Mr. Rebates

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Accused in-laws speak out

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times

Gurgaon, January 04, 2010

First Published: 00:25 IST(4/1/2010)
Last Updated: 00:28 IST(4/1/2010)

Even as Neha Chhikara’s family alleged her in-laws were using their clout to influence police investigation, the accused family on Sunday came out with their side of the story and claimed that Neha was on anti-depressants and had tried to commit suicide about 3-4 months after her marriage, while at her parents’ home.

Gurgaon police today booked Ankit Dalal, Neha’s husband and manager of Royal Caribbean’s Monarch of the Seas cruise ship and his parents on charges of subjecting her to cruelty (Sec 498A), causing hurt (Sec 323) and criminal breach (Sec 406) of IPC. No arrest was made in the case.

“We have not been given the copy of the FIR. The Dalal family is using its clout to in its favour,” said Suresh Chhikara, Neha’s father. Neha’s father-in-law Dr. Dalal claimed in a written statement she was taking anti-depressants and could have taken the extreme step under depression.

“About 3-4 months after the marriage, when Ankit was in the US, Neha had attempted suicide by slashing her wrists. Ankit also said she would get violent at times,” Dr. Dalal added.
The deepest cut of all

Preeti Singh, Hindustan Times

Email Author

January 07, 2010

First Published: 21:50 IST(7/1/2010)

How often, in the recent past, have you opened your morning newspaper and been confronted with the smiling image of a pretty bride, only to realise that the girl in the picture has taken her own life following ‘harassment’ or ‘abuse’ in her marital home? And how many times can you recall the girl’s parents filing a criminal complaint against the husband and/or in-laws, citing extreme mental or physical abuse, while belligerently stating that she had ‘repeatedly told them about it’.

My question to such parents is: if she had, then what did you do about it while she was alive; and now that she’s gone, what the hell kind of difference does it make?

India has various laws to protect women from marital abuse, some of which have been strengthened to the extent that they, according to defendants, border on draconian while being unfairly tilted in favour of the woman. So while the controversial Section 498A may make many an innocent mother-in-law shiver at the thought of a cold jail cell, inspire poor-husband-in-the-dock support groups by the dozen or make judges re-think the sweeping powers granted to a woman’s word, the truth is it exists. And it works. But certain more serious crimes of omission continue to fall through the cracks, because no separate law exists to address them. For example, rarely has a dowry-death related judgement been imaginative enough to take note of gross parental neglect.

Take the recent case of a girl who jumped off the deck of a cruise ship last week, after allegedly being beaten mercilessly by her husband. This, after the family claimed to have prior knowledge of her being beaten so badly that she had to quit her job due to a dislocated jaw. We may never know the whole truth in such a case but the idea that any parent would allow their child to knowingly suffer such abuse is not just shocking but, quite simply, criminal.

The Domestic Violence Act enacted in 2006 has broadened the scope of abuse, both in and out of wedlock, to include sexual, verbal/emotional and economic violence, apart from the more obvious physical abuse. Emotional abuse may sometimes be difficult to pin down convincingly. Not so with physical cruelty. What’s more, any man who raises his hand to subdue or intimidate his spouse or to end an argument — even once — will never stop. No matter what. And those who ask their daughters or daughters-in-law to ‘kindly adjust’ should know that provocation is a shifting goal post; and each time we let a shove or a thwack go unprotested or unpunished, we lower the threshold of tolerance.

What’s most distressing, and even inexplicably macabre, is the fact that, in many cases, it is the woman’s parents who compel her to withdraw a complaint or return to an abusive marital home. Reasons vary. Sometimes its just plain economics; with resources stretched to breaking point, an additional financial burden may threaten to break the backs of some. But it is that other reason — the unwillingness to stand up against so-called ‘societal’ pressures — that must be treated as criminal negligence on the part of those who choose not to respond to their child’s cry for help.

Every time a girl tells her parents that she is being physically or mentally ill-treated — whether or not she bears the visible scars of such abuse — and is told to ‘compromise’ and ‘hang in there’ till things get ‘better’, a crime is committed. And if, then, she takes her own life, her parents must not be absolved of all culpability. They should not be allowed to palm off the tragedy and loss of life on a ‘cruel’ husband or in-laws alone. As silent witnesses to their child’s growing despair, they are as much an accessory to a crime as those who are guilty of physical or mental torture.

So, every time a harassed wife/daughter-in-law takes her own life, it’s because someone failed —or chose not to — listen, signifying the closure of a trusted avenue of redress. Sometimes all it takes to avert a tragedy is to refuse to cover up the ugliness. And all those who ignore the obvious, for fear of what people might say, should know that their child might not be there to hear it.
Prez kin in dowry trouble

Prachi Singh Patil, who was in the news recently for bringing to book a rude auto driver, turns out to be the wife of President Pratibha Patil’s nephew. She has sued his family for dowry harassment

Bangalore Mirror Bureau

Posted On Friday, January 08, 2010 at 02:08:43 AM

President Pratibha Patil’s nephew Rahul G Patil is under investigation by the Bangalore Police in a dowry harassment case. Hailing from Uttar Pradesh and a resident of Navi Mumbai, Prachi Singh Patil has filed a 498 (A) case against her husband Rahul G Patil and his family in Byappanahalli police station under the jurisdiction of which she stays now with her brother.

Prachi came to limelight recently when she got an auto driver arrested for misbehaving with her (see box).

