Men’s rights group to raise marital rape issue on I-Day

New Delhi, Aug 9 (IANS) A group of men’s rights activists, fighting for shared parenting in case of divorce or separation and other issues, is all set to highlight the need to get rid of biased family laws on the Independence Day eve.

During a three-day national convention in Mumbai, one of the prominent issues of this group would be to raise concern against a proposed law meant to term marital rape an offence, as the group feels would give scope to lodging false complaints.

The group of 200 activists would chalk out a plan for “equal rights” at their annual national convention — seventh in a series — under the banner of the Save Indian Family (SIF) from August 14.

“Marital rape is another weapon the feminists are trying to push to make it law against husbands,” Kumar V. Jahgirdar, founder and president of the Child Rights Initiative for Shared Parenting (CRISP), told IANS on Sunday.

He said any law against marital rape would give many people the scope to lodge false complaints.

“If the marital rape law comes into force, how does one prove in the court that whether a sexual encounter was consensual or forced? All privacy will be lost if a married couple starts thinking of legal aspects,” Jahgirdar said.

He said the misuse of anti-dowry harassment law (section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code) has already invited strong observations from courts and government panels.

Quoting the Supreme Court judgment in Sushil Kumar Sharma vs Union of India, Jahgirdar said it equated the dowry harassment law to “legal terrorism”.

Justifying his fear of misuse of dowry harassment law, he said the National Crime Records Bureau report of 2013 showed that of the 9,68,728 undertrials booked under section 498-A, only 17,542 (just 1.8 percent) were convicted.

Jahgirdar said pre-marital counselling should be made mandatory to bring down the number of divorces, adding that divorce cases are rising in Bengaluru due to stress that leads to impotency.

Swarup Sarkar, president of the Save Family Foundation (Delhi chapter), said there should be a law to punish the woman filing a false complaint against the husband.

Studies and surveys, he said, showed a majority of cases relating to dowry harassment, domestic violence and even rape proved to be false after a long trial.

“We need a law to punish those who misuse the laws as tool of vengeance,” he said.

Among other issues, the meet will discuss need for a law relating to workplace harassment gender-neutral so that the victims, who are men, are also offered protection and justice and a separate ministry be set up for men to look into their welfare.

CRISP, with regional chapters in Delhi, Chandigarh, Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Lucknow, has been demanding that abused men get equal access to children in case of a divorce.

It has also sought special courts to deal with child custody cases.

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