Delhi election commission has announced Delhi assembly election for 2015. It will be held on 7th February in Delhi’s 70 constituencies. Going by the growing resentment among citizens over false accusations of women related crimes, law misuse will be a major determinant in this election. Even though so far men’s groups have failed to make any significant mark in political arena except Samajwadi Party talking about inclusion of law misuse in criminal laws, the groups are confident that this time around they will be able to force the politicians to include the same in respective election manifestos.
Men’s rights leaders from various men’s groups are hopeful of making a significant impact in this election as the growing and glaring misuse of women-centric laws are hurting all sections of the population. If the numbers have to be believed then Save Indian Family, Delhi chapter gets roughly 200-300 calls per month on their helpline. There is no repetition of such calls as the second time the victim or his family members are encouraged to call the volunteer directly or come to their weekly meeting for help.
Another Delhi based group Sahodar also gets roughly around 50-60 calls every month. This shows that roughly around 250-300 families approach two major men’s groups operating out of Delhi. But other than monthly calls, victims get help through emails and by visiting their meetings through other sources. Considering some overlap in these numbers we can still safely consider that around 250 unique victims take help from these two major groups. Considering that each family has at least three people affected by such cases (parents and the husband) these groups cater to 750 unique voters each month.
This number may seem less but not from the perspective of the victim database that these groups have built over last few years. Sahodar has a database of 14000 victims from around the globe. Many of these victims may stay in other places but have influences over some voters in Delhi. Similarly Save Indian Family has influence over some other victim families in Delhi. If I consider 200 unique victims per month in Delhi, that becomes 2500 victims per year, 7500 victims for three years. The reason I have considered only three years is such cases like dowry harassment typically run for a minimum of three years if not more. So once such victims of law misuse come to such groups they stick with them for at least three years. If we consider at least three victims per family who are directly affected by such laws, then the total vote bank that these groups can influence is 22,500 votes in Delhi.
However, the number presented above is the only minuscule of the total population affected by such laws. Considering the NCRB statistics of 2013 alone we will find that number of crimes reported under such gender biased laws were as follows, Rape – 1636, Dowry Death – 144, Cruelty by husband and relatives (IPC 498a) – 3033, Molestation (IPC 354) – 3515 or a total of 8328 cases, excluding cases under Sexual Harassment at Workplace (SHWB) etc. Out of these crimes rape and molestation has the highest percentage of conviction of 40% whereas IPC 498a has 18% conviction in Delhi. For ease of calculation, if we consider 30% conviction in all crimes, we will find that around 5830 cases to be false every year. If we consider each case having three victims of such gender biased laws, we get a number of 17488 who were directly affected by such laws and did not get any justice in their cases (there was no punishment for law misuse). Many of them might have been forced to settle their cases for money, many more could have avoided any case filed against them by paying money in advance. From the Rohtak sisters incidence, we know that many men pay money in advance to stop false accusation and related legal harassment. These cases are not registered anywhere and we do not have any number to determine the extent of the problem.
While men’s groups acknowledge that rape, molestation etc. are serious crimes they also acknowledge that the legal provisions made to stop such crime have become so stringent that even innocent men and families can be victimized by such laws by unscrupulous women. Such innocent families suffer enormously due to such gender biased laws. Many men are forced to commit suicide and their families are left in the lurch. Many of these families are also forced to commit suicide after the main bread earner of the family is dead. So far such families were suffering in silence as there was no one to speak in their favour. Since rape, molestation etc are considered as heinous crimes, the moment one is accused of rape, the entire family is looked down upon. Kids and other members of the family face extreme hardship, too. In a recent research by National Law University (NLU) Delhi, it was found that when such accused person is from the lower strata of the society, the women in the family are sexually exploited. Such women can’t go anywhere for justice and silently bear the pain of exploitation. Their children are thrown out of the schools, brothers are stripped of their jobs. Such families literally come to the street simply on accusation under such legal provisions. Since there is no punishment for such misuse, these families don’t get justice even after being proven, innocents.
These atrocities are happening against law abiding, peace loving common Indian citizens for years. Only recently Men’s Rights groups could successfully bring these in everyone’s notice. In two recent cases, one in Rohtak where two girls beat up three boys in a public bus and in another case in Delhi where a software engineer was found dead under mysterious conditions, these groups have made significant differences in bringing justice to the male victims. These two incidents have made the society ready to recognize the atrocities against men and their family members. Not only that, the response received from the general public for justice for innocent male accused of such crimes was phenomenal and that has made heavily funded feminist organizations to backtrack on their feminist agenda. These cases have hugely shamed National Commission for Women (NCW) and Indian media for having a biased view on crime and spreading hatred against men. That is why when PMO tried to help a man in getting a dowry for his sisters’ marriage, many common Indian men were ready to ask PMO to help them in paying alimony too. Because according to them, if PMO could help someone in a supposedly illegal activity then why can’t it help poor men in performing their legal duty of paying alimony.
