The Supreme Court has ordered that immediate arrest of the husband and his relatives must be initiated in dowry harassment cases without verifying the authenticity of the complaint.
We live in a country where around two-third of married Indian women are victims of domestic violence and as many as 70 per cent of married women in India between the age of 15 and 49 are victims of beating, rape or forced sex. More than 55 percent of the women suffer from domestic violence, especially in the states of Bihar, U.P., M.P. and other parts of northern India. There are gruesome reports of young brides being burnt alive or subjected to continuous harassment for not bringing home the amount of demanded dowry. They are also brutally beaten and tortured for not conceiving a male child. As a result, the suicide cases of such victimized women is increasing.
According to the above facts, it seems legitimate to have such a severe law to encourage more and more people to report cases of domestic violence but what about misusing the anti-dowry law by disgruntled wives against their husbands and in-laws? There is no question that domestic violence directed against women is a serious and bigger problem, but domestic violence against men is also increasing gradually in India.
The supremacy of men in the society makes one believe that they are not vulnerable to domestic violence. Battery of men by their spouse and family members has become a concerned issue. In India, compared to violence against women, violence against men is less frequent but it has already taken a deadly shape in many of the western countries by now.
Recently, hundreds of married men gathered in Chandigarh and Shimla to voice their opinion for men’s rights and protection against domestic violence subjected to them by their wives and other family members. It reflects the need for a special law for curbing domestic violence against men in present times.
On the other hand, there are also cases where women use their rights in making false complaints against their husbands with the motive of harassing them. Moreover, everyone including our government has failed to take any stand on addressing the violence faced by men. Women use Section 498A and Dowry Act as weapons to file a false complaint so as to attack their husband. Generally, the husband, his parents, and relatives are immediately arrested without sufficient investigation and put behind bars on non-bailable terms. Even if the complaint is false, the accused is presumed to be guilty until he proves his innocence in the court.
Domestic violence has been a legacy being passed on from one generation to another and proper action must be taken against the actual culprits. Though India has identified it as a crime but unfortunately, it provides relief and protection only to women. There are countless false allegations of domestic violence every year where the defendants have their lives turned upside down because of these charges. However, there is no charge against the accuser of the false domestic abuse case.
We cannot sit back, relax and let justice work its way to the solution. The decision made by the Supreme Court may abet women who are subjected to domestic violence but it may also lead to the rise in the number of false allegations against innocent men and their families. Therefore, it would be misleading to take strict actions without ensuring the veracity of the allegations.