Yellow Journalism, T.K.Rajalakshmi and Frontline

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Here is a great example of feministic yellow journalism piece “The real victim” written by Mz. TK Rajalakshmi for the Frontline magazine 

http://www.frontlineonnet.com/stories/20080801251504600.htm

 

The farce that took place on June 25, 08 in the name of consulting men’s groups about women protection laws, has been adequately exposed in the media. The Save Indian Family NGO groups that protested the UNIFEM sponsored charade did so in a peaceful and dignified manner, while exercising the rights afforded to them in a democracy. That Renuka Chaudhary, the minister for WCD, met with the groups protesting the poorly drafted laws, is in itself not extra-ordinary. After all, she is an elected representative of the people. Listening to the grievances of the citizens affected by poorly drafted laws is, by definition, her duty.

 

Dear Mz. TK Rajalakshmi – you are either an ignoramus or a hypocrite, or worse still, both. The order passed by the Delhi Police Commissioner YS Dadwal is not a provocation for protests. It is not a new rule or law invented by the Commissioner. This is a restatement of the historic Indian Supreme Court judgment in “Joginder Kumar Vs State of UP, 1994”. In fact, all the arrests that have been taking place throughout the country under ipc498a in the last several years are in direct contravention of this landmark Supreme Court judgment. Any entity, however politically connected like AIDWA, or taxpayer funded executive body like NCW, that supports illegal arrests under any guise, is in direct contempt of the Supreme Court of India.

 

But the fascist minded commies from AIDWA (All India Democratic Women’s Association) and their supporters like the author of this yellow journalistic piece, think that they are beyond law. AIDWA is an euphemism. These commie “outfits” DO NOT believe in democracy. They believe in and support state sponsored tyranny and confiscation. They think they can cow down the judiciary and the police by hooliganism, breaking chairs and burning buses.

 

Sorry! Not this time!! There is enough civil society that is fully educated about their rights. And they will vigorously fight to assert those rights, even in the face of intimidation from corrupt quarters.

 

The whole game of dowry harassment played by the dishonest and rather evil radical feminist organizations is adequately exposed by the noted women’s rights activist Madhu Purnima Kishwar. The link is provided below for those honest enough to understand the true picture –

http://www.indiatogether.org/manushi/issue148/dowry.htm

 

It is high time we expose the fraudulent idea of “dowry death” as a special category. This is an invention of the evil radical feminist “outfits” to further their agendas. All statistical analyses indicate there is no significant statistical difference between the numbers of deaths of unmarried and married females. In fact, the total number of deaths of married females is significantly less (about half) compared to the number of deaths of married males. Presuming the husband and the extended family to be guilty in any married woman’s death is a barbaric and uncivilized act. The existence of 304-B in our legal regime is a repudiation of the centuries old jurisprudence developed throughout the world. No person who claims to believe in democracy and rule of law, in good conscience, can support this abomination. We demand scrapping this law and overturning all the illegitimate convictions obtained under IPC 304-B. If there is a death of a person under suspicious circumstances, then that death should be treated as a suspected murder, investigated and the perpetrators brought to book. That is how it done in any civilized and democratic country.

 

Finally, this piece of yellow journalism ends with an astounding and misleading (and grammatically incorrect) statement – “The campaigns against the misuse of the law has to have some substantive basis, but at least for now, there does not seem to be any.”

 

Dear Mz.Rajalakshmi – there are several sound and substantive bases for amending these idiotic laws. Let me just give you one for your benefit – “In the last four years alone more than 1,20,000 innocent women in all age groups have been arrested under the most misused legal provision – ipc498a. The arrested included  ninety year old great grand mothers, pregnant sisters, minor and unmarried girls and women with small children.”

 

This alone can be a substantive basis for amending these idiotic laws. If you have the intelligence, inclination and honesty, you will surely be able to learn of several other substantive bases on which the Save Indian Family Foundation is waging its campaigns for the amendment of these intentionally poorly drafted laws. Best of luck!

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13 Responses to “Yellow Journalism, T.K.Rajalakshmi and Frontline”

  1. Uma Says:

    Here is the letter sent to the Frontline editor on this misleading and dishonest article appearing in Frontline.
    ==============================================
    Dear editor,

    I, Uma Challa, President, All India Forgotten Women, am compelled to write this letter in response to the article entitled “The real victim” by T.K. Rajalakshmi.

    The article is replete with misrepresented facts and misleading statements. To top it all, the author ends the article by saying, “the campaigns against the misuse of the law has to have some substantive basis, but at least for now, there does not seem to be any.”

    Such irresponsible statements can only be made due to utter ignorance or ulterior motives. I present below, important facts that explain why MEN AND WOMEN are fighting against weapons of legal terrorism like IPC Section 498A (refer to the picture of Save Indian Family Foundation protest published in the article).

    Indian “women-protection laws”, which are in essence wife-protection laws, assume that wives are always honest victims and therefore require no proof of their claims before initiating action against the accused. The draconian law, IPC Section 498A, in particular, allows arrest of the husband and his relatives solely on the basis of the complaint of a wife, without any proof or investigation. Further, the accused are assumed to be guilty until proven innocent.

