The Forum to Engage Men (FEM), a national level alliance of organisations and institutions working with men towards gender justice, has opposed the Ministry of Women and Child Development Ministry’s recommendation to the National Commission for Women (NCW) to open a window for men to register complaints of false cases against them in the NCWs online complaint system.
It has demanded withdrawal of the WCD Ministry’s directive to the NCW and has also opposed other recent attempts to dilute laws for women, such as the directive by Supreme Court to set up an extra legal body -the Family Welfare Centre /Committee– to examine and filter every complaint under Section 498a of the IPC before action is taken by authorities. “The FEM would like to point out that there is absolutely no data to back the concern by a vociferous section of men that they are increasingly being victimised by women through misuse of the law. In fact, data shows that violence against women has been increasing and the hard-fought laws in support of women’s rights provide a huge umbrella of protection to women against domestic violence, rape, sexual harassment and harassment for dowry, among many other gender-based crimes,” the organization has said in a letter to Ms Maneka Gandhi, the Union WCD Minister.
These laws already provide enough safeguards and remedies for the accused to prove their innocence. Giving further safeguards to men and other accused will make the laws ineffective for the protection of women and result in a victory of patriarchal forces that brand women as liars and downplay the severity of crimes against them. The low conviction rates of these cases, cited to support the argument that the cases are largely false, does not stand as all crimes have low conviction rates and there is no reason to only single out cases related to crimes against women, the letter has said.
The FEM stands in solidarity with women’s rights organisations that are demanding better law enforcement and strengthening of the criminal justice system and is in favor of the government resisting pressure by a group of’ ‘aggrieved’ men, according to Satish Kumar Singh, Convener, Forum to Engage Men (FEM) Â Working with Men and Boys to Achieve Gender Equality.