THE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE LAW OF INDIA – A SHIELD OR A SWORD ?

Feminist organizations have unequivocally and unanimously hailed the implementation of the Domestic Violence (DV) Act in India. They claim that this law will empower victims and protect them from abuse.

 

Most people in their right state of mind would agree that domestic violence in a relationship is not acceptable. It is only fair that for their own mental and emotional health and for the well-being of the children, that the victims be protected from abusive partners.

 

On the face of it, the law appears to be a blessing for people in abusive or violent relationships.  However, a careful analysis reveals that, under the ploy of “women and children welfare”, this law is yet another misguided attempt to enact legislation to grant women legal supremacy over men and to create a society where men are deprived of their rights.

 

There are three fundamental problems with this law – a) it is overwhelmingly gender biased in favor of women, b) the potential for misuse is astounding and c) the definition of domestic violence is too expansive.

 

The DV act singles out men as perpetrators of domestic violence and assumes that only women are victims. As per this law, only a woman can file a complaint against her male partner. A man, who is a victim of domestic violence, has no rights under this law. The fact is that it has been comprehensively proven in numerous studies [please see references] that women are no less abusive as men in intimate relationships. Giving such sweeping legal powers to women while withholding protection to male victims is tantamount to systematic legal victimization of men. In the western world, the domestic violence laws are gender neutral and provide protection to the victims, both men and women. The fact that the Indian version explicitly prohibits any male victim to seek relief under this law defies all logic and is beyond comprehension.

 

The second significant flaw in this law is that it lends itself to such easy misuse that women will find it hard to resist the temptation to “teach a lesson” to their male relatives and will file frivolous and false cases. A similar trend is already being observed in the case of anti-dowry law (498a), which is being misused to such an extent that the Supreme Court has termed it “Legal Terrorism”. To illustrate how easy it is to misuse the DV law, consider the scenarios below. [She means wife/female live-in partner and he means husband/male live-in partner]

 

a)      If she demands any amount of money from him, for any reason whatsoever, he is legally bound to pay that amount in full, failing which he can be imprisoned. Under the pretext of preventing economic abuse of women, this law legalizes the extortion of money by women. Interestingly, if he asks for money from her, he can be jailed for that as well. Furthermore, he is responsible for paying the rent if the couple resides in a shared rented accommodation.

 

b)      As per the law, she retains the right to the residence. This is a very convenient means of getting control of the house regardless of whether she has any legal right on the property. Moreover, if he is booked under DV, he is responsible for paying the rent as well, even though he may not be allowed to live in the house or he might even be in jail.

 

c)      If she decides not to cook and wishes to eat out in a restaurant everyday, he cannot afford not to oblige, lest he invites the DV provision for “not providing food”, for which he could be jailed.

 

d)      If she has an affair and he tries to prevent her from meeting her lover, he could be punished under the DV act, as he is preventing her from meeting someone.

 

e)      He can be booked under the DV act if she feels that she has been insulted. Insult is a relative term, which is totally left to her discretion. Interestingly, if she insults and abuses him verbally or even physically, he does not have any legal recourse in this law

 

These are just some of the ways in which women can exploit men in a legally permitted manner. The fact that the complaint by a woman will be treated, prima facie, as “true and genuine” opens up a whole new realm of possibilities where innocent men will be accused and implicated in false cases, just because they refuse to give in to her unreasonable demands.

 

Most people readily agree that the law will be misused. Their counter arguments generally are

a)      The number of miuses will be very low OR every law is misused – The objective of any law should be to punish the guilty and protect the innocent. The persecution of innocents cannot be justified in any circumstances. As is the case with 498a, this law will be heavily misused in urban India.

 

b)      If she is happy, then why will she file a complaint – Ah ! So, the man exists at the mercy of the woman. If the wife wants to kick out old parents from home or wants to pursue an affair and should the man dare to object, she can get him incarcerated with alacrity. Any law that forcefully subjects a section of a society to conduct as per the pleasure of another section is deemed oppressive and should be vehemently opposed.

