By Pranav Gupta, Symbiosis
Editor’s Note: The author believes that some of the present laws in India discriminate against men. More specifically, the author discusses Section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code in this article and attempts to highlight the misuse of this provision in certain instances.
Man-A commanding class of human race which nourishes its food, family, shelter and shields all the above from every situation. History claims the existence of superiority of men in all the civilizations. India is a male dominant terrain where Geeta, Puranaas, Quraan, and other religious texts and various classical theories propound that man is the premier class of our society. And marriage- the best social institution, the ultimate source of humanity which not only unites two hearts but also clubs the life of two families. It is considered as the most divine and haven like practice which has been followed since ages in all the religions. But today, marriages are falling apart; divorce has become very popular, almost touching 20%-30% rates. And, to be honest, when a marriage falls apart, it is only the man and his family who are accused of being the wrongdoer. And here comes the question-why only and only men are always at wrong part.
But now whatever I am going to write here may sound awkward and illogical. Most of the people may find it offending and politically irrational and unjustifiable in today’s scenario where we are living. Today we all show our concern towards the security of women. Whether it is the Parliament, conferences, news, dailies, interviews and debates on News channels-every mouth talks about the crimes against women in India. But the reason I am writing this article is just to explain that justice should be done regardless of the gender of each individual. This article does not talk about the rights of the females but it talks about the men who are being victimised, tortured, and harassed and systematically abused by the laws that have been fabricated for the protection of women at work place and home which intern to be serious injustice for man. Today we all talk about the rights of women, their security etc., however, to be very frank, no one gives a thought towards the rights of the men. Before a couple of weeks, I used to have the same ideology and perception like the common people have, but it changed when I went through a case; and it compelled me to bring this information to the mass that men also are seriously suffering from the fence barricaded by our laws which highly possessed feminist character.
There are tons of laws, sections, articles, acts which are gender biased, one of them being Sec 498-A of Indian Penal Code, 1860. This was made with a noble intention of preventing women from cruelty and domestic violence against women, but now 30 years down the line it is considered as the most abused law in the history of Indian legal jurisprudence. According to NCRB statistics, lakhs of the people including women, old people and the minors are arrested just because their name was mentioned in the FIR lodged under this provision.
SUPREME COURT’S OPINION ON SECTION 498-A
The Apex court showed a serious concern over the misuse of this law over the years and two of its opinions are mentioned below:
“Supreme Court opined over 498-A that “merely because this provision is constitutional does not give rights and license to unscrupulous persons to reck personal vendetta or unleashed harassment by misuse of the provision a new legal terrorism can be unleashed. This provision should be used as a shield against the wrong but not as assassin’s weapon because when actual wolf appears then you won’t get the help”.
“the fact that 498-A is a cognizable and non-bail able offence has lented a dubious place of pride amongst provisions that are used as weapons than a shield by disgruntled wives.”
Syed Ahmed Makhdoom Suicide Case
This was a divorce case where a wife had a extra marital affair with another man and after the long discussion the husband (Mr. Syed Ahmed Makhdoom) gave an option to the wife either to move on with her alleged lover or forget everything and restart a fresh married life again with the husband. But the wife was hell bent for breaking the marriage despite of being a wrongdoer in the case. Further, she alleged the husband family for dowry and domestic violence because as an educated woman she knew that all laws and rights were in her favour. After sometime in between the trial, Mr. Syed Ahmed Makhdoom (husband) committed suicide tired of false allegations for dowry, domestic violence and due to the separation with his beloved son in 2009. He also recorded a video clip prior to committing suicide in which he had explain all the humiliation, mental torture due to fake allegations and nude pain which he was suffering by losing his beloved son. (video is available on internet).
This is not only a case where families suffered due to gender biased law. These are several examples of the gender biased laws in India. :
- Man jailed for dowry death hangs himself–The death of a 32-year-old businessman on Thursday in the toilet of a jail ward in Parappana Agrahara has taken a new turn: in his suicide note, he has accused his brother-in-law of playing havoc with his life. Shashidhar, from Kadaganahalli in Chikkajala, was arrested after his wife Chaitra, 26, allegedly committed suicide by setting herself ablaze on December 26 last year. He was remanded to judicial custody on January 1. Instead of lodging him in the sub-jail at Devanahalli, he was shifted to Parappana Agrahara central jail, and kept in room number 1, barrack 3. He was to be produced before court on July 4. Around 3 am Thursday, the jail warden and others heard a commotion, and on checking the ward, found Shashidhar missing. They broke into the toilet and found him hanging. He had used his tracksuit. He was given first aid at the jail hospital and shifted to Victoria Hospital, where he was declared dead.
