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Anti Dowry & Domestic Violence Laws of India

Combating the Curse of Misuse of Anti Dowry & Domestic Violence Laws of India:
Author Name: Rajan Mathur

India is a country with the largest population of youth in the world. It is also a country where the largest number of menfolk in this segment are victims of misuse of the Dowry Prevention Laws by their estranged wives and their family members. In the Indian context the Anti Dowry Laws though enacted as a social reform measure, are today being used as a weapon to by the estranged wives to subjugate their innocent husbands and the husband’s family members. Men’s organizations have sprung up across the country educating their flock on how to combat the menace of misuse of Dowry Laws by their estranged wives. The present state of affairs has been aptly described by the Supreme Court as” Legal Terrorism”.

The Police takes Complaints of Dowry Demand and or Domestic violence as a great business opportunity and immediately swing into action as if the allegations are proved. Their conduct with the Groom and his family members is abrasive, they do not take on record any written statement or other evidence produced by the Groom’s side, they are inclined to convert the Complaint into an FIR at the earliest opportunity, file charge sheet without any investigation and merely on the basis of statements made by the grils and her family members. The Police also threaten the Groom and his family members with dire consequences in case they do not compromise or accept the demands of the girl. It is strange that even the senior Police Officials believe that in case a girl complains they are to convert it into an FIR and lodge a charge sheet against all those named in the FIR. They are not inclined to investigate the complaint by hearing both sides and they also refuse to take on record the evidence provided by the boys side to show their innocence and often use the argument that, the Groom and his family members will opportunity to produce their evidence before the Court. Further, now a days the Police also hangout a carrot of the Groom and his other family members accused in the charge sheet getting bail immediately on filing the charge sheet. Needless to add that, the possibility of money changing hands between the Police and the Girl’s side cannot be ruled out.

From the above it will be seen that, the Groom and his family members are to protect themselves not only from the false and malicious accusations made by the Girl and her family members but are also to combat the Police the charge sheet is filed so that their work is over. The Police also fears a back lash in case they submit a final report of no case, in complaints filed by girls. Such a fear is due to the pressure from Women Organizations and the Social media.

In the succeeding paragraphs certain practical tips are being shared for safeguarding the Groom and his family members in the eventuality of a false complaint of Dowry Demand and / or Domestic Violence being filed by the Girl and or her family members. The tips are of a general nature useful in such situations.

Buy Time:In case the newlyweds start having differences which cannot be reconciled, try not to precipitate the matters as no proceeding for divorce can be instituted until the expiry of one year from the date of marriage. While the elders in the boy’s family should always encourage the newlyweds to resolve their differences, in case there are issues are serous which cannot be resolved or if the marriage has been performed on deceit from the girl’s side, even then the time period of one year should be allowed to pass. Initiating the proceeding for annulment of marriage( being the only course of action open before the expiry of one year from marriage ) is not a good option unless the deceit is of the like of bigamy the happening of which is not disputed by the girl and her family members.

In case the Groom and or his family members resort to any kind of legal action (including making of a complaint to the Police for any reason) against the girl and her family members, the girl and her family members will have many times more options to take action against the Groom and his family members under the Indian laws and such actions will be difficult to handle. So the best course is to remain polite and convey the impression that the Groom wants to amicably resolve the matters.

What else to do in this period? This period of one year should be utilized gainfully in garnering evidence that shows good conduct of the Groom and his family members and brings out the shortcomings and wrongdoings of the girl and her family members. Such evidences can be audio – video recording, emails, letters, photographs and having neighbors, acquaintances relativesetc as witnesses. The nature of dispute / differences would be different from case to case so accordingly the evidence collected has to be such that, it supports the case of the Groom and his family.

Need to know basis:Information about one’s personal life and professional life should not be readily shared. No barging. Information about oneself( including place of work, addresses, contact numbers etc ) should be shared only where it is absolutely necessary. Lose talk must be avoided.

Polite in communication:Communicationwhether written or verbal must be polite, positive and respectful. Mind you the opposite party will use all your communication against you.

On Police Complaint Being Filed:

a. Don’t avoid the Police respond to their communications and in the first instance ask them to provide you a copy of the Complaint filed by the girl saying that it will not be possible for you to make any statement until the specific allegations are informed to you. In any case insist on reading the full complaint at the police station itself before saying anything.

b. Visit the Police Station when called, preferably with your advocate or friend/ family member. In case you have not been provided copy of the complaint by then, still carry with you your copy of statement bringing out therein the basic facts about the wedding and an assertion that there was no dowry demand in the wedding and that the girl was treated well by you and your family members. In your statement you must attach some happy photographs of the wedding, honeymoon, other evidences showing that you and your family members treated the girl well and in the end reserve your right to make additional statement after the copy of the Complaint is provided to you.

c. Insist on the police officer IO to take your written statement on record and provide you a receiving for it with stamp and date. Do not sign any statement written by the police officer as you are entitled to state what you feel is correct. Don’t come under pressure and sign any settlement unless you and your family members agree with its terms. You are also entitled to seek time for consulting your family before giving any answer.

d. In case the police officer does not give you an acknowledgement of your statement , send the same material by registered post to the IO and with a copy to the SP, DIG, CM Office mentioning therein that the IO did not give you an acknowledgement of your written statement that was submitted so you are now constrained to send its copy by registered post.

e. Provide all the evidences in your favor to the police officer in one go do not with hold any evidence for a later date.

f. Obtain copy of the Complaint along with all statements of witnesses. If the police does not provide you a copy, seek it under RTI and follow your RTI application by appealing to the next superior authority.

g. Write to the SP, DIG, IG, CM Office requesting for an impartial investigation. Obtain a receiving of your application from the office of the SP and keep postal receipt of the letters sent to the higher authorities.

h. Fixup with an Advocate for taking your Anticipatory Bail / Bail when the time comes. Remember now a days Bail is a right and is given on the same day or at best on the following day. Remember to get best results in your case you have to work harder than your advocate and give him suggestions and more inputs.

i. Discuss your case with your Advocate, friends and those who have faced such a situation in the past and take ideas for handling your own case better.

j. Be thrifty as you may need to spend money in your defense at a later stage.

k. Maintain your file chronologically and systematically.

The malady created by the Anti Dowry Laws such that now it is very common for the males to face false complaints of dowry demand and domestic violence from their estranged wives in cases where an in house resolution of the issues does not take place. The Courts and the authorities are also aware of this state of affairs but are helpless. Under the circumstances it is but necessary that, such Complaints are handled patiently, politely and intelligently.

As each case has a different set of facts and circumstances no straight jacket method of handling can be prescribed. The above steps are, therefore, for general guidance and have proved to be helpful in cases.

In view of the above it is necessary that those suffering on account of false dowry demand / domestic violence cases discuss their case with some one knowledgeable who can also be taken into confidence. However the most important advice is to face the situation boldly.

The Author is a practicing advocate& Partner Legal Lane Firm of Lawyers and has over 41 years of experience. The views expressed are of his own.

He can be contacted 8882119767 (M).
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