 

c)      There are other provisions to deal with the misuse of this law – The fact is that there are other legal provisions to deal with domestic violence as well. If a strict law is made for a specific purpose, then the provisions for dealing with its misuse should be in the law itself.

 

The third major flaw in this law is that it provides an all-encompassing definition of domestic violence and some terms (insults, name calling) are extremely subjective. The radical feminists claim that 70% of women in India face domestic violence which comes as no surprise as even an insult is considered domestic violence.  Interestingly, they are mum on how many indian men suffer domestic violence using the same criteria. This law strikes at the very foundation of marriage by promoting intolerance and litigation for petty domestic disputes. It is universally recognized that from time to time differences arise in a marriage and sometimes people, both men and women, behave in hurtful ways towards each other. Most people, though, are able to work them out and lead a more or less happy life with their loved one. However, this law makes it very easy to escalate the domestic problems in daily life to such a level that it eventually leads to a breakdown in marriage. Once a man has been accused of domestic violence for a something relatively minor (insult), while he might have been subjected to the same treatment from her, he will perpetually feel threatened by his partner and that is the beginning of the end. This law will lead to more divorces, broken homes and the children will pay the ultimate price by getting deprived of a pleasant childhood.

 

There are degrees of domestic violence and not all conflicts in a relationship can be termed as domestic violence. This law trivializes the issue of domestic violence by including minor differences in its realm and by explicitly denying protection to half of the population.

The law in its current form is grossly inadequate to tackle the problem of domestic violence. It imposes a lot of responsibility on men, without giving them rights. On the other hand, it gives lots of rights to women without requiring them to be responsible. At the very minimum, it should be made gender neutral, offering protection to both men and women. Also, provisions for stringent punishments need to be incorporated into the law to prevent misuse. Moreover, the law needs to be made more practical by differentiating between various degrees of conflicts and by unambiguously defining what constitutes domestic violence.

The fact is domestic violence is a serious problem and a neutral and unprejudiced law is needed to protect the genuine victims of domestic violence, irrespective of gender. The perpetrators of domestic violence need to be appropriately punished and dealt with. At the same time, protection cannot be withheld from real victims for any reason whatsoever, least of all their gender. One can be certain that there is something sinister about a law, when it intimidates and instills fear in innocent people. When a person who has not committed any crime, begins to fear punishment under the provisions of a law, it is not a law anymore – it is state sponsored terrorism.

 

 

References

1.      The US Govt. National family violence surveys of 1975 and 1985 (http://www.ejfi.org/DV/dv-21.htm),

2.        Various studies by univ of New Hampshire (http://pubpages.unh.edu/~mas2/ipv-violence-by-women.htm)

3.       “When She Was Bad – Violent Women and the Myth of Innocence”, written by Patricia Pearson, a self-described feminist

 

Advertisements

16 Responses to “THE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE LAW OF INDIA – A SHIELD OR A SWORD ?”

  1. Swarup Sarkar Says:

    Four Indian Women Behind the bar due to Ms. Renuka Choudhary’s “Diwali Gift ( DV Act).
    Few days Back one of SIF member told me Swarup , “ Till date Indina Women had been protected by their Near and Dear ones. Now after this AK47 ( Domestic Violence Act ) , they will be protected by so called Protection Officer , Lawyers, Police , Judges..etc”
    But She also asked me, “ Who will Protect Indian Women from those so called Protection Officers, Lawyers, Police , Judges ..etc”
    More at :
    http://indiatalking.com/blog/swarup/4460/

  2. Vayuputra Says:

    Another example of gender bias in legal issues, which has been there for quite some time – I am told that if a wife gets hurt in a domestic accident (and has to go to the hospital for treatment) or worse – dies, the issue becomes a medicolegal case and husband is the chief suspect who can be taken into custody.

    Interestingly if the husband gets seriously injured or dies in a domestic setting there is no responsibility on the wife, whatsoever. I am aware of a case where the man was mentally harrassed by the wife leading him to commit suicide (I’m sure there are plenty of these examples all around) but the wife goes untouched.

