Wednesday, June 30, 2010

People facing criminal charges using RTI Act to bolster defence

People facing criminal charges using RTI Act to bolster defence

People facing criminal charges are seeking details of their cases from probe agencies through the Right to Information (RTI) Act, and using it to bolster their defence.

While some detectives and lawyers call this a misuse of the law that allows citizens to easily access information available with any public authority, RTI officials and activists say the trend is only bringing more transparency to the execution of criminal justice.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) received at least 4,000 applications to provide information under the RTI Act last year. Most of them were from the relatives and lawyers of people accused in various cases.

“The CBI has a policy of providing maximum information under the RTI Act,” director Ashwani Kumar said. “Out of 4,086 requests received during the year 2009, information was provided in 95% cases.”

He added that the trend was affecting CBI investigations and trials. “Whenever the CBI feels that disclosure of information can affect investigation, it seeks exemption under existing provisions of the Act. However, it has been found that many times, the accused misuse the provisions.”

R.S. Sodhi, a retired Delhi high court judge and a lawyer, said information accessed through the RTI Act can weaken the prosecution’s case. “The accused can misuse the information. Lawyers can argue in the court that there exists an alternative theory and the accused is not guilty. It then becomes difficult for the prosecuting agency to prove their case,” Sodhi said.

But there are instances of the accused receiving justice after accessing information through the RTI Act.

Last week, the Delhi high court asked the city police to initiate criminal proceedings against three policemen for falsely implicating a man in a criminal case. The victim obtained information for his acquittal through the RTI Act.

“Getting information from agencies through court is a long-drawn process. Earlier, CBI was not very transparent in sharing the information,” said chief information commissioner Wajahat Habibullah.

Noted RTI activist Arvind Kejriwal said the Act has enough safeguards to ensure that the interests of the state are not harmed. “The Act clearly states that if the disclosure of any information is likely to impede the process of investigation, the same should not be disclosed,” he said.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Husband, in-laws tortured Mulund housewife: Police

Husband, in-laws tortured Mulund housewife: Police

Nishi’s jumped out of her 28th floor residence at Runwal Pride building in Mulund (West) on Sunday morning. Her body was discovered by residents near the swimming pool at about 10.15am.

After initial investigations, the police have learnt that the victim’s husband, Jitendra, and his parents were physically and mentally harassing Nishi.

Jitendra, 29, father, Mulchand, 53, mother Deepa, 49, sister, Sapna, will be in police custody for further investigation till July 2.

The Jhetwanis have been charged under section 34, 498A and 304B of the Indian Penal Code. “A case of mental and physical harassment has been lodged at the Mulund police station against them,” an officer from Mulund police station said.

According to the officer, Jitendra would get drunk and then torture his wife. Also, her in-laws were harassing her by demanding dowry.

Nishi and Jitendra had fallen in love and then tied the knot in May 2009. But soon after, Nishi was forced to quit her job in a reputed brokerage firm. She had alleged that she was burdened with housework and had no help.

Around three months ago, Nishi had returned to her parents’ home complaining about the dowry demands and the harassment she was facing.

However, Jitendra came after her and assured her parents that he would ensure that she was safe. Nishi’s parents then convinced her to go back to her husband’s house.

The Jhetwanis have a family business of safety valves.

Delhi High Court upholds conviction in ‘honour killing' case

Delhi High Court upholds conviction in ‘honour killing' case

Monday, Jun 28, 2010

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court has upheld the conviction of a man in a so-called ‘honour killing' case in which he had killed his daughter for entering into an adulterous relation with a relative. The court rejected the argument of the accused that the crime was committed on the spur of the moment in the Najafgarh area in West Delhi in 2006.

The prosecution case against the convict, Bhagwan Dass, was that having felt humiliated at his daughter being in an incestuous relationship with his maternal aunt's son, the accused had murdered his daughter.

The trial court had sentenced Bhagwan Dass to life imprisonment on the basis of his statement given to the Sub-Divisional Magistrate of the area concerned in which he had admitted his guilt, and he had also got recovered the electric wire with which he had strangled his daughter.

However in his statement before the trial court, Bhagwan Dass had denied having made any statement before the SDM. He also denied that he had murdered his daughter. Rather, he told the court that it was he who had informed the court about the death of his daughter.

The High Court also rejected the statement recorded before the SDM saying that it was inadmissible as evidence as it was recorded before the investigating officer of the case.

The two circumstances which led to rejection of the appeal of the convict by the High Court were his presence at his house when the death of his daughter occurred there and not informing the local police about her death for more than eight hours after her murder.

Counsel for the convict argued before a Division Bench of the Court comprising Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Suresh Kait that the case fell under culpable homicide not amounting to murder as he had committed the crime on the spur of the moment when he lost his self control on being told something uncharitable by his daughter during the heated exchange between them.

However, the Bench rejected this argument. The Bench said: “The provocation of the deceased running away after abandoning her husband and being in adultery with her cousin uncle was a fact in the knowledge of the appellant for over a month and surely this conduct of the deceased would not be a sudden or a grave provocation resulting in loss of self control.”

“That the appellant met his daughter after over a month and chose to have a dialogue with her on the emotive issue of how his daughter should conduct herself socially was with sufficient forewarning to the appellant that he had to deal with an obstinate daughter who could not only test his patience to the extreme but could even possibly provoke him to anger and retribution. It is in this backdrop that we are compelled to hold that the appellant may not be entitled to the defence of loss of self control,” the Bench ruled.

The Bench said, “it is apparent that the victim was killed between 4 a.m. to 6 a.m. when she was sleeping. The accused did not specify what was the provocation from the side of his daughter which angered him.”

Trade secrets from a sperm bank in India

Trade secrets from a sperm bank in India

Jyotsna Agnihotri Gupta1

Dr X (pseudonym adopted to protect the identity of the service provider and the sperm bank) is the director of a sperm bank that has been operating since the early 1990s in a large city in India. What follows here is an abridged version of the author's interview with Dr X conducted in December 2001.

JG: Who are your main customers - public hospitals, or also private clinics and individuals?

Dr X: It is mainly private clinics, but [also] individual people; hospitals much less. They're doing [semen collection] on their own premises also. We have a small bank. We get almost 10 donors every day. We try to do our work as thoroughly and as honestly as possible; because there is a lot of ghapla [corruption] in this field - in sperm banks. You may not know about it. As for private practitioners - I don't want to say anything about them - whatever they're doing, it is between them and the patient. But we're doing our work very honestly and extremely meticulously. We take a donor's sample and analyse it, and if it is suitable we ask the donor to come and donate. We do all the checks for infectious diseases, HIV, jaundice, etc. We allow them to come twice a week, at the most. Actually, a donor can keep on coming and donating if his sperm counts are normal, and motility and everything else is good. As compensation donors receive some money.

JG: Do they receive a fixed amount per sample?

Dr X: Yes, it's a fixed amount, Rs 200-something. Mostly we encourage students to come. We don't allow just anybody from the street to come and donate, as in blood banks. In India everybody can go and donate their blood to a blood bank. I don't know about other places. But here, we don't allow [that]. We have a restriction that a person who is donating semen should have at least passed class XII. Mostly donors are students from the university in the vicinity. We pay them. If they come twice a week, they get about Rs 400 to 500, and that is for their pocket money.

Moreover, they also come to know about their own physiology. Male fertility is declining very rapidly. From 1948 to1998 it has gone down by 40 per cent. Males in this country are also getting conscious about this fact, that is why they are interested in coming and donating their semen. Also, they come to know if they have any disease. Because we eliminate diseases - hereditary diseases, HIV, infectious diseases, chlamydia, bacterial diseases, etc. They come very regularly. We take a sample and keep it if the sample is good and free of all diseases. We take their family history also. If the family history does not show, for two-three generations at least, [any] condition which is genetic, only then we take their sample. If someone comes for the first time we ask him to come again after three months, because the time for incubation of HIV and other diseases is three months.... After three months, when we again screen and see that he is free of all these diseases, abnormal conditions and all that, only then we take his semen and store it. We keep it under liquid nitrogen (196 degrees) in cryo-tanks, where it can be stored for 10 to 15 years and remain quite good.

JG: I've noticed different coloured straws in the container. Do you classify semen under certain categories like physiological characteristics and colour of hair, eyes, etc?

