The other day I received a phone call asking a very simple question – “Partha, I am getting into a new confidential project that has strict background verification of every team member. The form is asking if I ever had any criminal case against me”. The answer needs to be given in ‘Yes’ or ‘No’, and I had a false 498a case against me with my divorce.”
Career And Frivolous Criminal Case
In these cases, our standard reply always has been that you don’t hide anything, rather talk about your cases with everyone so that everyone becomes aware of these cases and legal terrorism in India. This had been a very successful approach so far as we have found that not only Indians have become aware of such frivolous cases, but other countries have issued travel advisories against marrying Indian women, too. Interpol had withdrawn the provision of issuing ‘Red Corner Notice’ against 498a accused. So now, NRIs and foreign nationals are getting a case under IPC 307 (Attempt to Murder). But whether it is 498a (cruelty by husband and relatives) or 307, both are criminal cases.
Disclosing Criminal Case in Office
The question was simple but the answer was tricky. He needed to select from two options, ‘Yes’ and ‘No’. There was no opportunity to clarify anything. In a typical interview scenario, you can still explain this, but what if the first level of screening is based on your answer to a screening form. The project was very sensitive and needed choicest employees with clean background only. In this case, telling ‘yes’ to the question was like getting rejected at the first chance.
But when we weighed the option of telling ‘no’, we found that it was like committing a hara-kiri with only the employee as the martyr. A project where a strict background check is involved, that ‘no’ will be exposed in no time. These projects do a thorough paid search in the police database, in police stations he ever stayed and also with his previous employers and managers. So, a person who had undergone these cases or has any break in his career, can’t hide from anywhere. When we knew that a strict background check will be done by the company (client) and the ‘no’ could be exposed and that could even lead to Business Conduct Guidelines (BCG) violation of his own company; the obvious choice was to reply as ‘yes’ and to keep our fingers crossed.
We did not know how the foreign company would react. If only criminal cases mattered to them, they could reject him; if some other merits mattered, he would have still got the opportunity.
I asked him to speak to his manager and tell him the truth. Even though his manager had nothing to do with client’s background verification process, my only hope was if his manager supported him or backed him in discussion with his senior management, he could still be lucky. Luckily for him, his manager was aware of 498a misuse and told him “oh no, this is a matrimonial case, so this is a civil case, don’t worry.” He was afraid again, as he could not correct his manager saying ‘no, 498a is a criminal case’ (it is like telling your manager to consider yourself as a criminal when actually he doesn’t believe you are).
So, for him, the choice was only ‘yes’.
I don’t know what happened to him after that, whether he was selected for the new role or was rejected. But when I think about this today, I find so many different variables in that one decision. If his foreign client was sensitized about the misuse of Indian dowry laws, they would have still considered him; if they were not, they would reject his application. Since Indian MRAs have failed to reach out to the foreign audience through their blogs, it is a distant opportunity today to get sensitized clients. Blogs are powerful media that can bust many feminist myths. Twitter can only help to some extent but can’t give elaborate explanations or share cruelty stories. So, unless one’s manager backs him up, a man will always be at the receiving end in such career opportunities. He will be victimized years after cases against him.
Judiciary Approach And Career Implications
SC trying to restore strictures in 498a under the new CJI J Dipak Misra thus sends shockwaves through my spine. If an automatic arrest is restored in 498a and men are sent to jail for no reason, that will add to the loss of all such opportunities for men. Because, in such background verifications, there is another question that asks the employee if he was ever sent to jail for any reason. Imagine, you having a criminal case and additionally sent to jail for a few days; where will you stand in job opportunities?
Now consider ‘Marital Rape’ being criminalized. It is nothing but removal of the ‘exception 2’ in IPC 375. So, in case this happens, men will get a rape case under 375. It will not be termed as ‘Marital Rape’ as it is debated today but will be filed as ‘rape’. So, in all such career opportunities, these men (if they are still employed) will be asked this question and they will have to reply in affirmative. And when they say, they had a rape case against them and went to jail for that, that will be the end of all his career options.
MRAs may suggest that when we have no option, we need to say ‘yes’ and accept these career losses. Slowly and gradually our clients and foreign companies will also be sensitized and will accept these ‘rapists’ with them. But how long that will take? How many men will lose career options before that happen? Surely enough, if we want to have any positive effect on men, we need to start sensitizing ourselves from today because tomorrow may be very late.
Many foreign nations have a much fairer legal system where even the false accusers are punished. But in India, that never happens. All feminist crimes are sent under the wraps by corrupt judges under the guise of human rights. Additionally, foreign media constantly highlighting Indian rape cases and the failure of Indian MRAs to fight this effectively at a global forum through their blogs or articles in foreign media is a great concern.
Why Men Suffer
Another man called me after about two years of writing this article and I think I should add that here as well. He was joining a new company and made the mistake of not declaring his police cases beforehand. The form asked a question “Would you like to disclose any police case against you?” He thought he had the ‘option’ of withholding information, so he said, ‘no’. The result was rather shocking and unfortunate.
The company found that through the background verification process and he was rejected by the company on the day of his joining the new company. As a result, he ended up being jobless instantly. He left his old job and was not taken in the new job as well. If he had said, ‘yes’ in the initial opportunity, he might have lost the new opportunity instantly, but he would have still had the old job. That he would not have ended in a jobless situation.
Men, in general, do not express themselves well. With suppressing emotions all through their lives, men forgot to express their agony. In addition, men are also fearful of the consequences of telling their stories. When women can come in the open and even tell fake stories that they were raped or beaten by their husbands, men can’t. They fear from legal repercussion, they are advised by everyone not to open up in media as their ‘subjudice’ case may get affected. If these men win their cases, they still don’t come up because after winning a long-drawn battle, they get exhausted. They just want to relax. In addition, since their self-expression is limited, most men can’t tell their stories effectively. Men also do not consider many atrocities happening against them as atrocities at all. As a result, the stories of sufferings of men in general and Indian men in particular never come out.
If MR comes through, we will be heading to a time, when all divorce cases will also have a rape case attached to them. No one will see what went behind those cases, how much of career loss a man had undergone to fight those cases and with an added jail term. Everyone will only remember him as a rapist and only as a rapist.
If you ever believed that ‘rape is a rape’, are you willing to hire him in your company?