    Added to these blind assumptions, lack of punishment or penalty for misuse of the law has made IPC Section 498A a dangerous weapon in the hands of unscrupulous wives to harass husbands along with elders and women in the matrimonial home. Consequently, every five minutes an innocent person is arrested under IPC Section 498A. Several sources indicate that 98% of cases under IPC Section 498A are filed only to settle personal scores when there is martial discord.

    Every year 30,000 innocent women are arrested (i.e. one innocent woman every 20 minutes) under IPC Section 498A. Everyday, minor girls, pregnant women, married and unmarried sisters, ailing mothers and even aged grandmothers are being sent behind bars and prosecuted based on mere allegations. Unmarried women have ended their lives unable to bear the humiliation of being arrested and rejected by prospective alliances. Lives of married women are adversely affected as well due to the unbearable stress caused by false prosecution for 7-10 years.

    Every year, close to 4,000 innocent senior citizens are arrested (i.e. one innocent elderly person every 2.5 hours) under IPC Section 498A. Many retired elders have been ill-treated, thrown out of their own homes and deprived of their meagre means of sustenance by greedy or vengeful daughters-in-law. Senior citizens are further harassed through false cases of domestic abuse and dowry harassment and denied mental peace during the last leg of their lives. Aged parents have to helplessly watch their sons lose their youth, their health, their jobs, all their earnings, and sometimes even their lives, as they are mercilessly tortured by their estranged wives, aided by advocates, the Police and the Judiciary. More and more elderly parents are unable to depend on their sons for the fear of false dowry harassment cases by resentful daughters-in-law. It is not surprising that the World Health Organization, in its report on India cited IPC Section 498A as one of the major reasons for the “Increasing Abuse of the Elderly in India”.

    Children are not being spared from the suffering either. Irrespective of the reasons for marital discord, wives are filing criminal cases of domestic abuse and dowry harassment to deny children access to their fathers, causing great pain to the fathers and children. Children are also being arrested under false charges of dowry harassment, and imprisoned along with older family members. In other cases, children are being torn apart from their parents who are hauled away by the police in front of their eyes, causing indelible scars and fears in their young minds.

    Falsely accused men have to fight the highly corrupt state machinery on behalf of the women, children and the elderly in their families, at their own personal expense, all the while carrying the presumption of guilt on their heads. Many young men lose their employment either because they are forced to appear in court frequently, or they must often travel to a different city or state to fight their cases, or because they are unable to focus on their professions while fighting the cases.

    Where would these men gather the strength and the resources needed to fight the corruption and public prosecution effectively? If the accused men are already indigent and cannot afford the best defense money can buy, their fate is sealed. Many men who are threatened or
    accused under false cases end their lives like Abdul Rahim of Karimnagar, Rajesh Hasmukh Desai of Ahmedabad or Pushkar Singh of Lucknow. In some cases, they end up taking the lives of their spouses before ending their own lives as was seen in the more recent case of Amit Budhiraj.

    It is clear that the so-called “women-protection laws” are only destroying families and creating havoc in the society. It is these sufferings of men, women and children that form the basis for our campaign against draconian laws like IPC Section 498A. However, radical feminists, from organizations like AIDWA and NCW, behave like the proverbial ostrich, keep churning out false statistics and spread lies, paranoia and alarmism to justify the existence of the organizations and to attract international funding to sponsor legal terrorism.

    Radical feminists are desperately trying to draw attention away from the reasonable amendments that organizations like All India Forgotten Women recommend in the interest of justice, fairness and true gender equality.

    By publishing biased articles like “The real victim”, Frontline is doing huge disservice to the society. It would behoove Frontline to publish an unbiased article correcting the misrepresented facts and misleading statements in the article authored by T.K. Rajalakshmi.

    Thank you.
    Uma Challa
    President
    All India Forgotten Women

  2. Ram Balak Says:

    Dear Frontline Editor,
    Feedback on one of the most irresponsible remarks that independent India has seen in its media …………..

    “The campaigns against the misuse of the law has to have some substantive basis, but at least for now, there does not seem to be any”

    —- please do a Google search and find truth yourself……….but please let me know……

    What is/was the substantive basis for claiming every husband demanded dowry?

    What is/was the substantive basis for claiming every husband is a criminal?

    What is/was the substantive basis for claiming every husband family is a criminal family?

    What is/was the substantive basis for claiming every wife is a daughter of Raja Harish Chadra and will never lie?

    What is/was the substantive basis for claiming every man is not a son of Raja Harish Chadra and will always lie?

    What is/was the substantive basis for not punishing misusers of 498a?

    What is/was the substantive basis for changing agenda of the meeting at very last minute?

    What is/was the substantive basis for not allowing men to speak in the meeting?

    What is/was the substantive basis to talk about ragging in the meeting?

    What is/was the substantive basis that minister herself came late for more than hour?

    What is/was the substantive basis for Girja Vyas leaving meeting within 45 minutes?

    What is/was the substantive basis for Renuka telling all that she is happy that she is not having Beta?

    What is/was the substantive basis for Rahul for not giving microphone to men groups?

    What is/was the substantive basis for arresting anyone for any crime without investigation?

    What is/was the substantive basis for taking TADA/POTA back?

    What is/was the substantive basis for continueing with 498a even after Malimath committee recommendation?