Dr X: We categorise on the basis of three main things - colour of hair, complexion and height. We also note their blood group, so that we can match it. Every week we take out this sample which has been kept separately for quality control. We test it again and see the concentration, how much is the survival of the sperm. For it to be workable the concentration should be 40 million per ml. and the motility should be 50 per cent. After keeping it in liquid nitrogen it becomes about 25 to 30 million per ml. So, there is a loss of about 10 million. But usually you require only one sperm to fertilise. But still we give up to 20 million per ml. That's also according to the WHO norm. We don't take samples that are deficient in sperm count; we only take samples which are very good - 100 million per ml or 80 million per ml. Then even if you lose 50 per cent, after loss you get at least 40 per cent per ml. Before we give the sample we do a quality control again, and see how much loss there is and how much concentration there is, whether it is workable or not. If it is not workable, we don't give that sample.

JG: Are donors anonymous?

Dr X: Yes, totally anonymous. We give the donors this “donor waiver form” so that they don't make a claim at some point of time. There might be so many things.... In the lab it is all coded. Only I know; no one else can find out. The donor never comes to know. He can't find out to whom his sample has been given, whether he has a child. Suppose there is a child born in a rich family, he may become greedy, he may want to blackmail [them], but he can't do any such thing. This form takes care of these legalities.

The duration of abstinence needs to be written on the form here. Abstinence should not be more than six days between the first sample and the second sample Otherwise, the sperm count goes down. Even seven days is too much. Even when it is the husband's sample that has to be given to the wife, the abstinence should not be more than three days. I don't know exactly what happens, but more than three days after ejaculation the concentration goes down. One can donate semen at the most three to six days after sexual intercourse. Even these boys who come to donate are asked  how many days abstinence [they have had]. Abstinence doesn't mean that they must not have had sexual intercourse.... I mean masturbation.... They all masturbate in this age. In our days even to utter the word was considered a crime. We couldn't do any such thing, or even think about it.

JG: In Scandinavian countries, since they renounced anonymity, there are very few sperm donors. In the Netherlands there are two systems, there are those who don't mind their identity being known so that when the child is 16 to 18 and wants to know who the father is then he/she can be told, while there are others who donate only on condition of anonymity.

Dr X: There's a big difference between there and here. Here, infertility is a taboo subject. Even those patients who take samples from us and get pregnant will not [have] the delivery done by the same doctor, because the doctor will come to know they have had a child. Patients even change doctors because there's such a ... taboo on it. People [do not want to admit] that they come here, that they have ever been even in the direction of the sperm bank, or they have ever heard of this sperm bank. But at the same time they are so desperate that it is amazing and shocking also, that the father-in-law is coming to donate his sperm for his bahu [daughter-in-law], the jeith or devar [brother-in-law] is coming to donate. I mean, if it was a friend, an acquaintance, or a far relative it would be something else, the real dada [grandfather] is creating his own child - son/daughter, whatever it is. That is how desperate people here are!

JG: Probably they think that at least it is from within the family, rather than someone else's genetic material.

Dr X: Yes, that at least the child's mother is the real mother. We tell them why don't you adopt? There are so many children; but they are not prepared to adopt.

JG: Instead, people are going for IVF which is such a strenuous, long-drawn procedure and not always successful.

Dr X: Its success rate is even lower than artificial insemination by donor. In intra-uterine insemination [IUI] a maximum of six cycles is done. Generally, if it is successful it is within three to four cycles. After that you can keep trying, but it doesn't work. But people are just not prepared to adopt, even from a relative.

JG: Probably adoption has become much less common since these technologies have become more known or in use.

Dr X: Earlier people didn't have alternatives.

JG: Can any individual or doctor take a sample from your bank for insemination?

Dr X: It is only individuals and private sector doctors, because I do not know of any public hospitals that are offering IVF or IUI. We also get husband's sperm for analysis and semen wash. We analyse it, for two things - sperm count and motility. Then we wash it and give it. But the sad thing is that doctors are only concerned with making money; there is no humanity. Please, do not record this.

JG: Please don't worry; I will not disclose your name.

Dr X: When they take the sample and give it to the doctor, the doctor doesn't even take care of it properly. In the liquid nitrogen the sperm is in cold shock; there is no movement, and without movement there is no activity, and there can be no pregnancy. A doctor should keep a proper water bath, maintain temperature at 37 degrees Celsius. You have to keep it for 10 to 15 minutes if you are taking it out of liquid nitrogen; only then it will become conscious, to be motile. After taking it in your hand for two minutes if you say now it is at body temperature - that is not true. There is a big difference between the inside and outside temperature. So, if there is no movement there will be no pregnancy. But they are not bothered to take care of this; this is the most crucial matter. When they take the sample they must keep it at 37 degrees for 10 minutes, then mix it with a syringe, so that the top and the bottom are mixed well. After that you must look under the microscope and see if the count is all rright, the motility is ok. Only then you should inject it. Without doing anything they just keep it in hand for a few minutes and inject it. Naturally, it doesn't work. Then people complain to us. Then we ask the doctors, “What procedure did you follow?” They say, “We keep it in the hand for a few minutes and keep it at room temperature after taking it out of liquid nitrogen.” In liquid nitrogen it is -190 degrees, under cold shock.

There is so much malpractice to make money. They are just interested in getting their money, whether it works or not. The patients come and tell us these stories. They do not know about the shock. They say the doctor did something quickly. Sometimes they can't even feel if anything went inside. So we don't know what they do. We ask the patient, “How do you know if something went inside or not?” They say they can feel if something is going inside. Well, we don't know if it is so. There is a lot of medical malpractice. When the patients complain to us...we corner [the doctors] and tell them, “You do it incorrectly, you shouldn't do it this way.... You earn so much money, at least keep a water bath at 37 degrees. Keep an incubator.” At the most an incubator costs Rs 3,000 to 4,000, but they don't do that.

Let me also tell you... [sometimes] instead of getting semen from our bank, some doctors tell their office boy to get his semen. The office boy brings it and gives it to the doctor. How does the poor patient know where he has brought it from? This is criminal, because he could be suffering from anything, HIV or anything, and without any screening, they inseminate. Our doctors are doing these kinds of things. I'm telling you this, but generally no one talks about this, it is a trade secret.

JG: I read something similar in the newspapers about it.

Dr X: Did you read about it? Well, then it is ok.

JG: I have read about it, but you explained certain things properly, like not maintaining the proper temperature. I had read about doctors taking samples from men who come for certain other tests who were told that a semen sample is also required and then the doctors use it for other patients.

Dr X: They tell [them that the] semen sample was bad, so we threw it away; send us another sample. In this way they get another sample. But they don't throw it away, they get two samples instead of one in this way. We give it because they take from us often; after all this is our business too. I'm telling you the inside story. Because they take samples from us very often, therefore, to keep them happy, sometimes in a month we have to give some doctors four to six extra samples. We, too, have to sell. If this is a doctor who takes [a lot of] samples and says they were bad then we are forced to oblige him. He can dictate his terms, so we must suffer.

JG: Do they also mix fresh semen of someone with frozen sperm?

Dr X: No, then they would just use fresh sperm, why would they mix it with frozen sperm? No one is looking. There is no one of the patient's family in the lab; the patient just trusts you... [They come begging for a good sample.] I tell [them], “We always give good samples, but we don't know what's happening at the doctor's.” But when they complain to us, we ask the doctors. Some doctors are doing IUI every day, on six consecutive days, on a woman. They have made that patient a guinea pig continuously for six days. After giving hormones, they check on the monitor every day by ultrasound if the follicle has ruptured, and when it comes in the fallopian tube they inseminate because the chances of fertilisation are better. There is no logic in doing IUI for six consecutive days. They give hormones and think several eggs will be produced, and hope that if we do IUI every day, one or the other egg may fertilise.

Fifty years ago infertility was a female phenomenon, but now it is mostly a male phenomenon - azoospermia. You get such good-looking couples from very well-to-do families who come here. There are even infertile doctors among them. In one case the doctor's brother donated his sperm. What can you do? The wife knows it's his brother's. Very often they take someone else's sperm and give it to their wives without telling them it is not their own. Especially the uneducated people - poor things, they don't know it is not their husband's. They tell their wives, “I'm bringing you my sample. There is some problem with you, something slightly wrong with your system, so they will take out my sperm and inseminate you with it.” Then they bring someone else's semen and give it to their wives. The poor wife knows nothing about it. At least you should take your wife in confidence and tell her what you are doing! Just see the kind of things that happen here.

JG: Does it have to do with shame?

