Recently someone sent email via our NGO website and upon my reply to his email giving some basic advice and further suggestion to join our groups, he replied back asking with a profound question, which triggered the need for writing this article. His full email had only one sentence: “ok thank u but is there no law which supports men can police help”. As an aside, I am unable to understand why do some people (though it has come down a lot) reply to my email asking a further question ignoring the standard large sized red coloured matter at the end of my every email: “I will not reply to personal emails for advice in future. Guidance is given only inside groups.”? My guess is that many a man facing cases from their wives, somehow feel entitled to ignore such ‘minor’ inconvenient instructions! After all, they are ‘victims’ of false cases, and they deserve more/better/special listening. I just hope they don’t ignore these minor points when they read wife’s DV Act petition, complaint to CAW cell, FIR, lawyer’s reply draft, and so on, else they will be separated from their life earnings without them ever coming to know how exactly it all happened!
Someone had asked a very similar question about the topic “Is there any law for men in India” on Quora to which I had replied. The question and answers are at link below:
Before going into the profound question of “which laws support men”, a digression is in order. I think the main problem with Indian mind-set is very simple. We don’t believe in laws, we believe more in the following principles of power/protection and enhancement in life: mai-baap(godfather) power/protection, power based on opportunistic behaviour/brute force/misuse of law, protection and power based on community/connections, or the good old money based power and protection. Some of these are interlinked and overlapping, e.g., a mai-baap godfather may emerge from one’s own community or relations, so the best way to cultivate a mai-baap is within one’s own relations and friends, rather than buying a godfather (e.g. bribing the IO) based on money power.
Before attempting to understand more about laws, some misconceptions need to be erased which will hold people back from effectively fighting the false cases foisted on them.
Why mai-baap won’t work in false cases filed by women?
The belief in mai-baap can be normal for a culture built around family, community etc where individual needs are desires are not considered paramount compared to family/community; and where more than the law courts it’s the family/community who tend to sit on disputes and try to settle them. Usually in such societies, there are more powerful or respected individuals who will emerge as mai-baap within the society or at least as mai-baap for an issue concerning their own department. People will rely on them for solutions rather than going by the book.
Let’s take the best possible example of a mai-baap who may emerge for some lucky ones. Wife filed case under IPC 498A, and someone in your relations is a SP or even higher up in police. So what can he do for you?
Nothing. Apart from giving some advice which you may be inclined to trust more given it’s from a known person.
Even if he wanted to, he would absolutely do nothing to ‘help’ you out. Trying to meddle with even a prima-facie false case is going against the women-empowerment theme these days. So no police officer will try to nip the false case in bud. In fact, it’s very commonly seen that the junior constable level people may believe the husband’s story, but the seniors in police station will go with the tried and tested formula: “Either you sort out the family problem yourselves, or we will take wife’s complaint.”
Using community/relations to get relief
This one is probably the most ineffective mode these days. Even one senior governmental official told me off the record, that she doesn’t try to help arrange or fix any matrimonial alliances these days. She did not state the reason, but the implicit point was that people may mess up their relationship due to own fancy ideas, and the matchmaker will then get part of the blame.
Mediator or Samaj ki baithak: This is another thing which proves quite useless when legal cases are filed or about to be filed by feminist/matriarchal family or toxic female, because with rising incomes, rising property values, and consumerism; the toxic females have decided that money can give respect and protection easily, and so respect and hold of marriage mediator (the same who help arrange marriage) or samaj on feminist/toxic females is close to zero. The feminist/toxic female has grown in a household where male authority or respect is unheard of. If at all males of family are given some status or respect, it’s basically a sham held for the eyes of external society. It’s about as much power or respect as that of the porter/coolie who holds and carries your suitcase filled with valuables above his head. Merely by carrying that burden, he doesn’t become the owner of the suitcase filled with valuables!
Panchayat ka nyaya: Let’s discuss cases where panchayat is held, and the panchayat even gives observations which are in favour of husband and his family. The panchayat says that the wife is at fault by leaving the house of husband without any reason, and our guy jumps up with joy.
The problem is that panchayat is not a court, it’s a mechanism of resolving disputes within the community, and if someone doesn’t agree with that decision, they can approach the police or court as the case may be. So a panchayat’s decision has no force in terms of influencing judgment of a court which is duty bound to do it’s own trial, see the evidences produces by both sides, and come to a conclusion based only on court trial and evidences produced. Only if some panchayat member comes as a witness to court during trial, and gives evidence in your favour, that individual testimony will be useful. It will still not be considered as support of panchayat, but only testimony of an individual.
