‘Most differences between couples are about supremacy'

Blame it on issues over supremacy, financial or educational status or discontent in marriage life, complaints of harassment against women are on the rise in the city in 2011 when compared to 2009 and 2010.

Yet, 70 per cent of the victim's problems were solved through counselling by the city police and 30 per cent were left for logical conclusion before a court of law.

Harassment against wife includes, beating of woman by husband in inebriated condition, abuse by mother-in-law, father-in-law and relatives, suspecting fidelity of the woman, blaming wife for childlessness, blaming her parents, disability harassment, spying on their activities, verbal and nor-verbal abuse are the forms of harassment reported. 

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Hema Karunakaran said that most of the differences between wife and husband were over supremacy and that too in the age group of 21 – 30 years.

When a woman approaches an All Women Police Station to file a complaint, priority is given for resolving the issue through expert counselling. The last option is registering a case, she added. 

When a husband or relative subject her to cruelty, a case would be filed under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code in which, the guilty, upon conviction would get three years of imprisonment and fine.

In case of harassment, case would be registered under Section 4 of Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act 2002 provides a maximum of three year imprisonment or Rs. 10,000 fine or both. 

In case of dowry harassment, the District Social Welfare Officer K. Aruna has to conduct an inquiry with the husband and wife and submit a report to the police station, after which the case is registered.

Counselling

Expert counselling is provided only if the couple wanted it, she added.

However, a police official said that some women misuse the law by preferring complaints over petty issues with the husband or his family.

They seek legal recourse to settle scores or intimidate the husband's family. Such petitions are often resolved by offering adequate counselling.

This accounts for nearly 40 per cent of the dowry harassment cases registered.