“The Hindu” reports from Salem:
SALEM: A national-level coordination forum of men has called for protection from wives and live-in partners whom they charged with exploiting women’s welfare legislation that arm them with ‘unbridled’ power to act against men.
The men, who claim to be ‘victims’ of such legislation from all over the country, spent three days in a resort at the hill station of Yercaud near here to deliberate on how to protect themselves and their kith and kin from harassment and to kick-start a campaign to impress upon policy-makers to think about their plight before enacting such lop-sided laws.
The forum said that many women were abusing these laws for nefarious gains by filing charges against their husbands and partners.
The provisions in these statutes, they called, were ‘anti-men’ leading to suicide of nearly 60,000 men as against 32,000 women annually.
Between 2004 and 2008, seven lakh men and family members were arrested including 500 minors and 5000 aged people, they claimed.
They pointed out that, for instance, laws such as the Dowry Prohibition Act, Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, Sec 125 of Cr. PC and above all Section 498A of Indian Penal Code were too stringent and non-bailable.
“Though a debate is going on in legal circles on whether to amend or not especially Sec 498A to prevent its abuse, a few powerful women’s lobbies are blocking it,” said Suresh Ram, National Collegium member, All India Men’s Welfare Association, which organised the 3rd Men’s Rights Conference of the Delhi-based Save Indian Family Foundation at Yercaud in Salem district.
Delegates from Maharashtra, Assam, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and from the U.S. attended the deliberations.
A majority of them were from Karnataka, mainly young Information Technology professionals. They said that they would urge the government to replace the words ‘Husband and Wife’ with ‘Person’ in the said acts. They said that cases before Family Courts should be expedited and settled within two years.
The government would be approached to form National Commission for Men, they add.
Thanks: The Hindu