  3. Vinayak Says:

    All men are criminals by nature …

    all women are by their natural constitution incapable of any wrongdoing whatsoever, unless considered as mothers, sisters, sister in laws, etc. of men

    more at
    http://my2cw.blogspot.com/2006/11/all-men-are-criminals-by-nature.html

    regards

  4. Caprione Says:

    All problems are due to FUNDS from developed countries. This year alone USA tripled funds for India for women welfare.

    I strongly believe, it is the responsibility of funding country to acknowledge in-depth to know how funds flows inside India.

    If not these funds responsible for fomration of “legal terrorism” laws like 498a and foolish provisions of DV act, then tell me what it is?

    Inform these countries concerned responsible authorities by writing emails about these things. They can understand. Unless they know, they or you can’t do anything about it.

  5. sarigama Says:

    Modern women forgot that – this is the century in India, men started thinking twice about feeding/providing women or wife when they are not good by nature or arrogant.

    Never in any generation of India, men thought about feeding bad or arrogant wives as NOW. They simply fed women as culture. Gloablization changing men to think about their health and body. This is the century these arrogant women have to calm or soothe husbands to continue such feeding. BUT….I say …BUT..

    WRONG TIME MONKEY LAWS- IS WHAT RADICAL WOMEN DID BY HAVING DV ACT and 498a (corruption money shared among ministries to get the law) with surprising clauses which not only found on other planet (leave developed world).

    Now starts exponential drama of agitated urban society in India. From 2000 itself 42% divorce rate speed.

    SIF makes sure TO EDUCATE INDIAN MEN MORE AND MORE TO TAKE CARE OF THEIR HEALTH AS SUICIDE RATES OF MEN IN INDIA IS 3.2 TIMES WOMEN JUST AFTER MARRIAGE(1:1 before marriage). JUST IMAGINE WHAT WILL BE THE OUTCOME OF THIS GAME.

    DONT FORGET TO WRITE A CHECK OR MONEY ORDER TO WOMEN ORGANISATION NEAR YOUR HOME.

  6. valli56age Says:

    http://www.telegraphindia.com/1021027/asp/nation/story_1329371.asp

    Renuka’s [ FALSE ?? ] dowry case against her son in law ?

    | Sunday, October 27, 2002 |

    Renuka in dowry battle

    Hyderabad, Oct. 26: Congress MP Renuka Chowdhary has filed a complaint against daughter Poojita¢s in-laws, accusing them of harassment for dowry, says our special correspondent.

    Poojita was married to London-based opthalmologist Satya Sai Prasad a few months ago.

    Renuka called on police officials and chief minister Chandrababu Naidu recently after filing the complaint on October 18.

    Poojita’s father-in-law, Lajpat Roy, a British national, was arrested at the airport when he arrived in Hyderabad from London. [Note : elders are the MOST abused in such cases. Many innocent mothers / fathers have been arrested 😦 ]

    He was released on bail.

    The police had so far kept the issue under wraps.

  7. ramesh Says:

    All the indian leaders are double bastered and they are follow the policy of divide and quite. They (our leaders) now trying to divide the indian family on the gender basis.

  8. Suffering wife Says:

    It is this kind of anti social element people who have such biased opinion keep the weak to keep quiet, as they have to keep the family social status high, things within four walls blah blahs. Only the law should say and protect the abused, whether men or women. The abuse of women is any day any time is higher than that for men.

    Person who cares for family becomes the victim here. Abuse of one woman is caused by another woman, since the backboneless and lack of comitment and no diplomacy in handling and stupid idiot does not know where to keep whom. (between mother, sisters and wife)

  9. Oh, for God's Sake! Says:

    The reason that the Domestic Violence Act is gender biased in favour of women is because OVERWHEMINGLY abuse and violence directed against women. And, if any of the detractors of the Act have ever lived in real society they would know this!

    In spite the limitations of this Act, it needs to be recognized that India is finally acknowledging the inequality and violence against women problems in its society and taking a step forward towards preventing/addressing it. A small step maybe, but a step nonetheless.

