Domestic violence, matrimonial issues and harassment of men at the workplace remain the highest among cases where men are falsely implicated, Bisaria said.
More than 10,000 distress calls by men who have been victims of domestic violence, matrimonial disputes and sexual harassment at the workplace, are being received every month by non-government organisations (NGOs) working to protect men’s rights in India.
Several NGOs have also pointed out how Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), that deals with dowry, is misused on several occasions and according to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data, only in 14% of the cases registered under this section, there has been conviction by the courts.
Ritwik Bisaria, vice president of Men’s Welfare Trust that is a part of the Save Indian Family (SIF) movement, told The Sunday Guardian, “Men are always at the receiving end of all problems. Indian laws discriminate against men whereas Article 15 of the Constitution talks about equality of all citizens. We have been getting calls about various problems from men who are in distress. We even get calls regarding men getting raped by females, men being lured into physical relationships after which they are bullied or blackmailed, harassment of men at the workplace where they are used as toy boys by their seniors.”
However, domestic violence, matrimonial issues and harassment of men at the workplace remain the highest among cases where men are falsely implicated, Bisaria said.
Men’s Rights Association, a Pune-based NGO, has also called for a gender neutral law in India.
Kumran, coordinator for Men’s Rights Association, told this correspondent over telephone that even his organisation receives about 20-30 calls every week from Pune alone from victims who are men and have been “falsely” implicated in cases like dowry, domestic violence and bullying.
“We have seen a rising trend of cases where men are falsely implicated after break-up with their girlfriend in cases of harassment and sometimes even rape and molestation. When the couple was in a relationship, everything was consensual, but right after the break-up, men become the victim of bullying. We cannot have such laws where men can easily become the target,” Kumran said.
Sahodar India Trust, another NGO working for men’s rights in the Delhi-NCR region, said that laws in India do not take care of interests of men and favour the women fraternity alone.
Shoni Kapoor, co-founder of the Sahodar India Trust told, this correspondent: “Why should law discriminate? We have seen several cases where false rape and molestation charges have been filed by women. In such cases, immediate arrests are made even without investigation. Such laws are being misused by several women in India, sometimes to get what they want and sometimes to teach a lesson to their partners. We handle 200-300 such cases every month in the Delhi-NCR region and due to this, handling of genuine cases gets delayed.”
These NGOs have long been demanding a National Commission for Men on the lines of the National Commission for Women and a separate Ministry that would look after the interests of men and boys in India.
Ritwik Bisaria said, “We have long been demanding a men’s commission and a Ministry for men on the lines of the Ministry of Women and Child Development. There are ministries and organisations for protecting even plants and animals, but nothing for men in this country. And this ministry should have a wider role for framing policies and protecting the welfare of men in the country.”
Bisaria said: “Nobody in this country talks about prostate cancer which is equally rampant like that of breast cancer in females. Life expectancy for males in India is 2-3 years lesser than women. Almost 70-80% of the victims of any crime are men; the ratio of school dropouts of boys is equally high as that of girls, but nobody talks about male empowerment. We do not have any budget for male empowerment, there are no surveys or studies done to see how males are in society.”
Even Shoni Kapoor said that the government needs to provide funds for prostate cancer which is common among males in society and that a gender neutral perspective needs to be adopted by the government. Kapoor said that a commission should be set up to look after the welfare of men.
Such voices have gained more strength after two Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MPs from Uttar Pradesh, Harinarayan Rajbhar and Anshul Verma, have called for setting up a statutory commission for men on the lines of the National Commission for Women (NCW), pointing out that wives are increasingly implicating their husbands in false cases of dowry.
Anshul Verma, Member of Parliament from Hardoi in Uttar Pradesh and also a member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Justice, told The Sunday Guardian that as MPs, they have been seeing a large number of cases where men are being implicated. “We want to strengthen the institution of family and we have come across this issue in society. As an MP, I raised this issue. I will need to draft the legislation for this committee and present before the government. Let us see how things move ahead.”