Subjecting women to harassment, on grounds of ‘infertility’, is still one of the prime reasons behind disputes between couples in rural pockets in Krishna district.

“A few weeks ago, it was reported that a housewife had committed suicide under Kruthuvennu police station limits after she was being harassed by her husband and in-laws, who allegedly blamed her on grounds of infertility,” said Bandar Division Deputy Superintendent of Police K. Lavanya Lakshmi. “There were several cases in which the apparent cause for difference between a couple was blaming the woman for not giving birth to a child,” she said.

The six-member expert group of ‘Family Counselling Centre’ found the phenomenon largely among the rural poor families during the special counselling given to the disputed couples. The DSP-level police officer led expert group comprising psychologist, law expert and women activists counsel the couple, who approach the police to break up from their marital relationship and lodge complaint in this regard.

Cases of dowry harassment and proposals for divorce are referred to the counselling centre instead of registering a case and involving them in the trial in the respective courts. “From among the referred 42 different kind cases (since January 2012) for counselling, above 30 couples withdrew their complaints and got their problems solved during the different phases of counselling. Remaining cases were registered and now under trial in various courts,” the DSP said.

Counselling

There are still four couples undergoing weekly-counselling, every Saturday, at Machilipatnam. If the couple was convinced or withdrew its complaint in two-phases of counselling, the case was not registered, otherwise booked under respective act. Senior police officials also said that the model would be extended to district level in order to find out an amicable solution to reunite the couple with the help of police instead of taking the battle to court.