TESTIMONIALS….

TRAILER:

The most rewarding experience for a filmmaker is a good feedback from his/her film’s audience. This project has taken blood, sweat and my efforts of four years to complete. I would love to hear how did you like the film. Positive/Negative/Constructive – any comments are welcome. If you have seen #MartyrsofMarriage at any of our public screening locations , please do share with us your review and we would love to share them with the world.

Please mention your Name, your designation, where you saw the film, email/phone if possible and comments on the film.

WE WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU. LOOK FORWARD TO YOUR RESPONSE.

Warm Regards

Deepika Narayan Bhardwaj

Producer & Director – Martyrs of Marriage

http://www.MartyrsofMarriage.com

Advertisements

Martyrs of Marriage – PRESS NOTE

screenshot-2013-12-20-18-37-56

THE FILM

Documentary film on misuse of section 498A of Indian Penal Code, also known as anti dowry law in India.

SHORT SYNOPSIS

Martyrs of Marriage is a documentary film that documents the injustice that has been perpetrated on people because of misuse of section 498A of Indian Penal Code commonly known as the Anti Dowry law in India. A feature length, first person account of those who have suffered at the hands of abuse of this provision, the film delves deep into the problem, the reasons behind it and the repercussions of the same. The film intends to wake up the society to the fact that MEN can be victims too in marital relationships and that the laws that have been made for protection of women have been and are being misused to harass men, women and their families too.

LONG SYNOPSIS

 “Injustice anywhere is a threat to Justice everywhere”

Martin Luther King Jr

In Criminal Law, Blackstone formulation principle states “It is better that ten guilty persons escape rather than one innocent suffer.” It’s a principle followed under criminal jurisprudence the world over.

However, in India – a law that has been in place for three decades has been decried by many as an instrument of oppression, injustice and a reason for suffering of lacs of innocents in an endeavour to punish the guilty. Brought on the statute in 1983 to protect married women from dowry related violence within marital homes, section 498A of Indian Penal Code, also known as the anti dowry law has often been called as the most abused provision in the Indian jurisprudence. This abuse has been documented by the highest courts in India time and again through several judgments. In 2005, Supreme Court of India used the term “Legal Terrorism” to describe misuse of this law.

Martyrs of Marriage is a documentary film that documents various nuances of misuse of IPC 498A or the anti dowry law in India and the injustice it has perpetrated on several lives.

A feature length, first person account of those who have suffered at the hands of abuse of this provision, the film delves deep into the problem, the reasons behind it and the repercussions of the same. From why the law was brought in the first place to several suicides as a result of the abuse of the provision, this story that’s never been told before highlights plight of men and women who have suffered, suffering and those who have succumbed because of false allegations. No law intends to do Injustice to people. IPC 498A, however, has evidently become a tool and a weapon for harassment and extortion – a fact less stated but well known.

Martyrs of Marriage intends to inform and educate people about this issue and seeks intervention of lawmakers to save lives of many innocents.

The film interweaves personal stories of men and women who have faced trial or are undergoing trial under 498A on wrong allegations along with experiences of Judges, Advocates, Court Mediators, Detectives and Men’s Rights Activists with the abuse of this provision. It goes in detail of what happens, why it happens, how it happens and what the abuse of this provision is doing to lives of people. Several court observations on the issue make a part of the film to give the audience a perspective on the extent of the problem. The documentary presents data related to the law from 1998 till 2014 and raises some pertinent questions arising out of it after in-depth analysis of the same. Audio and Video evidences shared by victims have been used in the film to expose the proportion of this menace and the legal tactics used by those who have made the law a business.  Late Syed Ahmed Makhdoom, Late Manoj Kumar and Late Avadhesh Yadav give a face to the term “Martyrs of Marriage” as their families narrate the ordeals that they faced because of the most unexpected battle of their life called Marriage.

LOCATIONS

Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Meerut, Gorakhpur, Jhansi, Gurgaon, Noida

FEATURING

Ashwani Kumar – Former Minister of Law & Justice, India
Justice Shiv Narayan Dhingra – Retired Judge, Delhi High Court
Mamta Sharma – Former Chairperson, National Commission for Women
Madhu Kishwar – Professor – ICSSR & Founder – Manushi
Mrunalini Deshmukh – Senior Advocate, Mumbai High Court
Alok Mittal – Former Commissioner of Police, Gurgaon
Rashmi Bhushan – Senior Advocate & Mediator, District Court, Gurgaon
Swarup Sarkar – Men’s Rights Activist & Founder, Save Family Foundation
Amit Lakhani – Men’s Rights Activist, Save Indian Family Movement
Ranjana Kumari – Women’s Rights Activist & Director, Center for Social Research, New Delhi
Naman Jain – Managing Director, Sleuth Detectives
K K Bhati – Advocate, Noida
Devdutt Singh – Advocate, Noida
Sanjay Gupta – Advocate, Meerut
Satish Gupta – Advocate, Gurgaon
Victims of misuse of IPC 498A, families of men who committed suicide because of the harassment

DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT

It was in mid 2012 that I decided to make Martyrs of Marriage. There are moments that alter the course of your entire life. Being falsely accused of a crime I or my family had not done was one such moment for me.  When I got to know how easy it is to accuse someone of crime of dowry harassment in India, how easy it is to misuse section 498A of Indian Penal Code and how easy it is for a woman to destroy an entire family by false allegations, I decided to speak up against it. When I read stories of many who gave up life because of this abuse, I decided to make Martyrs of Marriage.

dp-web-3527

Marriage is considered a sacred institution in India. This perspective stands true for most Indians until they visit Courts where this institution can be seen falling apart every single day. The bitterness, the lies, the power games, the helplessness, the cries for innocence can make you numb. I witnessed all of this and wanted to share this story with the world. For eons, we have been told stories of how women suffer. I saw the other side of the same coin – suffering of men in legal battle of marriage – and this documentary was born. I wanted to tell a story that most hesitate to hear or even if they hear, hesitate to believe.

