After recent SC ruling preventing the automatic arrest of a husband and his family members, feminists have been started crying foul about the security of Indian women in their homes. I have never considered this judgment as a win for us and only considered this as a reiteration of CrPC 41 amendments took place two years ago. In any democratic legal system, jail is the last resort and our supreme court has only reiterated the same.
Before we take any conclusive stand let’s look at the concerns shared by the feminists in different forums.
Let’s look at the points closely –
- Dowry as a crime – While feminists always projected dowry as a crime they have never considered alimony as a crime too. In an era when feminists agree that women are becoming financially independent then the first thing we need to ensure is their contribution and that can’t be termed as dowry. When a man is expected to set up a family, a house etc. a woman’s expectation also needs to be clarified. By the same logic where dowry becomes crime alimony should also be considered a crime. Women are already given equal rights in their father’s property and can’t be given equal rights to any property without proper contribution. Now if you consider that women have many responsibilities in their families read this (Indian Women…) to understand that none of the responsibilities can actually lead to their punishment for not taking up the same.
Coming to the definition of dowry death it is the ‘unnatural’ death of a married woman within seven years of marriage. These deaths may not be for dowry and maybe for other reason but still categorized as dowry death. No wonder why such dowry deaths go unpunished. However, the same kind of death of men is never categorized under any head and thus goes unnoticed. NCRB crime data shows that married man suicide is much higher compared to that married women. But all these are still normal suicides whereas women suicides are categorized as “dowry death”.
- Law enforcement authorities to be blamed for misuse – Her argument is because police do not investigate properly and in a fast manner these cases do not terminate in conviction. So the expectation is even when the complaint is without any basis the law enforcing agencies should find fault with the accused. Shameful indeed and show how people like her want to jeopardize justice in the country.
She also said that these agencies need to be careful while filing the complaint, but if the police do not file the complaint that will again become a big issue with the feminists. So this is surely not an option for the police.
- Disgruntled housewives – She says they are ‘independent-minded’ women who do not want subordination to the age-old system and thus lead to divorce. But we do not understand why these women need to file a complaint under ‘dowry harassment law’ simply because their mindset does not match with their in-laws. By advocating criminal case in family matters she only confirmed our doubt that women organizations have great stake involved in the divorce industry.
- 50 million women are subjected to domestic violence – This is completely unsupported data and not vetted by any third-party experts. Hence this data is invalid. Also when the definition of domestic violence itself considers only violence against women this figure can be anything and we do not need to bother about such unsupported data.
- Restricting arrest by police is a dilution of law – World-over in criminal justice system arrest is considered as last resort, otherwise, only innocents will be jailed for no reason and we will see a great loss of productive time. That will badly affect the Indian economy. Ms Kumari repeatedly tried to point out to dowry death but we need to remember that is a different crime and can’t be mixed with harassment.
- Women becoming financially independent – While she pointed this out she still failed to point out women’s contribution to their family? Today a man is given all responsibilities in his family and without taking those up he can be punished, whereas a woman can’t be punished for anything. Also when feminists themselves agree that women are becoming more financially independent then why do they ask for alimony as right? Why alimony is not yet declared as a crime like a dowry? Pure double standard exposed badly. Her statement shows that the time has come to declare alimony a crime immediately.
- Men need to be more sensitive to these changes – when nothing in this family system is considered as women’s responsibility (read – Indian women have NO responsibility in their families) rather everything is considered as their right without ensuring their responsibilities she is proposing men should consider these one-sided adjustments silently and provide all benefits to women simply for being women. Outrageous indeed. Very soon this parasitism is going to create havoc in the Indian economy where only men works and women ‘contribute’ to the economy by getting money from men without any work.
- 0.1% domestic violence cases registered – This data is not supported by anyone, it is her own statistics and hence of no use. Also if some people do not use law that does not mean others need to force them to use law. It is up to individuals to file cases or settle those matters out of court. Society can’t pressurize them to file cases and also can’t continue to create one-sided laws because people do not use existing provisions. Today Domestic violence against men can’t even be reported even though under the same definition of domestic violence many men can be subjected to domestic violence (read – Almost all Indian husbands are subjected to domestic violence)
In another article in Hindustan Times, it says that SC ruling puts wives at grave risk–
- Lack of support from the family of the woman – This is said when we have 49 laws, one women’s commission, Mahila thanas, many women NGOs, a dedicated protection officer, legal aid etc. only for women but for men, there is hardly any facility. In all such cases, men are at the disadvantaged position as they need to pay alimony. Rather it is the man who does not get any kind of support as everyone fears getting involved in false cases. Hence this argument that women can’t continue their cases for lack of family support is completely vague.
- Cultural biases against female litigants divorce– When most of the divorce cases are won by the wives and they get innumerable benefits including easy interim maintenance, residence right etc. simply on filing such cases and when even seriously ill husbands are asked to pay maintenance we can understand which way this bias is.
- Crippling financial dependence on husband – She can still earn independently but most prefer to get maintenance instead. Our legal system also promotes the same. However, the husband does not get any such assistance from anyone. Very rarely a husband gets maintenance under HMA24. This shows who is prone to financial abuse.
- Fear of homelessness – It is said when the residence order is granted against the husband simply on filing such a case under DVA and when the husband is thrown out of his own house to keep the wife. A clear statement of bigotry and double standard. Also, every woman has equal rights in their parental property. Here a sense is projected that she only has a husband to fall back on which makes marriage only a property transfer institution.
- Fear of physical security of children – So it is considered that the children will stay with the mother and the mother should be bothered about their security. Whereas it is considered that the father is the natural guardian. If the mother becomes so concerned about the security of children then she needs to give the children to the father but this statement says the mother keeps the children while worrying about their security. Another double standard exposed.
- Renuka Chaudhury said 70% of women were victims of DV – When the definition of domestic violence itself is one-sided this number can be 100% as well. When every act of a husband or a male member is considered as domestic violence then we can get any number of women as abused. (Read – The truth behind domestic violence). This discussion about domestic violence is only possible when the definition is gender-neutral, the approach of surveys is gender neutral and the law is also gender-neutral. So that a comparison is possible.
- A 498a woman living in the same house with husband – When a woman files a criminal case against the husband and in-laws why does she need to live in the same household. If she says her husband and in-laws are cruel to her then why she still needs to stay in the same house? She already has equal rights in her parent’s property so she can very well go there. If she stays in her husband’s house even after filing a 498a case that only means that is not a 498a case at all. If it is considered that she has equal right to her husband’s property then the husband should also be given equal rights on her property. When that is not in place how a 498a wife can get rights in her husband’s property unless she has contributed to the property and her conduct in a matrimonial relationship is defined? In all developed countries such property rights are given based on the contribution of the spouse in the property and hence this one-sided thinking is not valid.
- Delaying justice could very well cost a woman’s life – First of all, the immediate arrest is not the justice for the victim. Rather it only unleashes legal terrorism on innocents which is completely unacceptable. This is a completely vague interpretation as the nine-point SC guideline also says that in cases where serious damage to the woman is perceived then the police can arrest the accused. So this is a pure emotional statement.
Thus we see that feminists want to somehow sustain the legal terrorism industry. Justice is not their goal, rather what they want is the legal terrorism to continue. They say every law is misused so this law should also be allowed to misuse. That raises a serious concern in our mind, how big is the Legal Terrorism industry that extorts innocent families in the name of reconciliation and saving them from arrest by these women organizations? or is there any foreign hand involved in this game of women empowerment and their motto is to create disturbance in India in some manner?