Dr X: Yes, it has to do with shame.... Once a very handsome young couple came here. The man was the son of a [senior] army officer. I asked them how they had got married. He said it was a love marriage. Because theirs was a love marriage, the wife said, “Whatever my husband says, I'm prepared to do for him; just because I love him so much. I didn't know earlier and the poor guy didn't know either that there was a problem with his fertility.” Males themselves don't know; now they are afraid. That is why they come here now. We have such a [crowd] - at least 10 to 12 males, donors, sitting here every day, to find out about themselves. They are very anxious, and come again and again. “Please check again,” they say. When these “rejected goods” come again the second time, we don't pay them... because we don't want to take their sample and waste our money. Sometimes, you get such healthy sperm, so robust, so active and very motile. From such a good sample six to eight vials can be made, so that eight inseminations can take place. Some people have such good quality sperm, but the majority is average, not very good. What we take and store is average and slightly above. We don't take anything below average because it deteriorates further.... Some people have a sperm count of only 2 to 3 per cent. In one field where there should be seven to eight sperm, [and if] there is one, or not even one and they insist that [they will still give us a] sample five or six times and we should concentrate it and give it [back to them]. We did that too... if they are prepared to pay us for it why should we have problems with that? But the count was very low. [One particular case] took the sample for insemination. But we don't know if it worked. Rarely does one come and tell us if it worked - neither doctors nor patients.

JG: There is a spectacular increase in the number of couples who are coming for assisted reproduction, even though it is so expensive.

Dr X: I think it is going to take off very rapidly because of the decline in fertility.

JG: A biological child is considered so important that people are prepared to spend a lot of money for it. Now there are so many centres offering the services.

Dr X: Now even villagers know about it. Some villagers also come here to take sperm and they want to know more about it. I don't know how to explain to them.

JG: A gynaecologist told me that in villages there are dais [traditional midwives] who say they “give an injection”, that is, they do artificial insemination.

Dr X: Yes, but you can imagine that if doctors are indulging in such malpractices, in the villages the poor women will die from... all sorts of diseases. The doctors are doing it knowingly; they are really playing with the lives of women. They are not worried about life and death, but only about making money. The more  [the number of] women [that] come to them, the more money they will make. The doctors never tell us... how well our product is working. I mean, we treat it as a product, it is commercial. Once a woman came with sweets and a photo of her child - in her case it was a first attempt. There was another woman who said she was successful in her third attempt. But in some cases they have six to eight inseminations, yet it doesn't work

JG: Doesn't it depend on the tubal factor of the woman too?

Dr X: Yes, that plays a role, but it is also carelessness on the part of doctors. They show no genuineness. It pains me to say this - our assistants go to the doctors and see the conditions there and [report back to] us. I've been only once to a doctor's clinic, and what I saw really made me feel very bad. They do not treat women as human beings, but as animals. They do an insemination and take their money, that's it.

JG: Isn't this unethical?

Dr X: Very unethical!

JG: At the moment there are hardly any guidelines. The ICMR is finalising guidelines. They had a meeting a few weeks ago, the report will be available in a few weeks.

Dr X: Even if there are any guidelines, who follows them? It is an extremely difficult task to have them applied or followed. They have to take legal action about it, that they will not be allowed to practise if they don't follow these guidelines.

JG: Like in the case of sex-determination tests. We have a law, but there has not been a single prosecution under the law.

Dr X: Not with us, 10 years ago we did separation of sex cells.

JG: But now it is illegal.

Dr X: Yes, the law has been passed, but still people are performing it.

JG: Yes, I too have heard that some doctors are still offering the tests.

Dr X: People are still performing them. It is very easy. Some people come to us, too, and ask us [for it]. We say we don't do the test.... I tell them probably it was done 10 years ago, but not any more; we are not doing it. [But] who is checking here if the law is being observed?

Dr X gives me a round of the lab, after which I thank the doctor and take my leave.


The research for this article was conducted within a research project, “Body Parts, Property and Gender”, while the author was affiliated as a postdoctoral fellow (December 2000-May 2004) at the Department of Culture, Health and Illness, Leiden University Medical Center, the Netherlands. It was funded by a grant from the Netherlands Foundation for the Advancement of Tropical Research (NWO-WOTRO), Project Number WB 52-871.

Assistant professor in Gender and Diversity, University for Humanistics, Utrecht, and postdoctoral researcher at the International Institute of Asian Studies, Leiden University, THE NETHERLANDS email:

Whose fault is it?

Whose fault is it?

Is marriage a sacrament, or is it just a legal contract? It remains an institution that offers the possibility of happiness, if configured right…

A recent discussion with my good friend on what I felt about the idea of divorce set me thinking about the ambivalence with which we generally tend to approach the subject. While we have learned to accept divorce, we'd much rather not think about it, unless we are forced to. I believe that our ambivalence is largely owing to the fact that we've not quite made up our minds on what precisely marriage means to us.

Traditionally, marriage has been considered a sacrament and this is the way most older Indians approach the institution of marriage. Obviously, in this situation, divorce becomes a moral dilemma, for, who would be comfortable engaging in sacrilege? Which explains why thousands of couples in the country, despite strongly feeling the need to separate from their partners for often very legitimate reasons, have hung in there and seen their lives through in an atmosphere of barely-manageable marital toxicity. Younger Indians though, don't necessarily see marriage as a sacred institution. Which perhaps explains why they are willing to consider the possibility of divorce when their marriages are not configured for emotional fulfilment.

However, it is still not easy even for young Indians to get blasé about divorce, for the sacrament theory of marriage is still strongly imbued in the hidden depth of their psyches, and perhaps their DNA even. So, despite the fact that the nation's lawmakers have recognised the validity of divorce in certain situations, Indian couples approach Family Courts with some considerable trepidation.

Considerable difficulty

Indian divorce legislation has rightly not made it easy for people to rush to divorce courts. The easiest form of divorce is that obtained by mutual consent, if both partners are mutually agreeable to a parting of ways. However, this is often not the case, for, one of the partners refuses to consent to a divorce for whatever reason. In such a situation, if the other partner still wants a divorce, the only option available is to unilaterally approach the court for divorce on certain specified grounds such as cruelty, desertion, mental disorder, adultery and so on. Obviously, the accused partner has a right to ‘contest' the allegations, and the burden of proof is on the accuser to prove to the court that the grounds on which divorce is sought really exist. Very often, it is extremely difficult to prove these beyond reasonable doubt, as a result of which many divorces go through lengthy and expensive legal processes which benefit none of the players. And it is not uncommon for the partner whose mind is made up on the issue of divorce to resort to unfounded allegations to strategically enhance the probability of divorce. However, this is now set to change.

Changes ahead

Very recently, the Indian cabinet has recommended amendments to divorce provisions under the Hindu Marriage Act and Special Marriages Act, whereby ‘irretrievable breakdown of marriage' will be considered an acceptable ground for divorce. In other words, even if one partner is unwilling, if the partner who approaches the court can prove that the marriage has irretrievably broken down, or if the accused partner is resorting to delaying tactics and avoiding court appearances, then the courts will be empowered to dissolve the marriage (of course, there will be lots of checks and balances and things may not be as simple as they sound). This is the equivalent of the much-debated “no-fault divorce” in the United States. Although the no-fault divorce first made its appearance in the state of California about 40 years ago, the other states took their own time adopting it (the state of New York is only now in the final stages of doing so). In fact, for many years New York state prided itself in having among the lowest divorce rates in the US and many New Yorkers now fear that there will be a flurry of divorce applications owing to the no-fault divorce, which is exactly the fear in the minds of many people in our country with this proposed amendment. However, such concerns are baseless, for, research has documented that although there is usually an initial increase in divorce applications when such legislation is enacted, things level off after a while, for, the rates of the ‘contested divorces' progressively decrease.

Needs work

Which brings me back to the point that I initially started exploring. If the laws of the land endorse the fact that some marriages can break down irretrievably, then marriage can no longer be viewed as a sacrament. Then how are we to think of it? A contract? I wouldn't really take such an extreme perspective. I would much rather consider marriage as a special relationship that provides all human beings the possibility of peace, health and happiness, but only if it is appropriately configured. For this to happen, one needs to usher three Cs into marriage: Commitment, Connectedness and Companionship. I would much rather we work towards such “no-fault marriages” and consider “no-fault divorces” only if, despite exhausting ourselves trying, we're still not able to get the marriage right. And since there are enough couples out there getting it right, I remain optimistic that the divorce rates in our country, which have been arguably pegged at about 11 divorces for every 1,000 marriages, are unlikely to veer too sharply northwards.

