This blogpost is intended for those men who face a false 498a threat from their wives. If your relation with your wife has been deteriorating of late, and your wife & in-laws make even a faint allusion of teaching you a lesson, rest assured, 498a is mostly on its way.
Leaving aside the legal sophistry, you need to know that all your wife needs to do to get you, your parents and sometimes your siblings arrested is file a simple complaint stating that you all harassed her. Your innocence is of no consequence at this stage, for you’ll be thrown in jail and you’ll need to procure bail from court. Get this foisted in your mind: she can do this with zero corroborating evidence and even if you have proof of your innocence, it is seldom useful in providing you any relief at this point.
You’ll mostly be going through the below-mentioned sequence of events (it can differ from person to person, but overall most will go through these stages).
- Police will knock your doors one fine morning and inform you that you’re required to accompany them to Police Station for “Counselling” as your wife has made a complaint against you. Although the police personnel may appear polite, you may not have any choice but to accede to their demand.
- You’ll be confined to a remote corner of Police Station and shortly your wife and in-laws will appear. These days, it is required that the couple go through some counselling sessions and explore the possibility of peaceful negotiation before an FIR is formally registered. However, these sessions are mostly a platform to blackmail you into submitting to their demands. Your wife and in-laws would coldly enlist their demands and threaten you with dire consequences, if they’re not met.
- Usually, no arrest is made on the very first day. You’ll be asked to appear before them on another date. If the issue remains unresolved, you can expect an FIR to be registered and you and your parents may be arrested.
- You’ll be in jail till you get bail from court and after that the matter moves to Court.
- Sometimes, they may make pretend to desire peaceful resolution and wait until you lower your guard so that they may catch all of you unawares at home and ensure that none from your family escape arrest.
The process is inherently unfair, for it jails men based on a mere complaint by wife and doesn’t require any due procedure to be followed (there is actually, but unless you’re influential you cannot count on them to rescue you). It exposes you to the corrupt government officials who use this opportunity to harass you and extract money in exchange of ‘favours’. We can go on, but our focus here is on how to combat the situation and make the best deal out of a bad bargain.
- Accept your fate.
Post Supreme Court’s directions vide Arnesh Kumar’s case in 2014 random arrests have come down drastically. However lawyers now overcome this handicap by thrusting rape charges on all male relatives to ensure that grounds for arrests remain. Hopefully, you may walk out with least hassle if things work out in your favour. But even in worst case scenario, your position would still be better than many unfortunate families struck with this problem during last decade.
During the first day of counselling, it might be a better idea to ask for time to think over. By the time the next date arrives, you would be mentally prepared and have consulted a good lawyer. Anticipatory bail before registration of FIR is difficult, but it’s worth trying. At least, you can make arrangements to promptly initiate bail process should you be arrested.
Above all, accept that you may be jailed and that’s a price you’re willing to pay to get rid of your nasty wife. If your parents are jailed too, understand that this is still a smaller price than having them bear your cruel wife throughout rest of their lives.
Also, be prepared for the fact that this is going to cost you financially (unavoidable) and mentally (avoidable). Your fight is for the sole purpose to neutralising their attack, safeguarding your interests to the extent you can, and coming out as unscathed from the whole affair as possible.
- Be cool, composed and careful.
Do not indulge in self-recrimination. You did nothing to deserve this. It is just that you’re caught up in the corrupt legal process and are merely one among the many thousands of innocent families in India suffering because of this ill-advised law. Remember, while the unfairness of the whole process is apparent to you, everybody including police and courts are just doing their duty. Do not lose your cool and blurt off anything that may worsen the situation. Do not think of revenge now, your first duty is towards protecting yourself and your parents. Be composed and do not show your emotions to anyone. You can weep in leisure later, but now is the time to act strong and channel all your thinking energies to get you and your people bailed out of this situation. Freeze your emotions and feelings, until you’re out of danger.
- Do not accept their demands at Police Station
While the very possibility of policemen threatening you with dire consequences can be intimidating, do not lose your heart. This is easier, if you follow #1, accept your fate.
