Why Men presumed Guilty : Need for harmonious interpretation of laws

The Constitution of India under its various provisions aims at ‘equality’. This equality has to be irrespective of various factors – religion, age, place of birth and gender etc. One important point is that the equality has to be among the equals. The Apex Court while interpreting the fundamental right under Article 14 has laid down the principle of intelligible differentia. Article 15 (3) of the Constitution of India, 1950 empowers the State to make special provisions for women and children.  So, the legislations and Policies that are beneficial for women are protected under this provision. These legislations have been enacted from time to time to empower women. Women as a class have been unequal in the Indian society over the centuries.

In 1997, the Hon’ble Court of Supreme Court in Vishaka’s Case recognized out of the blue Sexual Harassment at Workplace.  It set out a few rules called as Vishaka’s Guidelines. The Guidelines issued were taken as a ‘Law’ as announced by the Apex Court of India. The Parliament after many years enacted The Sexual Harassment at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013. Inappropriate behaviour has been considered as an infringement of rights of women under Article 21 of the Constitution of India-  right to life and to live with respect. Lewd behaviour is likewise considered as a violation of the right to practice any profession or to carry on any trade, occupation or business under Article 19(1) (g) of the Constitution of India.

The question about legislations to protect men emerges when any provision made for the protection of women is misused or abused. The objective of those provisions had never been to harass the other person (man in this case). Debates have started challenging the validity and fairness of Section 497 and Section 498A, Indian Penal Code. Discussions are going on around the misuse of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005. The criminal laws to protect men from sexual abuse are also not strongly developed under the Indian legal system. The ‘rape’ is confined to a girl and woman. Men too are harassed and thus need legal protection.

One of the issues looked by men is that they are thought to be had with through and through freedom. However , a woman is considered under some sort of persecution or without agency. All news about male suicides and abuse will escape because of things like farmers’ suicides, financial issues, personal issues (take note of that a similar individual issue could undoubtedly progress toward becoming dowry death IPC 304B if there should be an occurrence of woman’s suicide if inside 7 Years of Marriage).

Likewise, an exceptionally regular pattern is being seen in bail proceedings, particularly anticipatory bail proceedings identified with IPC 498A cases. It has been accounted for by many blamed men is that their safeguard gets rejected at Trial Court level quite often. The kind of Bail dismissal at lower courts, however, allowing of bail at higher courts in view of a similar arrangement of realities is the gross injustice. Many individuals might not have the assets and capacity to continue moving towards High Court to get bail.

A Bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Mishra, and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud issued the notice in the wake of hearing a petition that scrutinized the constitutionality of Section 497 of IPC. It seeks to inquire as to why a married woman, who is equally at risk for conferring adultery with another wedded man, isn’t rebuffed alongside the man. As indicated by the Section 497  IPC, a man can be rebuffed with up to five years in jail or a punishment or both on the off chance that he has sex with the wife of someone else. In any case, the wife might not be culpable as an abettor of the wrongdoing.

The Supreme Court had in 2011 said that the adultery law is one-sided against men. It additionally said that discipline is dispensed to just the man, however, the woman with whom he had consensual sex was an equivalent partner in the affirmed wrongdoing.

Whatever are the legitimate intentions of the legislature, it is seen that the provisions of the women beneficial legislations are often misused and mishandled by the supposed casualties. As it were, the provisions don’t bear the cost of the blamed to clarify his position. The woman living independently from him can even now denounce her husband or anybody guaranteeing under him of proceeding to threaten her et cetera. Since the provisions have a presumptive value, more often than not, the accused is left defenseless.

The provisions are more often utilized to harass the husband or some other part guaranteeing under him and to see that he respects the ill-conceived requests of the alleged victim rather than the other way around. Numerous a period, aged parents and different relatives are falsely blamed for physically and mentally torturing the woman. It is likely to cause undesirable strain, ill health of the aged guardians,  physical and mental distress to the relatives of the ‘accused’.

The genuine casualties under domestic violence, Section 497 and Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code must be recognized and given help. Any gluttonous complainants must be halted from ruining families.

This post has been contributed by Venkatesh Agarwal, a 2nd year BBA LLB student at University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, Dehradun.

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L&P Editorial Team

The Law & Practice Blog's editorial team.

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