Governance · Law · Public Policy

Sexual Harassment Laws: Double-Edged?

What is sexual harassment? In general terms, it can be defined as bullying or coercion which involves a sexual nature; the definition also includes the acts of unwelcome or inappropriate promises of rewarding the victim in exchange for sexual favours. In a country like India, while on one hand the general population suffers from the problem of gender inequality, partiality against women, low gender ratio, everyday unreported rapes etc. the other hand promises too many rules which are never to be followed even when a crime is reported.

To check on these everyday mishaps, the Government of India passed various laws and acts in the support of women in order to safeguard the fairer gender of the country. Soon, various complaints began to emerge from various parts of the nation and strict and immediate actions were taken by the government against the offenders which motivated more and more women to come forward and feel safe about the country they were living in. But, a new question began to arise as these cases reached the courts that whether these laws were made for safeguarding the women or to give them unrighteous power over the male members of the society? In different notorious events, it was observed that the victim was not victim at all and she had simply filed a case or a report against a man due to past grudges making the male person a victim of the scenario.

In today’s age, there is a spread of modernisation of the country and various couples indulge in different activities with their mutual consent but as the relation turns bitter often the women have a tendency to extract a grudge against the male partner and this grudge is boosted by the government’s policies favouring the women. Many cases have been found out to be defaming the male person or in some cases women even filed a report against their boss due to lack of promotion. This has led to widespread misuse of the Sexual Harassment acts passed by the government. In various cases, the woman simply filed a rape case against a man in order to extract revenge while all of the actions were done with the mutual consent and in some cases did not occur at all. Since sexual harassment and rape are serious offences in the eyes of the law the actions taken were strict and immediate, this often led to the defamation and expulsion from workplace of the male counterpart. While the media is greatly focused upon the safeguarding of women they do not quite consider it their responsibility to report the cases where a man who was defamed earlier through their means be covered and reported in the news when he was acquitted of all the charges of the court. In some cases the man also had to stay in jail for a long duration without reason and due to false accusations and no compensation was provided whatsoever after being acquitted of the charges. These are the scenarios which people know about while there is a speculation that many of the charges are not quite true in which the person was considered convicted and delivered penalty by the court.

In a recent rape case, which was filed against a 20 year old boy, the family claimed the boy to have raped the girl while on further inspection it was found that the boy was in relation with the 19 year old girl and she had testified against him under the pressure from the family. Another case states that a woman had filed a rape case against a man who was earlier her partner upon knowing the fact that he was cheating upon her, to this case the court gave the statement that ‘while cheating in a relation is immoral, it is not unlawful’ and hence acquitted the man of all charges. Such incidents are known to occur every now and then in India as the rules are strict against sexual offences and women find it a rather easy to defame and punish another man according to their will. The debate is long and unrewarding on what needs to be done and what can’t be in such cases but overall the government needs to consider the possibility of such events occurring and needs to advise the media as well as the police to take the cases without much fuss and deal with the accused in a light manner until the charges against him have been proved this will not only help the accused if the charges made are false but also will result in discouraging the women from filing such wrong complaints in future.

More and more men are committing suicide and are taking decisions to remain single. They can’t take the risk of getting married and see a woman powerful enough to legally torture him and his parents, get him arrested on a false complaint and leave him bankrupt. Now men are fearful that if such biased laws will govern the corporate world, too, then where will they go? There is no safe place for men now in the country. Is this what gender equality is all about? It Is no longer a secret that women groups are deceptively trying to get biased laws approved by the Government  to legally harass and torture men under the name of women’s so-called ‘Rights’. These aren’t women’s ‘Rights’. Women are been given extraordinary powers with such biased laws.

About the Author

IMG_20140806_130008-1Prachi Jain is a third year student pursuing her B.A. LL.B. (Hons.) from Mody University. Being a law student, she is interested in the political framework of different countries and likes reading on international issues. She loves blogging and runs her own blog. Besides that, she is very passionate about dance and is also associated with an NGO in Madhya Pradesh. Currently, she is interning with the Model Governance Foundation.

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