University of Allahabad
The popular maxim ‘Ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat’ which narrates as guilty until proven innocent. Though, we homo sapiens crafted present society in such a manner where we decide criminal without proven guilty by law. In quotidian, the men are criminal. As, a society is always dominated by male which can be said true by going through all our history books. Talking of present we couldn’t decline the crime rate against women is increasing in graph. While, the act against women make ignorance to the crime done against men. Women are hiding behind the curtains of favouring misogynist laws. And, when it comes to law in India, we don't have the laws favouring for men at all.
Distinguishing the Gender Equality, does it only means equality for the women?
In eyes of law clearly not! Article 14 of the Indian Constitution gives the right to equality before law. Constitution sees men and women with same eyes. So, the gender equality is for all which includes men also. In our day to day life we hear cases about violence against women, whether it sexual harassment, dowry cases, etc. but unfortunately crimes against men are not often reported or even discussed in India.
In India we have laws for crime against women whether is rape, domestic violence, dowry etc. and no doubt we often raise our voice against these crimes against women but however we fail to acknowledge that even men can be victims of such kinds of crimes too and today if we really preach about equality, then does that equality even exist?
Neither laws support crime against men
It is presumed that cruelty is always done by superior person to his inferior and it is the mind-set of the society. Dealing with Indian legislature, in chapter 20-A of IPC talks about cruelty done by husband and his family upon wife and instead of cruelty done by person (which includes both man and woman). There is no measuring standard set for cruelty against husband and this had benefitted wife and she can put her husband and her in laws behind bars up to 3 years and fine.
Other section of IPC,1860 such as 354A to 354D and 375 that "only a woman can be the victim of the offences as stated in these sections and a man would be the perpetrator." Indian penal code Section 377 is the only section which has mentioned about men that is Unnatural Offences. The Protection of Domestic Violence Act, 2005 itself states that it is an act favouring women who have been allegedly subjected to the domestic violence. If our legislation will treat women’s issue this will be the violation of Article 14(5) of our Indian Constitution.
And because of these women favouring laws, men have to face false accusations and trials as some women use these laws as a tool to harass the men which is a harsh reality that society needs to accept. Tears of a woman are visible to each legislation but every legislation become blind when it comes to that of male's tears.
False accusation of sexual assault
In the survey conducted by economic times was called ad Synovate survey, where it was found that 19% of the 527 men surveyed in several metros of the country has claimed that they had faced sexual harassment. In another survey, 51% of the 527 men surveyed in several metros of the country claimed that they had faced sexual harassment at work. Another similar survey conducted by a company called Viacom 18 in 2013 in which it was found that almost 43% of male corporate professionals were victims of sexual harassment by their colleagues.
Two year back Metoo Movement happened which exposed several men from high position official to worker that they sexually assault the co-worker women. Though, there was dark side of the metoo movement. There were cases where women had taken advantage of this movement and falsely accused the men. According to research done by the Pew, a majority of contestant which were both men and women said that the #Metoo movement has made it harder for men to know how to interact with women in the workplace and it make them insecure.
People easy dismiss such concern and believed the women in all the cases. They said it’s joke that man are afraid and weak. But, when false allegations happened, they have to cost the careers and reputations as a price for the crime which they haven’t done. In some cases, it leads to men suicide. This go unnoticed and women are never charged for abetment to suicide or false accusation.
The false charge of the sexual assault has not left men from the star footballer Cristiano Ronaldo to Chief Justice of India ‘Ranjan Gogoi’. In April,2019 women had accused Senior most judge of Supreme Court of India, Ranjan Gogoi of sexually harassing her while working as a Junior Court Assistant. However, the panel headed by Justice Indu Malhotra founded that there was no substance in the sexual harassment allegations and it was false allegation. But it tears down and made question mark on the reputation of Senior most judge.
Although, an accused of rape has to be proved in the eyes of law. In case of women, a rape kit test can be proof enough. While a male’s accusation against a woman, whether in response to a woman’s accusation or not, would be entirely more difficult to prove and a false accusation risks committing crimes of perjury and giving false statements to police.
Our judiciary works a lot to protect women, which is a great feat no doubt but we should also not neglect the problems faced by men.
Now with the passage of time, Indian judiciary have started discovering the loophole and have produced certain pronouncements that aim at curtailing this menace.
In Sushil Kumar Sharma v. Union of Indiaknown as one of the historical cases, the supreme court held section 498A IPC as legal terrorism. The Supreme Court said that the amendments made in 1985 by the government of India for the protection of women’s against the dowry and harassment and to empower the women’s but the strictness of law has given advantage to women’s to file a false case against their husbands and it is also very sorrowful to see that the law which was made to protect the rights of women are being misused by them only for their advantages.
