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Unjust Humanity
Virag
Making it compoundable won't stem dowry law misuse 04 September, 2014
Ever since the emergence of the men's rights movement in India, the discussion of dowry law misuse has always been there. Starting with media, followed by society and the Govt. it became a common place discussion to say that the dowry law is being misused.
But still deeply ingrained misandry in the system still forced them to view the lying women as "victims" and the accused husbands as criminals worthy of punishment. What, it failed to occur to them that the cases are false and the allegations are baseless, vague and drawn straight out of a harassment template. The victim isn't the woman, it's the man.

In order to understand the magnitude of the adverse impact of the misuse of dowry law, the Govt. needs to interact with those men and their families who have been at the receiving end due to the misuse of dowry laws and their views should form the basis of any amendment truly aimed at stemming the misuse. And the Govt. also needs to talk to the organizations working for men's welfare and creating awareness about men's issues like the Save Indian Family Foundation.

However, we do not see that happening. The amendments are coming from recommendations given by the Law Commission of India and the Law Commission has consulted the States and women organizations. It's like asking Taliban how to control terrorism.

The women organizations are the ones who have supported women in filing false cases and asking them steps to stem the same clearly shows that the Govt. has no real intention of stemming the misuse but just wants to save its face in wake of glaring criticism by men's organizations.

Men's rights activists never demanded the law to be made compoundable in first place. They have always demanded the law to be made bailable and non-cognizable so that arrests can stop in dowry cases and the threat of arrest cannot be used to coerce a man to either take his abusive wife back or cough out a huge sum of money to separate from her.

However, that is exactly, what the dowry law is used for. First, men get abused by their wives and in-laws to the core and then when still the wife can no longer bend the husband as per her whims and fancies, and she wants to end the marriage, she goes and files a dowry case against him so that she can extort money from him.

Save Indian Family Foundation was requested by the Law Commission of Karnataka, way back in 2009 August to submit a research report on the misuse of dowry laws. Save Indian Family Foundation submitted a report titled- "The Perils of Section 498A of the IPC, A Report on the changes required" and in this report the misuse of Section 489A, its impact and many other details were explained which clearly justified the demand of making Section 498A bailable and non-cognizable to arrest its misuse.

The infamous dowry law of India has not only snuffed the lives of men, which reflects in the suicide statistics, but at the same time not all such suicides are harmless. In some cases, the husbands preferred to kill their abusive wives before committing suicides. This social trend is dangerous and its root cause must be fixed which, is frivolous arrests, of innocent men merely because it is a complaint of dowry harassment and a case of abuse of a man in a marriage.

Converting such cases into dowry cases owing to the social hysteria created by half-baked journalists around the concept of dowry is the reason we see so many dowry cases being reported. And they get filed because arrest is very easy in these cases. Even recently, in a judgment by Supreme Court, this nature of the dowry law was examined and the Govt. was asked to act upon.

While, it's good that the Govt. did pay heed to the fact that the dowry law must be overhauled but if arrests in dowry cases are a problem then it is but obvious that it is due to the non-bailable and cognizable nature of the law that needs to be addressed and not compoundability.

If a woman can get her husband arrested on demand using the dowry law, coerce him to a settlement and then withdraw the case at will, then it will only aggravate the problem for men and not reduce it. The data available from Andhra Pradesh is a clear indicator. After the dowry law was amended and made compoundable in the state of Andhra Pradesh in 2003, the number of dowry cases have skyrocketed and this clearly shows that there is no correlation between the so-called "dowry menace" and dowry cases being filed. It's just that the existing social hysteria about dowry is used as a convenient practice to make it extremely difficult for men to come out of abusive marriages.

With these above thoughts in mind, men's rights activists severely condemn the move of the Govt. to amend the dowry law to make it compoundable, as suggested by latest media reports. Making it compoundable will never stem the misuse, it will proliferate it.

Misuse of dowry law can be stemmed only by making it bailable and non-cognizable. As far as arrests are concerned, until and unless the dowry law isn't made completely toothless, men must continue to suffer.

While I am not sure if that's the covert agenda behind allowing the law to be misused against men, but if any welfare of men is intended, we must scrap the dowry law and till the time it exists, it should be made bailable, non-cognizable and women who misuse it must be punished.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
About The Author
Virag R Dhulia, a software professional, has been a prominent men's rights activist. He has been engaged in creating awareness about the abuse of men and their families through anti-male and gender biased laws like Section 498A, Domestic Violence Act etc. He has been instrumental in networking with fellow men's rights activist both across India and abroad and has played key roles in organizing events to create awareness about abuse of men by the society. A book titled, 'The Secrets of Manhood' authored by Virag has been published. This book is a collection of short articles which focus on issues and problems faced by men and how men are victims of social stereotypes.
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