‘Harassed’ husbands plan struggle against biased laws

August 15th, 2009 - 8:00 pm ICT by IANS  

Shimla, Aug 15 (IANS) A group of men Saturday observed Independence Day in the hills of Shimla by planning their struggle for equal rights for men and women and to make marital laws gender neutral.
“We, around 100 men, are here to propagate and support the cause of harassed husbands. We are demanding equal rights for men and women by making marital laws gender neutral,” Kumar Jahgirdar of the Bangalore-based NGO CRISP told IANS.

Children’s Rights Initiative for Shared Parenting (CRISP) claims to work on furthering the right of children to remain connected with both parents after a divorce.

“Our laws generally favour wives — from the custody of children for divorced couples, allegations of domestic violence to dowry harassment. We are planning to intensify our agitation against hypocrisy, injustice and family breaking,” Kumar added.

The Save Indian Family Foundation (SIFF), an NGO fighting for men’s rights and family harmony, had organised the meeting of activists working for men’s rights. It runs 100 helplines across the country to help men in distress.

“We are demanding freedom from the draconian provisions of Section 498 (A) (mental and physical harassment of a married woman) of the Indian Penal Code, which the Supreme Court termed as legal terrorism. This section is totally unconstitutional,” said Virag Dhulia, a senior member of the SIFF who was attending the conference.

“The rise in the number of cases registered under Section 498 (A) shows that the act has not been serving its purpose. It’s more used for settling scores than to protect women.”

According to him, the Protection of Women Against Domestic Violence Act is not gender neutral.

“We’re no women haters. In fact, we are demanding equal rights for both men and women by amending the domestic violence prevention law. There should also be a separate men’s welfare ministry on the lines of the women and child welfare ministry,” said Dhulia, who is working with a Bangalore-based IT firm.

Niladri Shekhar Das, a participant from Delhi, said: “Men are tortured by their wives and have no platform to redress or lodge a complaint. In some of the cases, wives are extorting money by lodging false dowry cases.

“The centuries-old laws have many loopholes that are exploited by unscrupulous women and their families,” he added.

CRISP founder president Kumar Jahgirdar, who is fighting for shared parenting of his daughter from his ex-wife, said: “Joint custody is the best outcome for children whose parents are separated.”

According to data available with SIFF and CRISP, during 2008, 9,000 divorce cases were filed in Delhi, 7,500 in Mumbai and 5,000 in Bangalore. The figures were collected from family courts in the three cities.

Related Stories

    Posted in Uncategorized |