Money and bribe
This one is great hope and fascination for middle-class-easily-scared-of-police-and-courts Indians who probably have money to spare but courage is in short supply. Many have grown up believing or experiencing for themselves that paying bribe is one sure shot of way to get the stuck wheels moving during governmental work.
Why should indulging in a crime of giving bribe to a law officer (police), enable that law officer to do his job of upholding the law better? By receiving a bribe, he/she also becomes part of the same crime, and so unless you believe in “honour among thieves”, this mutual criminal act is going to be of no real use. I have heard amounts ranging from tens of thousands to more than a lakh being given to IO, but I haven’t heard a single case where someone can conclusively prove that they got a ‘benefit’ from IO which was because of the bribe. Most likely, the so called ‘benefit’ was not really a favour, but as a result of proper investigation, which the IO was supposed to do anyway. As already mentioned earlier, no police person will either himself/herself or be allowed by seniors to NOT take a woman’s complaint at face value. So the end result will be the same – there is no escape from FIR, charge-sheet, and subsequent trial in court. Below are some more practical and ethical points about bribes:
1. Your in-laws can also give a bribe. When people say: “My in-laws are powerful and connected” (which is wrong statement actually), what stops the supposedly powerful in-laws from giving a bribe matching or exceeding in value that you have given?
2. If law and justice is working by giving bribes, then there are serious and fundamental problems with that process of law and justice. It can be safely said that there is no law and justice, it’s a commodity which can be bought at the right price, and the price is decided low or high based on whether there was no crime done, or there was an actual crime done. So it is a subversion of law -- whatever emotional, sentimental, or practical excuse can people come up with doesn’t matter. Those are just favourite self-justifications and a survival mechanism of Indians.
Power based on opportunistic behaviour/brute force/misuse of law
This actually is the power which is used by toxic females and their families, which is to misuse laws which were meant for protection of women. By doing that, they are also acting in a crass opportunistic manner and using the approach of “jiski lathi uski bhains” - whoever holds the power can have his or her way. In their minds, the women protection laws and the system is like their own personal mai-baap who will allow them to file false cases, and protect them from all possible repercussions. But as it is increasingly been seen, many of these toxic females are not getting the easy results they hoped for, because of effective fight back by men.
Now at last we come to probably most thought about idea by people: how to get rid of these false cases, by using some legal technique, loophole, or even by filing a counter case?
That idea actually reflects the core belief that it is perfectly fine to use/misuse the law. But it’s not a very honest approach when one keeps saying “false case, false case” at every opportunity.
This also shows that many Indians have no understanding of law. They think law should be like a mai-baap who should protect and further their interests, whereas law is supposed to be blind in terms of who is the person who is approaching it. There is a reason Lady Justice is shown blindfolded.
My guess is that why people place more trust in mai-baap based solutions and justice rather than impartial law based justice is a cultural thing. Probably, the more community rather than individual orientation is there in a society, the more trust will be placed in community or mai-baaps for dispute resolution rather than in an impartial court.
The problem to understand is very simple: once the legal cases whether civil or criminal have gone to court, the mai-baap or community based solutions have been passed over already in favour of legal solution. So the only way to get justice then is to learn basics of law, and fight with right evidences and arguments in front of court, and forget all other approaches, because the time for those is already gone.
What laws are there which can help men?
There are no special laws to protect men from women, and while there should be in relation to domestic violence, sexual harassment, or even criminal laws; that’s the topic of another post and I am trying to drive a different point here.
Even having a domestic violence law to protect a man from violent wife, is NOT the same as having a law which can stop false DV cases by women.
I have already covered in this article in detail why there are no 100% safeguards from false cases, and the only safeguard from false cases will be to prosecute and punish those filing false cases.
Even having an IPC 498B for husbands against wives will not be a safeguard from facing false 498A. Because even if in future an IPC 498B: Cruelty on Husbands law is passed, and police is cooperating fully to take as FIR as complaints by husbands under IPC 498B, the same police may also file FIR by wife under IPC 498A, just as they are doing now.
So if people’s assumption is that the only way to tackle a false complaint is to file a genuine or a counter complaint of some kind, then it’s an assumption driven more by belief of “jiski lathi uski bhains”, or force can be countered only by force. It has no basis in operation of justice as it is normally intended to work.
That belief also assumed that courts are places where innocents get harassed, so the only way to get justice is to harass the opponents and thereby that harassment will force them to come to bargaining table and close the cases.
