as one of the major reasons for the “Increasing Abuse of the Elderly in India”.
  • News reports revealed that many falsely charged, poor and illiterate women are languishing in prison every year.
  • News agencies have also reported many cases where individuals have ended their lives unable to endure the humiliation of being arrested and the trauma of fighting false cases, which typically span 5-7 years.
  • The National Human Rights Commission noted that the Tihar jail is overflowing with people falsely accused under dowry cases.

The High Court of Andhra Pradesh made several judgments commenting on the misuse of anti-dowry laws. The Commissioner of Police, Hyderabad issued standing instructions vide memo No.L&O/M6/1315/2002 to check arbitrary arrests under anti-dowry laws. The AP Police Dept. has even launched a web page entitled “Abuse of 498A” on the Dept. 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.

Nevertheless, abuse of police powers continues and lower cadre police officials keep making arrests without proper justification and only with the intent of terrorizing innocent citizens and extorting money from them under the threat of imprisonment and long-drawn legal battles.

Police routinely enter people’s homes at ungodly hours, take accused men and women into custody, and incarcerate them in the name of “protecting women from cruelty and harassment”. Innocent citizens are illegally detained, humiliated, subjected to mental and physical torture, blackmail and extortion.

Misuse of laws like IPC Section 498A are harming men, women and children of India. Due to misuse of Section 498A numerous families have been broken beyond repair and are suffering immeasurable economic hardship and emotional trauma. In addition to penalizing innocent citizens, a large backlog of false cases pending in courts prevents genuine victims of abuse from obtaining justice. The country has already incurred a huge social cost in addition to the enormous financial burden imposed on the public exchequer.

The number of fatherless children and single mothers is rapidly growing due to criminalization of marital disputes and involvement of Police in the name of “counselling”. Of late, there is also a rise in the number of suicides and spousal murders due to misuse of anti-dowry laws, unwarranted arrests and imprisonment of ordinary law-abiding citizens. It would not be an exaggeration to state that the mindless application of IPC Section 498A is making criminals out of ordinary citizens.

In light of the above-mentioned facts, members of All India Forgotten Women’s Association and All India Men’s Welfare Association, hereby, seek the following changes in the law enforcement system to check misuse of anti-dowry laws, to promote family harmony, to ensure that the innocent are protected and justice is delivered to the genuinely aggrieved irrespective of gender.

1. Ban Police involvement in marital counselling.

Marriage is a civil matter and should be treated as such. Marital issues should be dealt with utmost caution so that harmony is restored between disputing spouses. Allowing 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.

2. Allow no arrests without written permission of Senior Police Authorities.

It has become routine for lower cadre Police personnel to make arrests of innocent people based on mere allegations, without proof or investigation. Strict measures have to be taken so 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.

3. Ensure that “dowry-givers” are promptly prosecuted.

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.

Until the above changes are made and 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 would be constrained to encourage ordinary citizens to fill up prisons and not apply for bail as a sign of protest.

We hope that you will take our recommendations and suggestions into serious consideration and promote justice and fairness irrespective of gender.

Thanking you.

Sincerely,

Uma Challa

For All India Forgotten Women’s Association & All India Men’s Welfare Association

PRESS RELEASE – 6 JULY 2010 – JAIL BHARO!

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.

Fathers’ Day becoming Fatherless Day

Press Release

On the occasion of Fathers’ Day – 20 june

Subject: Fathers’ Day becoming Fatherless Day

Fathers’ Day is celebrated on the third Sunday of June every year, but for many children 20th June will be a Fatherless Day this year.

Every year more and more children are becoming fatherless thanks to the Family Courts which grant sole and total custody of children to mothers, with total disregard to the love and affection that fathers and children have towards each other.

Fathers are denied custody as a rule rather than an exception. If at all visitation is ordered to fathers, it is limited to 30 minutes or 1 hour in a month contrary to the requirement of the UN resolution that no child should be denied access to either parent.

Indian Family Courts appear to have declared a war against fathers and are adopting every possible means to create a “fatherless society” and to reduce men to mere ATM machines and sperm donors.

