Guidelines issued by Maharashtra Government / DGP to all Police station in Maharashtra on Directions from Home Ministry, Central Government, regarding arrest of accused in the family dispute cases registered under section 498A of Indian Penal code, 1860.
SAVE INDIAN FAMILY and all over India’s supporting NGO’s relentless efforts have brought some relief (subject to proper implementation of the guidelines ) to save innocent families facing arrest by the police for none of their fault under section 498A of India Penal Code. 1860. The Maharashtra Government/ DGP have issued pre- arrest guidelines of any person under section 498A of Indian Penal Code. According to the guidelines,a complaint under section 498A is first required to be referred to a counseling centre for counseling. Thereafter the concerned police station has to carry out investigation of the complaint. The complaint should be registered and the arrest should be done only if the complaint has any substance in it.
Since the time this penal provision was introduced in 1983 the provision was not been reviewed and no built in safety is provided in it from being misused. This has caused a very large scale misuse of this section on innocent peace loving individuals and families by wife’s and daughter-in-laws to settle their personal scores. The innocent families are shattered and ruined in such a way that even supreme court has termed it as “LEGAL TERRORISM”.
A “ LEGAL EXTORTION” racket is created because of the unconstitutional, faulty, destructive, one sided laws like 498A of IPC , PWDVA, all maintenance acts and various child custody laws and norms. Following problems are faced by innocent people because of the above mentioned laws.
1) Against a mere complaint by wife in a police station without any concrete proof or evidence, cognizable offence is taken and the all the people whose names are appearing in the complaint are arrested without investigation. Even the persons who have no connection with the marriage are arrested and harassed .
2) The section is non bailable, maximum harassment of innocent people.
3) The section is non compoundable so the case cannot be withdrawn. Guaranteed long term harassment .
4) Once the complaint is lodged it becomes a case between the husband and his family and the state .More than 95% cases are found to be false. Total wastage of tax payers hard earned money and our honorable courts time and energy. As it is, it takes years and years to get justice in our legal system , can we afford to entertain false cases in our legal system which is already over burdened.
5) No strict actions are taken against wife’s for filling false complaints which is encouraging them more to do so. To what extend it is correct to promote such lies for the sake of so called women empowerment .
6) Accused is presumed guilty until proven innocent after years and years of harassment.
7) After a complaint is lodged of 498A and since it is non compoundable , which means that the complaint cannot be taken back, that hinders any scope of reconciliation between the couple and thus the whole family breaks.
8) Old innocent parents and married sisters and other family members are also harassed . They live with the stigma and sometimes they die with the heart attack because of the unbearable harassment which is also an abuse on senior citizens.
9) Most of the cases are filed because the husband refuses to throw his parents out of the house at the wife’s demands and also when husbands try to live with their self respect and dignity intact.
10) Husband’s job is at risk when he is accused under 498A who could even be the only breadwinner of the family.
11) An extortion racket starts with the threat of putting all false complaints by the wife and her family against the husband and his family. Finally husbands land up paying huge unreasonable amounts as maintenance and compensation.
12) Children are used as a pawn again by the wives against her husband and his family just to settle their personal scores. Our laws are promoting fatherless society and it is a total child abuse and violation of UNCRC norms.
As per national crime records bureau ( www.ncrb.nic.in) in four years (2004 to 2008) 160416 women are arrested and 550804 men are arrested under 498A. For the sake of women empowerment on an unverified complaint of one woman, three women are imprisoned ( on an average ) and deemed guilty until proven innocent. Again as per the statistics provided by national crime records bureau in 2006, 55452 married men committed suicide against 29869 married women in the same year. In 2007, 57593 married men committed suicide against 30064 married women committed suicide and in 2008, 57639 married men committed suicide against 30224 married women. So who needs protection ? According to a report by Center for Social Research, there is only 2% conviction in 498A cases, which means the law is misused to the tune of 98% and yet it has not been scrapped.
We have following solutions and demands from our Government and law making agencies.
1) To make all the laws gender neutral. It is also the fundamental and constitutional right of every citizen in our country to be treated equally in the eyes of law. Only guilty person should be punished irrespective of gender.
2) To bring all family laws under civil laws. To make 498A bailable and compoundable. Since it is destroying the institution of marriage itself.
3) Only after getting concrete proof any action should be taken.
4) Suo Moto Punishment for misuser of any law. Since over 95% cases are false.
5) Real Women Empowerment by upgrading skills of divorcing women to be self sufficient and self dependent. Unleash the potential in women.
6) Real women protection (as mothers and sisters of husband are also women)
7) A provision to record complaints of the aggrieved Husbands and their family members as cognizable offences and these complaints should be taken in the Government statistics also.
8) Make registration of marriage compulsory with the details of gifts exchanged, signed by both the parties. This will also stop child marriage.
9) Prenuptial agreements should be compulsory to settle the future disputes without wasting honorable courts valuable time.
10) Fair and impartial police investigation .
11) Complaint should be lodged within 15days of the crime.
12) Counseling by professional marriage counselors.
13) Use of latest techniques like lie detectors to establish the facts.
14) Stop elder abuse . They don’t deserve to be harassed for no fault of theirs at the last stage of their life.
15) Right of every child to be loved , cared and raised by both the parents should be given maximum priority . Under any circumstances the child should not be used as a pawn. Any party who is not looking into the best interest of the child should not get the custody of the child .
16) Separate ministry for men and separate national commission for men to be established looking into the contribution of men and his family to our society.
For the sake of women empowerment our Government and laws are promoting legal extortion and legal terrorism. There is no political will to correct all these faulty laws and only vote bank politics is happening at the cost of emotions and harassment of common innocent people.Gender biased, unconstitutional, destructive, family breaking , one sided, motivated laws are showing our Governments intention to do vote bank politics.
We are only against the misuse of any law on any innocent. We are not against any strata of the society. We are for protection of a vulnerable section in the society. We believe that law should treat everyone equally without blindly favoring/ opposing any group.
We would like to call for your overwhelming support in demanding a basic constitutional infrastructure and machinery for promoting family harmony. We would request your support in creating a positive awareness through your media. Please include us in your new space to achieve our justified goal.
Supported by : Save India Family Foundation Bangaluru, Chattisgarh, Save Family Foundation Delhi, Hridya Kolkatta, Pati Parivar Kalyan Samiti Lucknow, Save Family Welfare System Indore, All India Forgotten women Hyderabad, Mothers And sisters Initiative Delhi, All India Mother in law Protection Forum Nagpur. Gender Human Rights Society Delhi, Bhavya Foundation Moradabad , Childs Rights Initiative for Shared Parenting Bangaluru. Sahana Hyderabad, Rakshak Foundation USA, 498A prg USA, Mynation.ner(Middle east), Indiya Kudumba Pathukappu Iyakkam Chennai, Family India Lifeline, Kochi, All India Men’s welfare Association Bangaluru.