    What is/was the substantive basis for continuing with 498a even after Supreme Court calling it “Legal Terrorism”?

    What is/was the substantive basis for not including men, male child and elder made under the purview of Domestic Voilance act?

    And in last what is/was the substantive basis for writing such an biased, illogical away from the fact “The Real Victim”?

  3. Swarup Sarkar Says:

    The basis and motive of this Jurnalsit and Front line is only how to earn the Free money by doing the legal terrorism by the law like 498A and Dv act.
    Stop treating indian husabnds are free ATM machine.
    Crime Bure data 2005 : Married Men Sucide : 52k vs Married Women Sucide 28K.Still there is no LAW to Protect Men why?
    2006 Crime Bure Data : Married Men Sucide:55452 vs. Married Women Sucide:29869.
    Will Our LAW Maker change the LAW 304B( dowry death) to 304C( Sowry Death) and 498A ( harrasement to wife) to 498B ( Sowry harrasement by wife) .

  4. Arnab Ganguly Says:

    Should I compare your Frontline magazine to the Nazi propaganda machine that lead to the death of 6 million Jews in WWII ?
    Should I compare you to Joseph Goebbles , the Nazi Propaganda minister who is thought to be the main cause of the Holocaust by spreading false propaganda and inciting hatred .

    Yes you are comparable. And here is why .

    An Article in your magazine has been bought out by Radical Women’s Organizations who have determined to use your magazine and reporters to incite hatred and bring the Indian family system down to its knees by supporting the unchecked abuse of Draconian laws like the dreaded 498A and the Domestic Violence Act which lead to suffering of Lakhs of innocent people in India .The link of the article is as below .

    http://www.frontlineonnet.com/stories/20080801251504600.htm

    Let me proceed to tell you what makes me feel that the article is totally biased. It feels like the magazine and the reporter is a camouflage to present the actual opinions of the radical women who
    call themselves the leader’s of “Women Empowerment” movement in India.

    Here is the mathematical formula for women’s empowerment in India .
    Women Empowerment in India = (Extortion + Harassment ) for the Husband .

    “The Minister, who was livid at first with the representatives for attempting to disrupt the meeting and for making derogatory remarks about women in government positions, later gave them a hearing; she,
    however, declined to interfere with the law as it existed, arguing that the law did not discriminate, nor was it designed to be misused. ”
    No one made any derogatory remarks. When the Women and Child development (WCD) ministry felt that they will be asked questions about the misuse of sections 498A and DV act the changed the agenda at the last minute. The activists ( both male and female ) were not allowed to speak and when they realized that the ministry of just trying to hogwash them into a non agenda meeting . They started protesting outside. Lots of media were present and scores of articles have been written by various reporters on this . I am sure your reporter was not present at this meeting , since if she would have been the scenario would have been different .Below are the links from the other national newspapers .

    Pro Women laws being misued
    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/Pro-women_laws_being_misused/articleshow/3165918.cms

    “From the experience of women’s organizations, the few cases of misuse that may have occurred are an exception rather than the rule. Women’s organizations that have been dealing with violence over the years believe that had the law been actually put to good use, there would be fewer instances of harassment of and violence against women over dowry and fewer dowry deaths. They feel the unabated violence in the name of dowry continues because dowry prohibition laws have not been very effective. It was surprising that the Minister even agreed to meet representatives of anti-dowry law organizations, especially as statistics, national as well as State-wise, show an escalation in the demand for dowry and in dowry-related violence and deaths. Crime records from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) and the National Commission for Women (NCW) and several research studies in
    domestic violence show that, if anything, cruelty towards women in India on account of dowry demands has gone up in the past two decades. It is a well-known fact that the increasing desire for a
    male child and the rejection of the girl child in the womb itself and the consequent female foeticide, which has contributed to the adverse child sex ratio in the country, have a lot to do with the burgeoning demand for dowry.
    .”
    Women’s organizations needs to be changed to “Radical Women`s organizations” who are experts at freeping numbers. The National Institute for Social research which is a India Govt organization has
    said that in “100 cases of 498A , 98 are false” , or 98% of all 498A cases are false . Also when there is a recommendation to amend the law so that there is a clear punishment defined for the Mis-users ,
    these same woman’s organizations stand up in arms. This is simply because they know that in reality any instance of tension and disharmony is converted into a Dowry harassment issue and extortion attempts are made from the Husband and the Husband’s family. This is the only law where there is a provision for arrest of the family, needless torture of the family and extortion. Dowry laws are really
    not effective , they enable the bloody minded women to get away with extortion and the innocent and the aged citizens are made to suffer . All the laws and recommendations that the NCW and the Govt
    comes out are biased completely towards the woman in the role of a “wife”. There is no legal procedure defined in India by which innocent men and file a case of harassment towards his wife and his in-laws . Looks like that’s against “Woman Empowerment”.

    “AIDWA has pointed out that while other sections of the IPC were misused, none had wanted them altered.”
    When police knocks at my door at 4;00 AM in the morning to arrest my aged father , mother ,young unmarried sister and to the police station just based on verbal complaint from my estranged wife who
    lives in a different city and has not even seen me for 2 years . I would not be so concerned about the `Other’ sections if the IPC’s which are misused .I would be only concerned about section 498A of
    the IPC . In India about 98% of anticipatory bails are for people fearing arrest from IPC 498A . Lets fix this stupid and draconian law first .

