Harassed hubbies dial Delhi women’s helpline

FOR A commission that exclusively caters to women, a sizable number of complaints received are from men.

Most men say their wives and families harass them for money, property or simply divorce. There are cases of sexual harassment too. Some complaints are lodged by men against men. For instance, a complaint where a DU professor is said to be impotent but is marrying a third time and needs to be stopped.

The Delhi Commission for Women Act, 1994, provides for ‘ safeguarding the rights of ( only) women as per the Constitution of India and other laws’. However, in the light of so many men approaching DCW, it has decided to redress their issues as well.

DCW Chairperson, Swati Maliwal, told Mail Today, “ Initially, we were surprised that men were walking into our office, in spite of the name itself saying Delhi Commission for Women. Most of the complaints pertain to wives inflicting mental, emotional and even physical torture on their husbands.

Most seem genuine so we are not turning them away.” A senior official said the procedure adopted during such cases ranges from counseling the accused wife to lodging an FIR against her. “ If it is a soft case, we either sit the couple down with their respective families and discuss their problem or send them to the Delhi Legal Services Authority ( DLSA) for mediation.

If serious charges are involved, the complaint is referred to the local police station for an FIR,” he said.

In many such cases, the aggrieved men are poor and are fighting their wives and the woman’s relatives, who support them. DLSA provides legal help to such men.

DCW cites the case of 30- yearold Parwinder ( name changed) whose wife declared that she had a lover and wanted to annul the marriage on the wedding night.

When he informed her brothers, they threatened to kill his family unless he kept the woman. She consumed sleeping pills once and set herself on fire on another occasion after dialing 100 and telling police that she was being burnt for dowry.

In another case, 29- year- old Suresh ( name changed) was locked up by his wife in her maternal home and not allowed to go out for work or given food for three days. He was also severely beaten up and barely managed to escape.

Then there are complaints where men have levelled accusations against other men. A DU professor is alleged to be destroying the lives of women by marrying them while being impotent.

Most complaints pertain to wives inflicting mental and even physical torture.

Majority of them seem genuine, so we are not turning them away.

— SWATI MALIWAL , DCW chairperson