Under no circumstances should you accede to their demands at the Police Station. You may think it is better to surrender to their demands than face inevitable destruction. Sorry, no. They’ll be emboldened by their easy success and start making further demands.
Speaking of demands, they’ll vary depending on whether the wife wants divorce or reunion. If wife wants divorce, she’ll demand for a huge lump-sum amount in exchange of withdrawal of cases and mutual consent divorce. If she’s interested in reunion, it is mostly the case of wanting you to set up a separate residence (separated from your parents i.e.) and giving her an assurance that you’ll forever be a slave to her command.
Ask them to go ahead with their plan and do not plead them for mercy. Be bold. The only alternative you offer would be to talk to community elders or other intermediary (neutral ground) and resolve it. Else, do not hesitate to tell them that you’re totally prepared to spending the next few years around courts to defeat their plans.
- Do not attempt to reason with them.
Do not argue with them and appeal to their better senses. No women or family who drags an innocent husband and in-laws to police station is worthy enough to even reason with. They’ve effectively revealed themselves to be narcissist people incapable of resolving private matters amicably.
That they’ve chosen this path, should itself dissuade you to talk to them. This attitude will considerably dampen their spirits as they’ll not be as confident of scoring a quick victory as before. Put otherwise, showing strength may not avert 498a, but betraying weakness will most certainly embolden them to grind you to ground.
If they try to initiate talks after 498a is filed, do not discuss anything till you and other accused secure bail. Their window of power exists only until you secure bail, after which the field is considerably levelled. Once out, they’ve lost their hold on you and depending on your resolve you can fight them to finish and extract a payback for your suffering.
- Do not take your wife back.
Under no circumstances, should you take your wife back. The moment she approached police station, she has literally shown herself to be a selfish, nasty & cruel women who doesn’t deserve to be part of your family. Consider the legal implications too. This would be interpreted as wife forgiving the erring husband and giving him second chance, not other way round. Also, if your wife dies in as much as freak accident, you will be in deep trouble. Most importantly, note that your wife stills retains the right to harass you (via 498a) whenever she feels like doing it. The presumption of guilt will be more the second time.
There is no reason to get alarmed if they appear adamant on reunion and they (others) threaten that you’ll be wasting your young years running around courts, instead of enjoying conjugal bliss. They’re betting on the fact that it is impossible for you to get divorce before at least 5-6 years and they’ve the power to prolong even further, if they keep on contesting divorce. The 498a trial itself will take nothing less than 2-3 years by conservative estimates.
As short-sighted people (who else would seek this path), they cannot fathom that you may prefer a solitary life to suffering her companionship. Irrespective of what others say, remember that these women are not disinterested in marriage per se, they’re disinterested in you. Her parents, who thundered under the shadow of law, will begin to tremble if you show no signs of weakness and continue to fight back with patience. Ladies begin to lose their attractiveness by 30 and become sexually invisible to most men post-35. Men on the contrary begin their upward journey from 30 and retain their attraction till 40-45. Her ability to remarry is already constrained by her record of 498a, so no sane man will want to associate with her. Still, there are enough desperate men around, who would be willing to wife her up. But to attract a man without even a semblance of status, she will need to get hinged by 30 or at most by 35. Women, and especially their parents, are acutely aware of this and their threats become shriller as she gets closer to the wall.
Despite how self-assured they appear to you, they’re aware of how difficult it is for them to get her married again. And they will not be willing to bear this burden for long. Once they begin to see that you’re determined, they will want to minimise the damage and compromise for a much lower amount than they initially demanded.
- Do not resign from your job.
Many people are under the mistaken notion that being jobless entails giving no maintenance. Judges are mostly likely to see this as a deliberate plank intended to serve the sole purpose of denying your wife the maintenance and will anyway go ahead and pass orders for maintenance. Also, if your wife comes to know that you’re jobless, she may want to delay the proceedings so that you’re left jobless till such period. You’ll be left penniless in the long run. Also, your mind will be more disturbed if you’re not actively involved in work.