    “Sudha Sundararaman, general secretary of AIDWA, said that if at all there was misuse of the law, the police had to be blamed for it and not the law itself. “All statistics point out that instances of dowry
    violence is going up. There is a definite backlash as more and more women are coming out and complaining about their situations.”
    Giving is a cocked and loaded gun without any safety mechanism (Section 498A) in the hands of the unscrupulous women and the corrupt Indian police and Indian Judiciary and expecting them to be
    responsible users . What is the justice behind this . Fix the law first so that the genuine victims get relief and the misuses are punished severely .

    The campaigns against the misuse of the law has to have some substantive basis, but at least for now, there does not seem to be any.
    This is what the reporter concludes after talking just to AIDWA’s radical activist and hearing their opinions . Have the opinions of Organizations Like GHRS , Save India Foundation and Rakshak been
    heard and incorporated in the article ? Have the 95000 women who have been arrested under the 498A have been interviewed and their opinion voiced . Have the 56000 husbands who have committed suicide been interviewed . Who will interview them ? Who will hear their voices .
    That’s a question for you to answer .

    I and my all my brothers and sisters who believe in Gender Equal Laws who number about 150,000 well to do educated people in India now will take a call to unsubscribe to your propaganda machine Frontline magazine at one . You anyways seem to be well funded by the AIDWA and other radical women organizations.

  5. Rup Roy Says:

    Dear Editor of front line,
    Your publised article is totally bised, one sided and your desprate attemepet to promote the Legal Trrorism and do the extrotion of money form the husbands family and the same should not be termed as crime.
    Now for your kind information and to update the knowledge , which AIWDA will never disclose as they themself are responsible for gnage rape in Nandi gram , femal fotecite, as they said abortion of child is women’s birht right, they even break the judges chari and all are moving freely , no one can touch thier hari, even chief justice of supreme court. If they had been any other coutry, their orginasations should had been termed as terrorist orginasations.

    Who misused 498A/DVAct most?

    Wife want to teach a lesson to Husabnd’s family.

    152
    32.5%

    Wife want easy Divorce/Child Custedy and fast money.

    140
    30%

    Wife who can’t adjust in Husabnd’s family.

    85
    18.2%

    Wife having illegal relatiohsip with other Man.

    48
    10.3%

    Wife done marriage by hiding truth, like health, age, qualification.etc.

    38
    8.1%

    Further would your please ask to NCW and aiwda , which we had earlier questioned to them , but still not answered even through RTI.
    Spreading blatant lies and alarmism about increasing crime against women, while ignoring similar abuses and crime against men may be a lucrative means for radical organizations like NCW and AIWDA to justify their existence and to attract funds from national and international organizations. However, NCW and AIWDA has still to answer some fundamental questions pertaining to women’s welfare.

    Is the pain of a mother who lost a son to domestic abuse or legal terrorism any less than that of a mother who lost a daughter? Is the pain of a woman who lost a brother any less than that of a woman who lost a sister?
    How many more mothers and sisters should lose their sons and brothers before measures are taken to alleviate their sufferings?
    Aren’t mothers and sisters women? Don’t they deserve a life of dignity and respect?
    Do sufferings of innocent mothers and sisters bring justice to genuinely abused women?
    Is protection of women’s rights synonymous with gross violation of basic human rights?
    Is legal terrorism the solution to all women’s problems?
    Stop promotion of legal terrorism, it is not the crime against women incresing, it is the false and fabricated cases are incresing and the extroting of money and balckmailling thorugh misuse of law incresing and more and more men ending their life.

    More than 10000 unmarried women end thier life , have you ever asked to punish those girls parents? If not , why you term all the sucide of wife, the husbands and his family memerbs are criminla?

    (If any one abuse your old , sick parents and sister, what you will do ? )

  6. PetitionOnline Says:

    We endorse the Anti-male bashing by Indian media Petition to Mr. N. Ram, Editor, Frontline.

    Read the Anti-male bashing by Indian media Petition
    http://www.PetitionOnline.com/IY78/

    • rocks Says:

      My dear great husbands/sons of Harish Chandra,

      how many of u guys and ur relatives have really not demanded dowry or demanded for conducting the marriage in a posh way.

      and this is 21st century and still our guys have a feeling that a lady has to be a sati whether her husband and inlaws hurt her or not ??

      our great husbands who say that ladies have a illicit relationship when did they find this, most of them would have found it only after they were filed against this 498a??.

      how many of our parents are independent to lead a normal life without thier sons income?

      and when the so called great sons have this much of responsibility why do they go for marrying a lady from a higher class than his own status??
      why do hey really feel that they r fit for marriage??

      and why should not a lady have the right to abort a kid ???do u feel that the new borns have to be your hier in carrying the same divine attitude and responsibility you have done ??

      were you people not aware that ur wives belong to a higher class than yours??or do u mean to say that u never met/spoke to her before marriage that u r unaware of her attitude towards joint family and independent family??

      how many of the so called husbands had the guts to tell your would be spouse or thier parents your actual salary,position and ur financial state and ofcourse ur interest in living in joint family??