It’s a convenient but very lazy and escapist assumption indeed. This is worse than even a jugaad mind-set, because a jugaad is driven by lack of resources or as a short term fix only, but this escapist mind-set actually creates a permanent problem where justice can never be delivered, but it can only be extracted by resourceful and probably even dishonest people.
The only way to stop false cases is to work towards rigorous prosecution of all false cases and false evidences, including wrong investigation by police. This is covered in this post:
Using legal techniques like filing RCR, divorce gets husbands into bigger soup normally
Even if repeating again, filing either RCR (for bail or saving maintenance) or divorce (for pressure purpose) on wife are mistakes, RCR being much bigger one, since it tends to condone wife’s past behaviour, and almost invariably attracts full set of legal cases from wife, because the toxic females prefer husband filing divorce instead which they then hope to give to him in return of fat alimony.
Some people file divorce on wife hoping she will have to travel to husband’s hometown thereby causing her harassment due to travel, but she goes to HC/SC as applicable to get case transferred in her native town, and there ends husband’s grand plan to harass wife!
The most important law which helps men - Indian Evidence Act
One can also read the answer at quora, but in this article I want to make the point very simple, so want to focus only on one law everyone facing a false case should know about. Of course by now if it’s not clear to you that trying techniques like looking for some IPC 498B type of law, filing RCR to save maintenance, filing divorce to harass; are not in right spirit of law, then the following will also seem like mumbo jumbo, so your best course might be to stop reading further, and continue the never ending search for a good divorce lawyer instead.
Another popular and convenient myth that is commonly heard is that “law is for women these days”, “law is in favour of women” etc. And the interesting thing is that it’s not just the layman public, but lawyers themselves who are often heard making these ‘wisdom’-filled statements.
While it is true that laws have been created which protect and give reliefs only to women, it doesn’t mean the same thing as that the law will blindly favour women and give them whatever they have asked for.
If lady justice is blindfolded, then there is no question of the law favouring any party or complainant. Law can only punish or give reliefs to claimant if they can prove based on evidences that they faced a crime or are entitled to claimed reliefs.
If law can favour women, then there will be no need to conduct any trial or ask parties to submit their evidences, conduct cross-examinations, indulge in useless legal arguments. It will be much simpler to peruse the complaint/FIR and simply pronounce the husband as guilty and punished for 3 years in jail under IPC 498A etc. Or simply take wife’s DV petition at face value and award her the 50K per month and 2 lakh compensation she has asked for. Even those who claim that law favours women haven’t produced a single instance where this has actually happened.
Since court can’t pronounce anyone’s guilt or liability without looking at evidence, then it can be safely said that Indian Evidence Act is the most important law men should be aware of. Everything else, the contradiction filled police complaint, vague allegations, the false jewellery list, the tears in courtroom; might have some sympathy or drama value, but have zero value in terms of evidence.
In court trials, only evidences whether documentary or statements by witnesses are what matter for the final decision, assuming of course that one is making lawyer do the work of cross-examination, filing documents etc at right times. The biggest problem with people is that they don’t have a very vague idea of what is evidence, don’t know what is good versus not-so-good or even bad evidence, and moreover due to over-emotional (lack of) thinking, are unable to apply themselves properly to collect and submit evidence to court at right time. Not managing lawyer and leaving things to lawyer assuming he/she’s the expert are the other major problem. Without good evidence, lawyer becomes more like a glorified clerk whose job becomes only to submit petitions and statements, and do routine cross-examination which is unable to destroy the opponents’ false case convincingly.
Now what is evidence and what is not? E.g. wife’s preposterous allegations and false list of ‘dowry’ in CAW cell are not really any evidences. But many husbands get floored at that first hurdle itself and readily move towards the C-word called Compromise.
Photocopies of documents are not acceptable as evidence. But they can still be used in cross-examination of opponent and based on the situation can elicit useful points in one’s favour. So one need not lose heart if one doesn’t have original documents for everything.
Audio recordings are admissible as evidence. If the opponent lawyer objects, they can go for voice sample and authentication, but by itself audio recording can’t be dismissed away. This is another myth being spread by lawyers that audio recording won’t work in court. Maybe the problem is laziness, lack of application, and lack of enthusiasm for fighting husband’s case, so he can be steered towards the C-word. To some extent, even public is to be blamed who unquestioningly believes lawyers’ words which go against common sense.
Relying on panchayat or neighbours as witnesses who saw what actually happened, is fine in theory. But in courts, documentary evidences stand the best chance, simply because given the long duration of trials, there is no guarantee your witness may not have moved to another place, or will be as keen to give evidence 2 years from now as he/she may be right now.