Legal Terrorism and Illegitimate Legislation

In recent years, the number of abusers of women protection legislation for personal gain or to settle scores has gone up substantially. Concomitantly, the numbers of false cases, the incidents of malfeasance, illegal detentions, police and judicial corruption as well as the backlog of unresolved cases have also skyrocketed. The trend shows no signs of waning. What makes this process so easy and convenient for the criminally minded individuals, families and state officials? The answer lies in the active state support and participation in this nefarious scheme of “legal terrorism”. While this state participation is occurring at the expense of the well-being of ordinary, law abiding citizens who have not violated any laws, the parasitic elements of the society like unethical lawyers, fund chasing and morally bankrupt feminists, lowly judiciary and corrupt police officials are immensely benefiting from this pernicious practice.

– What is the root cause for the proliferation of state sponsored legal terrorism in our country?

– Would the state sponsored legal terrorism cast its shadow in ever more areas of our public and private lives?

– Should the citizens be resigned to this state of affairs?

– What is the prognosis for the future?

In this article, I will attempt to address some of the concerns raised above.

Root Cause of Legal Terrorism is Illegitimate Legislation

The root cause of the state sponsored legal terrorism is the existence and passage of illegitimate legislation in our legal regime. Most reasonable and objective persons can quickly tell right from wrong and fair from unfair.  Thus most reasonable and objective people can also tell apart a legitimate law from an illegitimate one.

There can be several bases on which one can conclude a certain legislation to be illegitimate. However, most illegitimate legislation is identified by the following five characteristics –

Discriminatory

According the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “all are equal before the law, and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law”. Any laws that are explicitly or implicitly discriminatory are illegitimate. Any demagogue would be tempted to play vote bank politics and pass discriminatory legislation that can rob the non-vocal minority off its legitimate protections that are hallmarks of any civilized society. In most civilized countries, constitution places limits on the illegitimate laws passed by the demagogues. For example, in the United States, any discriminatory legislation could be shot down by the Supreme Court of the US as unconstitutional if challenged. Such protections do not appear to exist in India. At least, the Supreme Court has not displayed the courage to declare discriminatory legislation as unconstitutional. Most of the ostensibly women protection laws in our country (like PWDVA, adultery laws, alimony laws) are discriminatory and thus illegitimate.

Presumption of guilt

As the jurisprudence evolved over the centuries, it has become an universally accepted maxim that an accused person is innocent until proven guilty. It is always the responsibility of the accuser to prove the guilt. In modern India, this maxim has been subverted thoroughly. In the name of special protections, the accusers have been given free pass to accuse any person at their fancy. The state, in turn, has assumed the proxy role to prosecute the accused at the taxpayer’s expense while placing the burden of proving innocence on individual citizen. This is a monumental distortion of principles of justice. Any legislation that presumes the accused as guilty until proven innocent is illegitimate. The best examples are ipc304B and ipc498A.

Summary action

Legislation that allows summary action by the judges or other officials is also illegitimate. Summary action may include confiscation, imprisonment or other penalties. Watch out summary provisions in any legislation to declare it as an illegitimate legislation. PWDVA is the best example.

Multiple laws to confer the same benefit

Many a time, in spite of the existence of legal provisions addressing certain benefits under law, new laws are passed conferring the same benefit. This results in unscrupulous elements filing multiple cases under these differing legal provisions for the same benefit, thereby flooding the court system with frivolous and vexatious litigation. The best example of this practice is the alimony and maintenance laws like 125 Cr PC, Section 24 of HMA and PWDVA.

Based on anachronistic assumptions

Society is constantly changing and evolving. Legislation passed hundreds of years ago under colonial rule may not have any relevance in the modern times. Such legislation must be scrapped and replaced with modern legislation that reflects the realities of the current state of our country and its citizens. If you come across shrill voices opposing changes to anachronistic legislation, please understand that is an illegitimate legislation still existing in our law books. It is time to agitate for changing such illegitimate anachronistic legislation. The best examples are the alimony and adultery laws in India wherein women are perpetually assumed to be victims even when they are the perpetrators.

 The Real Victims

Who are the real victims of this legal terrorism?

Any unsuspecting individual who is compelled to defend oneself against charges under any illegitimate law automatically becomes a victim of that law. Law is a coercive state instrument. Inherent fairness is a fundamental pre-requisite for the citizens to have faith in the law. When the law fails the test of fairness, individuals charged under that law become victims of state sponsored legal terrorism. In those circumstances, the guilt or innocence of the individual becomes irrelevant. Do not inquire into the guilt or innocence of the individual when that individual is on the receiving end of illegitimate laws. Extend compassion and support to them unconditionally.