  7. legalfighter Says:

    The media needs to take certain sense of responsibility and accountability in their presentation. The statement,

    “ON June 25, a round table organised by the Ministry for Women and Child Development and the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) on building partnerships with men towards women’s empowerment and gender equality had an ironic interruption from a group of men claiming to be victims of Section 498 A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC),”

    The article presents the facts in distorted manner. These groups did not barge into the venue or went there uninvited. All the organizations are registered NGOs and had received official invitation from the WCD ministry, which recognized these organizations as the single largest group of NGOs fighting for gender equality, family harmony and sane society, to present their views and demands as regards the changes sought to the existing laws which are heavily lopsided.

    Current laws allow a woman to carry on any number of atrocities on her husband and the same is termed as “Social Service” where the men have no say but either to ruin their lives fighting a one – sided battle or give in to what has been termed as Legal Terrorism by the hon’able Supreme Court of India.

    “The Minister, who was livid at first with the representatives for attempting to disrupt the meeting and for making derogatory remarks about women in government positions, later gave them a hearing;”

    Another bad presentation of organizations. Though invited the organizations mentioned above were not given a single chance to present their views till 90 minutes of the session passed. It was only after a persistent efforts by the supporters outside that were they given a chance to voice our concerns.

    The media needs to understand that this misuse is NOT EMPOWERMENT OF WOMEN. It is a grave mockery of human rights and serious miscarriage of justice which ruins and shatters an entire family ranging from small children to senior citizens to pregnant sisters to ageing and ailing mothers and fathers. This misuse cannot be allowed to go on perpetually with bloated statistics, one sided representation and biased assumptions.

    “From the experience of women’s organisations, the few cases of misuse that may have occurred are an exception rather than the rule. Women’s organisations that have been dealing with violence over the years believe that had the law been actually put to good use, there would be fewer instances of harassment of and violence against women over dowry and fewer dowry deaths.”

    Can the media take the responsibility to question the source of the claims that these so called women’s organizations make by saying that ” a few cases of misuse are reported”? If not, then such misleading statements attract severe condemnation as they blindfold the society into believing a myth which forms the basis of draconian laws where men do not even have a say let alone a chance of getting justice.

    And what do the women’s organization have to say about the number of suicides of men being three times the number of suicide by women. Who is more safer in this country, men or women? If the women’s organizations go by the number of dowry complaints registered as the benchmark to calculate the atrocities on women, then it has to be borne in mind that they are mere complaints ( not proved) and as per the study conducted by the Center for Social Research, there is only 2 % conviction in dowry related cases, which means 98 % complaints are false and these false complaints are being used to project an incorrect view to the society, which means dowry as a menace is more harmful to men than women and as such men ought to get double protection than women which is missing.

  8. Sumanth Says:

    These media agencies and their journalists think that they are super humans and force all kinds of lies down the throat of common people and mislead the society.

  9. Yellow Journalism, TK Rajalakshmi and Frontline « Feminazis of india Says:

    […] July 20, 2008 at 4:08 am (Uncategorized) Tags: TK Rajalakshmi https://feministmedia.wordpress.com/2008/07/17/yellow-journalism-tkrajalakshmi-and-frontline/ […]

  10. Sam Says:

    Frontline appears to have silently pulled the link to this article. When I clicked on the frontline link in this posting, nothing is coming up.

    I found the following link with the same article –

    http://www.global-sisterhood-network.org/content/view/2164/59/

    GENDER ISSUES

    The real victim
    T.K. RAJALAKSHMI

    Campaigns to amend Section 498A of the IPC citing misuse of the anti-dowry law are being strengthened in many parts of the country.

    MEMBERS OF THE Save Indian Family Foundation staging a protest against Section 498A of the IPC and the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, in New Delhi in August last year (V. SUDERSHAN )

    ON June 25, a round table organised by the Ministry for Women and Child Development and the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) on building partnerships with men towards women’s empowerment and gender equality had an ironic interruption from a group of men claiming to be victims of Section 498 A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which relates to dowry harassment. Demanding that they be heard by Union Minister Renuka Chowdhury, they shouted slogans within the premises of the India Islamic Centre where the conference was being held.

    The protesters, wearing black badges, represented organisations such as the Save Family Foundation, the Delhi Pariwarik Suraksha Samiti, the Lucknow-based Pati Pariwar Kalyan Samiti and the Kolkata-based Bharat Bachao Sangathan. They demanded that the existing law be redrafted since, according to them, their families, including women, had been arrested by the police on false charges of taking dowry – all under the garb of implementing Section 498A. Under this section, the husband or the relative of the husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty was liable to be punished with imprisonment up to three years and a fine.

    The Minister, who was livid at first with the representatives for attempting to disrupt the meeting and for making derogatory remarks about women in government positions, later gave them a hearing; she, however, declined to interfere with the law as it existed, arguing that the law did not discriminate, nor was it designed to be misused.

    This is not the first time that a clamour has been kicked up over Section 498 A. And the protests are not confined to Delhi. They have become more strident in the recent past with several organisations, having websites of their own, actively campaigning against the law. One such website is http://www.498a.org dedicated to the fight against the dowry law. The Save Indian Family Foundation also makes similar campaigns against the law
    ( http://www.saveindianfamily.org/).