    To all the misogynistic, chauvinistic, neanderthals out there…. Get over yourselves and welcome to the 21st century where hopefully we will together move ahead to a future of gender equality and a society without violence against women.

    JAI HIND!

    Editor –

    Dear psoodkapur,

    you seem to have the facts wrong. It is now universally recognized and numerous studies support the conclusion that men constitute a significant percentage of domestic violence victims. The DV Act is barbaric law which empowers vengeful women to wreak havoc on husband and his family. Unless there is a deterrant, this law will be misused like the dowry law (498a) which is acknowledged from everyone from judiciary.

    As for 21st Century, we need a society without violence towards men, women and children (as opposed to just women). Instead of calling names, you would hopefully broaden your horizons would gain fresh perspectives on these issues.

  10. Gender Human Rights Society » Blog Archive » House to wrong person Says:

    […] Domestic Violence LAW or throwing men out of costliest House LAW? By Sandeep Bhartia 9899329991 Can Supreme Court save Lakhs of homes of old persons from radical feminists LAWmaker of MINISTRY OF WOMEN AND CHILD DEVELOPMENT? Domestic Violence LAW or throwing men out of house LAW? The one of the big aims of making Domestic Violence (DV) LAW is to occupy the house by wife. The name DOMESTIC VIOLENCE is given to fool the public. The new DOMESTIC VIOLENCE law (from Oct 2006) sections 17 and 19, practically allows a wife to occupy any of the houses she had ever stayed in, and throw all men out of the costiliest house. The LAW says the house can be of a friend or relative or rented. It do not matter how much time back the wife stayed in the house. Persons save full life for making a house they can stay in the old age. With this LAW they can lose own build houses to the daughter-in-law. How big is the effect? With more then 10,000 (Ten thousand) complaints of matrimonial discord in Delhi alone last year, almost all of these now will use the DOMESTIC VIOLENCE LAW. The are many problems with this new LAW made by radical feminists at ministry of Women and Child development, one of the major ounces i.e., the house of friend or relative of husband in new Domestic LAW, is a major battle point between the Supreme court on one side and Govt. funded radical feminists, funded NGO’s and their press agents on the other.The case that triggered this fight, the house was on Husbands mother’s name, they allege that the son’s wife sent them to jail along with the son on the dreaded dowry LAW, arrest without investigation, non bailable, 498a ( mental torture by asking for dowry). It is alleged that she broke the lock of house and started living in the house. After coming from Jail, the Husband’s mother was not allowed entry in her own house. The wife’s lawyer argued that since Domestic violence act (from Oct 2006) made by ministry of women and child development ministry is already passed by parliament, there is no question of wife leaving the house of husband’s mother. Please read Supreme court Judgment about Domestic Violence Law 15/12/2006 S.R Batra V Tarun Batra. ,copy attached, things will automatically become clear. http://ipc498a.files.wordpress.com/2007/04/sc-reject-righttoresidenceunderdva-batravsbatra-2007.pdfSupreme Court said the house can be given to wife only if the house is owned by husband. In case of rented house husband has to pay the rent, otherwise this will lead to choes in society,.. the definition of shared household in the LAW … appear to be the result of clumsy drafting, but we have to give it an interpretation which is sensible and which does not lead to chaos in society.The feminist’s press and media agents were immediately all over the press and media. They say this Supreme Court judgment to let the old couple have their own house is step back for women empowerment. They are saying in TV that this defeats the purpose of making the Domestic violence act (from Oct. 2006). They want the wife to have the most expensive relatives or friends house that the wife lived in at any point of time during the marriage. Anti feminists organizations which are not funded by Ministry of women and child development like feminists organization, are obviously trying to fight feminists press agents over this. Check out http://presentindia.blogspot.com/2006/11/loopholes-in-domestic-violence-bill.htmlhttp://dvact.awardspace.com/index.php?module=index https://savemarriages.wordpress.com/2006/11/10/the-domestic-violence-law-of-india-a-shield-or-a-swordhttp://indiatalking.com/blog/swarup/4631/http://www.thepeninsulaqatar.com/Display_news.asp?section=World_News&subsection= India&month=December2006&file=World_News20061205164441.xmlLets pray that feminists funded by ministry of women and child development are defeated by the supreme court, for the sake of old persons houses. To ensure that our old persons and children do not suffer by fatherless families as wanted by Govt. funded radical feminists and LAW Makers of WCD. http://www.dvmen.org/dv-15.htm#restrainthttp://www.dvstats.com/ http://www.dontmakehermad.com/ Feminist’s propaganda. http://www.centredaily.com/220/story/35314.htmlFeminists will not let you know that it is for occupying the house. JOIN THE BETTLE GOING AT PRESENT TO SAVE THE HOUSE OF OLD PERSONS. To fight the above Supreme Court Judgment, and allow the wife to get the old in-laws property, even if she is not living in the said property, WCD has set up a panel, somehow some men’s rights activists came to know about his panel. So feminists got the news printed that the panel is to prevent misuse. What kind of results one gets with radical feminists women only panel is known. To make fool of public they will say in press the panel is to prevent misuse. DV (domestic violence) LAW should be applicable to husband’s house only. It is unfair to occupy the old persons, friends, and relative’s houses Legally by Domestic Violence LAW. Why should a friend or husbands relatives lose the house, if they allowed the wife of husband or the couple to stay in the house at any point in time in past or present. Why should friend or relative suffer by forcing him or her to allow women to enter the house, just because they allowed her to stay in house at some point of time in the past? Domestic violence Law, whose 2 important parts are related to getting the women inside the house of husband (man) or friend or relative, and removing any male members from the house in question. […]

