DISCRIMINATION AGAINST MEN: THE UNVOICED GRIEF
Author: Rishika Chaurasia, I year of B.A.,LL.B from Delhi Metropolitan Education,Noida affiliated to GGSIPU, Delhi.
Discrimination against women is a severe problem, but discrimination against men is also a serious issue that goes unnoticed. Rape has historically been considered to be and view as a crime committed mainly against women. Such ideology persists in other parts of the country, but raping of males is also now and has sparked more debate than those in the past. In India, laws are made to protect the rights of people and provide them fair justice but it is often misused by some women.
For instance, Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) has been introduced to protect women from abuse by their husbands or husband's family, but it has now turned into a weapon to abuse, harass, and blackmail husband and their family toa extort money at times of divorce. In today's society, it is not a a crime that only affects women; men also face similar issues. When men become victims of domestic abuse, it is often hard for them to get support.
“As per the study of DCW, 52.4% of men experienced gender-based violence. Out of 1000, males 51.5% experienced violence at the hands of their wives/intimate partners at least once in their lifetime and 10.5% in the last 12 months. The most common spousal violence was emotional (51.6%) followed by physical violence (6%). Only in one-tenth of the cases, physical assaults were severe. In almost half of the cases, husband initiated physical and emotional violence.”
The shocking statistic revealed by the Delhi Commission of Women (DCW) says that about 53.2% false rape cases were filed between April 2013- July 2014. It has been one of the leading causes of male suicide in India.
Case-laws related to discrimination against men in India
Sarvajeet Singh V. Jasleen Kaur
Back to the date August 23, 2014, a student of St. Stephens College, Delhi named Jasleen Kaur posted a photo of a man named Sarvjeet Singh on her Facebook page, accusing him of making obscene comments and threatening her as she took out her phone to take his picture. As per Kaur’s post Singh said that “Do whatever you want, complain against me and then see what I will do to you.”
Despite the fact that the girl had already filed an FIR against him, she decided to share it on social media, and the post quickly went viral, making Sarvjeet the culprit or pervert who frightens women. There was no clear evidence of the case, and it was solely based on the girl's post. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and actress Sonakshi Sinha sided with Jasleen Kaur, and she became the "new role model" who stood up against injustice.
And when the truth surfaced, it revealed an altogether different story that Sarvjeet is innocent; instead, it was the girl who wrongfully accused Sarvjeet in order to seek revenge. But, Sarvjeet's life was already ruined by them. People cannot even imagine the pain of hate he and his family endured through the incident. After 15 months, Sarvjeet spoke out in a video appeal to raise the voice for men and also talked about how baseless complaints have destroyed his future and the lives of his family.
He said – “It's not just about me now. It's about all those men who are stuck in false cases, most of them bearing everything by themselves because there is no one to help them bring out the truth. Women shouldn't have the luxury to accuse men of sexual assault only because of their gender, to escape from reality.”
Vishnu Kumar Tiwari (A False Rape Case)
Vishnu Kumar, now 43, is a resident of Uttar Pradesh's Lalitpur district. He spent 20 years in Agra Central Jail on a rape charge before being declared innocent by the Allahabad High Court in January 2021.
On September 16, 2000, Mr Tiwari was taken into custody and was charged with rape and atrocities under the SC/ST Act. Three years later, a Lalitpur court found him guilty of raping and sentenced him to ten years in prison. He was also found guilty under the SC/ST Act and sentenced to life in prison. According to the trial court's instructions, all sentences were to run simultaneously.
The issue was that he was accused of rape by a woman from his village; she said Mr Tiwari had assaulted her as she was going from home to work in the fields.
Response of Vishnu Tiwari in an interview
“I have been in jail for 20 years... What should I look forward to? My body is broken, and so is my family. I only have a younger brother. I am not married. Look at my hands..."There are blisters from working in the jail kitchen.” Mr Tiwari told NDTV in an interview. “Today, before leaving, I got Rs.600 from the jail administration. That is all I have,” he added.
