"National Crime Records Bureau statistics reveal more incidences of suicide by married men than by married women. In 2012 approximately 64,000 married men committed suicide vis-a-vis 32,000 married women," says D S Rao, president of Hridaya-Nest of Family Harmony, an NGO, quoting a survey by it.
As per Section 498a the husband of a woman or his relative who subjects her to cruelty shall be punished with imprisonment for a term of up to to three years and shall also be liable to fine. Rao said the misuse of 498a also leads to suffering of old parents as well as the family members and relatives of the men against whom the complaints have been lodged.
"The law is not serving its purpose and is instead being used by a section of the people to vent their anger and extort married men and their families," claimed Amit Gupta, an official of the NGO.
In West Bengal the number of cases under the section has grown exponentially at the rate of 11 per cent in the last two years but the conviction rate has dropped to just 4.4 per cent from 6.3 per cent earlier, as per the survey.
West Bengal accounts for 1.06 lakh case, which is more than 20 per cent of the total cases filed under the section and 80,000 people were arrested for such cases against him last year, Indranil Gupta, an official of the NGO said.
The NGO works for upholding the rights of married men and providing them mental support when falsely implicated under the section. The police say it is 'really hard' prove the cases as false.
"Till now we have not been able to prove that these cases are false because they are cases of mental torture. How would you prove that mental torture has not taken place?" Joint CP(Crime) Pallab Kanti Ghosh told PTI.