The laws that protect women have been misused frequently.
Men have been accused falsely under the Dowry Prohibition Act, of domestic violence or various kinds of crimes against women in the past few years. Victims who are falsely accused find it hard to get their everyday life back.
Rajesh (name changed) who is currently working as a sales associate was falsely accused under The Dowry Prohibition Act by his wife said, “It has been five years since I was accused and people still see me with questionable glare. It does not end even after proving your innocence; people still believe a part of it.”
The Dowry Prohibition Act and Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) help women to report a crime against them but police officers who undertake such cases say women often use these laws for their selfish agenda.
Suhana Patel, Sub Inspector of Kumbalgudu police station said “misuse of anti-dowry law is very common. Women, who are forced to marry under family pressure, later accuse their husbands and their family of dowry or domestic violence. Reasons, why women accuse men without any base, is because they are usually involved in an extramarital affair or do not want to continue the marriage and find it falsely convenient.”
Rangaswamy, Police Constable of Kengeri Police Station said, “Nearly four to five dowry cases are reported per year out of which two to three turn out to be false. . This means that 30 percent of the cases that are reported are false.”
He further added, “Since 2018 there has been a slight decrease in false dowry cases but it still persists. The percentage of false accusations that were 30 percent has gone down to 20 percent.”
Rekha, a member of an NGO which works toward social welfare said, “There is no doubt that there are women falsely accusing men but there are also true cases. The citizens should treat the accused as innocent until proven guilty. The law and government should make sure that the investigation is carried out properly.”
In 2017, the Supreme Court made amendments to the Dowry Prohibition Act which stated there would be no immediate arrests in dowry harassment cases and a Family Welfare Committee (FWC) in every district will scrutinize dowry harassment cases before local police can arrest the accused.
A family lawyer said, “The judiciary system of India has always brought laws and Acts to support and protect women. It is pathetic to see that women are misusing such laws.
India still has women who are afraid to come forward to report crimes against them. Those who falsely accuse men should think about such women. The recent judgment of the Supreme Court on Marital Rape is also for the protection of women who are not willing to come forward against domestic crime.”
National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) Crime report of 2021 shows that under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, seven cases ended as false out of 855 cases. Under Dowry Prohibition Act, 418 cases were false out of 21287 cases in the final report. NCRB 2020 data shows that out of 56731 cases reported under Dowry Prohibition Act, 22 were false and out of 2330 cases reported under Protection of Women from Domestic violence, 3 were false.