Cases filed in Family Courts linger on indefinitely while wives enjoy full custody of children, interim maintenance and child support at the expense of husbands.

The attitude of the Family Courts in the matters of ordering child custody/visitation, maintenance and alimony is completely biased against husbands. Even in the few cases where fathers manage to obtain visitation rights, no action is taken against mothers who disobey the orders. On the other hand, fathers who try to visit their children are accused of trying to kidnap their own children.

While there is much emphasis on a wife’s rights on husbands and children, no order is passed on the responsibilities of a wife towards herself and her matrimonial family. Husbands, on the other hand, are heaped with disproportionate responsibilities with no rights over their wives or children.

The brazenly anti-male mindset of Indian Family Courts is making it a crime to be born male in India. The continued onslaught on men and manhood is gradually destroying the faith of men on the system of marriage and societal values as a whole. As a result many men are being forced to commit suicide or shun marriage altogether paving the way for a fatherless society full of single mothers in the future.

We strongly denounce the attitude of the Family Courts which consider children as the exclusive property of the mother and totally deny access to the father and his family. We strongly condemn the belief of the Family Courts that the husband alone is bound to earn and maintain his wife and children, even though the wife is either earning or sufficiently qualified to earn.

Family Courts should ensure that fathers are given equal custody and unhindered access to children that mothers enjoy. The practice of showing children for 30 minutes or 1 hour like a TV show to a father without providing him an opportunity to demonstrate his fatherly care and affection should be done away with.

The practice of passing orders for monetary compensation should be done away with and instead, both parents should be directed to share the responsibilities like buying medical insurance, paying the school fee, purchasing clothes, books etc., for children based on their respective and combined financial capacities.

AIMWA led a Nationwide Boycott of Family Courts on 18th June 2010, to highlight the above issues. A peaceful protest was held in the Nampally Court premises. A memorandum was submitted to the Hon’ble Chief Justice of High Court of AP and the Principal Judges of Family Courts in the city stating that the demands we made were just and reasonable and that the non-implementation of our demands will result in serious consequences to men, women, children, families and the society as a whole. Over 400 fathers and 50 supporters have signed the petition containing out demands in the Family Courts in Hyderabad.

Fathers’ Day – Memorandum

Memorandum

On the occasion of Fathers’ Day

18th June, 2010

To

Sri Nisar Ahmad Kakru

Hon’ble Chief Justice

High Court of Andhra Pradesh

Subject: Seeking justice for Fathers and Children separated due to marital discords

Hon’ble Justice Kakru,

We seek your personal and valuable intervention in setting right the gross injustice being done to men and children in matters of matrimonial conflicts where custody of children is granted only to women, with total disregard to the love and affection that fathers and children have towards each other.

Fathers are denied custody as a rule rather than an exception. If at all visitation is ordered to fathers, it is limited to 30 min or 1 hour in a month contrary to the requirement of the UN resolution that no child should be denied access to either of the parents.

We are constrained to bring to your notice that Indian Family Courts appear to have declared a war against fathers and are adopting every possible means to create a “fatherless society” and to reduce men to mere ATM machines and sperm donors.

Family Courts have adopted the unhealthy practice of

  • Depriving fathers of the right to love and care for their biological children.
  • Forcing fathers to pay huge sums of money to support children they are not allowed to see.
  • Encouraging false allegations of abuse to paint fathers as unfit parents.
  • Permitting multiple legal battles to eliminate biological fathers from their children’s lives.
  • Passing ex-parte orders based solely on the allegations made by a child’s mother.
  • Allowing mothers to brazenly disobey visitation orders without legal repercussions to them.
  • Allowing biological fathers to be labelled “kidnappers” for trying to make contact with their own children.
  • Prolonging custody/visitation matters for years, thereby driving fathers into financial and emotional bankruptcy and forcing them to give up the desire to see their children.

Cases filed in Family Courts linger on indefinitely while wives enjoy full custody of children, interim maintenance and child support at the expense of husbands.

The attitude of the Family Courts in the matters of ordering child custody/visitation, maintenance and alimony is completely biased against husbands.

