Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Issaai, Sabko Seedha Kare Lugaai………….whatever maybe happening in the country, surely one cause that keeps most of the men united, is the domestic abuse of husbands by their women. And this time we cover a story of a helpless Parsi man from Mumbai who has been allegedly suffering at the hands of his wife for two reasons.
One of the common link that exists between all falsely accused men, are the Gender Biased Laws that heavily favour in the interest of women. Secondly, in the case below, shockingly there has been no Jury to hear contested divorce cases for Parsi couples for the past three-years. Thus, the question of justice doesn’t even arise.
Five-member juries, usually comprising retired men and women, spend six hours in the Bombay High Court for up to 10 days during a single session, granting or refusing divorces to disaffected Parsi couples. They are drawn from a pool of 20 jurors nominated for a decade by the community council.
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Cyrus (name changed) dated his partner Rhea during college days post which both got employed with the same international airline as cabin crew members. While Cyrus got through his induction module, due to weak eyesight, Rhea could not make it, and in the interim started looking out for modelling assignments.
At this time, the parents of the woman pressured the man to tie the knot soon, before he could change his mind over Rhea’s eyesight problems. Cyrus on the other hand, was sure of his commitment and thus did not hesitate to marry his lady then.
The couple tied the knot in 2009 in Mumbai and soon shifted to a rented accommodation since the woman was not in favour of living with her in-laws.
Later, Cyrus availed of a bank loan solely in his name and purchased their own apartment.
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While the man was busy with his flying career, the woman later joined a domestic airline, which too she quit citing air sickness reasons. This raised doubts in the mind of the husband as she had been flying earlier as well.
On the other hand, Cyrus’ brother who too was working for the same local airline had warned him to keep a tab on Rhea, since he was hearing frequent rumours which were not in good taste. The woman by now was only interested in her modelling assignments and barely gave time to her husband back home.
Despite earning well herself, she refused to contribute a single penny towards the big home loan Cyrus had been repaying.
According to Cyrus, when he requested his mother-in-law to convince her daughter for paying some amount towards the EMIs, Rhea’s mother instead told him that he was the ‘husband’ and it was his duty to provide for his wife. She also told Cyrus that he did not have the right to even ask where the finances of his wife were.
Two & A Half Years Into Marriage
After spending nearly 2.5 years in the marriage, Rhea now started forcing Cyrus to rent a place and start alternate business to generate more income for the household. On other hand, the husband thought this could be for the betterment of their future and family, and thus leased out a small property in the neighbourhood from where he operated a food joint. Less he knew, how this was actually a plan for Rhea to keep him occupied even when he was in the city, off from his flying schedule. Not just this, Cyrus was also paying installments for the car owned and driven by his wife, despite the lady having her own income.
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The relationship though, was only worsening since Rhea’s schedule had gone completely amiss from the family life Cyrus had perceived. She was into bikini shoots, would return home at 5am, sleep till noon, would never cook and just order food online — effectively she was living her own life without contributing anything emotionally, financially and even physically into the relationship.
Four Years Into Marriage
By now, Cyrus had become impatient as his wife was not even talking about starting a family or showing any interest about their future as a couple. He even spoke to her siblings to ask her directly what exactly she wanted from life.
Contrary to getting support from his in-laws, Cyrus was told that he was a jealous man who did not want his wife to become successful or progress.
Conditions Laid By Wife For Conceiving
Yes, the syndrome of My Body My Choice has led to women even laying down ‘conditions’ for conceiving and this too passes off as ’empowerment’. Nonetheless, Rhea’s latest trick for delaying a family this time was asking her husband to get their apartment renovated and make it one of the best in their residential complex. She asked him to do so because renovation post delivery would have been difficult for her to manage.
Once again, Cyrus gave into her demands as he genuinely wanted to make the marriage work. He went ahead and took another big loan from a private bank to ensure he gets his wife her best dream home. The husband was now shuttling between work, food joint, home renovation amongst others to set things right before they welcomed the new member in the family.