Prachi Singh Patil

According to police, Prachi has not made any reference of her relationship with the President anywhere in her dowry complaint. “It is true that Prachi is a relative of the President. But she has not mentioned the President’s name at any stage. She lodged the complaint months ago and an investigation is on,” said Byappanahalli Police Inspector K V Srinivas.

Prachi married Rahul in 2007. She said in her complaint that their married life was fine till mid 2008 after which problems started cropping up between the two. She alleged that even Rahul’s parents harassed her, forcing her to lodge a complaint against them in Mumbai before she came to Bangalore to stay with her brother, a software engineer who stays in C V Raman Nagar.

The problems continued even after she shifted to Bangalore. Prachi said in her complaint that Rahul and his family even came to Bangalore and harassed her for dowry following with she filed the case of dowry harassment at Byappanahalli police station.


Acting on the complaint filed by Prachi, a team of Bangalore police visited Mumbai and Jalgaon where Rahul and family were staying, but had to return empty handed, as the entire family was missing. Sources said Rahul is in South Korea while his family has also left India.

When Bangalore Mirror contacted Prachi, she refused to comment.

A daring woman

Around 11 am on Jan 2, Prachi hired an auto for going to Mayo Hall. After a short distance, she noticed that the metre on the auto was faulty and brought it to the driver’s notice. When she refused to travel further in the auto, its driver Rajendra Prasad insisted that she pay him Rs 50.

Shocked at his insolence, Patil tried to get out of the auto, but Prasad blocked her way and started abusing her. When she tried to evade him, he pulled at her dress, tearing it at the shoulder. Finding that nobody came forward to help her, Prachi took out her cell phone and and started recording the scene. When the matter started getting out of control, she called the police.

Though Prasad fled the scene by the time the police team arrived, he was arrested on Monday from a temple at K R Puram. He has confessed to misbehaving with Prachi. He is now facing charges of molestation, criminal intimidation, assault, robbery and charging extra fare from a passenger.

During the entire episode, neither the police, nor anybody else had any clue that they were dealing with a relative of the president of India. - City&sectid=10&contentid=2010010820100108020843535a23b77c4

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Singapore couple's case baffles Bombay High Court

PTI 6 January 2010, 09:51pm IST

MUMBAI: Is Indian government required to take care of foreign nationals who are stuck in India because of pending criminal cases? This is a question which has baffled Bombay High Court.

Foreign nationals don't have all the fundamental rights which Indian citizens enjoy, but they do have right to life, given by Article 21 of Indian constitution.

The High Court is dealing with a petition filed by a Singaporean couple -- Zainab Yousuf and her husband Tetsyo Hiryama -- for maintenance, as they are not permitted to go back to their country pending an appeal.

They faced a narcotics case, but were absolved of charges by High Court. However, since customs department has filed an appeal in Supreme Court, the apex court has directed them not to leave the country.

The couple is facing dire situation here, as Zainab is a cancer patient and they have no source of livelihood, said their lawyer, Ayaz Khan.

He alleged that ordinarily they could have left the country after they were acquitted by High Court, but they were not given exit visa, and after much delay, appeal was filed.

Either they should be allowed to go, or government should pay them maintenance and medical expenses, he said.

Terming it a "unique situation", Division led by Justices P B Majumdar asked additional solicitor general Darius Khambata to examine what rights foreign nationals enjoy under Article 21.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Indian American fails to get son's custody


An Indian American man is making desperate efforts to get custody of his seven-year-old son, who remains untraced even after the Supreme Court ruled that the boy and his mother should go back to the US.

V. Ravichandran, who is currently residing here, fears for the safety of Aditya as his ex-wife Vijayasree Voora is taking him from one city to another.

Ravichandran said at a news conference here that Vijayasree was not only flouting the court order but was even using police in Chennai to threaten him.

It was in October last year that on the directions of the Supreme Court, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) traced Aditya to Chennai and produced him before the court.

The apex court Nov 17 ordered Vijayasree, a Green Card holder, to take Aditya back to the US so that his father gets equal access to him.

Ravichandran, who had been fighting a legal battle in India for 30 months to get custody of his son, said the two Chennai addresses which his ex-wife had given to the CBI proved fictitious.

He alleged that Vijayasree's father Narayana Voora threatened him at a police station in Chennai in the presence of an assistant commissioner of police and asked him to stop pursuing the custody of Aditya.

Ravichandran, a pharmaceutical scientist, intends to again move the Supreme Court.

He also appealed to the people to help him trace his son and launched a website

Ravichandran, also hailing from Chennai, married Vijayasree, a double masters in IT and French, in 2000.

The couple was staying in Dallas. Aditya was born in New York in 2002. However, the couple divorced in 2005 and a US court in April 2007 ruled equal custody of the child. Two months later Vijayasree came to India with Aditya.

Bangalore-based Children's Rights Initiative For Shared Parenting (CRISP) is backing Ravichandran.

'Vijayasree is taking undue advantage of being a woman and a mother. We are not anti-woman. We are fighting for the rights of children, who should have equal access to their fathers,' said CRISP president Kumar V. Jahgirdar.

'At a time when divorce rate is increasing and 30 percent marriages in cities are breaking up it is time the society realise the importance of father. The father is not only for giving maintenance. He should also have a right to equal custody of the children,? said Kumar, who himself fought a long legal battle to get equal access to his daughter from his wife Chetana, who is now married to former Indian cricket captain Anil Kumble.