Is section 498A misused? Call it female chauvinism

Is section 498A misused? Call it female chauvinism

Is section 498A misused? Call it female chauvinism. A software couple started living separately after they realised that they were incompatible for each other.

I have been harassed, particularly by my sister-in-law. Her daughter cries all night. It is disturbing my mental peace,” stated a complaint filed by a woman at the Central Crime Station (CCS) a few weeks ago. The daughter of the woman’s sister-in-law is a two-month-old infant.

A software couple started living separately after they realised that they were incompatible for each other. Couple of weeks earlier, the wife found out that her jewellery was missing and filed a harassment complaint against the husband with the Women’s Cell.

A woman recently filed a complaint of harassment against her husband, mother-in-law, sister-in-law and neighbour. When asked about how the neighbour was responsible, the woman said that the neighbour was being influenced by the ghost of her deceased father-in-law.
These are a few such cases that were filed recently at the Women Cell in the Central Crime Station (CCS). This leads to the question -- Is section 498 A, which is intended to end dowry deaths, being misused? Yes is the answer if anyone has to go by the recent cases registered at the Women Cell in CCS. In fact, retired Supreme Court judge, Justice Srikrishna, too feels the same.
In a recent interview with a private channel, recalling his experiences as a Supreme Court judge, Justice Srikrishna said that the present developments reminded him of Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, which was intended to end dowry deaths and burning of brides. "But, now things have gone beyond that. As a sitting judge of the Supreme Court, I had come across cases where the lady was in Ahmedabad, one sister of her husband was in Australia, another sister was in Canada or something of that sort, and the lady would say they were harassing her..."
The cops at the Women Cell say that about 40 to 50 per cent of the cases under section 498 A, were registered with an intent to pressurise the husband to move away from his family. They added that in most of the cases, they would counsel both the parties.
“When a case of section 498 A is filed, an ACP cadre officer monitors the progress of the case. We will only book a case against one who is directly involved in the harassment case after our investigation. If the situation is grave, an immediate chargesheet is filed,” said a cop with the CCS.
On the flipside, there is ever-growing dissent that section 498 A is used as a weapon by women. Save Family Foundation and My Nation Foundation conducted an online survey over a period of time and found out that of the 1,00,000 men surveyed, 98% of men faced severe domestic violence at the hands of their wives and in-laws in the form verbal, physical, emotional, mental and financial abuse.
“Studies and research show that men suffer a lot more than women, with respect to harassment. And unfortunately men do not have an outlet to speak. Domestic violence against men, albeit a universal problem, is completely ignored by the society and the government. There are no laws to protect men from any form of domestic abuse. On the other hand, legal protections given to women have been designed to serve as weapons for legal harassment of men. The reason for the growing apathy and hatred against men in the society is the spread of radical feminist thinking in every sphere of public life, including the drafting of policies and laws,” said Parthasarathy, counsellor, Save Indian Family Foundation.
“A lot of awareness has to be spread over the subject. We say that India is a country with equality among women and men. But we still have a tendency to be biased over our judgment. It is a fair country towards women in a larger picture, and there needs a lot of awareness to be spread over the issue, as men have significantly no response from the government, or police on the same matter. This is completely not male chauvinism but something we miss and needs to be introspected,” he added.
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