Strategies to counter Legal Terrorism and Illegitimate Legislation

Reposing faith in democratic institutions to counteract the evil consequences of illegitimate legislation may not always produce results. In fact, democracy uncurbed by the constitutional limits, as is the case in present India, will always result in the passage of illegitimate legislation to safeguard the interests of vocal sections of the population. Further, corruption also plays a major role in the passage and preservation of such legislation. Once the vested interests become entrenched, the ordinary citizens become powerless in the face of massive state power and state sponsored legal terrorism.

Are we, the ordinary citizens, helpless against this state sponsored travesty? Or are there any ways in which we can counter this?

Here I am outlining some strategies that can be employed collectively by the civil society to counter this menace.

Counsel the victims

This is by far the most important strategy. When an individual is pitted against the massive state machinery, the morale of the individual takes a massive beating. In many cases, the victims of legal terrorism, overwhelmed by the odds of fighting the corrupt state machinery out to persecute them, end their lives. When such demoralized individuals come in contact with other victims, their feelings of powerlessness and hopelessness tend to be alleviated substantially. The mere act of listening to their sad plight gives them courage and strength to fight back against the injustice. Besides, the victims can learn from each other and support each other in various other ways. In fact, the common suffering will prove to be a strong bond that will result in lasting friendships. I implore all the victims reading this article to become counselors. (See above on “The Real Victims”)

Show contempt

As Mahatma Gandhi said, cooperating with evil is worse than the evil itself. The illegitimate legislation must be held in utmost contempt it rightly deserves. Just because it was passed by the parliament, it does not become legitimate if it has failed the test of fairness as discussed above. Pay particular attention to the shrill voices of vested interests that defend the illegitimate legislation.  Check on their backgrounds and understand how these vested interests stand to benefit from the existence of the illegitimate laws. Argue with them and expose them at every opportunity.

Spread awareness

Another related strategy is spreading awareness in the society about the existence of these illegitimate laws. Most of the victims of legal terrorism are caught unawares when a barrage of criminal and civil cases hits them like bolt of lightning from the blue skies. Until it happens to them, most citizens are blissfully ignorant of such laws. In fact, one of the main secrets of the propagators of illegitimate legislation is obfuscation. These propagators deliberately hide the most pernicious provisions they included in these laws in most open debates. As soon as the heat is turned up in any debate, they slip back in to platitudes and lies. The best example of this deception is “Karan Thapar vs Renuka Chaudhary” debate in which Renuka Chaudhary fell back to her rhetorical lies like “every minute a woman is burned for dowry” or something on those lines, when sustained questioning by Karan made her squirm.  One of the best weapons to fight the illegitimate laws and legal terrorism is spreading awareness. Internet will play a significant role in spreading awareness about illegitimate legislation.

Social boycott and ostracism

Finally, the most potent weapon to counter legal terrorism is the social boycott and ostracism of its perpetrators. Most relationships and transactions in our traditional society are carried out based on trust and reputation of the families. No sane person would like to enter into any marital relationship with a family who ruthlessly used the illegitimate legislation to unleash legal terrorism on another family.  Exposing the truth about the perpetrators of legal terrorism will be enough to caution other families that plan to enter into any kind of relationship with them.

Prognosis for the future

The strategies outlined above will prove to be the philosophical underpinnings for the resistance movements that will proliferate across the country to counter the menace of legal terrorism. Save Indian Family Foundation is the best example of such social resistance movement that is employing the above strategies successfully to counter the evil consequences of illegitimate women protection legislation in India.

 

 

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9 Responses to “Legal Terrorism and Illegitimate Legislation”

  1. Basant Kumar Says:

    498a needs to be banned. Instead of preserving the Indian culture of Jojnt family System, it has given full freedom to the Indian females hungry for money and self-maintenance to break the relations between age old parents, brothers, sisters and even grand parents.

    If the conditions remain the same for a siginificant period of time, then time will come, when the family bondage will a word of remote past. Do we need a society like that?

    These females require a 24 X 7 escort who will take care of each and every illegitimate /illogical demands all the time.

    Please ban!!!!

  2. legalfighter Says:

    Very pertinent article highlighting the psychology behind illegitimate legislation and ways to conquer it. Must read for all.

