Thirty per cent of the total complaints received by the women redressal cell of the Navi Mumbai police department in 2020 was filed by men against their spouses. The most common among these were that the wife does not cook on time, the wife is busy on social media and doesn’t pay attention to the family or is having an extra-marital affair.
The cell usually receives complaints from women who are abused, subjected to domestic violence or in marital discord with their spouses. The police claimed that the complaints by men increased with most people working from home.
The lockdown last year had forced everyone to be at home, stuck with social media and other little means of entertainment. While some couples managed to sail through the tough times, some others ended up reaching the police stations and courts.
Senior police inspector Meera Bansode of the women’s cell said,
In 2020, we received a total of 633 applications. While it is commonly believed that a women’s cell is for women, around 30 per cent of the total cases that came to the cell were from men against women. Of the 633 applications, around 180 complaints were from men who had issues against wives and were facing problems.
Another officer from the cell added,
Most of the complaints from men were about fights over wife not doing household chores, not cooking on time, spending too much time on social media or having an extra-marital affair.
The main aim of the cell is to solve the domestic disputes and help the couple to be back on amicable terms. Bansode added,
We do not justify or take sides. We only counsel for their better future. The maximum cases that came up during the lockdown had issues which were driven by social media. Either the husband was spending too much time on social media or the wife was glued to it.
During the lockdown period, people were mostly busy with WhatsApp, Facebook and other apps. On other days, the spouses were away from home and hence they do not know what was happening in each other’s life, she added.
In 2020, of the total 633 cases, 625 were resolved by various means. While 169 were successfully counselled, 81 of them went to police stations and 383 approached court. Bansode added,
When the counselling does not make any difference, the couple either goes to the police station, where again an effort is made to solve the differences or else a case is registered. Otherwise, they approach court for a divorce.
Meanwhile, in 2019, a total of 721 applications had been received at the women’s cell, of which all were resolved via various means. While 308 ended in successful counselling, 134 approached police stations and 477 approached court.
The women’s cell is headed by Bansode and has a total of six staff that includes five females and one male. This, Bansode felt, was understaffed for the number of applications they receive daily.
- A Nerul-based businessman filed a complaint that his wife did not cook food on time. The woman, a homemaker, as per her husband’s complaint made breakfast at 12 noon, lunch at 4pm and dinner past midnight. An officer said,
The husband often ordered food as their kids aged 12 and 15 were hungry in the morning after waking up. He also frequently visited his aunt’s house for meals, which his wife never liked. After a few sittings of counselling, they mutually agreed to adjust.
2. A professional driver in his thirties from Ghansoli made his wife do his B Ed after their marriage and also helped her get a teacher’s job. While studying B Ed, she met her senior and started having an affair. Slowly, she started avoiding her husband, told him she was in a relationship and hence he should not touch her but should look after her and her child, and that she would also continue to stay in his house.
We counselled the couple but the wife did not cooperate. She approached court for divorce.
*The above article has been published first by Hindustan Times.