STATING THAT she has been receiving an increasing number of complaints from men alleging false complaints against them, Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi has asked the National Commission for Women (NCW) to “provide a window” to such men.
In a letter sent to NCW chairperson Lalitha Kumaramangalam on Thursday, Maneka has said the window “in the online complaint system of NCW” should be operationalised within a fortnight. “I have been receiving a large number of complaints from men who claim they have been falsely implicated in cases of domestic violence, dowry, rape etc. I am particularly concerned with the fact that this voice has become more and more loud in the last few months,” Maneka has written.
While asking the NCW “to provide a window to such men where they can bring up instances of false complaints against them”, she has said she is “conscious of the fact that this kind of a step may bring in a backlash from the women and the men may also be encouraged to make every case of harassment by them look like a false case. Yet we need to do a dipstick test to figure out the reality.” She has said the NCW should ensure a “rigorous” mechanism to file complaints so that “frivolous complaints” can be weeded out.
“The receipt of the complaint must be linked to proper identification through Aadhaar and a valid mobile number,” she has said. “Due safeguards may (be) inbuilt to ensure that this window does not become an instrument of counter complaints by men who have cases filed against them by their wives/ other women.”
Stating that as the head of the Ministry for Women and Child Development, her concern is “grievances of women first”, she has said that “at the same time, misuse of laws created to protect women should also be a matter of concern for us.”
Meanwhile, NCW officials said the move goes against the very guidelines on which the commission is based. The NCW was set up as a statutory body in January 1992 under the National Commission for Women Act, 1990, and does not fall under the control of the ministry. “Men have access to other avenues, for example, the NHRC, through which they can get their grievances heard,” said an NCW official. “This move will leave the commission open to litigation, which would mean litigation against the government.”
The NCW handles about 23,000 cases every year, mostly related to domestic violence.