Martyrs of Marriage is my first documentary feature and hence it took me several years to do justice to a film like this. When I started, I only wanted to tell a story. During the journey, I became an activist and a voice for those who weren’t heard because of their gender. I myself did not realize when I became an activist from a filmmaker but today, I am glad I decided to make this film. It is just not a film but life of those who have lived a harrowing time because of injustice perpetrated by the state on them in name of justice to a particular gender. It is story of those who could not take it anymore and decided to end it all.

The film is not an investigative piece but an extremely emotional story that raises a lot of pertinent questions on the way gender justice is being delivered in the country today. The film is a question on the efficacy of laws that have been made to protect one gender, the loopholes and abuse of the same with the help of the state. The film is a question on the psyche of those who think a man can never be a victim.

I am aware of the current social and political atmosphere around gender issues. I am aware of how politically incorrect this subject is. I am aware how the state is obligated by the constitution to protect women from gender based violence.  But I am also aware that that obligation was never intended to come at the cost of lives of innocents. If it is happening, it needs to be condemned and spoken against. Martyrs of Marriage is a result of that NEED.

I hope everyone who watches this film, sees it from the eyes of NEED for a balanced society and not a biased society since gender equality means gender equality and it includes both female and male!

DIRECTOR’S BIO

Deepika Narayan Bhardwaj is an Independent Journalist and a Documentary Filmmaker from India. Her first short documentary Gramin Dak Sevak based on employment challenges of rural postal employees was Jeevika All Asia Livelihood Film Festival 2009, student film winner. Her second short documentary Youth Count focussed on youth and its attitude towards voting and elections.  She has also worked on documentary projects for United Nations Environmental Program, USAID, Counterpart International, Sarthak covering issues related to women, people with disabilities and environment. Martyrs of Marriage is her first independent documentary feature which she has researched, scripted, produced and directed on her own.

While making the film, Deepika has written and spoken extensively on gender biased laws in India and impact of their misuse on people through platforms like TEDx and others.

 A software engineer turned Journalist, she was one of the ten media professionals selected from around the world for ‘Future Media Leaders Course’ conducted by Thomson Foundation, UK in 2010. A strong believer in documentaries as a powerful medium of communication, she draws her inspiration from Late Mr. Brent Hurd, her documentary professor at Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media.

She can be reached via: deepikanarayan@gmail.com  | Facebook | Twitter

TEDxTalks:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_2gl7lz25E

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSRTZ_q4RX8

 

SCREENINGS SO FAR

Public screenings of Martyrs of Marriage started on October 22, 2016 from New Delhi. Since then the film has been screened in several cities in India and abroad too including Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chandigarh, Ahmedabad, Pune, Raipur, Bhilai, Jaipur, Jalandhar, Gurgaon, Kaithal in India; Melbourne, Sydney, Gold Coast in Australia and Indian Consulate, Dubai. Martyrs of Marriage has also been screened for Magistrates and Police Officers at Tamilnadu State Judicial Academy , Madurai and Maharashtra State Judicial Academy. The film has received standing ovations and an overwhelming response everywhere.

 

POSTER & STILLS

poster-1

poster-2

Peaceful procession for Dr. Vimal Bharti in Dharamshala on November 16

Dr Vimal Bharti committed suicide blaming his wife and in-laws for the extreme step.

A peaceful procession has been planned by family, friends and relatives of late Dr. Vimal Bharti on November 16, 2016 in Dharamshala to demand fair justice in his suicide case. Vimal hanged himself inside the hospital where he was working on October 16 , leaving behind a five page long suicide note detailing how he was harassed and mentally tortured by his wife and in-laws forcing him to take this drastic step. The procession will begin at 11 am from SP Office from where people will go to the Court Road.

pic

Dr. Vimal Bharti, fondly remembered by his colleagues and friends as a jovial, friendly and always helpful person, was serving as Dental specialist at PHC Panchrukhi. He got married in March 2014 and is stated to have had issues in his marital life right from the beginning. His father says, “She first separated our son from us and then separated him from his life as well. We limited our interactions with them thinking that it may help them lead a smooth married life but we did not know that his wife and her family would drive him to suicide.”

A case of abetment of suicide has been registered against Vimal’s wife, mother in law, father in law and sister in law. However, police is yet to make any arrests in the case of any of the accused, because of which many people are carrying out the procession to seek justice for Vimal. The police have been dilly dallying the case saying they are yet to match the handwriting of the suicide note and Vimal’s original handwriting. The family has claimed that since the girl side has very high contacts in the police and also judiciary, no action has been taken on their complaint for so many days. His father rues “there have been two more cases of suicide by men (one of them a soldier) because of exactly the same reasons as that of my son, few days around his death. They were also alienated from their children and harassed by their wives. Police has nabbed the culprits in those cases but in our case, no action has been taken so far. I seek support from people to get justice for my son.”