    From the experience of women’s organisations, the few cases of misuse that may have occurred are an exception rather than the rule. Women’s organisations that have been dealing with violence over the years believe that had the law been actually put to good use, there would be fewer instances of harassment of and violence against women over dowry and fewer dowry deaths. They feel the unabated violence in the name of dowry continues because dowry prohibition laws have not been very effective. It was surprising that the Minister even agreed to meet representatives of anti-dowry law organisations, especially as statistics, national as well as State-wise, show an escalation in the demand for dowry and in dowry-related violence and deaths. Crime records from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) and the National Commission for Women (NCW) and several research studies on domestic violence show that, if anything, cruelty towards women in India on account of dowry demands has gone up in the past two decades. It is a well-known fact that the increasing desire for a male child and the rejection of the girl child in the womb itself and the consequent female foeticide, which has contributed to the adverse child sex ratio in the country, have a lot to do with the burgeoning demand for dowry.

    The provocation
    However, the immediate factor that fuelled the demand from these outfits is an order passed by Y.S. Dadwal, the Chief Police Commissioner of Delhi. On June 22, Dadwal issued a circular stating that no arrests would be made in cases of alleged dowry harassment without prior investigation, in order to prevent misuse of the anti-dowry law. No arrests, he said, would be made under Section 498A (matrimonial cruelty) without the prior written approval of the area Deputy Commissioner of Police. As per the circular, only the main accused would be arrested, instead of the previous practice of booking all the relatives of the accused. The circular stated: “Arrest of the accused should be an exception, not a rule. From the allegations set out in the FIR and other subsequent allegations or material collected during investigation, if necessary, only the prime/main accused whose primary role in the commission of the offence has been established should be arrested and that too after the prior written approval of the DCP.”

    The list of complaints received by the Delhi Police in 2007 had around 4,400 distress calls made to various police stations, of which 25 per cent pertained to domestic violence and about 17.42 per cent related to rape and sexual assault. The circular also coincided with the results of a survey conducted by a research organisation, which showed that 6 per cent of the complaints in cases of dowry harassment were aimed at settling scores and getting even with the in-laws. This meant that 94 per cent of the cases were genuine.

    The police chief’s circular is based on a May 2003 judgment of the Delhi High Court on Sections 498A and 406 of the IPC, which suggested that offences under the two sections be made bailable and compoundable. The judgment said that misuse of these sections was hitting at the foundation of marriage itself and had not proved “so good for the health of society at large”. The same year, the Delhi Commission for Women reported that 80 per cent of all the complaints it handled pertained to dowry demands and harassment. The All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA), which has condemned Dadwal’s order, had protested even then stating that to suggest that these offences be made bailable was to undermine the violence suffered by Indian women daily.

    AIDWA has pointed out that while other sections of the IPC were misused, none had wanted them altered. In 2003, AIDWA had written to the then Chief Justice of India, Justice V.N. Khare, that a survey of judgments under Section 498A showed that most High Courts had only punished the grossest forms of violence and cruelty and that Section 498A had been interpreted in an extremely narrow manner in most judicial pronouncements. The organisation stated that it was not Sections 498A or 405 that hit the foundation of marriage but the violence and inequality faced by women. “We appeal to you not only to find ways and means to gender sensitise the judiciary but also to ensure that an important criterion in the selection of judges be their commitment to the cause of women,” AIDWA had written then.

    Talking to Frontline, the Delhi police spokesperson said that the circular was based on several court orders. In fact, similar pronouncements on the misuse of Section 498A had been made by the Andhra Pradesh High Court and the Bombay High Court. In 1990, the latter court, in an order, held that “it is not every harassment or every type of cruelty that would attract Section 498A IPC – beating and harassment must be to force the bride to commit suicide or to fulfil illegal demands.” In 2002, a Division Bench of the Delhi High Court held that harassment itself was not cruelty unless there was a demand for dowry for conviction under Section 498A.

    Sudha Sundararaman, general secretary of AIDWA, said that if at all there was misuse of the law, the police had to be blamed for it and not the law itself. “All statistics point out that instances of dowry violence is going up. There is a definite backlash as more and more women are coming out and complaining about their situations. On the other hand, there are people who feel that violence is quite acceptable. Sometimes, they also have links with the police and the system. Their voices, rather than of those beaten up and killed on a regular basis, are heard,” she said. She mentioned a very recent instance in the national capital where a woman was murdered for not being able to procure Rs.20 lakh so that her husband could run his business. “She did not file a case of dowry harassment and ended up dead like so many other women, who go to the police as a last resort,” she said.

    A scene from a street play organised in Thrissur in March by the Kerala Women’s Commission to protest against the dowry system (K.K. NAJEEB)

    Sahba Farooqi, general secretary of AIDWA’s Delhi unit, said that each DCP wanted fewer cases in his area of jurisdiction. Hence, she said, getting a complaint registered under 498A was a monumental task . “Every week, we get four or five dowry harassment cases. The women come to us after being turned away by the police,” she said, quoting a recent case where a Delhi resident had been told by the city police to file her complaint in Gurgaon, Haryana, because her matrimonial home was there. She said that the efforts of the Crime Against Women Cells were more towards reconciliation rather than in taking any serious cognisance of the complaints made. Often the women are persuaded to drop their complaints.