  11. rin Says:

    After this enactment the same old EPIC battle like the reservation issue which is pending in the S.C. this will become another EPIC war and the politicians will utilize this when they are caught for their wrong and to utilize to divert the attention from exposing their wrongs by the media.

    For all litigants against this enactment, my personal view is that the principles and the hearings of the OBC reservation issue (includes the creamy layer) will be applicable. trust that any of the leading advocates takes up this issue and fight for the society. The principles favouring the lititgants favouring anti-reservations will hold good here also.

  12. rin Says:

    We have heard about the great Kannagi holding her anklet and burning the MADURAI CITY for her husband.

    But with this enactment, the Modern day Kannagi is one, who will be holding the BOOKLET of DV ACT and burn the country against her husband/live-in partner.

    KUDOS TO THE AUTHORITIES WHO ENACTED THE LEGISLATION WITHOUT LOOKING TO THE AFTER EFFECTS THE COUNTRY WHICH IS BOUND TO FACE

  13. bow Says:

    Now the feminists and the NGOs supporting the women, may protest their demand to remove the KANNAGI HOLDING HER ANKLET statue at MARINA in Chennai be replaced with a MODERN KANNAGI WITH BOOKLET OF DV ACT statue

  14. Sivan Says:

    Shoot the feminists.

  15. Deepu Says:

    http://498a.wordpress.com/2008/03/11/raghavendra-hospetkarnataka/#comment-7653

  16. Smriti Kalra Says:

    In India, many women are still suffering and when truth is about to be revealed unfair methods are used by the opposite party by blaming the lady unnecessarily. It may happen that actually husband has committed a crime of bigamy and inorder to hide his reality talks nonesense about his first wife to everyone – that she had an affair and did not cook etc, etc. The reality could be that she might have lost her child when he had hit her and he went ahead and got married to another lady and had a child and to hide the facts continued to blame her and those who know the facts may be keeping silent because they themselves lack the knowledge of the facts or perhaps are not aware of the fact – what is bigamy – it has nothing to do whether a lady cooks or not !! In the 21st century, cooking is a responsibility to be done by both together and it is no more only a lady’s job. If anyone still believes in such a concept, this shows the conservative and traditional thought pattern and also shows the lack of awareness of what is called Gender Discrimination. A family who still believes in such concepts surely is discriminating against women and perhaps are not aware of women rights and legal concepts.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: