On I-Day, men to demand neutral laws

Saturday, August 14, 2010

CHENNAI - When India celebrates its 64th Independence Day Sunday, around 100 men representing nearly 15 NGOs would press for the formulation of gender neutral laws at a meeting at the Yercaud hill station in Tamil Nadu.

The men’s rights groups would meet in the cool climes of Yercaud under the aegis of Save Indian Family Foundation (SIFF) to hotly deliberate social, judicial, health and other domestic issues affecting men.

They would also launch helplines and a National Litigant Bench (NLB) which will educate men involved in litigation at the meeting at Yercaud, some 380 km from Chennai.

“The worst sufferers of judicial delays are men. The NLB will help litigants in knowing their rights so that they are protected from undue judicial delays,” Uma Challa, president of All India Men’s Welfare Association (AIMWA) told IANS over phone from Hyderabad.

“With cases taking decades to get settled, litigants lose their prime youth in going to courts rather than engaging in productive work,” Manoj, one of the architects of NLB, told IANS.

The one common thread binding the men’s rights activists is that they all were involved in litigation mostly filed under women-centric laws or legal provisions.

“There is blatant abuse of legal provisions. If a person is found guilty, he should be punished. But when you bring in the element of monetary compensation for the complainant, then misuse of legal provisions kicks in,” Manoj said.

Legal provisions were framed to protect law-abiding women, but these are often misused, said Kumar V. Jahgirdar, a stock broker by profession and president of Child Rights Initiative for Shared Parenting (CRISP) based in Bangalore.

In India, divorces are turning out to be a tsunami for men. When divorce tsunami hits a man, he loses everything including his children, he said.

“As to children visitation rights, on an average a father gets around 2-4 hours once in 15 days which is very insignificant,” he added.

“Our demand is that laws should be applied on a neutral basis. For instance, law provides for a man to claim maintenance from his wife. But when that provision is sought to be invoked society ridicules men,” Challa said citing her own brother’s case.

“Not that my brother wanted to claim maintenance from his wife. It is just that we wanted to test the legal provision and he was ridiculed,” she added.

Suresh Ram of AIMWA added: “The women’s organisations are headed by radical feminists and women laws are influenced by them. In the name of individuals’ rights, families are destroyed.”

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August 17, 2010: 12:56 am

The Facade called Women Empowerment - Women Empowerment, Women Equality, etc. seem to be the buzzwords these days with more and more articles coming about increased awareness amongst women about their rights. Since so many decades we have been hearing of these campaigns and they are still running. Feminists still seem to cry about women rights and women empowerment and women equality. For the past almost three decades women empowerment is happening and crores of rupees are spent on it every year and yet if the need for the same is felt, then either something is wrong with the women or the empowerment.

Whatever be the cause, in all this efforts by the various lobbies and groups, the real cost of Women Empowerment is being borne by men for whenever they try to talk about their problems / rights / issues, they are subdued saying Women Empowerment is more important and their problems always take a back seat when it comes to implementing solutions. And that is the reason in the past 60 years, not a single rupee has been spent for men’s welfare.

One of the most active areas where women equality echoes is the institution of marriage in India. Marriage in India has always been projected as a “necessary evil” for women and in this process it is the men who are made to pay the price and are told to adjust / compromise at all times asking them to do so in the name of Women Equality. So what exactly is this equality, let’s look at it with a few examples,