Now, one will wonder how much difference these 17,500 voters who are legally abused in 2013 can make in Delhi Assembly elections.
If we go by last Delhi election (2013, Delhi Assembly Election) statistics and list down the constituencies based on winning margin in an increasing margin order we find the following –
Please note that above calculation is done considering the fact that a runner-up party only needs one vote more than 50% of the winning margin to win the election. For example, if one has won an election by a margin of 4 votes, the defeated candidate would make a win if he gets just three votes (50% of winning margin =2 +1=3 votes) from the winning candidates account.
An analysis of cumulative number of votes that could make a difference in Delhi assembly elections held in 2013 shows that if all the innocent victims of biased laws who had suffered in 2013, decide to vote for a party that decides to punish the law misusers; then 17500 such voters can decide at least 20 assembly constituencies in Delhi. Even though this is not enough for any party to get a majority in Delhi, but twenty seats for a party can ensure a big bargaining power for the party in gaining substantial political power in Delhi. In case Delhi once again sees a hung situation this year, this third political party can determine the fate of the state.
Our media and hugely paid feminist organization have already projected Delhi as unsafe for women. Delhi has earned this position due to constant propaganda through paid media after dreadful Delhi rape. Even though NCRB data shows that most of the rape cases are filed against the lovers when a love relation turns sour but media had so far been successful in projecting Delhi roads as unsafe for women.
Men’s rights groups demand from the political parties for this election is very simple. They want misuse clause to be included in all gender biased laws and to make these laws gender neutral. They want anyone misusing the laws to be punished. These groups do not support any atrocities against women and they want to ensure a free and fair investigation in all such crimes. They also demand that in all rape cases the identity of the accused need to be suppressed unless they are proven guilty. This is because in India 75% of rape cases turn out to be false, such innocent accused men and their families undergo extreme cruelty once they are accused of such crime.
Women groups, however, have been very vocal against any such misuse clause. They claim that any misuse can be punished under different other provisions and hence the demand of including misuse clause in women-centric laws is unnecessary. They also claim this as outrageous as they believe that such misuse clause will only deter women victims from filing any case at all. In fact, many Supreme Court judges also concur with women leaders. They say that when any law can be misused, then misuse of laws empowering women should not be seen as an issue.
Men’s Rights Activists, however, do not buy such arguments. They argue that they are not against a free and fair investigation and speedy trial that will ensure justice for the real victims. But they are against calling someone a victim simply because she is a woman or she is the one who had filed the case first. MRAs demand that if the investigation finds that the complainant is the main culprit then she needs to be punished to deter others from using the legal system to their personal benefit. They also see this as extreme dishonour for Indian constitution and Supreme Court itself. They say that by allowing such widespread misuse of different criminal sections, our courts are making fun of our legal system and making it a business proposition for many. They are categorical is saying that the misuse sections can never deter a genuine complainant as a fair investigation will ensure that they get justice in the end.
Related – Indian legal system open to abuse
MRAs also refute the claim that the misuse sections of Indian laws will ensure that misuses will be taken care of. They say that the existing misuse sections need to be invoked by the court or police and do not happen automatically. The accused can not file any such case once he is acquitted. It is seen that in most cases none of this two govt. entities want to invoke such sections and punish the false accusers. This is the reason the perjury sections have become a big joke in India. Some say that a mere penalty of Rs. 15,000 for lying under oath is NO deterrent for filing false cases.
In short, victims of gender biased laws will see a silver lining because of MRAs’ demand to introduce a misuse clause in such criminal laws. This analysis has shown only if the victims of 2013 decide to vote for the party that declares to put a misuse clause in such sections, then they can make a huge difference in Delhi’s political history. MRA groups can act as a potential catalyst to that effect. It is thus important for any political party to consider this seriously and include this demand in their political agenda for Delhi polls.
Related – Politics of rape in India
Some MRAs, however, see a great danger of feminists planting another fake rape incident in Delhi just before the election to swing any such political ground created by the MRAs. We have seen how rape was used to divert our attention and create a false sense of emergency among people. Badaun rape case was one such example. With Indian media being used to create and spread hatred against the nation, any such feminist act can overturn positive effects created by the Men’s groups. We could imagine the power of money that flows into the women’s groups when we realize that Rohtak sisters are still not arrested or punished for beating up three innocent men in a bus. It is now or never for falsely accused men and their families. Delhi’s men can change the fate of Delhi in this election, so the political parties need to take cues from here and act urgently.