Coming back to the topic, looks like this act will go down the Dowry Act road, IPC 498A. Just like many other Indian laws, it has room for infinite interpretations. Click here for a related post I had put up a couple of months back on ambiguity in Indian laws. Please note, I am not arguing against laws which criminalises abuse of women. But laws which are inherently loose with vague definitions are bound to serve little purpose. Probably the only little purpose they serve is to make silly, a serious issue. Here is an example of a situation which falls in the category of domestic violence according to the act.
Karan Thapar: Look, for instance, at economic abuse. It is defined by the Act as deprivation of any economic or financial resource, which the aggrieved is entitled to by custom and it includes disposal of household effects. Under that language, if a husband was to sell the family television at a time when his marriage was going through a bad patch, it should be deemed to be domestic violence. Now, that’s ridiculous, but it is very much a part of the Act.Another interesting scenario is the following. You can't even call the step-brother of your former girlfriend whom you parted 10 years ago an ass. Sarcasm and silly fights become offence. When Karan mentions a Supreme Court statement in July 2005 that the anti-dowry law is being terribly misused, she replies that its a minute percentage of the cases. But apparently its not. When Karan mentions:
Karan Thapar: The Centre for Social Research with regard to the anti-dowry law did a study after the Supreme Court judgment came out in August of 2005 and it concluded that of every 100 cases brought under the anti-dowry law, 98 per cent were false. Only two were correct. It’s not a minute percentage; the level of abuse that this could incur is phenomenally high.Renuka replies: "It's okay." By this time, I am fully convinced that she is not only a men hater but someone who will go to any extent to defend themselves foolishly. Here is another instance of a ridiculous situation which is covered under the act.
Karan Thapar: You keep talking about direction. You keep talking about importance of setting a direction for society. Clause 17 of the Act gives divorced women and former separated girlfriends - and I use that language very carefully: divorced women and former separated girlfriends - the right to claim residence in the home of their former husband or their former partner even though the Act says they may not have any right, title or beneficial interest in the same.
You can read the rest of the interview or watch the video here. At the end, you might just feel like smashing your computer monitor. Hats off to Karan. Let me state some more retarded and funny soundbites from Renuka.
Karan Thapar: In other words, let men suffer first, then I will correct the wrong I have done.
Renuka Chowdhury: It is not such a bad idea, except that I have such pity for men.
Karan Thapar: You are saying to me that a bad law is better than no law at all?
Renuka Chowdhury: If you want to say it that way. Any law is better than no law at all.