Remember, its most likely that your case will eventually be settled through negotiating a lumpsum amount. Your chances at re-marriage (if interested) would depend on your career too. So, it makes no sense to deprive yourself of a bright career just to restrain her from getting maintenance (and in which you won’t succeed fully as cited above). Apply scorched earth policy wherever possible, but without harming your long-term interests.
Though women don’t realize it, the running out of time is going to harm them more gravely than any monetary loss. Younger women attract better men, irrespective of their financial status and older women, no matter how rich, will not be able to seduce any worthwhile man into marriage. So wait for your turn and continue to fight back patiently, even if you’re asked to pay an interim-maintenance amount which you consider unfair. She’s losing time while you’re gaining it, and her parents are aware of it.
- Fight them like mortal enemies
You’ve already paid once for being incapable of gauging their nature. Now that the war is in open, where you’ve witnessed first-hand how ruthless & selfish they’ve been to secure their interests, you need pay them in same coin too. She is no longer an otherwise good woman, who was ‘brainwashed’, ‘misguided’ and rashly took a wrong step in the ‘heat of the moment’.
Women who approach police station know the full consequences of their complaint on you. Lawyers also inform these women how the complaints will wreak men’s life. In their narcissist frame, they did not bother about your well-being and all they’re concerned about is their own desires. Within the Indian system, there isn’t much you can do to get legal retribution. In all likelihood, she will not be punished for false complaint from our legal system at least, though karma will get their back soon. She will in all probability get interim-maintenance and eventually one-time permanent alimony too. In many cases, men are too tired after wandering through our courts for years in vain and want to start afresh by negotiating an out-of-court settlement.
But the least men can do is to make their wives’ victory as pyrrhic as possible. At any rate, do not initiate an offer for settlement from your end. However adamant they appear, know that they’re within their hearts as anxious as you are, probably more. They have hand your wife over to some pathetic man ultimately and they know this will become more difficult as time flies. Let them struggle for every rupee they’re able to extract from you. Do not be soft on people who spared no efforts to harass you and your parents. Remember, they did all within their power to ruin you and are prepared to further grind you for their selfish ends. Such people do not deserve forgiveness even if they fall at your feet after they realise their receding fortunes. Unwillingness to use your full resources against them is tantamount to exposing your already pained parents to further abuse.
- Keep yourself fit – mentally and physically.
Meanwhile, focus on your career and other interests. For your parents’ sake, do not get addicted to drinking, smoking, etc. For your own sake, hit a gym. Or any form of physical exercise to keep you fit. Keep meeting friends and relatives; do not isolate yourself from people.
Be mentally prepared for at least 3-4 years around courts. Even then, the case is most likely to be resolved when your wife and co. lose their perverted sense of pleasure and wish to move along anew. This is how majority of these cases are usually resolved. Spoiling your health is not at all detrimental to your wife; since she barely cared about you, she would be all the more happy.
Do not think of settling this case somehow by taking loans beyond your normal means just to buy peace and re-settle. Speaking of re-settling, beware of appearing like a weakling who cannot take pain and struggle and broke down under pressure to your prospective fiancée. If the new lady in your life knows how weak you had been in past, she will lose no time in threatening you with similar consequences again at the slightest request of adjustment. Remember, you just proved the world that you had been an easy target and can be intimidated within marriage or coerced into giving huge amounts to free yourself from wife-induced pain.
But imagine the case wherein you put a strong defence against your 498a wife, made them desperate for peace and eventually gave them only a fraction of amount they initially demanded. Your future wife knows well that if she takes this line of action, she is equally doomed to the same fate.
Do not rue about your unfulfilled marital life and how everybody in your circle are apparently enjoying marital bliss. Living a solitary life is still infinitely better than cohabiting with a nasty, cruel and narcissistic woman who insults you, humiliates you and abuses you day in and out. You may not be a happily married man, but you are not an unhappy man trapped in marriage either, which is more painful. Compare yourself with other men, who suffer daily torrent of abuse and long for a day when death finally relieves them of all this pain.
Fight them back to the finish. Remember, everything will pass, even this.