Misuse of Dowry Prohibition Act.
Section 498A of IPC, contains provision related to:
(b) empower women to fight against its menace.
Dowry is prohibited under the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961. Under Section 304 B of the IPC, demand for dowry is a punishable offence, and dowry death is also a punishable offence. Ironically quiet frequently, wives are manipulating dowry laws and using it as a weapon to abuse and threaten their husbands. As per Section 113B of the India Evidence Act, 1879, if a married woman commits suicide within 7 years of marriage, the court will presume that the suicide was aided by the husband or his family and will therefore be liable under Section 304 B of the IPC. One such paragraph discriminates against men since, in the absence of evidence, it is presumed that the husband is involved in the suicide.
Prior to July 2014, Section 498A of the IPC allowed the arrest of the husband or a relative whose name comes in the complaint and without an arrest warrant or an investigation. A simple lawsuit filed under Section 498A places the individuals in custody without any investigation. Section 498A is a non-bailable offense. In an order released on July 2, 2014, the Supreme Court barred this automatic detention without a warrant or investigation for a lawsuit lodged under Section 498A of the IPC. Due to the rise in false accusations by wives against their husbands and families, the Hon'ble Supreme Court directed the government in August 2010 to amend Section 498A of the IPC and make it a bailable offence.
Usually, as per the laws of the land in India, burden of proof is upon the prosecution to prove the accused guilty, but when it comes to the special provision which is enacted to protect women, the burden of proof is upon the accused to prove his innocence. Usually, it is “innocent” until proven guilty, but when it comes to special provision, it is “guilty unless proven innocent. ”Accused in the later provision are men only.
Statistics 1: Guilty unless proven innocent
Based on the most recent NCRB report, more than 1,25,657 men were convicted of these gender-biased laws in 2019. People like Aman Baisla and others should have taken these false cases to court in attempt to prove the girl's guilt and then compensate or punish her in accordance with the law. No, it is not, the issue in India is that under these gender-biased laws, “Men are pronounced guilty unless proven innocent.” The exact opposite of what is written in the law books, which states, "Innocent until proved guilty."
Statistics 2: Legal extortion is back.
In Rajesh Sharma Judgement 2017, a decision was made on the formation of a family welfare committee. It was a ground-breaking decision to prevent any abuse of the 498a law, also known as “Legal Extortion.” It primarily discussed the formation of a family welfare committee (FWC) and the abolition of the mandatory arrest of the husband and his family members. This was a welcome decision that had a significant impact as the number of fake dowry cases dropped.
Article 14 of the Indian Constitution provides the right to equality to any person. However, in some cases, women are given primacy and preference over men. A number of incidents of sexual, physical, or emotional abuse of males have been filed and documented. Not only do females face sexism, but males may also face violence in the same way. Doing justice to one section of society while ignoring another is not justifiable. Male victims of domestic violence sometimes do not come forward because they are afraid of social taboo.
Gender equality is a human issue. Treat both genders as equals during justice and punish on the basis of crime. Support the person on the basis of right and wrong. Thus, a voice should be raised for both male and female sexual abuse, and discrimination in our country should be eradicated. The contemporary scenario is distressing and frightening. Men now view feminists as evil demon because of the heinous abuse of women's protection laws.
It's difficult to get accurate statistics on domestic violence in general since so many incidents go unreported. Male domestic violence victims must report the abuse to get out of the situation. If you don't want to talk to someone, you know, reach out to a support group in your state.
Inform the police of all crimes and ask for a copy of each police report. Keep a detailed record of all the wrongdoing, including dates, locations, and any evidence. Make sure your injuries are recorded by your doctor or hospital. Note that medical teams are unlikely to inquire about a man's condition as a victim of domestic violence, so it's on you to record the cause of your injuries. Men should come forward and speak out about the violence committed against them.