The writer is the author of the just-launched Fifty-50 Marriage: Return to Intimacy and can be contacted at

High drama after man facing dowry charge leaps off building


High drama after man facing dowry charge leaps off building

The brother of a Post and Telegraph employee who died in a fall from the third floor of the building where his estranged wife was staying has lodged a complaint accusing his sister-in-law of murder.

Dhananjaya (45), a resident of Sampige Layout, had gone on Tuesday night to meet his wife Padma who lives with their two children in a flat on the top floor of the three-storied building in M.C. Layout. Seeing the flat locked, Dhananjaya went to the terrace and jumped. Residents rushed him to the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences, where he died on Wednesday morning.

Following his death, Dhananjaya’s relatives came to the Vijayanagar police station and demanded action against Padma whom they accused of pushing him from the terrace.

Although the police registered a case of murder, Deputy Commissioner of Police (West) B. Shivakumar said: “Dhanajaya’s wife was not at home at the time. We will proceed with the case after we receive the autopsy report.” The police said Padma had filed a dowry harassment complaint against her husband who had been arrested by the Vijayanagar police. He later came out on bail.

Costly gifts at weddings to come under tax scrutiny

Costly gifts at weddings to come under tax scrutiny

Exchange of expensive gifts and jewellery items during wedding marriage ceremonies are liable to taxmen scrutiny, said a city court.

It also said that immovable assets as gifts would require mandatory authentic registration.

Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau said, “Pricey gifts given to relatives, which do not fall within the definition of Stridhan (gift items received by girl) are taxable in the hands of the recipient.” Citing a dowry complaint, the judge said it is important for families of both the bride and the groom to divulge their revenue books to the taxmen.

The court said anti-dowry laws have been reduced to “paper tigers”.

“Dowry has become an avenue to bury black money during marriage ceremonies,” said Lau.

“It is necessary to ensure that due inquiry and investigations are conducted not only with regard to the source of income of the person giving dowry, but also as to whether these transactions are duly reflected in the Wealth Tax returns of both,” she added.

Presiding over a case of an estranged couple, in which the wife was appealing against the order passed by a trial court, Lau observed that incidents of abuse of special provisions of dowry harassment law has become the trend.

The trial court in October 2009 had ordered registration of an FIR against the wife and her family for giving dowry at her wedding. The groom had filed a complaint saying his wife had wilfully admitted of giving gifts and money to his family.

The additional sessions judge quashed the wife’s plea seeking to cancel the criminal proceedings initiated against her family. An FIR was registered against her family following the complaint by her husband, who is facing dowry harassment charges.


While laws prohibiting dowry not only forbid receipt but also giving it, a city court, in a significant observation, held that the brides’ families are to be blamed for rendering the social welfare legislation largely ineffective.

“It is unfortunate that the legislation (Dowry Prohibition Act) has been reduced to a mere paper tiger. What is more unfortunate is that the family of the woman (involved in the marriage) is responsible for the non-accomplishment of this legislation,” Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Kamini Lau noted.

To meet the objectives of the law, not only the grooms’ families but also the brides’ must be booked for giving dowry in the name of social obligation, the court said.

“Dowry is a two-way traffic and unless there is a giver there can be no taker... In order to eliminate this evil both the giver and taker have been made liable under the Act. It is not possible to leave one and book the other,” ASJ Lau said.

“It is time this social welfare legislation is ruthlessly implemented and none is permitted to take the shield of social compulsion. This has become all the more necessary in order to check the misuse and abuse of special laws,” she added.

The court also said expensive gifts given by relatives to a couple before and after marriage must be brought to the notice of the authorities for levying of taxes.

The court made the observations while dismissing the plea of a woman seeking to quash criminal proceedings initiated against her family for giving of dowry following a complaint by her husband who faced dowry harassment charges. The woman had challenged the order by a Metropolitan Magistrate in October last year, who had directed the registration of an FIR against her family members for giving dowry for her marriage in April 2008.

Don’t blame the man if a woman commits suicide. Arn’t women responcible for their own emotions actions decisions and weaknesses

Don’t blame the man if a woman commits suicide, there may be more to their broken relationship, says our study...

It’s happening again. The media is uncertain whether supermodel Viveka Babaji left a suicide note on Friday blaming boyfriend Gautam Vora for driving her to end her life. Neighbours in the Bandra apartment block heard the couple fighting late on Thursday night. And the last entry in Viveka’s diary allegedly reads, “You killed me Gautam Vora.”
But does that incriminate Gautam in an abetment of suicide case under Section 306 of the IPC? It shouldn’t because Viveka, according to her elder sister Vineeta, had attempted suicide before, and was known to be hyper-sensitive, emotional, given to manic depressions, and lived a model’s life that flirted with drugs and alcohol abuse, loneliness, bad and broken relationships, the stress of insecurities and competition.

It’s also not fair to the guy in a case like this. Especially if the girl, as he discovers late into their relationship, is neurotic or even psychotic. We’re not saying this was Viveka’s condition. But certainly, only a loss of contact with reality could have led her to commit suicide. Her boyfriend, perhaps recalling how men in similar circumstances were hounded by the police, harassed by courts, and rejected by society, has gone into hiding already.

Cases in point are Miss India, model and TV host Nafisa Joseph’s suicide in July 2004 after fiancee Gautam Khanduja called off their wedding following differences of opinion over his earlier marriage and divorce. Her suicide led to his arrest and a case being filed against him that went on for quite some time. Likewise model and TV actress Kuljeet Randhawa’s suicide which brought her boyfriend Bhanu Uday under the scanner. Then there was air-hostess Sucheta Anand’s case in Mumbai two years ago where her boyfriend, co-pilot Arjun Menon, was arrested.

A study by BT has revealed that people are sympathetic towards men caught in such predicaments. And the general consensus is that unless the men are directly responsible for pushing the women to the edge, like in dowry deaths, they should not be held responsible, declared guilty, and punished. This is what our study revealed...

Not guilty, say the men

Narendra Kumar, designer

Of course, the man could be at fault, but not always the culprit. Men jump off buildings, too, and could be the victims sometimes. On one hand we say women and men are equal and on the other, the men are the first to be blamed. It all boils down to how well an individual can cope with a situation.

Kunal Kohli, filmmaker

Naturally, the suspicion will fall on the person closest to the victim, who’s been spending maximum time with her. It’s not fair because there can be a lot of reasons for a person to take such a step.

Acquin Pais, model

For someone to take such a drastic step means that he/she has been hurt/cheated by someone very close and dear to them. And usually, it is the boyfriend/ lover. In a superficial industry such as this, it can get extremely lonely. And most often than not, to get into such a frame of mind, it has to involve someone close to you.

Rahul DaCunha, adman

It’s too easy to blame suicide on spurned love. The guy can have been the last straw to an already suicidal mind.

Milind Soman, model

Unless you know, you shouldn’t talk. Useless speculation is a waste of time and energy.

Timmy Narang, businessman

It’s not fair. One always has the choice to stay or walk away from a relationship and take control of his/her life. It is not fair to blame others for your own weaknesses.

Pritish Nandy, writer

There are countless other reasons in today’s complex and extremely competitive world that can drive a girl to suicide. Why always blame a man? Relationships break down every day. Not everyone goes out and kills herself.

Chetan Hansraj, actor

When something drastic like this happens, the first reaction is to blame a bad relationship, thereby putting the blame on the boyfriend. It’s wrong, but then again, it’s natural.

Not guilty/ Medical experts

Psychiatrist Dr Anjali Chhabria says, “Not every suicide is a result of something traumatic in an individual’s life. It could be because of depression or the individual’s inherent personality. In borderline personality disorder cases, suicidal attempts are common. Indian society is women-oriented and there’s a natural tendency to blame the men when things happen. Until a matter is investigated thoroughly, no fingers should be pointed at anyone.” Suicides often take place due to career lows or failed relationships. Dr Rajan Bhosle, psychotherapist and relationship counselor, says, “Women are heart-oriented, their expectations are different. The man initially tends to make a lot of promises and later doesn’t keep them. That’s when the lady feels cheated and gets very demanding, which, in turn, pushes the man further away and they break up. However, the man can’t be blamed because both are responsible. She was wrong in putting all eggs in one basket and in believing that the end of one relationship is the end of the world.”

