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Has the rise in misuse of women protection laws lowered the conviction rate

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New Delhi, Aug 21: Recently, the Madras High Court has suggested bringing an amendment in 'women protection' laws so that it can prevent its misuse and safeguard the interest of the 'innocent masculinity'. A survey report says that 75 per cent of rape claims are false. Every one man out of four is facing false allegations and fake FIRs and even suffers for long periods of time in jail despite being innocent.

Representational image

During a procedure, Justice S Vaidyanathan of Madras HC observed while dismissing a petition filed by an Asst. Professor in Madras Christian College seeking to quash the "Finding of Fact" report of the Committee of Enquiry (Internal Complaints Committee), which found that there was sexual harassment by him.

Though it dismissed the petition, the court noticed that several enactments were brought into force for safeguarding the interest of Women but expressed its doubt as to whether those laws are invoked by women with genuine reasons.

It said, "Certain laws, which are in existence for easy access to women, lend itself to easy misuse that women will find it hard to resist the temptation to "teach a lesson" to the male members and will file frivolous and false cases. A similar trend is already being observed in the case of anti-dowry law (498-A), which is being misused to such an extent that the Supreme Court has termed it "Legal Terrorism" ."

"This is the right time for the Government to think of suitable amendment in those laws in order to prevent its misuse so as to safeguard the interest of the innocent masculinity too."

In 2017, Men's rights activists scored a significant victory in India when the Supreme Court essentially identified them as the victims in domestic violence cases.

Violence against women in India gained international attention when a brutal gang rape in the capital in December 2012 ignited protests across the nation. Stronger laws on sexual assault and violence against women were introduced.

Marital rape is not recognized as a crime in India. Men charged under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act can be subject to a restraining order, but they do not face jail time.

The criminal law that the Supreme Court modified in its one of the judgment, protects a woman from "mental and physical cruelty" and harassment for dowry. It calls for immediate arrest for those accused of violating the law.

But the law was questioned by the courts. In 2005, a panel of the Supreme Court called women's misuse of the provision "legal terrorism."

Many of these rulings also openly accused women of overreacting and disrespecting the sanctity of any person and his family.

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A Supreme Court judge found while ruling that low conviction rates indicated that most complaints were frivolous. India's men's rights movement has also been using these crime statistics and judicial rulings to assert that the law is an "extortion racket."

"Seventy-five per cent of cases are withdrawn because the women use the charges to extort money," an official of Save Family Foundation said. It's a men's rights group that offers counselling and legal assistance to "distressed men" accused under this law and others. "Even of the 15 per cent convicted, many would be innocent."

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In the contrary, Women's rights groups also point out that as most of this violence occurs in private spaces, the evidence is difficult to present and convictions even harder to achieve.

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