Marriage & Family are considered to be the two most important Institutions in Indian society & marriage is considered to be the most Sacred Institution for Indians, traditionally and from time immemorial. Marriage for most Indians is not merely sacrament but sacrosanct. Once the couple enters into marriage it is considered to be permanent until death. It has inbuilt checks and balances, and roles and priorities are defined by the society for every couple get married.
The word Divorce is not new to India, it has existed all times in known history but till about fifteen years back it was resorted to only in extreme cases where there was unbearable mental or physical cruelty, desertion, mental illness, impotence/ infertility , infidelity sometime too much of demands even after marriage is also the cause of Matrimonial Dispute.
With new strains and challenges that have emerged in our current society, the latter has been going through a new kind of transition. It has been wavering between traditional and western models. The fast changing social and family environment has thrown new challenges specially to the young people, like growing instability, lack of communication, lack of quality time, change of attitude in sex, changing roles of husband and wife, too much of work pressure, financial independence of wives, nucleus family all these contributes lack of harmony , people become more individualistic, materialistic and self -oriented goal over family well- being and with that, I would also add a great amount of intolerance contributes to Higher number of Matrimonial Divorce.
Not only is the number of divorces increasing in Indian society but also the underlying causes giving new dimensions or getting new impetus. Such underlying forces are giving new meaning to the causes of disharmony. It is not that incompatible personalities did not exist, but the fact is that it has become more vibrant and open and what is new in this is that the threshold of intolerance seems to have sliding down while the egos of individuals have risen remarkably. The bottom line? The institution of marriage is under sharp scrutiny and I
Feel a reassessment of marital rights could prove both beneficial or, if misused, an invitation to marital crisis.
There is a Universal agreement that times have changed and the marriages are no longer what it used to be. Equality is now the key to the success of Matrimonial alliances. Judiciary & Parliament are looking through in their new interpretation.
So what exactly do the new legislation imply?
“The Domestic Violence Act” (DVA) has been included.
The earlier, Section 498 A of the Indian Penal Code dealt only with dowry related cruelty to a married woman but did not explicitly defined “ Domestic Violence” The fall out is already in evidence.
For decades men have had the upper hand in marriage. Now that new laws have been introduced in favor of women, some sections of society are up in arms. Some people think that, "married women should be like Sita – uncomplaining, compliant devoted despite all sufferings". It’s a view which is hotly contested and a new Law of Section 498 A is implemented.
What is IPC – 498 A why is it misused?
It is passed by India Parliament as a Criminal Law and not as a Civil Law.
“Whoever being the Husband or the relative of Husband of a woman, Subjects such woman to Cruelty shall be punished with imprisonment for three years and shall be liable to fine. The offence is Cognizable, non - compoundable and non - bailable."
To understand Section 498 A better it is very important to read Section 46 also.
How are you at risk and why it is dangerous for the Society?
Your wife/ daughter in Law who’s demands are not met can make a written complaint of dowry harassment to a nearby Police Station. The Husband, his old parent and relatives can get immediately arrested without sufficient investigation and put behind bars on a non – bailable terms. Even if the complaint is false, you shall be presumed guilty until you prove that you are innocent.
Section 498 A can only be invoked by wife/ daughter in Law or her relative. Most cases where Section 498 A is turn out to be false (which is repeatedly accepted by the courts also) as they are used for Blackmailing purpose. It is also observed that in most cases Section 498 A is followed by the demands of huge amount of money as an extortion to settle the case out of court. This Section is non – bailable hence once has to appear before the court and get the bail from the judge non compoundable ( Complaint can’t be withdrawn) and cognizable ( register & investigate the complaint, although in practice most of the time arrest takes place before any investigation and police arrests persons irrespective of their age, condition or relation with husband as a result family of husband has to go through lot of mental torture and harassment sometime people even commit suicide due to such mental torture.