Few excerpts from Dr. Vimal’s suicide note….

My wife started behaving strangely from the beginning of the marriage itself. She used to get angry and leave home anytime, sometimes in the nights also. I used to go and beg her to come back inside home. She used to tell me that she was engrossed in meditation of her Guruji and did not want to get married. Her parents married her as asked by her Guruji. I used to tell about her behaviour to her parents and her sister also but they never listened to me. After few months of our marriage she got pregnant and I thought everything may become okay once the kid comes. But nothing changed even after that. Within few days of the child being born she became even more abusive towards me. She beat me up couple of times during our fights. Once when we went to her place and her sister tried to advice her, she picked up a knife and tried to slit her hand. She abused my parents all the time. They used to come earlier to see their grandchild sometimes, but after seeing her behaviour, they also stopped coming at my home. She used to accuse my parents of doing wrong things with their own grandchild. I wonder who someone can accuse grandparents of a small child like that. Her superstitions, her insecurity became a threat for my family. She is deeply involved in superstitious activities and wants to involve our daughter also into that. She revers some guru who is no more alive. But she still keeps on chanting about him all the time. She says that the Guru talks to her. I don’t know how can a dead man talk to a person? What kind of thought process is that? She keeps threatening me that she will get me and my parents behind bars. Who threatens like that? I felt worse when she said that the baby is not mine but Guruji’s. That it is the guruji who has given the child. If it is guruji who has given the child, then why wasn’t the child born before marriage? Her family members knew about this condition of hers. Still they married her with me and destroyed me and my family. She has traumatized me mentally to a point where I just cannot take it anymore.  I fear for my daughter. No one can live with a person with such psychic behaviour ever. I am afraid she will turn by daughter also as same. There is so much mental pressure every day. Her parents have played foul with me. They knew she is like this. They thought they would marry her anyways, whether it works or not will be the in-laws tension then. Only I know how I have lived this mental trauma since my marriage. I am tired of listening to her taunts and hence decided to end my life to find some peace. Every day I have to attend so many patients in the OPD. When I come back home in the evening, she creates hell for me. She had made my life hell. She says I use my daughter. How can a mother talk like that? This lady and her family members have tortured me so much that I see no other option but to end my life. I just don’t know what I will do to myself. Her behavior, superstitious beliefs, quarreling nature and mental torture she inflicts on me has made it impossible for me to live with this woman. Please listen to the recordings I have done to understand what I was going through. Please save my daughter from this torture. No normal person can bear this kind of mental torture. Please save my daughter. Please save my daughter. I request my colleagues, media and society to help my family and save my child. I hope the law punishes this woman and her family so that no other person has to commit suicide like this.

If you wish to attend the procession, please get in touch with family on this number – 09816005524. Entire suicide note has not been reproduced here because of the sensitivity of the details mentioned by Dr. Vimal.

Editor’s Note: It is sad that Police takes an action in these cases on the basis of gender of the person who has died. If it was a woman who had left such a long note against her in-laws, they would have been immediately arrested and interrogated for torturing the woman. However, when a man commits suicide, as seen in several cases of such nature, police is least interested in investigating the case or taking any action. We urge people to join the family and support them in seeking fair investigation and action in this case. If you wish to share any similar unfortunate incident with us, write to martyrsofmarriage@gmail.com

Watch the trailer of  Martyrs of Marriage – a documentary film on misuse of IPC 498A here: http://www.martyrsofmarriage.com

Disclaimer: The article doesn’t hold anyone guilty of the crime as accused. It states the facts of the case as they have happened post Dr Vimal’s suicide.

A 498A Survivor : Filing divorce for Men in India is not only dangerous but outright toxic!!

His wife filed a criminal case on him and his elder sisters only because he sought divorce because of her unreasonable demands. He was incarcerated for 10 days because of this alleged crime. He lost his job, career and peace. But he did not relent. He fought and he won. Read the story of another man falsely accused under 498A, whose life changed forever due to law abuse. I have not mentioned the person’s name as it might affect his pending litigation adversely.

1) Share with us your case in brief. Like when did you get married, why did things fall out and reason for 498A.

I got married in February 20**. It was an arranged marriage. They responded to our advertisement in newspaper seeking a suitable match for me. My native place is located at suburban ******.  My wife’s paternal house is located around 18 kms from my native place. I had been staying out of my state for last 15 years.  Before marriage, I made it clear to my (would be) wife that I would remain outside my state till I take retirement from service. Simultaneously, I also requested for her passport to be made as I explained to her that during the course of my service, we may also relocate outside India. I also shared my plan that post retirement, I am definitely going to come back to my native and stay there. She did not object and was in complete agreement, throughout. We got married and after spending six days at my native, we relocated to *****, where I was posted at the point of time. We went for honeymoon and came back. Things were good till she started insisting that I should relocate to our native, close to her paternal house.

I was shocked when she said that her father has told her that after marriage husband listens to her wife and it would be easy for her to force me to relocate as per her wish. I did not agree to her proposal for obvious reasons as it did not suit my career plans. More so, I felt cheated as we frankly discussed everything before marriage and she did not object at that time. This relocation became a major point of disagreement and finally culminated into issues that lead her to file the case u/s 498a & 406 with false allegations against me and my married elder sisters.

2) Your case involves unreasonable demands by your wife. Please elaborate on that and what did you suffer as a consequence? Was there abuse and violence involved when you disagreed with her or did not bow down to her demands?

