- Bystander Effect
- Diffusion Effect
- Section 43 of CR.P.C
Nearly four centuries ago, Thomas Hobbes proposed that self-interest is the most fundamental human motivation
FURTHER DETAILS OF CASE
Details of the case, a woman was stabbed 25 times to death allegedly by her husband at a market in broad daylight. This grotesque incident took place in full public view in BudhVihar area of northwest Delhi.The 26-year-old woman was reportedly killed by her husband as he suspected that his wife was having an extra-marital affair.The man went on further to also threatened people as some passers-by tried to intervene in the matter and save the woman.This shocking incident was recorded on video but nobody could stop the man?
BACKSTORY OF THE CASE
The accused (Harish), he recently got married to Neelu Mehta (victim/wife) and wasn’t happy with her job.Neelu worked at the Safdarjung hospital in Delhi and her husband Harish Mehta is an employee of the Marriage Bureau.The main problem started when Neelu decided against his threats and continued to work. Harish (husband) then suspected about Neelu having an extramarital affair when she left him to stay at his parents’ house in BudhVihar in addition to the daily fights over her career.
STEPS UNDER THE LAW
In this case, if any active citizens could come together and stop Harish. Such an incident would take cover underSection 43 of CR.P.C which is Arrest by private person and procedure on such arrest. Any private person may arrest or cause to be arrested any person who in his presence commits a non-bailable and cognizable offence, or any proclaimed offender, and, without unnecessary delay, shall make over or cause to be made over any person so arrested to a police officer, or, in the absence of a police officer, take such person or cause him to be taken in custody to the nearest police station.
PSYCHE OF A PERSON & FAILURE OF SOCIETY
In this case we can evidently see that the fact that a woman is not even allowed to decide her career, and when she does, she has a life threat by her very own husband. Our spines chill imagining what the women went through in her last moments that she is literally being killed by her own husband on the streets of a market with hundreds of people around, yet nobody came forward to save her and let her die in her pool of blood just because it was an 'internal matter' as she is a woman? There might be people who defend such acts but 40% women in India are still not allowed to choose their career choices and 78% married women are still housewives. A question may arise in your head as to why is this so? The answer is complex, but a prominent indicator would be that India is still largely a patriarchal country, the male is still observed as the breadwinner of the family and the woman is seen as the child bearer and carer of the family. The female is seen as inferior to her male counterpart, consequently she must abide to the instructions provided by her husband, failure to do so will result in consequences as we have seen in the above mentioned case. In today’s day and age women are equally as educated as males but yet their responsible starts and endsin the kitchen and working for the family? My intention is not to undermine the job as a housewife, as it is one of the most difficult jobs out there, which comes with no breaks alongside being a mother. My issue here is with the lack of option provided to the woman to choose what she wants.
Adding to this, another huge problem in this case, is that nobody came to the aid of the woman, Why? There could be two major factors that contribute to the bystander effect which we have seen. Primarily, the presence of other people creates a diffusion of responsibility, because there are other observers, individuals do not feel as much pressure to take action. The onus to act is thought to be shared among all of those present.The second reason could be the need to behave in correct and socially acceptable ways so much so as to not to intervene is somebody elses private or internal matter. When other observers fail to react, individuals often take this as a signal that a response is not needed or not appropriate. We have seen that, researchers have found that onlookers are less likely to intervene if the situation is ambiguous. In the case of Kitty Genovese, many of the 38 witnesses reported that they believed that they were witnessing a "lover's quarrel," and did not realize that the young woman was actually being murdered. A crisis is often chaotic and the situation is not always crystal clear. The so called onlookers might wonder exactly what is happening. During such visual moments, people often look to others in the group to determine what is appropriate. When they see that no one else is reacting, it sends a signal that perhaps no action is needed. To further elaborate the psychological theory well-known as ‘Diffusion of responsibility effect’, where the presence of others leads individuals to assume that someone else will help or already has. The other factor was ‘the power of social norms’, in which people observe others’ reactions to evaluate the severity of a situation. In this case after the husband threatened 2 bystanders who tried to stop him, everyone else also decided that this man cannot be stopped.
Therefore we can conclude by saying if people could collectively or even if one person would step up to stop the perpetrator (husband) even after he threatened them, such a heinous act of crime could either be prevented, averted or maybe the gravity of the act could possibly be softened. Such an act took place in broad daylight, in front of people, we as society could have saved a life if such bystander and diffusion of responsibility chain of behaviour is stopped. If we as society play an active role in protection and prevention of such heinous crimes, as show zero tolerance to such behaviour instead of looking the other way, criminals may avert such cognizable behaviour. Such active step may act as a deterrent to criminals and may them rethink their decisions.
What steps do you think could be taken into order to prevent such events from happening in the future?
Also, Who is at fault here? The wife? The man? The state? The system? or the society?
Let me know in the comments below!