“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice system everywhere. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly”. – Martin Luther King Jr.
Recently, two law students have knocked on the doors of the Supreme Court seeking to reexamine the laws for the offence against women. The petitioners have argued that it violates article 14 and article 15(1). Such provisions are discriminatory on the ground of gender mentioning the recent incidents like, Lucknow where the girl has been seen slapping the cab driver and the woman who accused Zomato delivery boy over delayed service, harming the reputation respect, honor, and dignity of men.
Recently, the Madras High Court recommended an amendment to the women’s protection laws to prevent it from misuse, abuse of innocent manhood. A Study report states that 75 percent of rape claims are false. Every one in four people faces false accusations and fake FIRS and suffers for a long time in prison despite being innocent. We can see that how section 498A is being misused to such an extent that the supreme court has labeled it as ‘legal terrorism.
In 2017 the men’s rights activists have gained substantial victory when the supreme court identified the victims of domestic violence cases. They stated that women are filing inaccurate cases of domestic violence.
In India, many laws have been enacted to protect women. Before the enactment of these laws, historically we can witness that women were subjected to violence and abuse. Therefore, legislators and lawmakers have made it clear to include some gender-specific provisions which will protect women. We can see that over a period of time there have been some modifications to the laws which further strengthened them, making those willing to file it even stronger. While the rationality of this is undeniably good, but the application of gender-based laws did not accomplish the purpose for which it was created.
Sexism is a global phenomenon and isn’t untouched by the same. But to assume that only women are victims of sexism is hypocritical. Men can also be victimized by sexism, through the misuse of laws against them.
On 27th October 2020, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has recommended that a person who has been charged with sexual offenses against women cannot reveal or disclose the identity of a person until proven guilty. This was one of the suggestions of a study conducted jointly by NHRC and The Centre for Women’s Development Studies, titled “Interrogating violence against women from the other side: An exploratory study into the world of perpetrators”.
It can be additionally seen that women are further not imagining the further consequences of registering a criminal complaint with their insulting husband and their family members. An uncalled arrest may ruin the chances of settlement and turn blameless victims into wrongdoers. The only way to stop false charges against men is by imposing rigorous imprisonment and punishment, including false inquiries made by the police.
Here are some of the incidents that how women-centric laws are being misused:
1. On 21st November 2020, there was an incident that happened in Chennai. A boy named Santhosh who was pursuing an engineering degree was accused of raping a woman. Both of them belong to the same community and lived in the same neighborhood by which their families decided to marry. The woman’s mother approached Santhosh’s parents and said he had impregnated her daughter and demanded immediate arrangement of marriage. When the Santhosh family denied the same Santhosh was charged with rape, following that he was arrested and remanded in judicial custody for 95 days. Later the wedding was also called off due to a dispute between two families. By the time he came out on bail, the woman had delivered a baby girl and it was revealed that the DNA of the baby did not match to Santhosh’s but another. The court based on DNA analysis acquitted him on 10th February 2021. Meanwhile, he had dropped out of college, his reputation was damaged.
2. There was a shocking incident that occurred in Amity Noida, where two girls asked 25-30 goons to beat up the victims violently over senseless parking issues and also filed a false molestation case against them. Whereas one the victim was declared to be dead and one was still fighting for this life in the hospital.
3. A landlord was falsely accused of rape allegations by a woman. Investigations revealed that the allegation was leveled after the landlord refused to satisfy her monetary favors which she had been frequently demanding.
4. In Uttar Pradesh, a 28-year-old woman and her 3 associates made false allegations of gang rape against her husband and two of his relatives. Police booked them for misleading them by making false allegations and her brother brother-in-law was a key conspirator who later got arrested, whereas the woman and two of her associates were still on run as of 18th November 2020.
Still, there are n-number of incidents where innocents are being falsely accused of a crime that they have never committed. While some laws protect women being subjected to abuse, violence, etc. Section 498-A was inserted in the Indian Penal Code, 1860 to shield women from the cruelty of husband and their relatives. Section 498-A states whoever, being the husband of the woman or the relative of the husband of the woman, subjects such woman to cruelty shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine. This section also includes dowry death. The Domestic Violence Act, 2005 purpose of this act was to protect women and children from a violent husband and their relatives. Children are also affected by domestic violence. These are some laws that are being protected in the interest of women. But there are some occasions where these laws are being misused for their own profit. With this regard there are possibilities that innocents may get punished and the main rationality of such provision will get defeated. Let us have a look at some of the instances.
