India, a country which is solely based on patriarchy where men are considered as perpetrators but in the modern times, due to the socioeconomic changes happening around us crimes like domestic violence are not just limited to women. Men are also going through the same abuse not only verbally but also physically and mentally. However, there are laws against crimes like sexual assault against WOMEN, Domestic violence against WOMEN and so on. But are there any laws against such crimes for MEN? When the question comes about Gender Equality is it equality for Women or Equality between Men and Women? There are reserved seats for Women but why aren’t there reserved seats for Men?
In 1983, India recognized domestic violence as a criminal offence. Section 2(a), defines an aggrieved person as a woman who is, or has been, in a domestic relationship with the respondent and who alleges to have been subjected to any act of domestic violence by the Respondent.
The stereotypical mind set of India focuses on how men are cruel to women and with this view, a whole different aspect becomes hidden and unknown to the people i.e., cruelty against men.
Gender is a construction, a rather social construction which makes women immune to crimes such as domestic violence. The gender roles in Asian countries such as India are very rigid which defies the notion of violence against men at the hands of women.
The women who accomplish such acts of gruesome violence over men are protected under the law because there is no specific law which brings undue justice to men. “only a man can be held liable for cruelty against women” is what the Section 498A of IPC states. But what if the carbon-copy is done with a man? what then? Is there any law that specifically talks about ‘cruelty against man?’ the answer is NO.
The misuse of 498A is done so much that in Rajesh Sharma vs state of UP, SC had to pass a directive to the police and the magistrates stating that there will no automotive arrests or coercive actions under 498A. In another case, Sushil Kumar Sharma vs UOI, Supreme court observed that 498a was not only being misused but it was also giving rise to a new legal terrorism and it directed the legislature to take measures against the false complaints.
Justice Jayshree Thakur of Punjab and Haryana court said that 498A of IPC is commonly being used as a weapon rather than a shield by the disgruntled wives.
But again, why crime against men go unreported? Is it because they know they cannot seek justice or is it because there is no specific law for there social security? There can masses of reason for this, the stereotypical mentality against men, they feel that the gender biased laws in Indian Constitution wouldn’t allow them to bring justice, social fear, fear of the consequences that would destroy their lives, the pressure of the judgemental society and family, denial is another reason since nobody imagines man being the victim therefore nobody thinks it can actually happen. Men also feel ashamed to be beaten down by a woman, they fear that their head will be held down in the male dominated society. Even if men go and file a complaint against it, it will be considered as “feminine like behaviour” around the surroundings.
According to a 2002 report of WHO, it was observed that more women think about committing suicide but more men take action on it and commit suicide not only in India but all over the world.
In a cross-sectional study of Gender- based violence against Men it was reported that “52.4% of men experience gender-based violence. in a total of 1000, males 51.5% experienced violence by their wives/intimate partner a minimum of once in their lifetime and 10.5% within the last 12 months. the foremost common spousal violence was emotional (51.6%) followed by physical violence (6%). Only in one-tenth cases, physical assaults were severe. In almost half the cases, husband initiated physical and emotional violence. Gender symmetry doesn't exist in India for physical violence. Less family income, education up to conventional, relative’s setup, and perpetrator under the influence of alcohol were identified as risk factors. Earning spouse with education up to graduation is that the risk factor for bidirectional physical violence”.
Domestic violence is not only incurred by the wives or intimate partners but it is also carried out by the in-Laws of the Men. With the changing times of the society the norms are also evolving not only the norms the working of the society, mind-set, thinking of the society is also substituting new practices.
With these growing changes the laws require an amendment, an amendment which will promote equality between gender. An amendment which will give equal opportunities to men and women to fight for their rights and against the crimes and help them seek justice.
Domestic violence affects a person mentally and physically. It is not just women who suffer. It is also those men who can’t even brawl for their lives. No time can be more suitable to bring in rights that serve equal justice.
Domestic violence against men should also be made punishable under the IPC. Not only domestic violence but equal laws should be made in other crimes like sexual assault, rape as well.
These rights will not only give a fair opportunity to men but also prevent those several fake cases that are filed to torture and extort Men by the wives and their In-Laws. Fake cases of dowry, rape is also used as weapon to extort Men and these accusations destroy their lives and their family’s as well. The consequences drive them away from their children and their families. Equality Between Men and Women, not Equality for Women.
Domestic violence and protection act, 2012
Indian Penal code, 1860
Appeal no. 1265 of 2017
Sushil Kumar Sharma v. Union of India, 2005 W.P.(c) 14191/06
 Amarjit Kaur v. Jaswinder Kaur, 2018, CRM-M No 13517
World health Organization
Indian Penal Code, 1860
Author ~ Anisha Rastogi
B.A.L.L.B, 5th year
University of petroleum and energy studies