Not guilty/Legal expert

Criminal lawyer Satish Maneshinde says, “In a large number of cases, suicides happen because of breakups or fights in relationships. Whenever there is a suicide, the police zero in on people who are connected emotionally or through authority (employer in the case of an employee committing suicide) with the deceased. They even book people under abetment of suicide to prove that they’ve carried out their investigations. Abetment means either to goad or assist or help in preparation or instigate a person to commit suicide. But none of these really apply when it comes to suicides related to relationships/ breakups. Most of these suicides are to do with the person’s individuality or character, it’s more inbuilt and it’s not viewed as acquired. So when the abetment cases go to court, after a full-fledged trial, the people are let off because of lack of evidence and because abetment cannot be foisted on these cases connected with relationships.

What the law says...

Section 306, IPC on abetment of suicide says: If any person commits suicide, whoever abets the commission of such suicide, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine. However, Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Himanshu Roy clarifies that mere mention of the man’s name in the suicide note does not make him culpable in each case unless it is convincingly proved that by his mental and physical harassment and abuse of the woman, he drove her to commit suicide.
Compiled by Nicole Dastur and Deepali Dhingra

Monday, June 28, 2010

NDTV 24x7 We The People- Rule of engagement - Sexual harassment@workplace code Bill-Open to misuse ? shades of grey ?

PART 1/6  NDTV 24x7 We The People- Rule of engagement - Sexual harassment@workplace code Bill-Open to misuse ? Office relationships are they harassment or consenual? shades of grey ?





PART 2/6 NDTV 24x7 We The People- Rule of engagement - Sexual harassment@workplace code Bill-Open to misuse ? Office relationships are they harassment or consenual? shades of grey ?






PART 3/6 NDTV 24x7 We The People- Rule of engagement - Sexual harassment@workplace code Bill-Open to misuse ? Office relationships are they harassment or consenual? shades of grey ?




PART 4/6 NDTV 24x7 We The People- Rule of engagement - Sexual harassment@workplace code Bill-Open to misuse ? Office relationships are they harassment or consenual? shades of grey ?






PART 5/6 NDTV 24x7 We The People- Rule of engagement - Sexual harassment@workplace code Bill-Open to misuse ? Office relationships are they harassment or consenual? shades of grey ?





PART 6/6 NDTV 24x7 We The People- Rule of engagement - Sexual harassment@workplace code Bill-Open to misuse ? Office relationships are they harassment or consenual? shades of grey ?



Press Release - In support of support to Mr. Ravindra Gangurde's "Jail Bharo Andolan"







28 June 2010

All India Forgotten Women's Association and All India Men's Welfare Association, hereby, announce their support to Mr. Ravindra Gangurde's "Jail Bharo Andolan" as a sign of protest against arbitrary arrests of ordinary law-abiding citizens under IPC Sections 498A, 304B, Dowry Prohibition Act and related laws. We submitted a letter today to the Commissioner of Police, Hyderabad to request for permission to stage a peaceful demonstration.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states:
* Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
* No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
* Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.
* No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.
In blatant violation of all the above rights, thousands of husbands and their families are arbitrarily arrested every year, without evidence or investigation, under IPC Sections 498A, 304B, Dowry Prohibition Act, and related wife-centric laws which presume that the accused are "guilty until proven innocent".

India's National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has noted the misuse of dowry laws, arrest of innocent individuals and the resultant overcrowding of prisons. NHRC has urged the judiciary and law enforcement agencies to take measures against these abuses. High Courts across the country and the Supreme Court have condemned the misuse of dowry laws. The Commissioner of Police, Hyderabad issued standing instructions through a memo vide No.L&O/M6/1315/2002 to check arbitrary arrests. The AP Police Dept. has even launched a web page entitled "Abuse of 498A" on the Dept. website.
Nevertheless, abuse of police powers continues and unnecessary arrests have only been growing in the State of AP. Police routinely enter people's homes at ungodly hours, take accused men and women into custody, and incarcerate them in the name of "protecting women from cruelty and harassment". Innocent citizens are illegally detained, humiliated, subjected to mental and physical torture, blackmail and extortion. The honour and reputation of these accused individuals is simultaneously attacked through media trial and unrestrained slander by women's organizations every day. Many men and women have been driven to suicide due to the trauma of false cases, arrest, prolonged trials and the resultant humiliation and financial troubles they have to endure.

According to statistics published by the National Crime Records Bureau in 2007 alone, an overwhelming 94% of the individuals arrested under IPC Section 498A were found not guilty. A closer look at individual cases under Section 498A reveals that arrests are made by lower cadre police officials without proper justification and only with the intent of terrorizing innocent citizens and extorting money from them under the threat of imprisonment and long-drawn legal battles.

Our numerous pleas to the Government of India to stop arbitrary arrests of citizens under IPC Section 498A have fallen on deaf ears. On the other hand, new laws are always on the anvil (sexual assault, work place harassment, acid attacks etc.) which stress on immediate arrest of men upon mere accusations made by women.
While it is amply clear that under the prevailing circumstances, arrest is inevitable for any man facing allegations of abuse or assault, it is imperative that our fathers, brothers and sons are prepared to go to jail along with us even if they committed no crime. Ordinary law abiding male citizens and their kin should be freed from the fear of jail and the concomitant feelings of humiliation and suffering so that they do not drive themselves into depression, ruin their health or end their own lives.
In light of the above facts, we, the All India Forgotten Women's Association (AIFWA) and All India Men's Welfare Association (AIMWA), extend our support to Mr. Ravindra Gangurde, who has called for a "Jail Bharo Andolan" on 6 July 2010. On behalf of our fathers, brothers and sons, we sought the permission of the Commissioner of Police, Hyderabad, to conduct a peaceful demonstration (of not more than 50 persons) near the Women Police Station, CCS, Hyderabad, between 10:00-11:00 a.m. on 6 July 2010 and personally submit a memorandum.

The following material was submitted as enclosures along with the letter:
1) English translation of letter from Mr. Gangurde calling for "Jail Bharo Andolan".
2) Article from India Post; Dowry Law Sec 498(A) – How and why the law is an ass. (Special Report – English)
3) Memo issued by Commissioner of Police, Hyderabad – No.L&O/M6/1315/2002. (Hyderabad CP's Memo)
4) A.P. Police webpage on "Abuse of 498a". (AP Police – Ladies Special)
5) Letter from the Ministry of Home Affairs to Mr. Gangurde.

LIVE-IN RELATIONSHIP- Is INDIA ready ? Social and Legal aspects-p7 news channel-27jun2010

Part 1/3 - LIVE-IN RELATIONSHIP- Is INDIA ready ? Social and Legal aspects-p7 news channel-27jun2010



Part 2/3 - LIVE-IN RELATIONSHIP- Is INDIA ready ? Social and Legal aspects-p7 news channel-27jun2010



Part 3/3 - LIVE-IN RELATIONSHIP- Is INDIA ready ? Social and Legal aspects-p7 news channel-27jun2010


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Is Indian Judiciary Legalizing and promoting Prostitution

Is Indian Judiciary Legalizing and promoting Prostitution???

The women who is mature and educated being a school teacher knowing that he was married clearly had consensual sex with the man and had all fun and satisfied her lust and then to extort the man levelled RAPE allegation so that she gets a huge free easy money to support her family’s financial needs

The man who must have been harassed and pressured to plead guilty. If he has really commited a crime of RAPE then he should be convicted and not be let off after paying up for the sex. These kind of judicial posturing would mean Rich can get away with henious crimes by owning up and paying up.

It also points out that JUSTICE for RAPE victims is MONEY AND MONEY because such case of failed relationship sex are converted to RAPE just to extract from MONEY non suspecting men and the judiciary is so very happy to support promote and legalise such extortive women.


Man told to pay rape victim Rs 1 lakh

NEW DELHI: A Delhi court has directed a man to pay compensation of Rs 1 lakh to an MCD school teacher after holding him guilty of raping her.
Additional sessions judge Kamini Lau sentenced Azaz Ahmed, a cab driver, to the jail term that he had already served during his incarceration in judicial custody.
The court’s order came after Ahmed pleaded guilty of the charges levelled by the victim who said the convict, who was already married, raped her a number of times between January and September 2007 after promising to marry her. The victim had also alleged she was forced to abort a child on August 14, 2007 by the convict as she conceived due to the forced relationship.
During the trial, the convict, who used to pick up and drop children to a MCD school, admitted his guilt as the victim recorded her statement before the court detailing the incidents, leading to registration of a criminal case against the convict with Jahangirpuri police station here.
“After the accused has expressed his desire to plead guilty, the victim orally told the court that she has forgiven the accused and does not wish to pursue the present case further.
“She has told the court that she and her family are in a state of destitution because after this incident, when her parents came to know about her relationship with the accused, they went into a state of depression,” the court noted.
Besides ordering convict to pay up, the court directed the investigating officer to put the family of the victim, on contractual basis, under the care of an NGO working in the area to provide necessary assistance by way of counselling and rehabilitation of her and her family.


