In the year 20**, the organization I was working for at that time, nominated me to work from their US office. They processed my work permit (H1 Visa) and I was supposed to relocate with my wife next year. I shared the same info with my wife. She agreed but put forward her unreasonable demand that I need to take my parents-in-law along with us. I tried to reason with her that technically it is not feasible at that point of time. However, she was adamant that either I should take my parents-in-law along with us or I should give up this opportunity. She further insisted that she is not ready to stay with me at place of my posting at that time as well if her parents don’t stay with us otherwise I must relocate to her paternal house. She was pregnant at that time and unilaterally declared that I and my family members would not be allowed to see the baby till I agree to her demands.  Her parents in concurrence with her warned me that there would be legal consequences as I am spoiling their daughter’s life and my sisters’ married life shall not be spared too.

Prospect of rewarding career opportunity being vanquished in bud before it could have blossomed, imminent threat of criminal cases on self & married elder sisters that could put their family life into complete disarray and ultimate deprivation in not being allowed to see own child, made me suffer severe mental agony which is inexpressible by words.

3) Who all were implicated in your cases and what were the main allegations?

My elder sisters and I were implicated in the 498a/406 case. Both of my elder sisters were married prior to our own marriage and were settled at their matrimonial home at different cities. The allegations were like this – My elder sisters used to advise me over phone, to commit physical and mental torture on my wife and I used do such torture on her. I used to keep her confined in a room. I did not take proper care of her during pregnancy. I did not provide her with food and medicines and I did torture on her by taking her for checkup with doctor, multiple times.  I used to force her do all domestic works. I did not allow her to talk to her parents over the phone. I throw water on bed and forced her to leave the bedroom.

4) Did you have to go to Jail? How did that impact you as a person?

Yes, I was taken in judicial custody. I spent 10 days in custody. It is difficult to gauge the impact though I can say for sure that something inside me changed for ever. I would not be able to get over the ignominy and social stigma of being in jail for rest of my life. My reputation, reputation of my family name got ruined.

5) Please share the absolutely bizarre things that happened in your case – any allegation or lies beyond expression…

My wife alleged that my sisters advised me to force her to go for regular medical check-up by different physicians during the period of her pregnancy and this was nothing but torture for her. Regular Medical check-up during pregnancy is normal and advised by Doctors. However, my wife alleged such check-up as torture and cruelty on her as contemplated under section 498A of the IPC. I filed for divorce from her and she alleged that such divorce petition was mental cruelty on her as contemplated under section 498A of the IPC. The right to marry or being aggrieved pray for dissolution of marriage is borne out of civil rights and cannot be construed as criminal offence but still I was charged and tried.

6) What’s your opinion on a husband filing for divorce in India? Do you think it’s highly dangerous? Does he have any options?

Arindam AcquittalA husband can always file for divorce but under present legal scenario in India, he needs to realize that by doing so he is opening the flood gates of legalized harassment and extortion on him and his family members. On a counter blast he shall receive all kinds of cases, the judiciary is going to look down upon him and penalize him at every step and his woes are not going to end there. He will be alienated from his child. He may end up losing is job and further get penalized for his inability to fulfill exorbitant demands of maintenance. Filing divorce, for Men in India is not only dangerous but outright toxic. And most importantly, there is nothing like a contested divorce for Indian men. Under present family laws and related legal setup, a married Indian man is a sitting duck in case his marriage is on the rocks.  It doesn’t matter if he is at fault or he isn’t. Invariably he will be considered as the perpetrator of marital violence and his wife innocent victim of such atrocities.

7) Were there any demands made by your wife to settle these cases? What were they?

Yes there were demands. I need to compromise. I need to be in control of her and her parents. I need to stay at her paternal house.

8) When did you decide that you will fight? What made you take that decision?

My wife left the matrimonial home in my absence. After giving birth to our child, she did not allow me to see the child and threatened me with more cases if I attempt to visit her and the child without agreeing to her demands. I received a severe emotional jolt that helped me firm my resolve to fight against this legal terrorism.  Simultaneously, I got in touch with SIF (Save Indian Family). After talking to fellow SIFIANs, I got the courage and the resources to take on the ‘Legal Terrorists’.

9) How did you fight? Any advice you have for people who are fighting false cases?

This fight is more against self than anyone else as it is 90% mental and 10% legal. First and foremost I had to lose fear. I realized that nothing worst can happen to me. I equipped myself with legal knowledge to be in a better position to tackle and navigate through the legal cobweb. My advice would be to keep things simple. Be confident. Be fearless. The case is false and you need not to do anything but speak the truth. Rest all will be taken care.

10) You won your battle relatively quickly. How did you manage to do that. Any advice for people who also wish to get quick justice?

Before everything, I had to make up my mind that I am going to end the criminal case and not let it linger. I studied the different remedies available vis. a vis. time required and concluded to stand trial as it came out as the cheapest and quickest way to end this ordeal. As the trial commenced, I had a two pronged approach. I sought speedy trial before the Court and simultaneously worked in the background personally, to remove all the possible latches which normally is taken care by advocate’s peon or juniors. My advice to others would be having proper communication with advocate by giving clear instructions. Don’t miss court dates. Be present inside the court room and raise your concern, if any in a polite manner. It’s your case and you need to take control of it.

11) You lost your job, very precious years of your life and also opportunity abroad. Who would you blame for that? Do you think anything can makeup for that pain?