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But, the man was somehow still not getting the right signals. The final nail in the coffin came, when after everything, Rhea told her husband she wanted to go on a holiday all by herself before she had the baby. This time Cyrus chose not to react, however, told her that she could go for as many days/months she liked, but when she would return, they shall visit a gynecologist.
The lady took his credit card and left for US to spend almost one and a half months on her own.
Enough Was Enough
On her return, Rhea showed no signs of having missed her husband or making an effort to sit and chat up with him. Infact she had her snacks and hurriedly left on the pretext of meeting with her friends. It was the husband’s birthday after 4-5 days and this time he decided to speak his mind clearly to his wife.
Cyrus told Rhea that the marriage was not going anywhere even after spending 4-5 years together as a couple. He told her it was better they parted amicably, since he was also often taunted by her family of being an obstruction in her modelling career. As per Cyrus, he was extremely cordial and even told her that he would give her some money that he could afford, so that she would be comfortable after parting ways.
To his utter dismay, Rhea did not object to his proposition even once, and readily agreed to the separation. This shook Cyrus to a great extent as he felt depressed that his wife for whom he did so much did not even question him a ‘Why’!
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Nonetheless, it was once again the man who insisted that the families must meet once and talk it out together. Thus, he arranged for a meeting with his parents and in-laws. Cyrus’ parents were hoping they would discuss things about the breakdown in marriage, but in the most appalling and disgraceful manner, the girl’s mother questioned,
So how much alimony are you willing to give our daughter?
The man’s father replied in a dignified way and said,
We came to discuss other things today, but if you want to talk money we shall sit some other day.
Since the families had already spoken, Cyrus’ lawyer sent a divorce notice to Rhea stating they would want to end the marriage legally. Wife on the other hand, hired her lawyer and sent a vague reply saying she was the one harassed in her husband’s home.
This made Cyrus really upset about first false allegation and thus one day he went home, picked up the laptop lying on sofa and went away to his parents’ residence.
How Reality Unfolded
The laptop revealed a daunting reality when Cyrus saw several indecent pictures of his wife at various Page 3 type parties. Incidentally, the woman had not logged out of her social media accounts and every single chat flirting with 4-5 men at the same time came to the fore. Shockingly, she had even been discussing with these wealthy men how to make excuses of taking a holiday and then sidelining her husband completely from her personal life.
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Totally shattered by now, Cyrus reached out to Rhea and told her,
Let’s finish this off completely in a nice manner as you have gone very far. Let’s not make it dirty as I already have several evidences against you in the form of pictures and chats.
To this Rhea in the most defiant and unapologetic manner replied,
This is India. You have evidences, I can create evidences.
Legal Drama Begins
Cyrus finally filed the divorce petition in 2016 attaching all evidences, and in return was gifted with a Domestic Violence (DV) case.
Amidst other allegations, Rhea in her DV petition stated how she was deprived of food and basic amenities at home, made to sleep on the floor, others. She even stated that her passport had been withheld by the husband which was causing her losses in modelling assignments.
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The woman had now become vindictive and did not stop at mere allegations. Each time the husband returned home from his work, she immediately dialled 100 and summoned police officials to arrest him on pretext of domestic violence. The drama continued everytime and according to Cyrus,
I had become a joke in my own society. Whenever I used to park the car, my security guards would laugh and mock me saying Sahab police anne wali hogi (sir, police would be on their way).
By now, even the police knew how her calls were a farce, however, they too were tied by the hands of law and had to come each time they received call from the woman. Infact when they warned the lady not to play the fool, Rhea instead asked them to give in writing that she couldn’t call them whenever she wanted.
Cyrus recalls one incident which was most traumatic for him. Being a cabin crew with an international airline, his official car was supposed to pick him up from his residence at 11:45pm and he went down in his uniform at 11:35pm. To his astonishment, this time Rhea had yet again played her cruel card by summoning police at that hour.