Delhi court observation in DP3-Dowry givers should also be prosecuted

Dowry givers should also be prosecuted: Court

New Delhi, Jun 27 (PTI)

Observing that the anti-dowry law has been reduced to a ''paper tiger'' due to the bride's family giving away dowry in many cases, a court here said they also need to be prosecuted like the groom's family to eliminate the social evil.

"Dowry is a two way traffic and unless there is a giver there can be no taker and it is for this reason that in order to eliminate this evil both the giver and taker have been made liable (under Section 3 of the Dowry Prohibition Act)," Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau said.
"It is not possible to leave one and book another," the court said while resenting the prevalent practice of the bride's family giving dowry.
"It is unfortunate that this legislation has been reduced to a mere paper tiger and what is more unfortunate is the fact that it is none else but the family of the woman (involved in the marriage) who is responsible for non-accomplishment of this legislation," the court said.It further said the social welfare legislation meant to remove the evil of dowry should be implemented effectively.
"Dowry is shamelessly demanded, given and received under the pretext of social compulsions. It is time that this social welfare legislation (Dowry Prohibition Act) is ruthlessly implemented and none is permitted to take the shield of social compulsions. This has become all the more necessary in order to check the misuse and abuse of Special Laws," ASJ Lau said.
The court also said the expensive gifts given by relatives to a couple before and after marriage must be brought to the notice of authorities for levying taxes.It passed the observations while dismissing a plea of a woman seeking to quash criminal proceedings initiated against her family for giving dowry, which came following a complaint by her husband who faced dowry harassment charges.
In the case, Uma Devi, estranged wife of Sunil Garg, had challenged the order passed by a Metropolitan Magistrate in October last year directing registration of an FIR against her family members for giving dowry during her marriage in April 2008.The magistrate had ordered registration of the FIR on Garg's complaint referring to her admission of giving gifts and money to his family.

Laws of the bedroom

Laws of the bedroom

Most law graduates remember the case distinctly. In 1954, K. Balavendram vs. S. Harry, the Madras High Court declared the husband impotent on the ground that his abnormally large sex organ rendered sexual intercourse impracticable.

More than five decades later, the long arm of the law is still creating bedlam in the bedroom. Some legislations have an impact on conduct between the sheets.

Impotency: A virile man can be declared impotent under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 empowering his wife to seek divorce on the ground of impotency. The legal definition of impotency may not necessarily be based on the person’s medical condition. Courts simply define impotency as “incapacity to have sexual intercourse”.

Cruelty: A spouse’s wilful refusal to have sex with the other, amounts to cruelty, a ground for divorce under the Hindu Marriage Act. Maintaining that a normal and healthy sexual relationship is the basis of a harmonious marriage, courts have held that wilful denial of a sexual relationship by a spouse when the other is anxious for it, amounts to mental cruelty.

Adultery: In matrimonial law, adultery means intercourse with a person of the opposite sex outside wedlock. This is a ground for divorce. But adultery is a criminal offence as well. Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) says a man’s sexual intercourse with a married woman without the consent or connivance of her husband amounts to adultery. Strangely, the law punishes only the man for adultery and treats the woman as a victim of the crime.

Marital rape: At present marital rape is not a crime. An amendment was proposed to Section 375 that defines rape. The government has reportedly dropped the proposal to make marital rape an offence. “If wilful refusal to have sex with one’s spouse is bad, forcible sex is worse,” says senior advocate Pinky Anand. “But before making it punishable, we need to weigh its pros and cons.”












Sunday, June 20, 2010


CRISP to Opt for Mother Teresa Home on Father's Day

By Mandeep Puri

Deserted Fathers Favours Single Parenting

CHILD RIGHTS INITIATIVE FOR SHARE PARENTING (CRISP) in association with SAVE INDIAN FAMILY FOUNDATION (SIFF), whose members are deserted Fathers and elderly citizens will share their love and affection with the mentally retarded children at the Mother Teresa Home, Sector 23, Chandigarh, on the occasion of the Father's Day, here tomorrow.

These deserted fathers have lost faith in judiciary and are has been deprived off meeting their own blood. The members of the organisation have been seriously effects from the Parental Alienation of children due to single parenting in divorce/separation. They now favour single parenting. These deserted fathers are given limited hours of meeting their son/daughters by Indian Judiciary that too after fighting for years for their visitation rights.

Judicial & Governmental Apathy:

"The way justice is administered, the child is separated from the father (mostly) for years! One has to "apply" for "visitation"* that takes years to "grant" and even then for a paltry time. Innocent children suffer because parents are separating & fight for their egos! Our judicial mechanism has a deplorable understanding of child welfare based on biased and outdated social concepts. The father is a relegated to a mere "visitor", eliminating involvement in the child's life and just a "maintenance" paying ATM machine. It virtually condemns the child to an illegitimate. This is neither in the child's nor the family's interest and destroys the foundation for the future generation", said Mandeep Puri, the coordinator, Chandigarh Chapter.

"The organisation terms the judiciary as Anti-Child, Anti-Father and Anti-Family. Divorce/ Separation are between spouses. Not child and parent. This is common sense. There is no law requiring a normal father to keep away from his child, in divorce/ separation proceedings", Vikas Kapur, a member of the organisation.


Time: 2.30 PM ONWARDS

Date: June 19, 2010

Venue: Mother Teresa Home, Sector 23, Chandigarh

Mandeep Puri is a freelance writer who has been a Tribune crime reporter, business, sport, entertainment and municipal reporter. Contact Mandeep at his blog or at NewsBlaze

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Rights of a Father? A case of reverse gender discrimination?

“The Family Court system blatantly discriminates against fathers, heartlessly separates them from and prevents their access to their own biological children”, said the newly formed All India Men’s Welfare Association (AIMWA).

As a sign of protest against the Family Court system, AIMWA organised a protest before the Family Courts on Friday at Chennai. Around fifty of its members were distributing pamphlets and campaigning against the system.

AIMWA is an organization formed to protect the constitutional and human rights of men. It fight against gender discrimination, ‘legal terrorism’ and every other form of abuse suffered by men.

M Antony Francis, coordinator, AIMWA told Law et al. News “Indian Family Courts have declared a war against fathers and are adopting every possible means to create a “Fatherless Society”. We concur with the recent observation of the Supreme Court of India that “the Hindu Marriage Act is breaking more families than uniting”. We would like to add that the worst sufferers of the Indian Family Court system are fathers and children”

He further added “Section 498A, framed to protect women from dowry harassment, has become a hot topic of discussion these days due to misuse. As per National Crime Bureau (NCRB), in the year 2007, 187540 people were arrested under Section 498A, of which, the offense could be proven only for 13247 people. 94% of those arrested were found innocent. As per NCRB, in the last ten years there has been a spurt in the incidence of suicide by married men. A law that was supposed to act instrumental in women empowerment and to enable them to speak against their abuse, looks like has today, become a curse for many a families”

“The modus operandi of the Family Courts includes depriving fathers of the right to love and care for their biological children and forcing fathers to pay huge sums of money to support children they are not allowed to see. The Family court system  encouraging false allegations of abuse to paint fathers as unfit parents” S Hariharan, General Manager of a Telecom Company, a divorcee himself in Chennai told Law et al. News.

Multiple legal battles by mothers eliminate biological fathers from their children’s lives, lamented another divorcee MP Kalaichelvan, a Civil Engineer.  He said that the present system  passes ex-parte orders based solely on the allegations made by a child’s mother..It also allow mothers to brazenly disobey visitation orders without legal repercussions to her. Sometimes biological fathers are labelled “kidnappers” for trying to make contact with their own children. Prolonging custody and visitation matters for years, thereby driving fathers into financial and emotional bankruptcy and forcing them to give up the desire to see their children, are the issues of concern to us,” he said.