  3. Sunil Says:

    The following quotes are relevant when dealing with corrupt Govt machinery out to persecute its citizens, when they become helpless and muted spectators of their own destruction. Time to say NO –

    “If everyone howled at every Injustice, every act of barbarism, every act of unkindness, then we would be taking the first step towards a real humanity.”
    – Nelson Demille

    “You just need to be a flea against Injustice. Enough committed fleas biting strategically can make even the biggest dog uncomfortable and transform even the biggest nation.”
    – Marian Wright Edelmen

    “One who is injured ought not to return the injury, for on no account can it be right to do an Injustice; and it is not right to return an injury, or to do evil to any man, however much we have suffered from him.”
    – Socrates

    “If you are neutral in situations of Injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”
    – Bishop Desmond Tutu

    “…when conditions are evil it is not your duty to submit… when conditions are evil, your duty, in spite of protests, in spite of sentiment, your duty, though you trample on the bodies of your nearest and dearest to do it, though you bleed your own heart while, your duty is to see that those conditions are changed. If your laws forbid you, you must change your laws. If your church forbids you, you must change your church. And if your God forbids you, you must change your God.”
    – Clemence Dane (1861-1965)

    “In Germany, the Nazis first came for the Communists,
    and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.
    Then they came for the Jews,
    and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.
    Then they came for the trade unionists,
    and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
    Then they came for the Catholics,
    but I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant.
    Then they came for me…
    By that time there was no one to speak up for anyone.”
    – Martin Niemoller

    “Injustice is a sixth sense, and rouses all the others.”
    – Barr Amelia E.

    “An individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its Injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law.”
    – Martin Luther King, Jr.

    “Injustice Anywhere is a THREAT to Justice Everywhere.”
    – Martin Luther King, Jr.

    “The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.”
    – Albert Einstein

  4. Sam Says:

    Gender Bias in Matrimonial Laws: A Review by Sakal Bhushan SC Advocate
    Written by Sakal Bhushan
    Thursday, 14 August 2008

    Law is perceived as a tool for social engineering by the jurists and the scholars. So by its very concept it has to be contemporary and progressive, and certainly not retrograde. Viewed from this perspective, a law which may have been effective at a given point of time, require a re-look at a different point of time in order to effectively cater to the needs of a changing society. A vibrant legal system cannot afford to work on the basis of pre-conceived notions of ‘who is always the victim’ and has to continuously fine tune itself in the context of the changed circumstances for its efficacy and relevance.

    In this context let’s examine the working of the Section 498- A IPC. Section 498-A is the sole Section in chapter XXA of IPC which was introduced w.e.f 25-12-1983. It has been functional for almost 25 years as of now and during this period there has been no official review of this law conducted by the Government in order to evaluate its working and effects on the society. On the top of it, it is still not compoundable despite a lot of judicial observations made by the various courts from time to time expressing the desirability of making it compoundable, may be with the permission of the court. The offence is also non- bailable making it absolutely discretionary for the courts or the arresting police officers either to grant or refuse bail to the accused.

    Section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code provides as under:-

    “Husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty. – Whoever, being the husband or the relative of the husband of a woman, subjects such woman to cruelty shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine.

    Explanation – For the purpose of this section, “cruelty” means –

    a) any wilful conduct which is of such a nature as is likely to drive the woman to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to life, limb or health (whether mental or physical) of the woman; or

    b) harassment of the woman where such harassment is with a view to coercing her or any person related to her to meet any unlawful demand for any property or valuable security or is on account of failure by her or any person related to her to meet such demand.”

    Section 113-A of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 which too was introduced in 1983 provides as under:-

    “Presumption as to abetment of suicide by a married woman. – When the question is whether the commission of suicide by a woman had been abetted by her husband or any relative of her husband and it is shown that she had committed suicide within a period of seven years from the date of her marriage and that her husband or such relative of her husband had subjected her to cruelty, the court may presume, having regard to all the other circumstances of the case, that such suicide had been abetted by her husband or such relative of her husband.

    Explanation. – For the purpose of this section, “cruelty” shall have the meaning as in section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860).”

    Some of the shocking statistics are being reproduced as under:-

    363 children were detained in 2005 and 280 in 2006 under the draconian law when they had to accompany their respective mothers (related to husbands otherwise than as wives) in custody.
    As per the NCRB data, more than 81% people prosecuted under Section 498-A IPC have turned out to be innocent and were either discharged or acquitted. 9% accused were not even challaned by the investigating agencies. The conviction rate was only 10% despite the best efforts made by the litigating wives.
    Every year 52,000 married men commit suicide in India as against 28,000 married women (source: 2005 – NCRB). The percentage of the married men committing suicides is thus 86% more than the married women.
    Every year more than 1,00,000 men lose their jobs and become unemployed because of wrongful arrests under the dowry laws.
    World Health Organisation report on Elder Abuse finds misuse of dowry laws by the daughters-in-law as the main reason for the elder abuse in India.
    The Supreme Court of India has already termed the dowry laws misuse as “Legal Terrorism”.
    BBC study indicates that more than 80% women under-trials (related to husbands otherwise than as wives) lodged in Tihar Jail (Delhi) are booked under dowry related laws.
    8. 1,20,000 women (related to husbands otherwise than as wives) were arrested in the 4 years (2004 to 2007) under the dowry laws as against the 5,000 women only arrested by the British during the tumultuous decade (1937 to 1947). The Women’s Welfare Ministry is in fact the Wives’ Welfare Ministry.