The incident unfolded in a manner where the police was pleading Cyrus to come with them or settle the matter with his wife so they could let him go. He was in a fix because if he did not report to work on time, he would have been sacked from his job. Neighbours too, requested Rhea to let him go, but she seemed least bothered if her husband lost his job.
Cyrus says I was made to speak to one senior police officer, and he can’t thank him enough for his kindness on that day. Cyrus quotes,
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I had decided to go to the police station in my official car instead of pleading mercy from my wife. On the way, the senior inspector called me and allowed me to directly proceed to the airport and report back to the police station when I return after three days.
I can never forget that man whose name also I don’t recall, but if it wasn’t for him I would have lost my job today….the job due to which I have kept myself strong and living today. I would have turned suicidal if I didn’t have my job.
Anyways……when Cyrus returned and reported to the Police station, he learnt that his wife herself did not even visit or registered any complaint about that fateful night. Thus, fortunately there was no non-cognizable (NC) offence filed against him.
Things came to a point where the police themselves requested him not to go to his own home, as they would be compelled to arrest him if the woman planted any circumstantial evidence against him. Cyrus, is now back at his parents’ residence and Rhea has also got her own parents into her matrimonial home alleging ‘threat to her life’ from her estranged husband. Her parents’ themselves own another big apartment in the same city, but have chosen to move in with their daughter.
While Gender Biased Laws are a common problem across India, what makes Parsis stand out is the absence of Jury that has not heard any contested divorce matter since past three years. The crux of the problem here is not restricted to just the man, but several women too do not know whom to approach for justice.
We spoke to Ms Neela Gokhale, Supreme Court Lawyer, who has petitioned the Supreme Court of India for her client Naomi Irani to abolish the Jury system. The petition read,
The 1936 Act was exasperatingly cumbersome, involving a system akin to jury decision and granted no access to mediation and settlement available to Hindu women under the family court system.
After nearly a year, the centre did not support the petition in their reply. The Government of India quoted,
Parsi community is a special community forming part of Indian societal mosaic and it was felt necessary to protect their values, customs, beliefs and practices in the field of personal law. Parsi community, owing to their scarce numbers, also requires to be protected by way of separate mechanism. A special law (like PMD Act) for that small community with an intelligibly different or unique structure, is permissible in law.
Gokhale tells us, at a time when our country is aiming for Uniform Civil Code (UCC), how the Parsi Divorce system is totally unfair towards waring couples. She quotes,
All personal law matters are heard by a Jury who are not qualified by law, but merely appointed by senior members of the community. All contested cases are heard by this Jury and the scope of mediation and counselling, fair rights for children, etc. which is offered by family courts, is completely eliminated.
The Bombay High Court Judge however, can provide interim reliefs such as interim maintenance to wife and child, but cannot decide permanent orders in any matter.
- At the outset, I am certain there could be still a handful of readers, who would be laughing at the plight of Cyrus, because he happens to be a “Man”
- This is a common outlook, we as a society have adopted, because often we are fed only with one side of the story by media — the woman’s side
- A man is pronounced guilty even before a conviction and after fighting a legal battle for years, all he gets is a mere acquittal
- Be it family matters, false rape charges, sexual harassment……..all that prevails is the word of the woman
- While India has been and continues to be labelled with the ‘patriarchy’ tag, many innocent men today are being crushed due to the majoritarian viewpoint of society
- Everyone wants to boast calling themselves as ‘feminists‘, but only realise the swinging of pendulum to the other side, when someone of their own gets trapped in a false case
- Where do Men then go for justice? False cases have become a tool to either settle a score with the man or to bring him and his family to the negotiating table
- Why is every single domestic violence and harassment case dropped by women, after alimony payout is done?
- Time to ponder and strike a balance perspective when it’s comes to ‘Equality of the Sexes’……..#MenToo deserve a humane approach