In its memorandum to the Principal Sessions Judge VRamalingam, AIMWA has prayed “Special fast-track courts should be set up at the earliest to deal with custody issues. Exclusive, fully functioning Divisional Bench should be set up in all High Courts and Supreme Court to hear appeals in matters of child custody’’.

They also said when a person or couple approaches court for divorce, counseling of the parents by professional counselors should be given first priority and except in extreme cases of violence or unhealthy behavior by either partner, children should be given equal and meaningful access to both parents and grandparents on both sides.

The Memorandum further suggested that both parents should made financially responsible for the upbringing of child in proportion to their earnings and not based on demands made by either partner. If a partner prevents a child from having equal and meaningful contact with the other partner, they should be counseled first to understand the importance of equal parenting and the best interest of a child.

“If either partner repeatedly disobeys orders of equal access and meaningful contact with children, then the children should be placed in the full custody of the partner who will allow equal access to the other parent”, the participants demanded in their memorandum.

Rights of a Father? A case of reverse gender discrimination?

Innocent boy is incarcerated for false allegations of rape but the girl and her parents are let scot free

The innocent boy is incarcerated for false allegations of rape but the girl and her parents are let scot free for openly abusing the judicial process making false allegation and blatantly changing statement on record.

why was parents of the girl and girl herself not charged for perjury ????

MEN/Boys and their family members are treated like 3 rd class citizens in OUR DEMOCRATIC INDIA.


Girl takes U-turn, says never wanted to marry the youth she eloped with

Apprehensive, 17-year-old Rashmi no longer wants to marry the man she loved and eloped with three months ago against her family’s wishes. Her turnaround came before the Delhi High Court on Friday, days after she told the Delhi Legal Services Authority (DLSA) counsel that she was in love with the youth and wished to marry him but feared her family.

On Thursday, when Justice Dhingra had come across the DLSA report forwarded by its counsel Kiran Singh, he had slammed the police for not being able to prevent honour killings. The court had accused the police of conniving with the families of couples instead of providing them security.

The story took a dramatic turn on Friday when the girl was produced from her house in Uttam Nagar and the youth was brought from Tihar, where he has been lodged under the charge of raping the girl. Rashmi, present in the court with her stepmother, denied that she ever wanted to marry him. She contended that she wanted to go to her real mother living in a village in Siddharthnagar, Uttar Pradesh. Rashmi told Justice Dhingra that all the facts in the DLSA report about her relationship with the youth were true but she never said she wanted to marry him despite being pregnant with his child.


Justice Dhingra noted that she was afraid as her real mother stayed in a remote village in UP and she was living with her father and stepmother in the city. “It is apparent that she was afraid and fearful for her safety,” noted the court while passing the order. The court then directed the police to ensure her safety during her stay at Uttam Nagar and escort her to her mother if she wanted.

“So long as she is living at the present address, the investigating officer shall visit the house of the girl once a day and ensure her safety. If she desires, the police shall provide her escort up to her mother’s village,” said Justice Dhingra.

Rashmi had eloped with the youth over three months ago. Her father had lodged an FIR under rape and criminal intimidation charges in March against the youth. He was subsequently arrested.

The youth stood motionless through the proceedings. Justice Dhingra, however, asked him to move a bail application before an appropriate court suggesting that the charges against him were fabricated.

“It seems to be more a case of love affair between two youths instead of a case of rape. The boy was living opposite the girl’s house. He had come from Rajasthan about three months ago. The girl also came to Delhi only recently,” the judge said in his order.

Justice Dhingra then disposed of the petition moved by advocate Singh seeking court’s intervention to help the couple. Singh had told the court that it was a case of elopement and the girl constantly feared for her life.

(names have been changed to protect identities)


@ 11:30 AM
Subject: Fathers' Day becoming Fatherless Day
Fathers' Day is celebrated on the third Sunday of June every year, but for many children 20th June will be a Fatherless Day this year.
Every year more and more children are becoming fatherless thanks to the Family Courts which grant sole and total custody of children to mothers, with total disregard to the love and affection that fathers and children have towards each other.
Indian Family Courts appear to have declared a war against fathers and are adopting every possible means to create a "fatherless society" and to reduce men to mere ATM machines and sperm donors.
All India Men's Welfare Association (AIMWA) is conducting this Press Conference to convey the concerns of fathers separated from children and to send a message to their children that their fathers have not abandoned them, that their fathers love them, care for them and yearn to see them.
We request representatives of the print and electronic media to please attend the event in large numbers and be the voice of the fathers who want to reach out to their children.
All India Men's Welfare Association (AIMWA)

Lickety split


Lickety split

In 2006, the Supreme Court found itself presented with a quandary: a messy divorce case that had worked its way up from the family court of Kanpur through the Allahabad high court. It was a typical appeal case, fraught with acrimony and confusion, detailing the turbulent relationship of Naveen and Neelu Kohli, married in 1975. But the landmark judgement it was to receive would prompt an overhaul of the Hindu Marriage Act and ease the path to divorce for millions of Indian couples.

The Kohlis had filed for divorce in 1994 and legal documents show details of a bitter and protracted battle involving police orders, claims of theft, cruelty, adultery and physical violence—all relatively common in Indian divorce courts. In Kanpur, the couple had been granted a divorce, but a successful appeal to the Allahabad high court had overturned that judgement. It was for the Supreme Court to settle the matter.

The judges’ exasperation as they attempted to decipher the details of the 20-year battle is clear from their case notes. Should they or should they not grant the estranged couple a divorce? Could they prove cruelty? Who was more to blame? As the issues were debated, it became apparent that the existing legal framework couldn’t encompass the complex realities the Kohlis faced. The law, as it stood, was too rigid for a society that was changing fast.

It wasn’t the only example of the system frustrating otherwise clear circumstances. In December, Smriti Shinde, daughter of Union minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, asked the Supreme Court for a divorce on grounds of “irretrievable breakdown of marriage”. Seeking to end her unhappy marriage and frustrated by her husband’s persistent refusal to a divorce by mutual consent, Shinde’s counsel argued that by not granting her a divorce the court was violating her constitutional right to live life with dignity.

In finally granting the Kohlis a divorce, the Supreme Court added a plea to the Union of India “to seriously consider” introducing a new ground for divorce into the Marriage Act: that of “irretrievable breakdown of marriage”. Indian courts have traditionally been wary of this ground, accepted in US and British law, fearing that it diminishes the sanctity of marriage vows, though there have been exceptions. In a 1971 case, Yousuf vs Sowramma, the judge made a poetic plea for more leniency. “There is no rose which has no thorns,” he said, “but if what you hold is all thorn and no rose, better throw it away. The ground for divorce is not conjugal guilt, but breakdown of marriage.” Still, throughout the 1980s and 1990s, judges continued to describe marriage as “made in heaven” and claimed that irretrievable breakdown was not a good enough reason for divorce. Over the last decade, their tone has changed.

“Once the marriage has broken beyond repair,” the judges concluded in the Kohli case, “it would be unrealistic for the law not to take notice... The marriage becomes a fiction, though supported by a legal tie. By refusing to sever that tie, the law does not serve the sanctity of marriage... it shows scant regard for the feelings and emotions of both parties.” Gradually, the way was being cleared for a new path to divorce; one which would be speedier, more even-handed and less humiliating for the unhappy couple.

Last week, a draft Bill from the Union government proposed amendments that would allow couples to cite “irretrievable breakdown of marriage” as a reason for divorce. India’s marriage law looks set to evolve, and there seems little political objection to the proposal. The Bill passed through the cabinet without debate, and the news has been greeted without much fanfare and fuss. In fact, the reaction to the amendment is a clue to its pertinence and evidence of a willingness on the part of the courts and the government to keep up with a changing society. Shinde could be among the beneficiaries of the new amendments.

It is no longer contentious to say that divorce is on the rise in India. Though the numbers remain modest (11 marriages per 1,000 end in divorce, compared with 400 in 1,000 in the US and 200 in 1,000 in China), the increase is sharp (in 1991, the figure was 7.41). Marriage counsellors, lawyers and psychologists overwhelmingly attest to the increase.

“Divorce is no longer a stigma, so people opt more readily for it,” says Suhail Dutt, a New Delhi-based divorce lawyer, who has been practising for 25 years. “Women are much less dependent on the husband for matrimony and alimony, so more mutual divorces are being sought.” With a new generation of working, economically independent couples, a divorce can take place without ruining the livelihood of either party. For the most part, these conditions exist only in the cities, however. It is much rarer for women living in rural areas to be financially independent.

