The Gender Advantage- Men/Women?

The Gender Advantage- Men/Women?

Introduction

We all have heard slogans such as, “Shatter the Silence and Stop the Violence”, and we wrongly presume that the violence must be against females and the ones responsible for it are males. We have been neglecting crime against men so much that now it is taking the shape of loopholes in our laws. Sexual harassment against men in the workplace, mental torture, rape, domestic violence, huge alimony, punishment for Adultery, fake dowry cases, and many more issues which prevail in the country but still have dust settled on them.

We live in 2021 and still haven’t reached the point where we can understand the meaning of ‘Equality’. Cases related to crime against men often seem to be difficult enough to be accepted by society. There are many laws preferring females but none to focus on the plight of men. The situation now is we need laws protecting men against the laws themselves.

This is for a fact that crime against men is increasing at a rapid pace and to be precise they have been increasing for a very long time now. The only problem is they are not being reported and half of the reported ones do not get adequate proofs, other half do not have laws protecting their stand. There is a lot of power given in the hands of females which can be misused at any time. It is true that we needed laws protecting women from various crimes but this was not the definition of ‘Equality’ that we were looking forward to. There are many cases supporting this conflict and some of them are mentioned below.

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Crime Against Men

In the case of Sanjay Yadav v. Anita Yadav[1] 2007, Bombay High court held that false accusation made on husband and his relatives with intention of divorce wholly amounts to mental cruelty and thus becomes a ground of divorce by the husband. In the above-mentioned case, the respondent-wife claimed to be mistreated by her husband. As well as his close relatives but on the grounds of reality, the wife had hidden facts before marriage and was pressuring her husband to leave his home after marriage. On denying the wish, she decided to go to the court with false complaints against the appellant.

Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code[2] was brought into consideration by the Supreme Court in 2014. According to this section, the husband and any named relative can be arrested without a warrant and investigation merely relying on the wife’s complaint. Also, it makes this a non-bailable offense. However, on 2nd July 2014, Supreme Court stopped an automatic arrest based on a complaint under section 498A and directed the government to amend the section to the bailable offense as the number of false complaints was rising.

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In case Dr. N.G. Dastane vs Mrs. S. Dastane, 1975[3] the wife insulted the husband in front of his friends and family saying that she doesn’t want the family to sustain. This amounts to mental cruelty and valid ground for divorce. This case brought it to the notice that there are cases in which the man was the one suffering there was a crime against men and the laws were not at his.

Men are also being harassed in the workplace but the only difference is we have no cases filed yet. This issue is very underestimated and needs to come under the light now. According to the economic times survey more than 19% of males working in Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai, and Kolkata are being sexually harassed in their respective workplaces.

Some women not only use laws but society’s emotions to get their way. There are cases of crime against men who have witnessed women falsely giving a public statement only in order to defame a man. After staying silent for many years now some men have finally decided to break the ice and come forward to share their experiences.

Example of Discriminatory Laws

  • Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961[4]

According to this law, it is a criminal offense to give or receive dowry before or after marriage. It is a weapon given in hands of the females to protect themselves against the heavy demands and violence in certain cases. However, now the weapon is expanding its uses for attacking or threatening. This Act allows the arrest of the husband and the relatives without any warrant or investigation. Also, it makes it a non-bailable offense. This act also states that if a wife suicide within seven years of marriage the husband and relatives can be found guilty in abetting suicide cases if they are not able to prove their innocence.

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  • Divorce laws

Different laws cover different people but some grounds on which divorce is granted are the same for all such as, cruelty, mutual consent, non-mutual consent, Adultery, desertion, Conversion & Renunciation, Unsoundness of Mind, Presumed death, and Bigamy. As there are different laws according to one law husband and wife both can ask for alimony but according to others, only wives are allowed to ask for alimony. There have been numerous cases in which only to get huge alimony the wife tries to defame the husband and also tries to bring complaints that have nothing to do with the reality. In such scenarios, the husband ends up in a tough place and also cannot find a way out to prove his innocence.

  • Adultery

Until 2018, Adultery was a criminal offense but the way of punishment was debatable. The man who indulges himself in sexual intercourse with a married woman without her husband’s knowledge was entitled to imprisonment up to five years or fine or both, but the wife would not be held guilty. This was struck down in 2018 by the Honorable Supreme Court stating it unconstitutional. Now Adultery is not a crime but is a valid ground for divorce.

Reasons

  • Lack of provisions in the legislation
  • Given no serious heed towards the suffering of men.
  • Old notions of always seeing a woman be a victim.
  • Easy to prove a man guilty.
  • Wrong arguments.
  • Presumptions about a backstory when an adult male files a complaint against his wife.
  • Various stereotypes.
  • Lots of power given to the females and no laws made for a situation where these powers are misused.

Conclusion

Nothing in its extreme form is helpful. When there were no laws or strict provisions in order to safeguard our women. We raised our voices but what we didn’t know was. There will be a day when we have to fight those laws once again. The laws had such strict provisions so that we can ensure women have security and not because we wanted our men to be scared. Even now we fight for more strict laws and to be honest there is nothing wrong with it but how can we move forward with so many loopholes.

What if we raise the level of punishments without taking action against false complaints? There are chances of innocent people going behind the bars. We are leading the way for them to be penalized to death. We request the citizens out there to understand that by making false complaints you are misusing a weapon for which a lot of women fought, suffered, or even lost their lives. You are increasing their miseries and also adding on more gender division in society.

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We do have people who now speak up for the interest of men and try to fight back the notions. However, half of them come up when someone is pointing out the interest of women. Do not wait to speak until someone uses the phrase ‘All Men’. Using these arguments in a situation like that makes them defensive and not appealing. It is not a war between two genders it is a war we all have to fight together. You don’t have to pick to stand with males or females. You need a voice to speak up against wrong without looking at the gender. Maybe then we may say that we are fighting for ‘Equality’.

 

Written by Rudrakshi Sharma

(Writer, The Legal State)

– Edited by Palak Katta

(Editor, The Legal State)

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References:

[1] Sanjay Yadav v. Anita Yadav, 2007 AIR 2007 P H 136, (2007) 147 PLR 594

[2] Section 498A in The Indian Penal Code

[3] Dr. N.G. Dastane vs Mrs. S. Dastane, 1975 AIR 1975 SC 1534, (1975) 2 SCC 326, 1975 3 SCR 967

[4] Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961

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