Laws Biased against Men in the Indian Penal Code
NMIMS School of Law, Mumbai, India.
Volume II – Issue III, 2020
For far too long, men’s rights have been brushed under the carpet and neglected owing to the social landscape of our country, where it is stereotyped that men are oppressors, and perpetrators of physical and sexual offences. They are depicted to be resilient and courageous persons, who cannot be subject to torture and oppression. This has led to stigmatization around male-centric crimes. Further, the media has predominantly focused on sensationalizing offences against women, which has positively contributed to reforms in this area. However, there is little to no media coverage when it comes to male victims and survivors of abuse; be it physical, mental, emotional, sexual or in any other form.
India’s laws reflect the same ideology, as certain legislations are biased against men, putting them in a disadvantageous position. Majority of the cases go unreported owing to the lack of gender neutral laws. The Indian Penal Code (IPC) has undergone several amendments ever since its inception in 1860, to keep up with the changing demands of society. Yet, the archaic gender specific laws on domestic violence and rape, which have been challenged in Courts multiple times, have not been amended yet. This makes men vulnerable to wrongful accusations by women. All these issues clubbed together have created an unfavourable scenario for men, whose rights are not given the due importance that they deserve. This constitutes a grave miscarriage of justice, as men have no legal recourse in case their right to life and personal liberty get violated, owing to domestic violence or sexual abuse.
This paper delves into Section 375, 376 and 498A of the IPC, and highlights the need for gender neutral laws, by analyzing judicial rulings and amendments over time. Towards the end, a few suggestions to amend the deplorable laws have been provided.