I would blame my wife’s lawyer who ill advised her to file this criminal case, the Learned Court which took cognizance without applying its judicial mind as mandated by the law. I blame the legislator of this country to frame such a law which is so easy to be misused and absolutely no consequences on misuse. I blame my wife for not being honest with her intentions before marriage. And lastly I blame myself for not being informed enough to know how easily my life can be ruined by being married under present legal system in India.

Nothing can makeup the loss I faced. But Yes my pain could have been alleviated to some extent if the court while declaring the case against me being filed with “malafide intentions” and was “abuse of the process of law”, would have also created a precedent by ordering appropriate proceedings against my wife, which would passed a message to the society that such misuse would not be tolerated in future. It would have spared a few innocent lives in the future.

12) Did the judge even after writing so clearly that the case was false, announce any punishment for your wife whatsoever?

No. No punishment was ordered for such gross abuse of the process of law.

13) Do you think that’s an injustice to you?

I would not stop at calling it injustice but it is a tight slap on the face of the judicial institution as unscrupulous people get encouraged when they observe their misdeeds getting unpunished. And honest people lose faith and respect for the institution itself.

14) Now that you have won, what are the future plans?? Have you become scared of marriage?

I have won the criminal case only. There is a pending case of maintenance and divorce. I have a child too for which I intend to seek physical custody. Winning the criminal case automatically doesn’t put a favorable end to the other cases. I need to go to each court and re-establish my innocence. Such is the system.

I may still have to end up paying maintenance to a wife who admittedly filed a false case on me.
I may still be alienated from my child without any fault of mine or the child.

I am scared and scarred. My ability to trust is the ultimate casualty.  I know that all women are not at fault. But I do not know how to identify the woman who won’t misuse the benevolent provisions of law when there is absolutely no consequence for such misuse.

However, I do see some light at the end of the tunnel. My association with SIF has given me a new found purpose in life i.e. to stand by the side of the men who fall victim to such legal abuse and share my experience to help them overcome their hour of distress.

Excerpts from 498A Acquittal JUDGMENT of this 498A Survivor:

“Before parting with the instant, case it is apt to mention here that PW1 has equivocally stated in her evidence that she has lodged this case as a counter blast to the mat suit lodged by her husband. Had he not sent such notice of divorce suit she would not have lodged this case. She wish to stay with him and lead her conjugal life. Thus, in such circumstance and the poor way in which she has fared cross-examination, it appears that DC has intentionally and in a motivated way, to settle a civil dispute (divorce), abused the process of law and set the criminal law in motion against the hapless husband and his poor family members who happens to be his married elder sisters with an impression that if a person could somehow be entangled in a criminal prosecution, there is a likelihood of imminent settlement by applying pressure through criminal prosecution. This establishes the malafide intention of the DC as she lodged the police case against the accused person(s) as an alternative to be used as leverage to settle the (civil) dispute that arose with A1 seeking divorce from her. The DC has cited the divorce suit filed by the A1 as a mental cruelty u/s 498a of the IPC. A free citizen of India, enjoys a civil right to marry of his choice or being aggrieved, seek divorce through dissolution of the marriage. Such exercise of civil right to seek divorce cannot be construed as a criminal offence. Any effort to settle civil disputes (divorce) and claims, which do not involve any criminal offence, by applying pressure through criminal prosecution should be deprecated and discouraged. The DC has alleged cruelty done by sisters-in-law who admittedly were married prior to DC’s own marriage to A1 and were settled at their matrimonial home at Chinsurah and Jadavpur. The bald allegations made against the sister in law by the DC appeared to suggest the anxiety to rope in as many of the husband’s relatives as possible. The sisters-in-law had never lived with DC and her husband, A1. Their implication in the complaint is meant to harass and humiliate the husband’s relatives. This seems to be the only basis to file this complaint against the married sisters-in-law”

Editor’s Note: The Judge has not passed any directives for any kind of punishment/fine/ to the wife in this case or a compensation to the husband. Two women who were married had to suffer a criminal case for no fault of theirs but that also doesn’t warrant any action on the woman who filed this case. If laws are allowed to be such blatantly misused, this entire quest for equality is a fake facade.

He is fighting his battle of Marriage. He is winning it Step By Step….

When you fight a battle against your wife – you are not fighting her, you are fighting against an entire system that is framed against you. Here’s sharing from a man who got 498Aed in his second marriage. He did not lose despite losing his father to it. He chose to FIGHT. And he is winning it slowly. If you are fighting one of your own, read this and choose for yourself.

Disclaimer: I am not revealing the identity of this man since he is yet to win his 498A. But it’s a story worth sharing. We would bring his interview again once he wins the last leg of this battle too. We are sure he would!!