While there is much emphasis on a wife’s rights on husbands and children, no order is passed on the responsibilities of a wife towards herself and her matrimonial family. Husbands, on the other hand, are heaped with disproportionate responsibilities with no rights over their wives or children.

The brazenly anti-male mindset of Indian Family Courts is making it a crime to be born male in India. The continued onslaught on men and manhood is gradually destroying the faith of men on the system of marriage and societal values as a whole. As a result many men are being forced to commit suicide or shun marriage altogether paving the way for a fatherless society full of single mothers in the future.

We request the Hon’ble Chief Justice to ponder over these issues and contribute towards promoting a congenial atmosphere in the Family Courts for men, women and children.

On the occasion of Fathers’ Day, we wish to make the following demands:

Reforms in Mediation Counseling and Pleadings:

  1. The presence of and pleadings by Advocates in the Family Court and mediation process should be eliminated as mandated by the Family Courts Act.
  2. Persons who are professionally qualified and have a balanced perspective on family and society should be appointed as counsellors and mediators.
  3. Counsellors and mediators should be adequately compensated fixing a rate of at least Rs. 20,000 per case, made payable by the spouses equally.
  4. Mediators should be given exclusive powers to decide on dates and adjournments and should be required to conduct mediations and counselling throughout the year without holidays.
  5. No in-camera and chamber proceedings should be held unless absolutely necessary and the purpose duly recorded in the Court register.

Perjury

  1. Courts should order perjury and contempt proceedings in case of exaggerated statements and false allegations or affidavits related to employment, earnings, cruelty etc. when such allegations are proved to be false.
  2. Spouses making false allegations should be punished under the appropriate sections of the Indian Penal Code.

Child Custody matters:

Family Courts should ensure that both parents are given equal custody of children irrespective of the accusations of either party (such as a mother being adulterous or a father being a drunkard). The practice of showing children for 30 minutes or 1 hour like a TV show to a father without providing him an opportunity to demonstrate his fatherly care and affection should be done away with. We strongly denounce the attitude of the Family Courts which consider children as the exclusive property of the wife and totally deny access to the husband and his family while passing interim and final orders.

We strongly condemn the belief of the Family Courts that the husband alone is bound to earn and maintain his wife and children, even though the wife is either earning or sufficiently qualified to earn.

The practice of passing orders for monetary compensation, should be done away with and instead, parents should be directed to share the responsibilities like buying medical insurance, pay the school fee, purchase clothes, books etc., for children based on their respective and combined financial capacities.

The following steps should be immediately taken by Family Courts across the country to uphold the rights of fathers and ensure the welfare of children:

  • Special fast-track courts should be set up at the earliest to deal with custody issues.
  • Exclusive, fully functioning Divisional Bench should be set up in all High Courts and Supreme Court to hear appeals in matters of child custody.
  • When a person or couple approaches court for divorce, counseling of the parents by professional counselors should be given first priority.
  • Except in extreme cases of violence or unhealthy behavior by either partner, children should be given equal and meaningful access to both parents and grandparents on both sides.
  • Both parents should be given financial responsibility of the child proportionate to their earnings and not based on demands made by either partner.
  • If a partner prevents a child from having equal and meaningful contact with the other partner, they should be counseled first to understand the importance of equal parenting and the best interest of a child.
  • If either partner repeatedly disobeys orders of equal access and meaningful contact with children, then the children should be placed in the full custody of the partner who will allow equal access to the other parent.

We submit that our demands are just and reasonable and that the non-implementation of our demands will result in serious consequences to men, women, children, families and the society as a whole.

We enclose, herewith, the petitions signed by hundreds of fathers in the Family Courts in Hyderabad.

We look forward to your prompt intervention and necessary action in this regard.

Sincerely,

President

All India Men’s Welfare Association (AIMWA)

CC:

1. Hon’ble Principal Judge

    Family Court

    City Civil Court, Hyderabad

    2. Hon’ble Principal Judge

      Family Court

      City Civil Court, Secunderabad

      3. Hon’ble Principal Judge

        Family Court

        Ranga Reddy Dist. Court, L.B. Nagar

        4. Hon’ble Principal Judge

          Family Court

          Nampally, Hyderabad

          Marriage Laws Amendments Bill – 2010

          Indian society was introduced to the concept of “divorce” with the advent of the Hindu Marriage Act (HMA) in 1955. The HMA was introduced to enable women who could not tolerate marriage to legally liberate themselves from wedlock.

