Protecting Men’s Legal Rights

Indian men facing domestic violence at the hands of wife or female partner is a harsh reality. However, this fact is not perceived well in our Indian society due to a large number of women being vulnerable to domestic violence or abuse by male fraternity

Domestic violence is a grave issue, but men who face domestic violence in India have nowhere to go since the law doesn’t treat them as victims. Findings show when physical violence and threats against men by wife’s relatives are taken into account, an estimated 3 crore men are facing domestic violence in India. No one including our government has taken any stand on addressing it. Men in the Indian society are often considered as the strongest vis-à-vis their counterparts. It is a matter of common experience that most of these complaints under section 498 –A IPC are filed by the woman in the heat of the moment over trivial issues without proper deliberations. We come across large number of such complaints which are not even bonafide and are filed with oblique motive. At the same time, rapid increase in the number of genuine cases of dowry harassment is also a matter of serious concerns.

In majority of the countries, laws against domestic violence, harassment and fraud provide protection or justice to both men and women. Men can seek justice or relief from the abusive partner or wife. Whereas, in India, family violence against men is almost inconsiderate as there is no proper provision in any law to protect a man’s rights, who gets duped by his wife or in worst scenarios face domestic abuse. Also, there is a lot of social stigma towards men who do not come out in open and speak about the victimization. They are also ridiculed by their own family members and termed as coward.

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In most cases, the affected men do not run away from their abusers and apply for divorce, because they are either afraid of losing access to their children or are afraid of getting falsely implicated of dowry harassment. They also fear of huge financial losses and long drawn litigations, given the insensitive approach by the Indian judiciary towards a man’s appeal against his wife and her family. When falsely implicated by the female partner, the man and his family lose nerve fearing arrest, and instead of complying to the notice sent by the court, they go absconding trying to get an anticipatory bail in the meantime. These are the few mistakes committed by men and his family.

Such kind of situation arises due to the patriarchal thinking in the society that men are stronger than women and defend themselves. Its high time men understand self-worth and get aware of their human rights. Defence mechanisms that can safe guard a man in the court are as follows:

  • Record all conversations (voice, chat, email, letters, etc.) with those threatening and keep the originals in a safe place. It is advised not to produce the original evidence before anyone.

  • Collect evidence to prove that you have neither demanded dowry nor have taken it anytime.

  • Collect evidence to prove that she moved out of the bond of marriage for no valid reason.

  • This evidence will be fruitful in the time of getting anticipatory bail or notice bail from the court.

  • Lodge a complaint to your nearest police station, detailing about blackmailing, her false allegations, and her unbearable behaviour. Request in your complaint that police should take necessary actions to stop her from making threats and abuses immediately, also tell the police verbally and in writing along with available evidence that you are facing blackmailing and threats and mental torture from your wife and/or her family, as the case maybe. Filing such a complaint early on can save you from a lot of trouble later on if you are the first one to file this.

National Family Health Survey throws light on violence against men by women. Today, the number of men committing suicide has also gone up by double-fold. It should not be a surprise to ask for law to protect the legal rights of men.

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By Ishika Tolani, Mumbai based Senior Lawyer

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