Husbands cry for rights, form NGO

Demand equal laws, say they are wronged too

Some wives have some or the other problem with their husbands. But as both sexes are equal, legally and otherwise, husbands also have their set of problems with their wives or divorced wives.

Some such men are getting together to demand equality in laws and other instruments in every way vis-a-vis their wives or ex-wives and have formed Men's Rights Association (MRA).

Its President, Atit Rajpara, said, "The Indian court has shielded women from mistreatments from their husbands under the Domestic Violence Act (2005), ensuring every married woman lives with dignity and pride. But it is not always women who face oppression at home and the Act fails to address men who undergo a similar torture."

Acting as rescuer, this "non-funded, non-aided, registered NGO" for men was initiated by Rajpara in the summer of 2011 and currently functions out of his hometown, Pune.
"My wife filed a fictitious litigation against me back in 2010 and booked me with section 498 which defines cruelty by husband or relatives of the husband. I decided that it was the high time that an NGO must come forward to help men like me," he says.

Rajpara points out that according to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) every eight minute, a married man commits suicide out of marital or financial pressure "because the society raises men in a way where they are not allowed to ask for help, neither complain, nor show their weaknesses."

Anurag Goyal, a divorcee earning a salary of Rs 50,000 says he has to give his wife a compensation of 20,000 for maintenance. "I have always seen my wife shopping and going around. My wife is educationally qualified but she doesn't want to do a job. And here I struggle every day to make money," says Goyal.

Rajpara questions the absurdity of the law which takes away men’s right of speech if a sexual harassment case is filed against him "even if it is false". The NGO receives 8-9 calls per day from the men who have been on the receiving end due to the new Domestic Law Act.

Rajpara mentions one such case - Sunil (name changed), a primary teacher based in Delhi who after being married for four years had a secretive affair, which included consensual sex, for six months with a teacher who had joined his school.

The lady teacher married someone else, but when confronted by her husband, denied the affair and termed it as rape. As a consequence Sunil had to spend 218 days in jail and is still fighting for the case on bail.

"All we want is proper trials that should be fairly conducted and not just approve husbands as guilty. Also, a woman must also get the same punishment as a male gets when proven guilty," says Swarop Sarkar, General Secretary, MRA.

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