    Between 2004 and 2007, complaints of dowry harassment constituted the bulk of the complaints received by the NCW. A substantial increase in dowry harassment cases was observed in each passing year; a fairly large number of the cases reported police apathy.

    The NCRB in its crime data for the year 2006 recorded an almost 12 per cent increase in cases of dowry death (Sections 302/304B, IPC), 8.2 per cent increase in torture incidents (Section 498A) and a 40.6 per cent increase in cases registered under the Dowry Prohibition Act in 2006 over 2005. These figures do not in any way show that there has been a decline in cases of dowry harassment.

    It was after a long and protracted struggle by women’s organisations that the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, was amended and new sections on cruelty and dowry-related murder were inserted in the IPC in 1983. The definition of cruelty was widened to include not only harassment relating to dowry but also other kinds of domestic violence. With the passage of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, women’s organisations have seen more and more women come out of the closet to register complaints of violence and abuse.

    The campaigns against the misuse of the law has to have some substantive basis, but at least for now, there does not seem to be any. •

  11. Sam Says:

    The original frontline article link in this post appears not to be working. You can read the original article published in Frontline here –

    http://www.global-sisterhood-network.org/content/view/2164/59/

    GENDER ISSUES

    The real victim
    T.K. RAJALAKSHMI

    Campaigns to amend Section 498A of the IPC citing misuse of the anti-dowry law are being strengthened in many parts of the country.

    MEMBERS OF THE Save Indian Family Foundation staging a protest against Section 498A of the IPC and the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, in New Delhi in August last year (V. SUDERSHAN )

    ON June 25, a round table organised by the Ministry for Women and Child Development and the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) on building partnerships with men towards women’s empowerment and gender equality had an ironic interruption from a group of men claiming to be victims of Section 498 A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which relates to dowry harassment. Demanding that they be heard by Union Minister Renuka Chowdhury, they shouted slogans within the premises of the India Islamic Centre where the conference was being held.

    The protesters, wearing black badges, represented organisations such as the Save Family Foundation, the Delhi Pariwarik Suraksha Samiti, the Lucknow-based Pati Pariwar Kalyan Samiti and the Kolkata-based Bharat Bachao Sangathan. They demanded that the existing law be redrafted since, according to them, their families, including women, had been arrested by the police on false charges of taking dowry – all under the garb of implementing Section 498A. Under this section, the husband or the relative of the husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty was liable to be punished with imprisonment up to three years and a fine.

    The Minister, who was livid at first with the representatives for attempting to disrupt the meeting and for making derogatory remarks about women in government positions, later gave them a hearing; she, however, declined to interfere with the law as it existed, arguing that the law did not discriminate, nor was it designed to be misused.

    This is not the first time that a clamour has been kicked up over Section 498 A. And the protests are not confined to Delhi. They have become more strident in the recent past with several organisations, having websites of their own, actively campaigning against the law. One such website is http://www.498a.org dedicated to the fight against the dowry law. The Save Indian Family Foundation also makes similar campaigns against the law
    ( http://www.saveindianfamily.org/).

    From the experience of women’s organisations, the few cases of misuse that may have occurred are an exception rather than the rule. Women’s organisations that have been dealing with violence over the years believe that had the law been actually put to good use, there would be fewer instances of harassment of and violence against women over dowry and fewer dowry deaths. They feel the unabated violence in the name of dowry continues because dowry prohibition laws have not been very effective. It was surprising that the Minister even agreed to meet representatives of anti-dowry law organisations, especially as statistics, national as well as State-wise, show an escalation in the demand for dowry and in dowry-related violence and deaths. Crime records from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) and the National Commission for Women (NCW) and several research studies on domestic violence show that, if anything, cruelty towards women in India on account of dowry demands has gone up in the past two decades. It is a well-known fact that the increasing desire for a male child and the rejection of the girl child in the womb itself and the consequent female foeticide, which has contributed to the adverse child sex ratio in the country, have a lot to do with the burgeoning demand for dowry.

    The provocation
    However, the immediate factor that fuelled the demand from these outfits is an order passed by Y.S. Dadwal, the Chief Police Commissioner of Delhi. On June 22, Dadwal issued a circular stating that no arrests would be made in cases of alleged dowry harassment without prior investigation, in order to prevent misuse of the anti-dowry law. No arrests, he said, would be made under Section 498A (matrimonial cruelty) without the prior written approval of the area Deputy Commissioner of Police. As per the circular, only the main accused would be arrested, instead of the previous practice of booking all the relatives of the accused. The circular stated: “Arrest of the accused should be an exception, not a rule. From the allegations set out in the FIR and other subsequent allegations or material collected during investigation, if necessary, only the prime/main accused whose primary role in the commission of the offence has been established should be arrested and that too after the prior written approval of the DCP.”

    The list of complaints received by the Delhi Police in 2007 had around 4,400 distress calls made to various police stations, of which 25 per cent pertained to domestic violence and about 17.42 per cent related to rape and sexual assault. The circular also coincided with the results of a survey conducted by a research organisation, which showed that 6 per cent of the complaints in cases of dowry harassment were aimed at settling scores and getting even with the in-laws. This meant that 94 per cent of the cases were genuine.