    The above statistics clearly show that these provisions of law have done more harm than good to the society. Experience reveals that whenever a wife files a case under Section 498-A IPC against the husband and other relatives, the chances of her marriage surviving are reduced to minimal. Section 498-A IPC in its present form has proved to be sure tool for destroying the Indian families which are otherwise facing the brunt of western influence and the growing levels of intolerance. Further compounding the problems is a sizeable section of legal practitioners who in pursuit of their own material gains don’t at all hesitate in precipitating an already hostile litigation, and it would not be an exaggeration to state that with the advent of computerization their job has become much easier where they have to simply apply the ‘cut’ and ‘paste’ tools to draft complaints on behalf of an aggrieved wife and then to convince her that she can succeed to showdown her husband and his relatives only if she tows the given line of action.

    Rather than addressing itself to practical issues arising out of the misuse of the Section 498-A IPC and taking appropriate remedial measures, the State preferred to look the other way and enacted in haste the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 (hereinafter referred to as DVA) which was enforced w.e.f 26-10-2006. Under the novel scheme of this Act, though protection is available to a wife or a woman in live-in relationship with a man against the man and his relatives including his mother and sisters, but no such protection is available to a wronged mother-in-law against her cruel daughter-in-law or a wronged sister-in-law against her brother’s cruel wife. What sort of protection is this? Does this law proceed on the presumption that only a wife can be wronged by her husband’s mother or sisters and not otherwise? This approach is nothing less than what may be termed as ‘sheer legislative perversion’ and this Act should in fact be renamed as Protection of Wives (only) from Domestic Violence Act.

    It is high time that the Government of the day should undertake a comprehensive review of the above and other related legal provisions and ensure that suitable amendments are made in the laws to make them gender-neutral and non-discriminatory. Some of the steps which are required to be taken immediately are:-

    1 Promotion of the gender-neutral laws to promote family harmony (man/woman to be replaced by ‘person’ and husband/wife to be replaced by ‘spouse’ in Section 498-A IPC and DVA, 2005).

    2 Section 498-A IPC to be made bailable, non-cognizable and compoundable to save the institution of marriage. Even the Malimath Committee report has advocated for making Section 498-A IPC bailable and compoundable.

    3 The DVA, 2005 should be made gender-neutral and non-discriminatory as it is in all the developed countries of the world.

    4 Punishment for misuse of the provisions of the dowry/cruelty/domestic violence laws by default in the event of the complaint/case found to be false. This would certainly create some deterrence amongst the prospective abusers.

    5 Strict but reasonable time-schedule should be prescribed for the conclusion of the trials/cases under the above laws as the maximum abuse occurs on account of indefinite delay in the trial of these cases.

    6 Workplace harassment legal framework should be made gender-neutral.

    7 Duplication of legal provisions for similar benefits should be scrapped to avoid unnecessary and multiple litigations burdening the already over-burdened judicial and administrative resources.

    8 Empowerment of women through proper education to make them actually independent.

    These steps if taken immediately would certainly provide a much-needed succour to the Indian society and go a long way in saving the Indian families from drifting and withering away.

    ——————————————————————————–

    Mr. Sakal Bhushan is a Leading Supreme Court advocate and National Secretary of Bharatiya Rashtravadi Samanata Party .
    Send your feed back to sbhushan1969(at)yahoo(dot)co(dot)in . Contact Number : 09871066557.

  5. Legal Terrorism and Illegitimate Legislation « Fighting Legal Terrorism in India Says:

    […] Source […]

  6. LegalTechie Says:

    Excellent…
    Mirrored at: http://legalterror.wordpress.com/2009/06/05/legal-terrorism-and-illegitimate-legislation/

  7. Ram Das Says:

    Lawyers should publicly give up representing a party if they find that their client is exploiting the law.

    • Ram Das Says:

      A lawyer like Shri Bhushan should give up a client if he finds that she is exploiting the Act and victimising a gentleman.

  8. Domestic Violence Awareness Month – India « Feminist Media Says:

    […] Indian Family Foundation and its sister NGOs are calling on all the victims of illegitimate legislation like PWDVA and ipc498a to join hands to raise their voices against the injustice perpetrated and […]

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