For a long time now, India’s laws have been criticized as being too female-centric, with little regard for the grievances of men in the society’s dynamics. The criticism cannot be said to be completely unfounded because of the presence of provisions like Section 498-A and Section 376 in the Indian Penal Code, 1860, Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, which are exclusively for the female gender only. Family Laws, including the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 with its salutary provisions are probably the only legislations to have the rare exception of being gender-neutral.
This blogs throws light on the importance/benefits of having such gender-neutral laws by way of illustrations in which the following acts of cruelty on the husband at the hands of the wife was proved in a court of law:
- The wife started picking up quarrels with the husband and his family and she even falsely accused her father-in-law of having illicit relations with her[i].
- The wife left her matrimonial home and dubiously got the husband to transfer substantial amount of his property in her name and the husband even caught her in a compromising position with another man when he had visited her maiden home for his father-in-law’s golden jubilee birthday celebrations. [ii]
- The wife falsely accused the husband and his family of demanding dowry from her family and went so far as to lodge an FIR against them under Section 498-A of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.[iii]
- “In N. Sreepuhar v. Vasantha [iv] the court found that the wife quarreled with, and hurled vilest abuses, at her husband over trivial matters, on account of which husband had to spend many sleepless nights. On one occasion she abused, insulted and humiliated the husband in a public bus and caught hold of him by his collar. On another occasion, she made him to cook food for her, and when he served food to her, she threw plates on his head saying that the food was very badly cooked, and she insisted that he must apologize to her. Once, when he was going to his office with his colleagues, she caught hold of him by neck and insulted him. She used to say that she wanted her husband killed in some accident, so that she could have his provident fund and insurance money.”[v]
However, all these examples stand nowhere when compared to the gravity of the cruelty that was suffered by the husband in the matter of Dr. N.G. Dastane v. Sucheta Dastane. In the said case, the wife had admitted to being guilty of the following acts of torture:
- She used to rub chili powder on the tongue of her infant child.
- She used to hurl frequent abuses against the husband and his family members.
- She used to beat her child ruthlessly.
- She didn’t take care of the child even when the child had a high fever.
- She used to lock the husband out of the house when it used to be the time for his return from office.
- She used to make it difficult for him to sleep at night by keeping the light of bedside lamp switched on throughout the night.
- She used to threaten to make him lose his job and publish the story in leading daily newspapers.
- She had abandoned the matrimonial home and had begun to stay with her parents. She delivered a baby once while she was still residing at her parents’ house and didn’t even invite the husband to the naming ceremony of his own daughter.
- She used to openly shout that she prays for the destruction of the entire Dastane clan.
- She used to threaten the husband of burning down the entire house.
These judgments are the light of the day in a world where feminism is at its fourth wave and there exist many people who voice their opinions on radical feminism. But it is to be remembered that feminism stand for equality and the laws of the land must reflect that notion. Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 is one such act and even the courts haven’t shied away from granting divorce to the husbands if cruelty against him, at the hands of the wife has been satisfactorily proved. Get in contact with some of our best lawyers if you are going through something similar and want to get help. Here is our recommendation of lawyers for people in Lucknow. Find the best divorce lawyers in Lucknow today.
[i] Nirmala Devi v. Ved Prakash, AIR 1993 HP 1.
[ii] Naveen Kohli v. Neetu Kohli, 2006 (4) SCC 558.
[iii] Mrs. Christine Lazarus Menezes v. Mr. Lazarus Peter Menezes.
[iv] N. Sreepuhar v. Vasantha, AIR 1970 Mys 232.