If a wife wants to open joint account with husband’s salary account – then it is her right and she is preventing misuse. On the other hand, if husband wants to open a joint account with his wife’s salary account, he is interested in her money. And he needs to be sent to jail for Dowry harassment.
If wife asks his husband to stay away from his parents, then she does not want any interference from in-laws. When husband asks for the same from his wife to keep little distance from her parents he will be thrown out from the House as per the Domestic Violence Act.
If wife ridicules the husband for job then she is encouraging the husband to look for high paying job. When husband asks his wife to look for respectable job – this will be termed as mental cruelty and along with husband all his relatives including parents, siblings will be sent behind bars under IPC 498A.
If wife demands a car from husband then she is improving the standard of living. If husband says that they should have a car, then he along with his mother and sister will be sent behind the bars and will not be freed till the time he does not prove beyond reasonable doubt that he had not demanded.
If wife demands a flat in her name then she is creating security for the family. If husband says that their family should have a flat on joint name then again he is demanding dowry as flat from wife and in-laws to keep his parents and will be booked as offence punishable along with his mother and sister under 498A and the Domestic Violence Act.
If wife goes to media / her husband’s office to complain against husband and in-laws she is asking for justice. If the husband defends his point by replying to the allegations of wife then he is defaming the wife and in-laws and as per the Domestic Violence Act he should be thrown out of his own house.
When a couple gets gifts during the marriage from boy’s side then it is considered as stridhan and wife has full right on them, whereas if the husband is given some gift from in-laws then it is dowry and he does not have any right over it.
If wife asks the husband to cook meals then she wants husband to share household chores, whereas if the husband asks his wife to cook meal or help him in getting food articles from market then he is confronted with an argument that he should have married a cook not a lady wife.
If wife demands more conjugal relations with husband then it is her right. If husband wants the same from wife then he is committing marital rape which is an offense punishable with strict imprisonment.
If wife stays away from husband due to any dispute or her own wish then she is said to be protecting herself from cruelties of husband and in-laws. If husband stays away from wife to avoid further confrontation and let things cool down then he has deserted his wife and along with him all his family members are sent behind bars without any investigation under Section 498A of the IPC.
If wife wants to divorce and husband doesn’t want so it is normally granted happily by court. If husband wants divorce and wife doesn’t want then it is never given by court.
A wife can file innumerable complaints against husband, in-laws, and other relatives of husband in Crime against Women Cell including mother-in-law, married / unmarried sister-in laws, kids from in-laws family. Husband cannot file complaints against wife, her parents or relations. There is no Crime against Men Cell. He does not deserve it, he is supposed to be treated like this only tolerating abuse both from the wife and in-laws and abuse in the form of misuse of laws targeted against him.
Wife keeps the custody of minor child as she is considered to be the natural guardian / friend of the child. If husband wants to keep the custody of the child then he is said to be depriving the mother and child of each other’s affections.
If wife wants to manage the accounts and balances of money then she is a better manager and is concerned about the family. If husband wants to do the same job then he is a spend thrift with no concern about the family.
If wife has extra-marital affair then the husband has deprived her of love, affection and other happiness in life, and she will be rewarded for Bigamy as per New Domestic Violence Act. If husband has extra-marital affair he is a womanizer and is guilty of bigamy, and will be thrown out of house and all his bank account will be attached.
If wife take some items from home then it is her right. If husband take few items from home then it is a theft and wife does not hesitate to file a case and the system allows the same as well whereas if a husband tries to file a case he is made to run from pillar to post discouraging him to do so.
If wife plays with the child and takes the child to her parents place then she is concerned about child’s growth and providing with balanced family life. If husband plays with the child and want to take the child at times to his parents place he is accused of snatching the child from the wife and her parents and is charged with kidnapping.
If wife’s parents come and stay with the couple then it is their right. They have given their daughter. If parents of husband come to visit and stay with the couple then they have come to interfere in couple’s life and ask for dowry.
These instances are just illustrative and not exhaustive of the clear and visible existing bias against men which is carried out under the name of Women Empowerment and the women are enjoying it and so they actually never want to achieve true equality. For they know, the day it is achieved, then the Women Pamperment that is happening will stop. For women, women empowerment is a path where the journey itself is more intriguing and fruitful than the actual result and the stakeholders of the system also benefit a lot from this and thus want to carry it on, albeit at the cost of men.

The system and the society are not ready to make absolutely any efforts to stop it or give men their due rights. For they know it is easy to instigate women to take such steps and break their marriages. The more the marriages break, the more consumerism increases as more households are formed. Moreover people, especially women, tend to spend more to overcome a relationship stress. Increased consumerism directly helps the capitalists as their invested money rotates in the market and they gain, albeit at the cost of the society and age old values, morals and the family structure and the institution of marriage. The same money is used to fund various women empowerment schemes and promote anti – male laws and thus it forms a vicious circle which keeps sucking blood from the society and the sleep walking society is breastfeeding the monster by not objecting to the ongoing injustice.

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