Have you heard about the mental harassment law in India?
You have right.
Great; then what I’m about to discuss next, is going to make perfect sense.
But if not, then you should know for your own good.
Mental harassment or torture can be done by anyone in life.
It can happen at work, by your husband/wife, even your in-laws can be found guilty of it, or anyone for that matter.
There are laws against mental abuse under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) Act, Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, Dowry Prohibition Act and the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).
Meaning, if anyone in the family, in-laws husband or wife are found to cause any mental torture, law in India takes strict action against them.
However, if an employer or employee is found guilty of causing sexual or mental harassment to any women, then the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition & Redressal) Act comes into the picture as the Indian law against mental harassment.
There have been so many cases where mental harassment by husband is the prime subject addressed in the court while filing for divorce.
Even if you open the news these days, you may often hear about some or the other issue, cropping up about harassment. Especially with the ongoing #MeToo Movement in India, the media channels are flooded with talks on mental and sexual abuse since 2017 and are gaining momentum every day.
From different case scenarios, cruelty seems to be always on the top as the most popular ground for divorce in India, whereas adultery comes just after it. Section 498 of the IPC Act is the governing law for mental torture in India amongst married couples.
Recently in the news, the incident of TV Actor, Chahat Khanna has been making waves, where she announced her divorce. She has been enveloped into controversies where her ex-husband, Farhan Mirza told media, “Chahat had disappeared with their kids and he couldn’t get in touch with them for over three days.”
To which Chahat reacted saying, “He is just trying to portray me in the bad light.” and later told the entire story to Bombay Times. In which, Chahat not only accused Farhan of lying to the media but also accused him of sexual, financial and mental abuse. This is surely taking an ugly turn.
As told to TOI, Chahat has even accused her husband of doing physical abuse during and after her pregnancies. She said, “During both my pregnancies, he would ask me if the babies were his. A day before and four days after the delivery of my second baby, he dragged me out of the house and asked me to leave. He also used to manhandle me during fights.”
“Women in India, when going through such conditions in marriage life, often put their whole life on the burner only to avoid becoming a social stigma. They succumb to the pressures of the Indian societal concept of ek aurat ko toh karna padta hai family ke liye itna” meaning, “a wife has to compromise a lot to meet the family needs”.
But, why should only the wife do so?
And where does it say or mean that a wife needs to bear mental abuse, law never did?
Then why does the society tell her all this?
Why should “You” as a woman listen to a society that needs a major intervention?
Indian society is undoubtedly a hypocritical one, and cruelty in marriage is not something to be tolerated.
In case, you are a woman still keeping shut about any mental torture, then break your silence and fight against the wrongs.
The mental harassment law in India that you can seek help from in dealing with such a situation is defined in Chapter XXA of I.P.C. under Sec. 498A as:
Matrimonial Cruelty in India - "It is a cognizable, non-bailable and non-compoundable offence. Husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty. Whoever being the husband or the relative of the husband of a woman, subjects her to cruelty shall be punished with imprisonment for a term, which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to a fine."
Well, according to this section, "cruelty" means:
- any wilful conduct which is of such a nature as is likely to drive the woman to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to life, limb or health (whether mental or physical) of the woman; or
- harassment of the woman where such harassment is with a view to coercing her or any person related to her to meet any unlawful demands for any property or valuable security or is on account of failure by her or any person related to her to meet such demand
As per this law for mental torture in India, if you are subjected to the cruelty of any form in your married life - be it physical, mental or sexual, you can always resort to law's guidance and seek the right help!
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