 

1. Share with us your case briefly, when did you get married, why did the marriage break down and when were the cases filed.
Mine is a 2nd marriage. First wife had an affair with a colleague in her MNC. She went abroad, never came back. Came to sign MCD(mutual consent divorce) only. Married 2nd time in March **** in ******* , and got married to a 498a girl i.e. she filed full package on her first husband too ( i was unaware of all of this as even i do not know that there is something called 498a in this world. Anyhow, got married with her. She started her tantrums from day1. She wanted me to take liability of her mother permanently and spend money on her. I got job in 6 different countries with excellent package, but her mother interfered and wanted to join us on DEPENDENT Visa. I insisted to take her mother only on Visitor visa for short duration but my wife and her mother were forcing me for Dependent Visa, which triggered them and they created ruckus at my home 2-3 times, called neighbors and my father could not tolerate this and one day he passed away due to cardiac arrest. After 20 days of his death, she filed 498a FIR in *****. Then after 14 months of separation she filed DV(Domestic Violence) case. Above all she has a daughter from her first marriage, i was ready to accept her daughter. She wanted my parents either to transfer the property to her and kid or declare them as Legal Heirs via civil suit. She prepared the civil suit documents which we even accepted to sign but her over aggressiveness alerted us and finally my parents denied to sign the documents. This was also the reason for filing of 498a. Infact i got her kid admitted in top notch school at Gurgaon, paid almost 1.2 lakhs and still 498a was filed on me and my mother.

 

2. Was a 498A filed on you as well? If yes, how many family members of yours were implicated? Did you have to go to jail? How long and how did it affect you as a person?
Yes 498a is still going on . It is at evidence stage. Me and my widow mother (67 yrs old) have been made accused. Yes, i surrendered. I spent 3 nights in Jail. As a person it made me strong and now i cannot trust any woman. I took a decision to fight each case and not to surrender in front of legal terrorism.

 

3. Were you asked to settle the case by your wife? What did she demand to settle?
Yes, 50 lakhs. She took 6 lakhs from her first husband also.

 

4. When and why did you decide that you will fight? Is it easy to fight?
After filing of FIR, when first time my bail got rejected from Lower court on baseless allegations, I decided to fight this nonsense. No it is not easy to fight. One needs to devote time, as i do not depend on my lawyer. 95% work is done by me and 5% by my lawyer. Its a time consuming and moreover being a part of IT industry, i hardly get time. Still I am managing it anyhow by working 20 hours a day almost.

 

5. You have recently got your domestic violence case dismissed in the court of law. How were you able to achieve that?
The petitioner i.e. wife did not came to court even once. I started taking plea in front of judge to dismiss the case in default. After 3-4 hearings the hon’ble judge dismissed it in default i.e. DID. After this she filed an application to re-open i.e. restore the case which has been dismissed recently on merits.

 

6. What would your advice be to the people who get a false domestic violence case filed on them? What are the important things to be kept in mind to prove your innocence in these cases?
Important thing is to fight case on merits. Do not lie in courts and bring your good deeds in front of judge and show her bad conduct to the judge. It really helps even in getting dates from courts as per one’s wish.

 

7. In a lot of these cases, women demand maintenance despite being educated, qualified and earning themselves. Does the court look into merits of the case or DV orders are also passed in a mechanical way?
My case did not go to such stage, but i have noticed that DV orders are passed in a mechanical way IF the respondent i.e. husband do not fight the case properly, There are lot of strategies which needs to be adopted to bring the truth in front of Hon’ble judge. If one depends on lawyer, he is surely gonna fail.

 

8. What would be your generic advice to people who are implicated in false matrimonial cases? 
I have been actively involved with activities of SIF(save indian family). After fighting my own cases and meeting so many victims of false cases, my advice always is to FIGHT the case and not to settle at any cost. Fighting actually brings down morale of the girls parents including girls and they sometimes come to settle cases on 0 settlement.

 

9. How do you feel with this small victory of yours? Is it better to fight or settle the cases?
Victory always feels good. This is the 4 time we have tasted it. First my mom won Permanent Injunction suit. Then my wife filed a case to get my passport impounded, which i fought PIP and i won it in court as well as in RPO(Regional Passport Office). Then she filed DV which was dismissed i.e. DID and then she filed restoration which has been dismissed on merits.

 

10. What has been your biggest learning point in this journey? How have these cases changed you as a person?
Biggest learning point is not to trust WOMEN Blindly. Its a part of misandry to trust females without knowing them. Yes, absolutely i have learnt about the law of our land and got to know how our biased system works. And i took decision to always help others in their fight against false cases.

 

Editors’s Note: It is a common observation that in a lot of matrimonial disputes, complainants themselves do not appear in the court. I wonder who is asking for Justice here? When the complainant herself is not bothered about her complaints one can deduce the seriousness and veracity of that complaint. Irony is courts keep on giving dates after dates even if the woman doesn’t appear in courts. Failure of appearance by the man’s side however can lead to many repercussions. If this is not bias then what it?

Domestic Violence and Divorce laws : A brief study on difference between the UK and India

Marriage & Divorce

Domestic Abuse laws and their Enforcement in the UK: Lessons for the Indian Society in the context of Domestic Violence (DV) laws misuse in India

Factual summary

  1. Domestic Violence (DV) in the UK is defined as, “​a​ny incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality”.
  2. The definition is wide covering all forms of abuse, and victims of abuse are identified as both men and women as well as those in the same sex relationships.

