Anti-dowry law makes it wife-biased, discriminatory,and poorly formulated. A complaint from your wife or her family member can land husband and his entire family in jail without any investigation.
"The power of the Executive to cast a man into prison without formulating any charge known to the law, and particularly to deny him the judgment of his peers, is in the highest degree odious and is the foundation of all totalitarian government whether Nazi or Communist."
- Winston Churchill
HYDERABAD: It's not just dramatic divorce cases but some real drama unfolding at the Secunderabad family court premises. In the last one month alone, two men in two separate incidents have attempted suicide in the family court "unable to cope'' with the mounting pressure of cases and charges (both civil and criminal) against them.
In one case, a 40-year-old man, Venkatesh, battling many charges of harassment filed by his wife consumed a liquid mosquito repellent, which he was incidentally carrying in his pocket during the hearing. He was rushed to Gandhi Hospital and his life was saved. The Marredpally police which took his statement said that he cited `tension' over the number of cases filed against him as the reason for taking the drastic step. However, he was spared of another case of attempt to suicide as the police let him off with a warning.
The other person who attempted suicide is reported to have lost his job while pursuing umpteen cases at various courts. Apart from a string of cases filed by his wife, this man's parents had also filed a maintenance claim on him.
Taking a note of such instances at the family court, the judge has now issued strict guidelines to men against trying such tricks to influence the court's decision in their favour.
Lawyers note that men and women contesting murky divorce battles have started bombarding each other with as many cases as possible, resulting in long-drawn courtroom proceedings. The battles, which often begin with wives levying charges of 498 A (dowry harassment) of the IPC and Domestic Violence Act on their husbands, end with men approaching the court to file a divorce petition. In cases where the husband moves the court first to file a divorce petition, the woman files a restitution of conjugal rights counter-case.
A second round of maintenance claim and child custody cases follow. "The latest to join the case bandwagon is Section 506 (criminal intimidation) and Section 507 (criminal intimidation by an anonymous communication) of the IPC, either or both of which are being used extensively by individuals to strengthen their cases against their spouse," said P Sunderaiah, senior advocate at Hyderabad family court." Add to that a breach of trust, claiming the return of 'streedhan' and property declaration cases, he said.
"There have been cases where the man has moved the court for an anticipatory bail the minute the wife has threatened him even verbally with a domestic violence or dowry harassment charge," said Wasim Ahmed Khan, senior family court advocate.