NRI husbands complain against `biased' laws

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: A group of non-resident Indian (NRI) men have raised their voice against section 498 A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) on dowry-related crimes.

Addressing a press conference here on Friday, on the eve of the Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas celebrations, the men alleged that they were falsely charged under the dowry-related laws, particularly 498 A that was blatantly biased against men.

"We are dedicated to helping Non-Resident Indians in the United States and their India-based families, who are falsely criminalised under Section 498A of Indian Penal Code and related anti-dowry laws. Indian anti-dowry laws are unbelievably draconian, assume that the accused are guilty until proven innocent, and place the burden of proof on the accused individuals. In addition, wives [current or former] who have been separated for as long as 10 years or more are allowed to file cases under these laws. It has been shown that 98 per cent of the cases that are filed are false and baseless,'' they told reporters.

They charged that many Indian women married successful Indian men living abroad and as it is perceived as an opportunity to lead a better life and to enhance one's own career potential with the help of the spouse.

Reasons for divorce

"There are several reasons why some of these marriages turn sour and result in divorce including unanticipated cultural differences, domestic violence, prior relationships that either spouse is unable to get out of, delays obtaining visa/immigration documents, concealed or undiagnosed medical conditions, unreasonable expectations of Indian brides for a lavish lifestyle, incompatible personalities and marriages forced by parents," they pointed out.

No matter what the reason for marital discord is, women of Indian origin have been rampantly misusing Section 498A of IPC to threaten, extort money from, and wreak revenge on overseas Indian husbands and their families, the men alleged.

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