While women are generally the sufferers when it comes to the dowry practice, many men in Australia have reported being victims of false dowry cases under Indian laws as well.
Men have increasingly suffered from psychological trauma and financial damages as a result of false dowry cases. The dowry is demanded during marriage for women while it is extorted from men during divorce.
The Indian and Australian Anti-Dowry Laws
The Dowry Prohibition Act of 1960 outlawed any giving and receiving of dowry during a marriage. The Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code deals with domestic violence against women and also cases of death. The law doesn’t require women to present any evidence and considers the men guilty until proven.
The Family Violence Act of Australia deals with the cases of economic abuse though there are no statistics on dowry cases. Legislation proposed in August 2018 expands the definition of family violence to include physical and emotional abuse.
False Dowry Cases
Section 498A is being used by some women to extort money during the divorce from their husbands. Such false cases are a problematic part of Indian legal system, according to Rajinder Goyal, Former Additional Advocate General of Punjab and Haryana High Court.
Along with men, the family members of the victim are also involved in the cases. Goyal says that 80% of the dowry cases result in acquittal as they cannot be proved.
Rajiv* claims to be doing rounds of courtrooms both in Australia and India since his wife slapped multiple cases of dowry against him after six months of their divorce. Rajiv’s wife also implicated his old mom, brother, and his wife. The ordeal has cost him over $125,000 across 100 court sittings.
Vicky* considers his marriage to be a scam as it was a ploy of his wife to come and live in Australia. She found out that divorce was a legal right in Australia and took advantage of the process. Later she conspired with her relatives in Indian police and implicated him under Section 498A.
Vicky’s wife also named his family in the case though he claims that his parents never lived in Australia.
The Story of Manpreet Singh and Pawandeep Sabharwal
Manpreet Sabharwal and his brother got detained at the United Arab Emirates on charges of dowry. Manpreet’s wife Divya had slapped dowry cases in the Indian court during their divorce which resulted in an Interpol notice against them.
Manpreet says the charges are false he wasn’t even present in India when the dowry demands were made. He had evidence to prove his statement, and eventually, the UAE authorities dismissed the case.
The gender biased laws in India has been used by many women to terrorise men and extort money. In turn, many men have also been driven to suicide facing multiple false charges. It’s something that we need to take a look at, and legislations need to come up to tackle the shortcomings.