With this in mind, the draft Bill makes provision for women without income. A woman can appeal to the courts, citing financial hardship, and the divorce will not be granted unless she is properly recompensed. The same applies to divorces in which children or dependent family members are involved; the court must be satisfied that they are being provided for. Even unmarried adult daughters are being taken into account.

Until now, couples wishing to split have had to choose between two unsatisfactory options. Either they can cite “matrimonial fault” (in which an allegation such as adultery, cruelty or insanity must be proved against one partner) or they can choose the “mutual consent” route (which can be delayed for years in court if either partner refuses to participate, wasting court time and leaving the loser stranded in legal limbo). “It’s time-consuming and it causes a further rift in any situation,” says Dutt of the current situation. But the narrowness of the choice offered to couples at the moment can also make a divorce needlessly acrimonious and humiliating for those involved.

Delhi high court lawyer Arun Khatri cites one case in which a girl from a traditional family decided to tie the knot without her parents’ consent. Two years into the marriage, she fell in love with a colleague and started dating him. She wanted a divorce but her husband would not consent. So she was compelled to file false charges of cruelty against him. Later she confided to her lawyer, “I had no ill feelings for my husband, but to seek (an) easy divorce, I had no option but to frame wrong charges against him.” Her story is not unique.

Shaifali Sandhya is a clinical psychologist and the author of Love Will Follow: Why the Indian Marriage is Burning, which, as the title suggests, takes a dim view of the state of Indian marriage today. Between 1996 and 2009, Sandhya interviewed 400 Indian couples about their marriages and made some surprising discoveries. First, the vast majority of divorces are instigated by women, Sandhya says. The contemporary stereotype of an Indian divorcee is one of a young, financially successful city dweller, who places little emphasis on religion and tradition and more on self-gratification. But Sandhya claims that portrayal can be misleading. “Divorce is not restricted to the youth; nor is it simply an urban phenomenon,” she writes, “it is also afflicting marriages beyond 10 years. Divorce, it is claimed, is the new accessory to marriage in India.”

The new law promises to address women’s rights issues within the divorce process. The combination of changing attitudes to female divorcees and increased financial independence is a potent one, and along with the changes to inheritance law in 2005, giving equal rights to all siblings, including sisters, heralds another stage in the progress of the women’s rights movement. Aruna Broota, a marriage counsellor and psychologist, sees shifting attitudes in family life and says the rise in women seeking divorce could be due to this. “Women do not passively tolerate undue treatment to the extent they did earlier,” she says. “The attitudes have changed over the decades. Not only economically independent working women, but also those from wealthy and affluent families do not take nonsense.” But Broota is cautious about overemphasizing the “progressive” society theory. “Sociocultural attitudes are still backward and conservative even in the most educated and affluent bracket,” she says.

Ajay Singh, research scholar at International Institute for the Population Sciences, Mumbai, agrees with Broota’s reasoning. “The major cause of divorce in urban India, particularly in metro cities, is the growing self-dependence of women,” he says. In 2002, Singh conducted a study of divorce in Mumbai for the institute and found that more women were taking the initiative to file for divorce. “Women are no longer submissive and cannot tolerate discriminatory behaviour,” Singh says, “and the fact that men are trapped in their stereotyped gender attitude means more and more discords in the home.”

In the case of divorce by mutual consent, the courts give the couple six months in which they may rethink their decision before moving on to finalize the divorce. This is the danger time, when one of the partners can hold the other hostage by “changing his (or her) mind” and blocking the divorce. It is most often men that use this tactic, says Broota. “Men are more practically oriented; they do not garner guilt about failed relationships or their role in them and are likely to withdraw from mutual consent proceedings to harass the wife. Men are possessive and unwilling to let the partner go. Many have gone to the extent of stating that they do not wish to incur the high expenses involved in remarriage, having once borne the cost.” Now, this kind of emotional blackmail will be impossible. One partner can get a divorce alone if they can prove a broken marriage and show a three-year separation period.

Not everyone predicts that the new law will make divorce an easy answer to marital strife. In researching her book, Sandhya found that most unhappy couples were choosing to stay married, especially if they were in their 40s or older. “With an apparently easier divorce option, we may see a spike in divorce,” she says, “but it may be due to the clearing of a backlog of cases. Most Indians are reluctant to divorce, choosing their own personal options of dealing with unhappy marriages, instead, by leading asexual lives and creating separate spheres of existence in one home.”

The personal stories in Sandhya’s book detail a depressing litany of intimidation, threats and emotional blackmail used against women. “And yet, despite the terrible bargain that divorce offers them,” says Sandhya, “80-85% of wives will initiate divorce.” Sandhya sees Indian women as inherently submissive. “In my 10 years of treating couples in therapy, I have seen Western women battle for the fulfilment of their wishes too, but the conforming to the family that has to accompany an Indian woman’s struggle, and their resilience, are particularly unique to our culture,” she writes.

Of course, not all Indian wives are victims—Broota gives plenty of examples where the woman has been equally at fault. In one instance, a woman who had applied for divorce under mutual consent, withdrew at the final hour citing suspicions that her husband was being unfaithful. A mutual friend had suggested he might be hiding an affair from her and she baulked at the idea of letting him off the hook. “If I sign this, he will get freedom by midnight,” Broota remembers her saying.

The proposed changes to the marriage Act will not mean the end of the road to reform. There are many aspects that the law ignores and plenty of details that have yet to be decided, including fairer division of assets and access to family property for the wife, not to mention the custody of children. Sandhya points out that without a truly equitable system, “the marriage malaise will continue and the recent divorce changes, in the face of grave and urgent societal need, will be only a cosmetic fix.”

Additionally, the changes are confined only to the Hindu Marriage Act and the Special Marriage Act, covering Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains, meaning other religions (most notably Christians and Muslims, who have the strictest divorce laws) will remain left out of the system. But the sheer pragmatism of the proposed amendments marks a crucial step forward by the government at a time when the need for a realistic solution to dealing with divorce is becoming urgent. As the judges concluded in the Kohli divorce case, “Nothing is gained by trying to keep the parties tied forever to a marriage that in fact has ceased to exist.”

Manish Ranjan contributed to this story.

'Knot a bad idea'


'Knot a bad idea'

The government has made the process of getting a divorce easier by introducing ‘irretrievable breakdown of marriage’ as grounds for divorce. This allows consenting couples to obtain a divorce quicker. Pramila Nesargi, a divorce lawyer explains, “Irretrievable breakdown has long been accepted as grounds for divorce, the Law Commission and the Supreme Court has now recommended that it be added to the actual statute of the Hindu Marriage Act and the government has taken up the recommendation.”

While some have applauded this move as the law keeping up with the times, others have condemned it as aiding the breakdown of the institution of marriage

“With this development, people with problems in their marriage will give up because divorce is no longer a gruelling process that forces you to re-consider,” says Dr Anand Rao, a counsellor. “We are already witnessing a slow dilution of essential Indian values because everyone is keen on following the individualism of the West and this is just another strike against tradition.”

But Pramila Nesargi disagrees vehemently, “I really think it is too early to say that this will cause an increase in divorces. The situation is not fundamentally altered and I wish people would understand that sometimes there are genuine grounds for a divorce.”

Pramila J, a divorcee welcomes this move as pro-women, “When I was going through my divorce, it was horrible because my husband was unfaithful, but the courts harassed me. I had no support. So, if the process is made easier, then more unhappy women will have the courage to change their lives,” she says. She also thinks that the moral police misconstrue the truth to suit their purpose, “I noticed that women always get a raw deal in terms of financial settlements and how they are treated. I just wanted it to be over, but later realised how unfair the system was,” she says.

But Dr Rao says that it doesn’t have to come to this, “Courts should encourage couples to seek counselling. If people were given emotional literacy, they would be equipped to deal with marital issues.” Not so, according to Manisha Sanjay who is happily married, but knows of someone who went through a bitter divorce. “If the situation is unbearable to both parties, then it is just common sense to let them move on. Courts should not interfere in the private lives of people” she says. Neethi B, an RJ agrees, “I’m really glad the court has decided to keep up with the times. People should not continue in an unhappy marriage just to please others.”

According to Siddharth T, a student, “Instead of complaining about changes, we should help people make better choices.”

Pramila Nesargi has the last word, “It is a form of cruelty to keep people in limbo once they have taken a mutual decision. If we don’t force people to continue driving a broken down vehicle then it is silly to force people to stay married when they clearly don’t want to.”