अब आन्घ्र प्रदेश के महिला आयोग की अध्यक्ष ने माना की पतियों को आर्थिक और सामाजिक रूप से मार गिराने के लिये धड़ल्ले से आई.पी.सी. की धारा 498ए का दुरुपयोग किया जा रहा है । यद्यपि वो इसका ठीकरा वकीलों और पुलिस वालो के सिर फोड़ रही हैं पर सांच को आंच नहीं लगती । यह शुरुवात है । अभी तो सच बहुत से मंचों से स्वीकारा जाना बाकी है । पर दर्द यही है कि तब तक बहुत से निर्दोष पुरुषों और उनके परिवारों को मौत की नींद सुला चुका होगा । बतातें चले की अभी हाल ही में दिल्ली प्रदेश के महिला आयोग की अयोग की अपनी ही रिपोर्ट में बलात्कार के आधे से अधिक मामले फर्जी पाये गये थे ।
Harassed husbands find an ally in Women’s Commission chief
By Rupam Jain in Hyderabad : Sep 28 2014 : The Times of India (Hyderabad)
We recently brought to fore the fact that harassed husbands are a sad and silent reality in the city. But now, the beleaguered husbands have finally found a ray of hope in AP Women’s Commission chairperson, Tripurana Venkata Ratnam, who has stated that “Section 498A, was being misinterpret ed“. Pointing at the rise in cases of `additional dowry harassment’ being clubbed with Section 498 A, Tripurana said, “Petitioners are adding dowry harassment and are including the names of in-laws and other persons in the family , which is leading to arrests and separation of the couples, without giving any scope for reconciliation.“ Speaking to Hyderabad Times about the misinterpretation of Section 498A, Tripurana Venkata Raman clarifies that “not all women know the law“ and are being misguided. “We received about 1,300 cases last year and I can tell you that 100% of the petitioners had filed cases of `additional dowry harassment’ while clubbing it with Section 498A. The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 was enacted to prevent dowry system and the Act defined punishment for giving or taking dowry . But, due to lack of awareness, some people are misusing Section 498A,“ says Ratnam, who feels the fault lies with lawyers and Police.
“We need to understand that it is not really the women (petitioners) who are at fault. Not all women would know the laws and what it entails. It is the advocates or cops who advise women to file a case of 498A tagging the `additional dowry harassment’ which is not read in the Section!“ explains Ratnam, further adding, “This is being done because Section 498A attracts criminal punishment and the cops jump into arresting not just the husband, but also the family members of the husband. This is incorrect. It eventually leads to break up of marriages.“
Sangi*, a mid-30 professional battling 498A charges, is relieved at the thought of having a lady make the above statement.“She (chairperson) is absolutely correct. If a woman is filing a case of `additional dowry’, she is as much at fault of giving dowry as her in-laws, who took dowry .Moreover, lawyers advise women to add Section 498A because it is pro-women. All she needs is a marriage certificate to walk into the police station and say she has been harassed mentally , if not physically . My wife, in her complaint had stated that I would beat her with wooden sticks and belts and also accused that my family had harassed her for dowry , even though we lived separately . I am glad the APWC chairperson has made such a statement. Let’s hope it helps the innocent,“ opines Sangi.
The discussion however, does not really end here. Balaji Vadera, senior advocate, AP High Court, says the law is being used as a tool for extorting money from the husbands. “In AP , Section 498A was made compoundable (i.e, case can be withdrawn with a compromise). Advocates advise women to add `dowry harassment’ in their complaint, so it makes for a stronger case as well as humiliate the husband’s family . I have had many cases where women and their lawyers used Section 498A to extort money from the husband.“ He, however, adds a disclaimer, saying, “I am not blaming all women for misusing the Section, but at least 30% of women do it.“
And extortion is a reality in most cases. Sangi shares, “My wife’s advocate approached my lawyer demanding `2 crore as a full and final settlement, out of which, he was admittedly getting a cut of 30%. My wife’s lawyer promised a bribe of 5% share to my lawyer asking him to misguide me on this case. My lawyer was basically asked to stay shut and not help me in any way , in return for some money .He was also told that I would lose the case anyway , so it’s better that he makes some money . I had to change my lawyer when I found out. There are so many things that need to be looked into, so that the Section is not misused.“
Thirty-six-year-old Sukumar* fought a battle for six years, after being charged under Section 489A, before being acquitted just four months back. “In the last six years, I have lost everything -job, family, my daughter, money and peace. My wife had pressed “harassment charges“ against me when she went to the police station in 2009.The cops directed her to a lawyer who made a case of 498A. Every time we met, her lawyer would suggest a “compromise“ of `50 lakh to `1 crore. I did not budge because I wanted to fight. So, a year later, they added “dowry harassment“ and “domestic violence“ to her original charge. After a long fight, I managed to prove the charges wrong, but it wasn’t a cakewalk.Fact is, there’s lots of money involved as the case keeps dragging.“
(Names have been changed on request)