Section 498A – Misused or underused?

Directives by courts to attempt reconciliation before arresting an abusive husband or in-laws dilutes Section 498-A provisions to grant relief to women. Image & Graphics - Eunice Dhivya

In September 2019, a group of men’s rights activists conducted a special puja at 50 different locations across the country to end the ‘cancer’ of feminism in India. Organised by Save India Family Foundation, which works on promoting ‘gender equality and family harmony’, the puja was called Feminism Pishachini Mukti Puja.

According to the men’s rights activists, this call to end feminism in India, in the wake of the MeToo movement, was in the global interest of family and society.

While such celebrations of misogyny are not new, similar efforts to preserve “family harmony” includes calls for a repeal of Section 498-A of the IPC, which intends to protect women from cruelty subjected by husband or his relatives.

Under Section 498-A, the criminal offence is cognisable, non-compoundable and non-bailable. Men’s rights activists insist that the law is not serving its purpose and being misused by women to harass their husbands and his relatives.

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