Criminal Procedures

  1. Physical violence between partners in relationships is prosecuted as per the common law. Therefore, any cases of alleged assault or abuse would be reported to the police. While DV cases are handled by the specially trained officers within each police force, other procedures are no different from other instances of such crime.
  2. Sexual violence too is dealt with as common law crime. The exemption for marital rape was abolished in 1991.
  3. A police complaint of any incident of domestic abuse is investigated promptly. It is common for the police to arrest the alleged defendant within 24 hours. Any police arrest in Europe is governed by Article 5 (Right to Liberty) of the European Convention of the Human Rights (ECHR). The police cannot keep anyone in custody for longer than 36 hours. The investigating officer would obtain details of the detainee including finger print marks, etc and conduct a taped interview. The defendant has Miranda rights, and right of a solicitor during the taped interview. The investigation team would prepare a report that is put before Crime Prosecution Service (CPS), who would then make a decision whether or not to charge within the 36 hours time limit. In UK, there is no concept of the victim choosing under which law does she wish to file a complaint under. The victim narrates the alleged offence, and it is the police/CPS who decide what to charge the defendant for.
  4. CPS will charge a defendant if they have “​reliable and credible evidence enough to produce a realistic prospect of conviction in the court”. I​f the defendant is charged, in most DV cases, other than say homicide or serious grievous bodily harm, the defendant would be released on bail until the court trial. In case the defendant is not charged, which implies that the police does not have the required evidence, then the police would either discontinue the investigation declaring no further action, or ask for more time to conclude the investigation and build a case, in which the defendant would again be released on bail until the investigation is complete. The investigation is usually always completed within 2-3 months.
  5. Both the pre-charging and post-charging bail conditions would almost always include a restraining order, disallowing any physical contact or any direct or indirect communication by whatsoever means, between the victim and the defendant. There is usually no monetary bail deposit or any impounding of property unless there is a clear evidence of risk of flight.

Discussion in context of Indian laws and their enforcement

  1. “Domestic” element not special: While there is social and political hysteria around domestic abuse, however other than a few practice guidelines for the police, there are no separate laws, very different from similar violence say between the strangers. So for example if your wife has slapped you, then she will be prosecuted in the same way as if your wife had slapped a stranger in a bus, ie for common assault, or if she has broken a glass bottle on your head, then she will be prosecuted for Grievous Body Harm (GBH) in the same way if she had broken a glass bottle on head of her colleague in the office, and so on. There are no separate laws or separate penalties for any conduct within the relationship, different from such conduct outside of relationship. Basically, it is a common sense law.
  2. Gender Neutrality: The laws are gender neutral. In terms of police statistics, while there are more alleged female than male victims, the ratio is 65:35. It is widely recognised that male victims are less forthcoming in filing a complaint and therefore 65:35 ratio may not reflect the reality of such crime that is expected to be 50:50. [This is in complete contrast to India where male DV victims have little to no provision of any relief. The female to male ratio of police complaints is likely to be worse than 99:1]
  3. Non-corrupt enforcement agency: The police conducts a prompt and fair investigation. Therefore while a defendant still may feel abused for being wrongly arrested in false case, it is made clear that the purpose of the arrest is genuine fact finding by the police (and later by the courts, if charged) rather than a tool of harassment. In 25% of all DV complaints, the police takes no action at all, i.e does not even arrest the defendant. They may contact the defendant and ask him a few questions in such cases and then decide to take no further action. In 57% of the DV complaints, the defendant is arrested and then released without charge or with a verbal warning by the police. Only 18% of all DV complaints lead to a charging decision. Therefore, in 82% of all complaints, the police and CPS actually refuse to take the matter to the Court for trial. While the final conviction rate in the UK of around 10% is actually more than the 2% conviction rate in India, the harassment suffered in the UK for false cases is far, far lower.
  4. Custody time limits: As explained above, it is rare for anyone to be in police custody for longer than 36 hours, even if the CPS makes a charging decision until the trial. There is no concept of languishing in jails for months and years as in India.
  1. Non-involvement of family members: There is no provision of family members being arrested unless there is clear evidence of abetting serious crime that includes homicide or grievous bodily harm.
  2. Restraining orders as part of bail conditions: The alleged victim or his/her family are not allowed to have any contact or communication whatsoever, even indirectly through a third person, with the alleged perpetrator. Unlike India, there is no concept of “mediation” in a criminal matter. This provision entirely takes away any scope of extortion through filing of false cases.
  3. There is provision of prosecution of false cases in the UK as Perverting the Course of Justice. However the threshold of such prosecution in the case of rape and DV is kept very high to encourage the genuine victims of such crimes to come forward without fear of prosecution if they are not believed. Therefore it is rare for CPS to charge false complaints. However if the police investigation leads to conclusion of clear false complaint, the complainant is given a verbal or written caution by the police for wasting the police time.

Why are false cases filed in the UK then?

  1. For young, unmarried partners: As a short term harassment tactic, which is no different from false complaint of any common law crime.
  2. For married or long term cohabit partners: Abuse the restraining order element of the bail conditions to bolster the claim over matrimonial home and child custody matters in any subsequent civil proceedings between the parties.

Discussion of differences in social-legal structures between the UK and India

  1. Significant hurdles to obtain divorce on a so-called no fault basis in India: In UK, Divorce is filed in a civil county court under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. The financial settlement consisting of any lump sum upon separation, and spousal maintenance is decided as part of the civil proceedings by a single judge court. Child maintenance is covered under the Child Support Act 1991, and in summary implies that the non-resident parent pays 15% of their monthly income to the resident parent for one child, that goes up to 25% for two children. 

