Violation of Men’s Rights: A Story Untold

- Barrister Quazi Maruful Alam

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Published On - April 18, 2018 [Vol. 8, Jan - Jun, 2018]

Nowadays violation of men’s rights has become a very common phenomenon though very few are ready to accept it. Unfortunately in a male dominated society, we are oppressed in many ways but that is a story untold or recognized as only taboo. Many people look at the top of society, to leaders in politics, business and the military and see men. They conclude, erroneously, that men rule the world. While some men dominate society it is not true that men generally dominate society. This is an example of the apex fallacy – looking at the most successful members of a group and judging the group by that standard.  What these people miss is that men also “dominate” at the bottom of society: men are the majority of the homeless and those who do the dirty, dangerous and difficult jobs that society relies upon.

Moreover, in the name of uplifting the vulnerable section of the society, namely women, different laws are enacted which eventually paved the way to the oppression of male members of the society. Many men are not even ready to accept it as it hurts their male ego. With the empowerment of women, feminism has arisen in our society in a negative way leading to an unacceptable imbalance between these two genders.

Violation of man’s rights is visible in two ways in our society. One is through legal way and another is social way. Since the liberation of our country, many laws are made in favour of women which are totally one sided. At the top list there is “Nari o Sishu Nirjaton Domon Ain-2000” under which an offence is a cognizable one and non bailable meaning police can arrest without warrant and one cannot claim bail as of right. It is seen very often that when one person wants to divorce his wife for any reason, a case is filed against him under Nari o Shishu Nirjaton Daman Ain to stop him from doing that .It is right that we should not encourage divorce under any circumstances but giving a false case and harassing that person is not the right way to do so. In many cases not only the male member is suffering .Along with him a false case is given in the name of his parents and he has to see his old parents going to jail just because he wanted to start a new life.

There is another threat which is very difficult to avoid, that is case of suicide committed by wife. Undoubtedly there are many scenarios where suicide is committed because of the torture of the male member but there are some cases as well where the wife was over sensitive and committed suicide for petty issues .Recurrently it appeared on the newspaper that many women are committing suicide as her husband failed to provide her with Pakhi dress or some other ornaments or she had an argument with her mother in laws or other family members. In this type of case usually a case of unnatural death should be filed. But in our country the common practice is to file a case under Section 306 of the penal code for abetting suicide or under Section:  9A of Nari O Sishu Nirjaton Daman Ain 2000. Here it is very difficult to get any bail from even High court before at least six months of custody. The problem is: none is ready to trust a man in the current society as there is a mind set up that husband is responsible for anything happens to his wife even though he has nothing to do with it. Moreover, even though the penal code is codified in 18th century it shows discrimination in favour of women. Section: 497 is a glowing example of it. It mainly deals with Adultery. It provides that if any man is found to have sexual intercourse with a woman who is presumed to be a wife of another, he will be guilt of an offence of adultery and will be punished with imprisonment which may extend to five years, or with fine, or with both. In such case the wife shall not be punished as an abettor. Point to be noted here is that though the intercourse is a consensual sex and has accomplished by both party only male counterpart is held to be liable and the woman though committing serious breach of trust against her husband can get away without any punishment.

Another law is used to keep the male under pressure is the Dowry Prohibition Act 1980.Though the act is not that as serious like Nari o Sishu Nirhaton Ain but it is used in a very rampant way to check the male under control. It is often used to prevent a second marriage or to blackmail a person not to divorce his wife. Many times it is found that in order to harass a person 4-5 cases are given against him including dower, maintenance custody etc and to bear the cost of running these cases men become bankrupt. Especially claiming dower has become another way to check the male in control. During the time of marriage, the relatives of the women force to record a high amount of dower money without paying any consideration to husband’s income. Later on, when the husband pays the dower money during the continuation of their marriage, they don’t keep any record under good faith. Therefore even if the dower money is paid unofficially, the husband has to face the full amount of dower claim at the family court in case of any dispute.  The husbands who are living abroad are facing a very vulnerable situation while they are sending money to their wife’s account. It is a very common scenario that at the end of the day the wife is eloping with his friend taking all his belonging including money and also giving a case in the family court for dower, maintenance and what not .The Dhaka family court is overcrowded with so many cases of this type . Another offence is also found where a group of perpetrators leaded by female mastermind target a wealthy male and got married to him. After 1-2 months the wife intentionally gives divorce and then claims the dower money. Later on they go for another big shot from whom they can cash in. There is no doubt that all these offences are only taking place because of the imbalance family and criminal law which are giving women an unfettered power to squeeze their male partner.

Recently a judgment passed by the Indian high court allows a husband to divorce his wife if she forces him to be separate from his parents. This judgment shows how husbands are tortured and force to leave their ailing parents for their wife. Emotional blackmailing, threat to commit suicide ,very often threat to file false case are given to the poor husband to split them from their parents and if anyone raises his voice, he is branded as an oppressor. In many instances, it is seen that husband are forced to leave their parents who are seriously sick and has none to take care of them in order  to make her wife happy. Such a heinous act is so painful for both the parents and husband but often encouraged as sign of women liberation and in the name of women’s right. Family law is also an area where man’s right is totally ignored specially in case of custody. The courts seem to have a predetermined view that fathers cannot take good care of his children and it goes against the welfare of the children to deliver the custody to his father. In most cases custody of a child is given to their mother even though she gets married again. In such situation the children from her first husband have to face negligence, abuse and sometimes sexual assault from the new husband whereas they could easily live a more convenient life with their biological father. Another alarming situation seems to be very imminent on the face of claiming the provision of marital rape by different women’s organization in our jurisdiction. If the reform is accepted, it would be a mortal blow for the men as it offers another easy opportunity for woman to bring false allegation of rape by her husband and thereby blackmail him to bow to her decision.

Few days back a man was seen hanging a poster around his neck claiming protection against oppression. It instantly became viral on facebook and many people including men made fun of that poor man who was a victim without any doubt. Though it seems a matter of joke for many but it was a wake up call for all. A men’s right movement (MRM) is now the demand of time and we all need to raise our voice against any oppression instead of enduring in silence.

About The Writer

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Barrister Quazi Maruful Alam

Advocate and Adjunct Faculty State University of Bangladesh

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