Monday , July 7 , 2008 |
New Delhi, July 6: The Centre has decided to review India’s laws against dowry and domestic violence that male complainants allege are biased against them, accepting for the first time that the legislation in their current form may be open to abuse.
The women and child development ministry has decided to invite male complainants and groups representing them individually for discussions on possible changes to these laws, top government officials have told The Telegraph.
The ministry has also called a meeting with the National Commission for Women (NCW) on July 8 to discuss any loopholes in the dowry law that allegedly allow harassment of innocent relatives of the husband.
The decision to scrutinise these laws for alleged loopholes comes days after women and child development minister Renuka Chowdhury met male activists alleging misuse of marital laws at a public conference.
Ministry officials said they had “received a huge pile of complaints — many of which appear legitimate” — in the week after the June 25 meeting. “We have been opposed to changing our marital laws in a manner that may weaken their implementation for women, but the complaints have forced us to reconsider,” a senior official said.
The agenda of the June 25 meeting — initially called to discuss the grievances of the male activists — was changed a day before to exhort men to stand up against exploitation of women.
Officials had then explained the change in the agenda, saying they were unwilling to accept any flaws in current laws. Male activists had opposed the agenda change on the ground that it had turned the meeting into a “sham”.
A source said the complaints included a case where a woman alleged that her in-laws, who were not even in the same city as the complainant, had tried to kill her.