Sub: Pro-Family NGOs announce Family Breaking Awareness Month on International Family Day
Save Indian Family Foundation (SIFF), Children’s Rights Initiative for Shared Parenting (CRISP) and All India Mothers-in-Law Protection Forum (AIMPF) are pro-family NGOs creating awareness in the society about rampant family-breaking being done by misuse of dowry harassment laws, domestic violence laws, maintenance laws and child custody laws.
Today, 14th May 2010, on the eve of “International Family Day” we are announcing the beginning of “Family Breaking Awareness Month” and demand Government’s direct intervention to take necessary steps to curb the misuse of these laws, punish those people who do so and save the family system of India from breaking down. We demand the Government should,
- Scrap Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code.
- Scrap the current form of Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act and rewrite it, taking into account representation from all the stakeholders like husbands, senior citizens and children.
- Make all other gender biased laws / provisions, gender neutral.
- Disallow Women and Child Development ministry from drafting any law whatsoever.
- Minimize interference of the foreign agencies with vested interests in the family situation of India viz. USAID, UNIFEM, UN, and finally the United States of America.
- Form a National Commission for Men to study problems of men and their families.
- Form a Men’s Welfare Ministry to implement the recommendations made by the National Commission for Men.
- Immediately ban extravagant marriages and make pre-nuptial agreements a norm.
- Make shared-parenting and / or joint custody a norm rather than an exception.
Why the above demands?
- Scrap Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code: Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code is thoroughly unconstitutional and needs to be done away with, immediately. It does not provide any relief other than the facility of “Arrest on Demand” acting as a tool to break family. Any physical cruelty happening like hurt, grievous hurt, abetment to suicide, attempt to murder, murder, etc. have relevant sections in the Indian Penal Code which are effective enough. For mental cruelty the relief of divorce is available under the various marriage laws and for emotional cruelty like blackmail and extortion too, provisions are available in the Indian Penal Code. Under such circumstances, redundant laws like section 498A of IPC only violates civil liberties of innocent people and breaks families without serving any constructive purpose and hence this Section should be scrapped with immediate effect.
- Domestic Violence Act: The fallacies of the current form of the Domestic Violence Act start from the name itself – Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act – and continue within the Act. The name itself rules out men and children from any protection from domestic violence. Further, there are many provisions which violate fundamental rights granted to citizens by the Constitution of India. Hence, it is utmost necessary that the current form is scrapped and a new Act of “Domestic Harmony” be drafted that can ensure and promote stronger families for the betterment of the society especially children who are the future of the country.
- Gender Neutral Laws: Any gender biased provision will have elements of sympathy embedded in it and will always tend to over-empower one gender over another which ultimately leads to violations of civil liberties and human rights. Hence all other laws like rape laws, molestation and sexual assault provisions, maintenance provisions be made gender neutral and words like “Man”, “Woman” be replaced by “Person” and “Husband”, “Wife” be replaced by “Spouse”.
- WCD Ministry should not draft laws: The Women and Child Development (WCD) Ministry should not be allowed to draft any laws whatsoever due to above demand. Being women-centric, it is not their mandate to take into account problems of men while drafting laws but by making gender biased laws they, for sure create problems for men and this is not acceptable. Hence, their inputs may be considered; however, the power of law drafting cannot be restrained to them.
- Minimize foreign agencies interference: The family systems of western countries like the United States have already been almost finished off due to the over-indulgence of anti-male feminist policies. Their societies are plagued with problems like teenage pregnancies (one in three girls in US is a victim), sexually transmitted disease, drug abuse, juvenile crime, fatherless children, etc. Hence, agencies funded and influenced by the U.S. should be completely disallowed from either interfering in the family situation of India or formulating any policies. Family system is the backbone of India’s progress which will ensure Dr. Kalam’s vision of India as a superpower by 2020. It is but obvious that U.S. will try every means to delay the progress and drag the vision. And the easiest way to do so is to slowly erode the family system of India and impede her progress. Hence, today, on the pretext of International Family Day we urge the Indian Government to take a stand against interference by USAID, UNIFEM and UN in India’s policies, laws and provisions around the family.
- National Commission for Men: Since the last 63 years of Indian Independence not a single rupee has been allocated for men’s welfare or a single study done about men’s problems. Every year 58000 husbands are committing suicides – double the number of married women as per National Crime Records Bureau. Also an analysis of suicides reveals that, family problems, is the number one cause of married men’s suicides. And there are many more problems like rising unemployment, sexual harassment, domestic violence, dowry harassment, dropping academic performance (for boys), sudden deaths due to stress related diseases like heart attack, blood pressure, diabetes, prostate cancer which need to be studied in detail and addressed. And this can only be done by a proper “National Commission for Men” which can submit recommendations to the Government about problems of men and their suggestive solutions.
- Men’s Welfare Ministry: As mentioned above, a lot of problems of men are not only lying unattended but there is a lack of awareness about them as well. Men’s welfare ministry shall be the interface of the Government of India that would act upon the recommendations of the National Commission for Men and implement them for the benefit of men.
- Extravagant marriages: Nowadays, marriages have become almost like an industry with special wedding malls and marriage loans coming up. Marriage industry is worth an estimated Rs. 50,000 crores annually which amounts to roughly 0.1% of India’s GDP. This is a huge burden on people who marry their offsprings/siblings especially those having daughters/sisters. A person’s entire life’s savings goes into one marriage and then, when the marriage does not work due to any reason it’s the husband and his family who has to pay the price. Government must immediately formulate a law to ban extravagant marriages and book people who do so. Also make pre-nuptial agreements a must for every marriage so that later, no false claims of expenses and gifts can be made by either party. These steps will ensure that marrying one’s son / daughter is no longer a burden and will save many families from breaking down.
- Shared Parenting and Joint Custody: The most unfortunate and silent victims of family breaking are children for they suffer for no fault of theirs other than the sheer misfortune of having warring parents. When a family breaks due to any reason the impact of the tragedy is very deep on children who develop deep psychological scars. Almost 99% of the children are deprived of father’s love during a separation that can span years given the current state of inefficient Indian Judiciary. This has already set the foundation of a fatherless society in India – on the lines of the U.S. This will give rise to crime and more unforeseen social problems in future. Already in the U.S., fatherless children are,
- a. 5 times more likely to commit suicide
- b. 32 times more likely to run away
- c. 20 times more likely to have behavioral disorders
- d. 14 times more likely to commit rape
- e. 9 times more likely to drop out of school
- f. 10 times more likely to abuse chemical substances
- g. 9 times more likely to end up in a state operated institution
- h. 20 times more likely to end up in prison
Do we want such a future for our children? If not, then the Government should immediately step in to ensure Shared Parenting.
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Today, we are announcing a month long campaign starting tomorrow i.e. 15th May 2010 – International Family Day. During this campaign we will create awareness about family breaking due to laws, bias against husbands, fathers, children and senior citizens of the family. We will be distributing pamphlets in the family court to create awareness about misuse of marital laws. We will be meeting judges of the family court and the criminal court and sensitize them about our problems and family breaking issues.
We request our media friends to participate with us in the campaign to “Save Indian Family” by giving this campaign wide and huge publicity.
Thanks and Regards
SIFF, CRISP and AIMPF.