    The police chief’s circular is based on a May 2003 judgment of the Delhi High Court on Sections 498A and 406 of the IPC, which suggested that offences under the two sections be made bailable and compoundable. The judgment said that misuse of these sections was hitting at the foundation of marriage itself and had not proved “so good for the health of society at large”. The same year, the Delhi Commission for Women reported that 80 per cent of all the complaints it handled pertained to dowry demands and harassment. The All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA), which has condemned Dadwal’s order, had protested even then stating that to suggest that these offences be made bailable was to undermine the violence suffered by Indian women daily.

    AIDWA has pointed out that while other sections of the IPC were misused, none had wanted them altered. In 2003, AIDWA had written to the then Chief Justice of India, Justice V.N. Khare, that a survey of judgments under Section 498A showed that most High Courts had only punished the grossest forms of violence and cruelty and that Section 498A had been interpreted in an extremely narrow manner in most judicial pronouncements. The organisation stated that it was not Sections 498A or 405 that hit the foundation of marriage but the violence and inequality faced by women. “We appeal to you not only to find ways and means to gender sensitise the judiciary but also to ensure that an important criterion in the selection of judges be their commitment to the cause of women,” AIDWA had written then.

    Talking to Frontline, the Delhi police spokesperson said that the circular was based on several court orders. In fact, similar pronouncements on the misuse of Section 498A had been made by the Andhra Pradesh High Court and the Bombay High Court. In 1990, the latter court, in an order, held that “it is not every harassment or every type of cruelty that would attract Section 498A IPC – beating and harassment must be to force the bride to commit suicide or to fulfil illegal demands.” In 2002, a Division Bench of the Delhi High Court held that harassment itself was not cruelty unless there was a demand for dowry for conviction under Section 498A.

    Sudha Sundararaman, general secretary of AIDWA, said that if at all there was misuse of the law, the police had to be blamed for it and not the law itself. “All statistics point out that instances of dowry violence is going up. There is a definite backlash as more and more women are coming out and complaining about their situations. On the other hand, there are people who feel that violence is quite acceptable. Sometimes, they also have links with the police and the system. Their voices, rather than of those beaten up and killed on a regular basis, are heard,” she said. She mentioned a very recent instance in the national capital where a woman was murdered for not being able to procure Rs.20 lakh so that her husband could run his business. “She did not file a case of dowry harassment and ended up dead like so many other women, who go to the police as a last resort,” she said.

    A scene from a street play organised in Thrissur in March by the Kerala Women’s Commission to protest against the dowry system (K.K. NAJEEB)

    Sahba Farooqi, general secretary of AIDWA’s Delhi unit, said that each DCP wanted fewer cases in his area of jurisdiction. Hence, she said, getting a complaint registered under 498A was a monumental task . “Every week, we get four or five dowry harassment cases. The women come to us after being turned away by the police,” she said, quoting a recent case where a Delhi resident had been told by the city police to file her complaint in Gurgaon, Haryana, because her matrimonial home was there. She said that the efforts of the Crime Against Women Cells were more towards reconciliation rather than in taking any serious cognisance of the complaints made. Often the women are persuaded to drop their complaints.

    Between 2004 and 2007, complaints of dowry harassment constituted the bulk of the complaints received by the NCW. A substantial increase in dowry harassment cases was observed in each passing year; a fairly large number of the cases reported police apathy.

    The NCRB in its crime data for the year 2006 recorded an almost 12 per cent increase in cases of dowry death (Sections 302/304B, IPC), 8.2 per cent increase in torture incidents (Section 498A) and a 40.6 per cent increase in cases registered under the Dowry Prohibition Act in 2006 over 2005. These figures do not in any way show that there has been a decline in cases of dowry harassment.

    It was after a long and protracted struggle by women’s organisations that the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, was amended and new sections on cruelty and dowry-related murder were inserted in the IPC in 1983. The definition of cruelty was widened to include not only harassment relating to dowry but also other kinds of domestic violence. With the passage of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, women’s organisations have seen more and more women come out of the closet to register complaints of violence and abuse.

    The campaigns against the misuse of the law has to have some substantive basis, but at least for now, there does not seem to be any. •

  12. Jayalakshmi Says:

    //Sudha Sundararaman, general secretary of AIDWA, said that if at all there was misuse of the law, the police had to be blamed for it and not the law itself. “All statistics point out that instances of dowry violence is going up. There is a definite backlash as more and more women are coming out and complaining about their situations. On the other hand, there are people who feel that violence is quite acceptable. Sometimes, they also have links with the police and the system. Their voices, rather than of those beaten up and killed on a regular basis, are heard,” she said. //

    Totally agree. People can cite Google search as basis for “Misuse of 498A’. That may be due to men airing their problems in the internet accessible to them. Save Indian Family can boast about any number of false cases and guide people as they like.

    That does not mean, genuine cases, where people do not ahve the access, do not count?

    But so many genuine cases are being swept under the carpet, with police inaction!.

    people cite false cases as statistics. If they are false cases they will be acquitted.

    But who is there to help genuine victims?. I think Ms.Chowdary deserves a pat for pushing for the law and supporting it.

    Ms. Rajalakshmi, you did right in publishing your views.

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