In the case of Sejalben Tejasbhai Chovatiya V. State of Gujarat, the petitioner(the wife) stated that she was receiving a 40,000 salary per month from the business. She also stated that she was performing all the domestic/household activities. But in reality, she never received any salary. Because of this false evidence which was said by the petitioner, she had committed perjury. The court looked into the matter and said that laws that are being in favor of women are being misused by providing false evidence and thereby creating ambiguity in the case. The court dismissed the petition. In the case of Savitri Devi V. Ramesh Chand & Ors, the judge opined that the laws are created to protect women from domestic violence, cruelty, or any other violence, but these laws are being misused by involving far relatives, minors, and grandparents. When cruelty or domestic violence is committed by the husband or the in-laws or both, the case shall be filed against those people but not against the whole family.
Also, in the case Kanaraj V. State of Punjab where the judge opined that the relatives of the husband cannot be involved in a case unless their allegations are proved beyond a reasonable doubt. If those allegations are not proved beyond a reasonable doubt, then the relatives cannot be involved in the case for the fault of the husband. The judge also said that to get justice to dowry death, the family of the deceased tends to involve as many family members as they can. This kind of activity can affect the trial which will ultimately weaken the case against the wrongdoer. In the case, Sushil Kumar Sharma V. Union of India the court said that parliament did not come up with a law for the protection of ‘harassed husband’ and the court would have to operate within the confines of the law to eliminate false cases. These provisions are there to aid and protect women, but rather they are using assassin’s weapons.
DNA Evidence is being manipulated!
When a sexual offense is committed there will be a collection of evidence from the crime scene and victim’s body. The collection process includes recording the injuries from the victim’s body, collection of samples, DNA evidence, and any other pieces of evidence required. But in some instances, the DNA evidence is being manipulated and misused.
DNA examination has an unprecedented influence on the Criminal Justice System. It promotes the investigation and facilitates charging suspects to make crime easier. DNA results are like death notes for the accused. Most of the judges and lawyers rely on DNA evidence during the trial. This raises a serious concern where the accused are wrongfully convicted.
In some cases where the suspect or accused and victim are aware or both known to each other, here consent plays a very important role in determining whether the crime was committed. Sometimes the presence of DNA evidence may not be useful. But still, in those cases, some people are unlawfully convicted. Therefore, DNA evidence may not be probative or substantial.
A journalist named Deepika Bhardwaj fights for men’s rights in India. Her fight is against the misuse of section 498A and her attempt to persuade the authorities to rewrite the law. She also highlighted false rape cases being charged against the accused which he had never committed. After the 2012 gang rape in Delhi, lawmakers made a tough anti-rape law. Since then, there has been an increase in the registration of rape cases. A Survey report has said that in Delhi half of the rape cases were proved to be false. The Delhi Commission for Women has stated that nearly 53.2% of rape cases registered between 2013-2014 were found to be false. Justice Sadhna Jadhav of Bombay High Court opined that “It is extremely unfortunate that a person had to remain behind the bars for almost a year for being falsely accused of serious offense like rape”.
Society needs to be changed.
When there is a false case reported against an individual, people will cast serious doubts on the authenticity of genuine ones. This is unfair and injustice to those who are suffering or suffered in the past. Hence, as a society, we must be vigilant as to who we support. Regardless of region, religion, or ideology, the reporting of false cases is on the rise. This is unfair and injustice to a family man or any other individual who has been the victim of being falsely accused, which should not be the case with a society that is based on principles of harmony and legitimate co-existence. Law and society should run hand in hand. With a change in one, change in the other becomes crucial.
1. Every court should formulate rules for misuse of laws. And these rules should be followed by a lawyer and make sure that there is no misuse of laws.
2. Section 498A of the Indian penal code should be considered for the amendment because all genders must be equally treated in the eyes of law.
3. In 2018 Supreme Court decriminalized section 377 of IPC i.e., homosexuality and consensual gay sex, in the same way, society and lawmakers should consider punishment for gender-neutral offenses.
4. The existing legislation related to women-centric laws should be carefully scrutinized properly to remove the gaps.
5. If there is need a to make legislations to help the women victims, the lawmakers shall keep in mind that innocent’s male lives shall not be destroyed.
This article has been written by B. Jayprakash, 4th Year law student from Karnataka State Law University.
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