- There was a doctor who had committed suicide because he was being tortured by his in-laws for fake alleged case.
- The victim, Pardeep Kumar, 24-year-old married youth committed suicide by hanging himself at his residence; he was working with a private company at the Industrial Area. Pardeep married Antia around six months back and she was pressing him to move out of his parents’ house and live separately. And he was under depression as he was being tortured by her in-laws and wife.
- Techie commits suicide in jail – A software engineer, who was sent to jail following a dowry harassment case, has killed himself in Parappana Agrahara. Shubankar Katyayan Khan, 33, a native of Jamshedpur, was working with a software giant in the city. In June 2007, he married Nandini from Baroda. The marriage was registered in the city on December 1, 2007. Following a strained relationship, the two applied for divorce. Nandini filed a complaint alleging dowry harassment..
- Accused of molestation by daughter-in-law, man commits suicide- A senior citizen, who had been booked for outraging the modesty of his daughter-in-law, committed suicide by consuming poison. Gajendra Malviya was declared dead with a suicide note, in which he blamed the daughter-in-law and her relatives for the drastic step that he had taken.
- Suicide to save tortured men – A septuagenarian father has taken his own life to “save” his son and other tortured husbands. Prasanta Kumar Ghosh blamed his death on his daughter-in-law’s threats to slap false torture charges and demanded a law to protect husbands and in-laws in such a predicament. ,” the retired government employee in Hooghly’s Mogra wrote in a neatly folded three-page note he left behind in his shirt pocket stating “My daughter-in-law is responsible for my death. I take the decision to end my life only to save thousands of husbands and their family members from the hands of cruel women like her”.
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE?
The biggest question that arises is- who is actually responsible for all this? Is it only our legal system or legislature or the administration should be blamed? The answer is a big NO. The real culprit is us, we the people who are suffering from the criminal epidemic. The constant violence against the female race by our society created such abysmal environment and compelled our framers to safeguard the existence of women. And today, just because of this, the laws are being misused and thousands of innocents are being victimised every year and many of them succumb to death because they failed to handle the embarrassment.
This research is not just to brandish the loopholes in our laws and judicial system but to make the society aware that we should not forget the people who succumbed due to the gender biased laws and the autocratic feminist approach. There is urgency for the amendment in such laws which are more misused than they are actually used. But along with that, it is our duty to create a better ambiance for our daughters, wives, mothers because if one really wants to make a difference and to bring a change then one should start this from its door first. It is really important to remember that the objective of law and justice is to store harmony and love in the society; therefore it should be used to access justice but not as an assassin’s weapon.
Edited by Hariharan Kumar
 Husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty
 National crime Bureau; http://ncrb.gov.in
 Sushil kumar vs Union of India And Ors on 19 July, 2005, Writ Petition (civil) 141 of 2005.
 Makhdoom’s last message to the world: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KrGmSI-xdTk&feature=email
 Man jailed for Dowry Death hangs himself – http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-07-01/bangalore/29726022_1_dowry-death-suicide-note-dowry-harassment.
 Doctor commits suicide, blames in-laws – http://www.jagran.com/uttarakhand/dehradun-city-10140908.html
 24 Year old youth commits suicide, blames in-laws: http://www.hindustantimes.com/Punjab/Chandigarh/24-yr-old-youth-commits-suicide-blames-in-laws/SP-Article1-1062575.aspx
 Techie commits suicide in Jail – http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2009-08-12/bangalore/28203590_1_dowry-harassment-software-engineer-techie
 Father in Law commits suicide: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/Accused-of-molestation-by-daughter-in-law-man-commits-suicide-blames-her/articleshow/20451365.cms
 Father in Law commits suicide to save tortured men – http://www.telegraphindia.com/1100724/jsp/calcutta/story_12718648.jsp