We carried a story on the new law to protect violence against women at home. Under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005, offenders can be jailed for a maximum of one year or fined up to Rs 20,000, or both.
The news has evoked mixed response. Predictably women (and many men as well) wrote applauding the move, but a few men expressed apprehension at the sweeping powers the act gave women. Many felt the act could easily be misused.
Here's how the feedback went.
Ashok from Finland was very supportive but thought that any act cannot work in isolation and would have many fall-outs. He believes the government should provide for shelters and homes for the affected women.
"This is a very good step towards punishing abusive husbands. But rules and policies need back-ups. A wife who lodges a complaint against her husband and in-laws cannot live in the same house. So, what we need a shelter for them as well. To make this happen a considerable amount of budget is required. Is our government ready for this?" he asked.
Adithi from Liege, Belgium, was apprehensive about the effectiveness of the act given the level corruption in law-enforcing bodies, particularly the police.
"The new law gives some hope to the poor women in our Indian society. However, the enforcement of this law does not happen because of the corrupt attitude of our police department. What is strange is that we already have various laws to protect women, but this seldom happens. We must have new police stations manned by women officers and specially dedicated for reporting such cases. We can hope that poorest of the poor women will then dare to come out and report the case to the police. Let's think of making India a better place for women," she said.
DC Chawla from Chicago, USA, too welcomed the move and said there should be more such laws to protect the weaker sections of Indian society.
"It is a good law. Why should any one have any doubt about its efficacy? It is indeed great. India does need such laws to protect the weaker sections of the society. All NGOs would come forward to report problems. Of course it will not be a cakewalk," he said.
Bina Pillai from Mumbai, India, was particularly appreciative of the fact that Hindustan Times gave the story a front-page display.
She added, "We are extremely happy about this new law against domestic violence. Innocent women are being tortured by educated men in such a progressive country because we do not have any law to protect them. We congratulate Hindustan Times for showing sense and sensibility to cover the news in the front page while I did not see this in any other newspaper. Kudos to you!"
Not everyone was elated at the news. Vivek from New Delhi, India, felt this law had ample scope for misuse just as dowry act had become.
"When will there be a law to protect men against torture by women? These days men bear more than women do and there is no protection for them. One of my friends has been jailed recently for a false dowry case and is harassed by his wife and in-laws. Law should be equal for all and should have provision to protect men as well," he added.
Vasudev Sen of Kolkata, India, was positively angry that the law that gave sweeping powers to a woman. He felt it would ensure a gang rape of the husband!
"With this law, the wife has been exempted from taking any responsibility of her actions, while it will ensure a gang rape of the husband. In truth, this is worse than gang rape of the husband; he will be forced to stay married to his wife, however foul, immoral, perverted, violent or insulting she may be, or else pay her money."
"In contrast, if there is a gang rape of a woman, the rapists can be sentenced to life imprisonment and pay penalty. Imagine how you would feel if this was done to you. This is gross abuse of human rights of the husband. I fail to understand what has come upon the world. Why are we being suicidal as a society?" he fumed.
All views and opinions presented in this article are solely those of the surfers and do not necessarily represent those of HindustanTimes.com.