MyNation Hope Foundation that works for Men’s Rights and against Gender Biased Laws in India, have been spending lot of time debating, deliberating and collating responses with regards to their suggestions for the criminal reforms committee. The five-member Committee for Reforms in Criminal Law which has been set up by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs at the National Law University (Delhi) has commenced “online” consultations at the peak of the COVID-19 epidemic to ensure that it has its report ready in the six-month time-frame fixed by the home ministry.
While the consultation form and responses are elaborate and in detail, here are some of the suggestions that could interest Men’s Rights particularly.
Q.1. Should the abetting, of offences committed by the classes of individuals specified in ss. 82,83, 84, and 85 of the Code as well as Juveniles under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, be criminalised as an aggravated form of Abetment?
Please refer to the JJ Act 2015 & to the Various Child Welfare Committees. It is pointless to have doubling up of the same matter repeatedly in various act. There is already the JJ Act, JJ rules, etc.
The section should make mandatory the opinion of expert medical professionals as the Court or the affected parties may decide, in arriving at any decision under this section.
Club sections 85 & 86 since they mean almost the same thing. At the same time, the examples & circumstances could vary, what is the guarantee that the victim or the person who was fleeced/coerced to commit crime was fully informed about the consequences?
No, unless the abettor also puts life of abetted person in danger. Reason is that it’s judicial principle to give punishment according to crime committed or intended to be committed, so considering it as aggravated form of crime will be injustice.
III. Cruelty by Husband and Relatives of Husband
In light of the Law Commission’s 243rd Report, should s. 498A be amended with respect to its scope, punishment, cognizability, bailability and compoundability?
1. Why is 498A not legal?
- 498A is a sub part of Family Laws. However there is no definition of Family, Biological Family, Extended Family, – these definitions were part of legal codified practices till the English came to India. These clear terms existed in legal practice for 1000s of years. However 72 years post independence no one seems to have looked into this common sense terminology. Since the Indian definitions of family have been very cynically erased, hence 498A can’t be a legal practice
2. 498A is mostly misused with complete support of the police, judiciary, etc to
- Usurp the groom’s & his family’s properties
- Destroys the Fatherhood of father & his extended families
- Forces the children to grow up fatherless
- Destroy a happy Family atmosphere of minor children who are growing up
- There is no record to show that misuse as well as actual crimes for which it was intended, have ended or reduced
- It’s more of a business proposition which destroys complete families of minor children, which itself is a non-pardonable criminal offence
- There is no scientific & professional method followed in 498A. It is more of a paper work of the archaic bureaucratic systems that the British set in place, rather than efficient justice mechanism
- There is no tracking of cases & problem solving done since it has been put in place where lakhs of fathers, husbands, little children lost their lives. Any law which doesn’t have comprehensive study done over 6 monthly periods, fails the legality test. 498A, due to gross misuse & no proper studies done on 6 monthly periods, & no corrections done fails the legality test of law
- Putting honest law abiding citizens in false threats abated by the courts, goes against the interest of the country. Which is why 498A is anti-national.
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It clearly gives the message. “Once you are powerful, get into anti national activities”. 498A allows crime to be legalised. At the same time, due to overload in courts with false cases, genuine victims don’t get justice.
The Law Commission’s 243rd report, only faintly touches on the illegality as well as misuse of the law. Unless the litigants who have been falsely implicated since 1984, have been asked their opinion, 498A can’t be considered legal
- Dowry is paid from the Bride’s side & Dower from the Groom’s side
- Hence if Dowry is illegal, Dower should also be also illegal
Hence what to do in 498A
- Have a complete definition of Family & Extended Family rights
- Fathers & Husband’s & their extended right to life & survival shall have to be completely guaranteed by the court & police as long as investigation is on. Any misuse or foul play shall be prosecutable
DVA, 498A, CrPc 125, etc should be clubbed under a simplified single law. And should comply to the above mentioned parameters
- 498A should be completely decriminalised and should only be accepted after professional Investigation
- Make 498A gender neutral, there should be lie detector test on every 498A complaints
- Till that time, declare all procedures null and void & compensate all affected parties
- Declare data on the deaths in the husband’s house due to false 498A, DV, CrPc125, and any marriage sections etc.
- Those who drafted & enacted 498A shall be subjected to severe prosecution & immediately arrested
- Those who have misused 498A shall also be subjected to severe punishment
- Those judicial magistrates, advocates, police officials who have misused 498A shall be subjected to sever criminal prosecution
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Make 498A compoundable offence
- No arrest till a person is proven guilty
- Proper investigation needs to be performed on each allegation of the complaint that makes an offence under section 498A
- This law should give the scope of amicable settlement of family disputes because this offence is very much related to marriage and family False allegations under Section 498A should invite punishment
- Husband and his family should also have rights to file a case on his wife for her cruelty under section 498A. In other words make this law gender neutral
- Suicide of a husband due to cruelty of wife should attract punishment under this section
- Cruelty on a husband should include: demanding an exorbitant amount of money from husband, intimidating husband for false cases, passing derogatory comments on husband or on his family, physical violence on husband and on his family, mental cruelty, creating atmosphere of fear in home, giving suicide threats, Demanding the separation of husband from his old parents, Abusing the parents, sisters and brothers of her husband with filthy words, Demanding transfer of property and assets just after marriage to her name, Aborting the child without informing husbands or his parents, To extract money from husband and her in-laws, etc.
- It should have several guidelines to protect the liberty of the citizens and harassment of innocent persons in the hands of unscrupulous litigants
- Trivial disputes between husband and wife or wife and in-laws should need to be settled amicably at family level not by case of 498A
- This law should be made stringent in the sense of saving the institution of marriage and to punish those women who are trying to misguide the court by filing false reports just to make the life of men miserable and ‘justice should not only be done but manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done’
- Penalty for making false accusation: Whenever, any court comes to the conclusion that the allegations made regarding commission of offence under Section 498A IPC are unfounded, stringent action should be taken against the person making the allegations. This, according to the petitioner, would discourage persons from coming to courts with unclean hands and ulterior motives
- That the Investigating Officer be required to state in court the basis or evidence for their reasonable belief that a crime has been committed; that the accuser be required to state her allegations on oath or an affirmation under penalty of perjury before an entire innocent family is subjected to indefinite and non bailable custody
- That the Judiciary should guide accused how, when and by whom perjury charges for a false 498A report can be brought about
- Marital offences should be made non-criminal in nature
- Provisions for compensation should be made if a person is found to be innocent
- Time bound Investigation and Trial: There is a need for speedy trial in order to provide justice to the innocent victims of false charges. This will also help in reducing the burden on the Judiciary. A time limit should be framed for all matrimonial cases
- Registration of Marriage and Gifts Exchanged: The registration of marriages should be made compulsory along with the requirement that the couple make a joint declaration regarding the gifts exchanged during marriage
- Punish Dowry Givers: If the complainant admits giving dowry in the complaint, the courts should take cognizance of the same and initiate proceedings against them under the relevant sections of the Dowry Prohibition Act.
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- NRI Issues : Unless they are proven to be guilty after the due judicial process, NRIs should be a given a fair chance to justice by assuring them of the following -a) Permission to return to country of employment b) No impoundment/revocation of passport and no Interpol Red Corner Notices. c) No unnecessary arrests d) Expeditious investigation and trial.
Gender Neutral: Everyone should have equal rights and responsibilities, irrespective of gender. In the current social context, there should be similar laws to protect a harassed husband and his family members from an unscrupulous wife. The misuser of this law should be made liable to compensate the financial loss
suffered by the falsely accused in the process.
To read detailed and in-depth list of suggestions, click on this link.
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