Editor’s Note: While Divorce can be a painful experience for both husband and wife, in India, Divorce leads to immense distress In India because first – the society does not understand the concept of parting ways if you are not happy with each other and second – the laws for divorce are so stressful and cumbersome (if it is not mutual) that you would rather spend life with a person who you do not like/suffering with rather than fighting a battle in the court to find peace. In my personal opinion, this is also a reason for many people not honouring their partners and the relationship because they look outside when they are not happy inside of a marriage.  While a divorce is painful for anyone, it is ‘dangerous’ to say the least for a man in India. A plethora of criminal, civil cases combined if you file for divorce where your entire family pays the price (of the husband), can take quite a toll on your life. The intent of this article is to draw a comparison between laws in UK vis a vis India. The article above is a personal study shared by an Indian man who is battling a divorce in UK and Indian Courts. The idea is – while we have brought several laws from west and other countries without looking at the judicial setup in India, we have absolutely forgotten that the laws over there do not inflict injustice on one gender in the name of justice to another gender…..

What is pertinent to note here in Indian context is also the fact that those NRIs (husbands) who face a broken marriage with an Indian partner, more often than not end up fighting several court battles in their own country (divorce and compensation) while also facing litigations in form of IPC 498A, Domestic Violence Act and several other cases in India.

TedxGatewayWomen and the unforgettable experience…..

It was sometime in beginning of April when I got a call from TedxGatewayWomen inviting me as a Speaker. I thought they had called me by mistake. I asked if they knew about my work and they said yes! Knowing how men and women who speak up for justice for men are treated around the world, particularly by women, my first reaction to this conference was a NO. To be honest, I did not know the organizers at all and was apprehensive that this might be a ploy by people who hate me for what I do and probably an opportunity for them to ridicule me publicly while I am speaking on a stage in order to dampen my spirits (Yes some famous women rights activists who hate me to the core, have indirectly communicated that I better stay in my limits) for mere fact that I speak for a gender that people do not want to hear about!

So, I asked the organizers again if they were sure of getting me on a platform as big as theirs. I wasn’t concerned about my content but I was concerned about their event and least that I wanted was an event of such a grand scale facing any difficulties because of me. I proposed if they would want to keep my name as a speaker hidden lest any of their other speakers opts out because of my participation (Something similar has happened to a known before.)

To my surprise they were surer than I was. I spoke to people who I look up to and truly admire and they asked me to go for it. That’s when a journey that I would cherish for life started.

The sessions with Coach Vikram….

The rehearsals with the TedxGatewayWomen team….

That reworking again and again and again on the language, postures, pauses…

That making everything sound and appear utmost professional….

The hard work, the pain and the sweat… (sometimes literally as it was HOT ;))

It wasn’t easy BUT….

The whole exercise of bringing down your entire knowledge to a sharing of just 10 minutes; The idea of enrolling the audience into what you are sharing; The idea of being the medium, the messenger and making the world feel what you feel ; The storytelling and making it the most powerful story in the world; The process of not being emotional but still letting everyone feel the emotions behind it; The never ending support; The absolutely brilliant conviction of everyone around me in me; Those pumping me up calling me a rock star every time I felt low; That sheer satisfaction whenever I completed within the time without missing anything; That care making sure I had everything I needed and did not have to worry an iota about anything…..

TedxGatewayWomen was mesmerising.

An experience for life! More than anything else a realization that every fine piece of work has hours and hours of practice behind it. And when you do that, outcome is for everyone to see.

My inhibitions, my apprehensions, my fears were all gone when I got a standing ovation for a topic that was completely away from standard lines and which is often misunderstood as anti-women. I had tears in my eyes when everyone stood up. It was an emotional moment. Talking in front of a 1000 people in itself is a daunting task, to get such an applaud – nothing short of a dream. I was moved when an old uncle came up to me and bowed his hands, an old aunty hugged me and cried inconsolably and said that she knows the pain. I was no one to them but they felt me as them. I was moved when people came and shared they want to do something about the situation. I felt great when people came to me and said they would encourage students to take up research work on this subject!

I was humbled that many people shared their own personal stories of pain with me which they had not shared with anyone. In fact most of the people I met in this journey had one own story of a friend/cousin/colleague suffering law abuse. They understood what I stand for and were so much in support that it overwhelmed me.

The radio Interview with Hrishi K on 94.3 RadioOne discussing stories of misuse of 498A was a great experience too. The response to the show was great on social media and in real – as the SIFONE helpline started getting calls immediately thereafter 🙂

I am happy that people are finding strength to speak up and I am making a difference whatever tiny little bit I can. TEDxGatewayWomen is an experience I would hold very dear to my heart – a lot because of the truly amazing people I met on this journey – a lot because of the honest souls who stood by me and a lot because I took one more step towards taking voice of those who are never discussed to many hearts once again!

Words are less to convey my gratitude to the entire team – Vikram (my rock star coach), Yashraj, Sneha, Shruti, Meghna, Shivani, Akshara, Dhairya, Aagam, Prathmesh, Rajna, Sonam, every intern who helped me, every volunteer who took care of things I needed.

Thanks for asking me for those extra rehearsals. Thanks for working with me constantly and improving tiny little bits in the speech. Thanks for giving me a hug every time I felt unsure. Thanks for bringing a smile on my face with your smiles. Thanks for investing your faith and trust in me. Thanks for everything you did for me in those three days…All you people were just fantabulous! It would JUST NOT have been possible without you! You all contributed to who I was on the stage on….

May 29, 2015!

To all those who have been with me in this journey since the beginning till now – my heart says thanks to you always! You are Special and please know that even if I don’t tell you often 🙂

To God, To Brent Sir and To my Family……you make me who I am! Thanks !!!

image image image image image image image