          Accordingly, the Act enumerates circumstances in which a marriage can be legally broken but does not explain what marriage means nor does it enumerate the responsibilities of a wife and husband towards themselves, each other, their children, both sides of the family or the society.

          The most common grounds for divorce – cruelty, desertion, impotence, adultery etc. – are not only poorly defined, but are also difficult to prove. Nevertheless, given that a divorce cannot be initiated by a spouse in any other manner, he/she is forced to make a variety of allegations on his/her partner to justify divorce under any one or a combination of the above mentioned grounds for divorce.

          Scores of cases are also filed by wives every year under Sections 498A of IPC, Domestic Violence Act, Dowry Prohibition Act, and related civil and criminal laws to strengthen their divorce cases, to alienate children from their biological fathers, and to extract huge amounts of money as alimony and maintenance from husbands.

          Given that these grounds for divorce require the petitioner spouse to make the worst kind of allegations which only end up antagonizing his/her partner, it is not surprising that counter allegations follow and over time, even the slightest possibility of reconciliation is destroyed. Marriages which could otherwise have been saved break down irretrievably and end up in divorce. It is no wonder the Supreme Court of India observed that the Hindu Marriage Act has broken more families than it has united.

          It is also a fact that Indian society has still not accepted divorce as a respectable option in life. As a result, women who appear to be relatively more sensitive to public disapproval, feel constrained to make allegations of cruelty, dowry harassment, desertion and other serious accusations against husbands and their families when, in reality, they have unilaterally made the decision to end their marriage for various reasons which may or may not be valid or acceptable according to the society, or their respective peer groups

          Complicating the issue further, the Indian judiciary has taken up the grand agenda of saving marriages. Courts take years to grant divorce in the hope that somehow, a husband and wife will “reconcile” and “reunite” after exchanging vicious allegations against each other and after turning into bitter enemies who cannot stand to even see each other. The cases are dragged over many years, ignoring the natural physical, psychological and biological needs of young men and women, and cause irreparable damage to their individual lives.

          The dilemma facing us is that the Indian society and the agenda of the Courts are in direct conflict with the Hindu Marriage Act, and instead of enabling women to free themselves from wedlock they end up trapping both men and women in a deadlock.

          The trauma of false allegations, criminal cases, separation from children and the burden of paying huge amounts of money as maintenance are making men so miserable that thousands of men are ending their own lives every year. Recently, incidents of husbands murdering their spouses are also becoming commonplace.

          There are also a growing number of women who realize a little too late that they have made a mistake or have been misled, but cannot go back and restore their marriage after it has been irretrievably broken by the legal machinery. Owing to delays in obtaining divorce they are unable to move on, are forced to remain single and are often exploited due to their emotional vulnerability.

          The Law Commission has repeatedly made recommendations to make irretrievable breakdown of marriage a ground for divorce, and the Supreme Court of India has passed quite a few judgments to set legal precedents in this matter. Many ordinary citizens have been denied divorce even after 15 years of bitter legal battles. However, it was not until a Union Cabinet Minister’s daughter was denied divorce that the Cabinet decided it was time to make amendments to Indian Marriage (read “Divorce”) laws.

          Do we welcome the amendment introducing a new long-awaited ground for divorce?

          Irretrievable breakdown of marriage as a ground for divorce would be a welcome change if and only if it will put an end to

          • the toxic culture of making baseless and false allegations of abuse and cruelty to obtain divorce.
          • the mindless practice of painting fathers as abusive and unfit parents and separating them from children.
          • the business of daylight robbery in the name of alimony and maintenance to the wife.
          • the custom of prolonged legal battles which end up destroying the lives of men, women and children.

          Most importantly, the amendments should not send out a wrong message that divorce is now going to be easy and open floodgates for soaring divorce rates.

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