In many cases, parents force the women to get married and the woman gets married and later she realizes that she cannot survive anymore and wants to go back to her parental house thus she misuses the laws linked with dowry demand and thus the men get accused falsely, that is why the law should not be gender- biased and both the parties should give equal arrangement to resolve the matter and if this does not happen then the men will be deprived of his right to live dignity in a country like India.
In a recent judgement in case of Vinita Saxena v. Pankaj Pandit, "Supreme Court was of the opinion that the concept of cruelty varies in terms of time, place and individual. Courts have even seen cases where the wife and her relatives have tried to take advantages of dowry and protection from domestic violence laws to take advantage and threaten the husband and his relatives."
Now what are the grounds of cruelty- The term cruelty is very subjective, thus there is no straight formula to decide the definition of cruelty, it varies from case to case, in one case what may be cruelty may not be in another. Looking to the glance of Supreme Court judgements the judges consider injurious approaches, accusations, complaints not the harmful acts as cruelty. What is necessary to be established is that the one party in the marriage had misbehaved without looking into the consequences, and the other party could not endure it.
Following principles laid down by the judiciary constituting the grounds of cruelty against husbands in India are as follows-
In Krishna Banerjee v. Bhanu Bikash Banyopadhyay, it was held "Humiliating the husband by the use of derogatory remarks in presence of family or friends".
In Satya v. Siri Ramin this case, the wife terminated her pregnancy without the consent or without informing her husband and she did it this twice so the court held that If the wife consistently and deliberately refuses to satisfy her husband's natural and legitimate craving to have children, reduces him to despair and affects his mental health, the wife is guilty of cruelty.
In case of Dr. N.G. Dastane Vs. S. Dastane, SC held that although physical cruelty is presumed to be done mainly by husband being the powerful but mental cruelty can be done by both husband and wife. Even wife can do mental cruelty on husband.
After marriage the wife did not do any household work, and when asked she refused then also the husband did not bother. The in -laws recommended the husband so stay separately with his wife from his family when he went to his in-law’s house but he did not accept this and because of this, the in-laws did not allow him to have sexual intercourse with her and also during their stay together the wife never allowed him for sexual intercourse and when he attempted, she used to become furious. Therefore, the court held that It amounts to cruelty if without any sufficient reason the wife denies for physical relationship in Anil Bhardawaj v. Nimlesh Bhardawaj
Other instances may include: -
Taunting her husband in reference of his physical incapability’s, opting for second marriage without filing an application for dissolving her first marriage, extra-marital affairs, deliberate acts that husband does not like, disobedience, breaking mangal sutra before the husband and his relatives, threats to leave marital home, threats of commission of suicide, abusing the husband in presence of office staff members etc.
Psychological terrorism is known as cruelty against husband in terms of mental illness. Thus for the same the following are the examples-
Harassing husband for constant demand of money, continuously sending money to her family members without husband permission, continuing her illicit relations with her pre-marital boyfriend or developing extra marital relations, Showing uncontrollable behaviour etc.
Legislative protection given to husbands
Due to growing misuse of various laws like rape, domestic violence, dowry there are various protections given to husband. The husbands can file a counter case under following sections-
• Under section 191, I.P.C,1860 for giving false evidence
• For the fabrication of evidence under section 192, I.P.C,1860
• Under section 196, I.P.C,1860 for using false evidence knowing it to be false,
• Under section 209, I.P.C,1860 for dishonestly making false claims in court.
• And under section 211, I.P.C,1860 for the false charge of offence made with intent to injure.
It is high time that we should start working and focusing on equality. We need to understand and as a society need to raise our voices against the crimes against men. We always have a perception that mens are very strong and are not emotional. This mind set of our society needs to be changed.
Even now our courts are recognising the crimes against men and even there is a Criminal Law Amendment Bill, 2019 which is pending to make the crime of rape as gender neutral.
There should be strict punishment for those who are misusing them as everybody is equal in the eye of law.
False allegations result in the wrongful confinement of innocents and because of which they have to spend the precious time of their life in confinement resulting in the loss of their lives. As per the Hindu Marriage Act, the gifts which are exchanged at occasions are termed as streedhan and the wives have sole power on them but when the marriage turns sour it gives the wife a scope for making baseless allegations against the husband. No doubt that women are subjected to cruelty but at the same time the law should not be misused. Both the party should be given equal chance to heard.
The masculinity and attitude towards men needs to be changed and as a society we need to accept, help, support and acknowledge the problems faced by men and hence there should be no gender biasness.