Men Too Have Right Not To Be Defamed And Denounced

“You do me favors, I do you favors 30 years later

lets call it “me too”

A strong woman does not wait 30, 20, 10 years to speak up, she slaps him on the first “bad touch” and knocks him out

Don’t hide your weakness, the favors in returns that you enjoyed and the work you got by “I was too scared” cry now

You were scared to say NO then because its hard to stand up for what is right and you were scared to loose your status and position in the work place, so YOU CHOOSE to accept the molestation and went back for more …Its very easy to play the abla nari card later and gain sympathy

The Shakti does not wait later to speak up, she silences the evil on spot…

My thoughts on this nonsense of me too

I don’t have me too stories …anyone who tried got a tight slap then and there and I was never afraid to walk out with my head held high ..be it a Job or relationship!

“strong women don’t have me too sob

Stories, they have I gave him thappad

(slap) back short essays”.”

–        Geetanjali Arora in Sunday Times of India dated October 21, 2018

 

First and foremost, I must laud Geetanjali Arora for what she has written so courageously on 9 October at 5.35 pm which got published on October 21, 2018 in one of the most reputed newspapers of India – The Times Of India! Why should women be treated always as victims? Why should women keep quiet for many decades and then speak up if she herself has nothing to hide from the world?

Even as this “#MeToo” campaign is being celebrated all over the world after American actress and activist Alyssa Milano kickstarted it by sending out a tweet asking anyone who’s faced sexual harassment or violence to write ‘me too’ as a reply which elicited a huge response in 85 countries, let me not shy away from saying that I very strongly feel that even men too have right not to be defamed and denounced before being tried in court of law in accordance with due procedure! This media trial even before the court trial has begun can never be justified under any circumstances! When women has nothing to hide from the world then why should there not be court trial instead of media trial?

It cannot be ignored that even BJP lawmaker Udit Raj has termed the “#MeToo” movement as “wrong practice” and questioned the relevance of making sexual harassment allegations against anybody after 10 years. He has rightly questioned that, “What if complaints outing men for allegedly sexually harassing women proved wrong and the prestige of a man was destroyed? Taking action or seeking resignation of an accused merely on a complaint merely on a complaint of sexual exploitation means there is no need of police or the judicial system! Considering oral or written complaint of the victim of sexual exploitation as a judgement and taking action or seeking resignation means there is no need of police or judicial system. What if the matter proves wrong? Can the soiled prestige of a man be restored? The #MeToo movement has intensified in the country with more women recounting their experiences of sexual harassment in the entertainment and media industry. There are several instances where women did this after taking money and then moved on to the next target.”

Does men have no right? Should only women have all the right to speak up whenever she likes? Very few know that a woman had levelled serious allegations against eminent film actor Jitender about an act allegedly done by him 47 years ago when she was very young but the Himachal Pradesh High Court didn’t accept it and rejected the petition as it said that the time limit of lodging the complaint within the limitation period of 3 years was not complied with! Similarly MJ Akbar was left with no option but to resign as Union Minister of State for External Affairs even before the charges have been proved against him in any court and he too became a victim of “MeToo Media Trial”! Hang him if he is guilty but condemning him even before charges have been framed against him in any court and tarnishing his “impeccable reputation” which he has earned in his entire life in just few seconds cannot be justified under any circumstances!

Is he not entitled to the benefit of the due process of law and legal defence? Should he not be given a chance to prove his innocence? There are many senior women journalists like Tavleen Singh who have always appreciated him and have said that they have never experienced any such “alleged misconduct” from him but this is never highlighted in the media! Most recently, a woman journalist deposed in court in his favour and admired his upright approach in always dealing with her. Only the numbers are highlighted that 16 or 17 women have levelled most serious charges against him but I want to ask: Why they never dared to lodge FIR against him in any police station of India till now? Why they kept quiet for so many years? Why inspite of being professional they chose to keep quiet? Were they not aware of their legal rights? Why did they not immediately complaint? Why they didn’t spill the beans earlier? Why was there a consensual conspiracy of silence? Why were they lured to keep quiet? Why they compromised themselves just for getting some material benefit? Are they not guilty just like an adulterous women?

Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan asked: “If someone makes an allegation that such a thing happened when the incident happened we were playing together while in class 5. Would it be fair? The ‘MeToo’ movement had sullied the image of the country. Will it be right for men to start making similar accusations like them.” Even Union Minister for Tourism K Alphons has cautioned against frivolous complaints by “insincere” people with an agenda. He said that, “People should be extremely careful when they raise an allegation. Yes, if something inappropriate has taken place, it should be in public domain. There should not be any doubt about it, but I hope frivolous complaints are not raised by insincere people to fix people whom they do not like.” Just recently KWAN founder Anirban Das attempted suicide after sexual misconduct allegations but was saved by an alert police team patrolling the Navi Mumbai bridge! There are very few who care for what “mental trauma” a man undergoes when false allegations are levelled against him and he is defamed by “media trial” to the fullest even before charges are framed against him in any court! This must stop once and for all as it mutilates and maims to pieces a men’s integral right to reputation and right not to be defamed and denounced even before any court takes cognizance of the charges levelled against him!

It is rightly pointed in ‘The Times Of India’ editorial dated October 23, 2018 that, “The biggest threat to #Me Too is not fears of a male backlash over public shaming but anonymous complaints with sole intent to defame. Anonymous complaints have dangerous repercussions for personal lives, families and companies. Something as real and pervasive as corporate or professional rivalry and personal animosity can set the ball rolling. This then becomes less about #MeToo and more about settling scores, hurting companies financially, or even gaming and subverting #MeToo. Social media platforms also have a responsibility in such cases to remove the defamatory, anonymous material before it does more damage to reputations.”

What has really shaken me most is the enlightening editorial written by Ramesh Thakur who is Professor of Public Policy, Australian National University in ‘The Times Of India’ dated November 9, 2018 titled “Believe Evidence Over Gender” which begins by coming straight to the point saying that, “The #MeToo campaign began as a long overdue effort to call out men abusing positions of power and authority to exploit vulnerable women sexually, but then morphed into some settling of scores for dates gone wrong. In the age of social media, #MeToo swarms of screaming mobs, and bird-dogging, the wildest accusations are amplified instantaneously across the whole world. This makes the charge themselves a powerful political weapon.” He rightly suggests the following to check mud slinging matches: “First, ensure anonymity for both or neither. Name only the guilty party after the trial. If the verdict is inconclusive, keep all names confidential. Second, treat both accuser and accused with sympathy, respect and courtesy. Evaluate the testimony of both with equal skepticism, ask questions accordingly, and weigh their statements against the facts. Everyone deserves a fair hearing: no one deserves to be believed in the absence of evidence; and shifting evidence and timeline to suit the narrative warrants over suspicion. Third, match the prosecution and penalty for false accusations to those of conviction. This will put in place a powerful deterrent. Without consequences, the political weaponisation of false charges will continue. Above all, believe evidence over gender. Senator Susan Collins was branded a rape apologist for doing so.”

Just recently we saw how in a landmark judgment titled ‘Joseph Shine v Union of India’, the Supreme Court very rightly decriminalized adultery as it felt that sex with consent cannot be crime! Law has to change with time. Even the definition of rape needs change and sex with consent should not be termed rape. A woman after having consensual sex with a men for many years cannot and should not be allowed suddenly to scream rape and play the victim card by weeping!

The moot question that arises here is: Why the women promptly didn’t lodge complaint if she was forced to enter into sexual relationship? Also, why always men alone be condemned? What if it was women who lured men into sex?

Why always women version is to be believed? Why should women not be punished and sent to jail for at least an year if she levels false allegations against a men solely for denigrating, damaging and destroying his untarnished reputation in front of the world? Why should she not be made to pay compensation to him for tarnishing his reputation in front of the world? Why can’t the laws be suitably amended in this regard?

Why should only women have right to reputation and right not to be defamed and denounced? Why do we ignore that our laws and Constitution treats men and women as alike? Why should men be deprived of the basic fundamental tenet of law that everyone is innocent until proven guilty?

It cannot be lightly dismissed that in a criminal case, where the accused will forfeit his liberty if convicted, the standard of proof required to convict him not just is higher but also needs to be proved “beyond all reasonable doubt”. It is high time and all news channels and media groups should refrain from just glamourising “#MeToo” movement and should instead always convince so called “female victims” to approach the court at the earliest and not after 10 or 20 or 30 or 40 or 50 years and fight the legal battle which would seek evidence for both prosecution and proving innocence instead of just levelling the most damning allegations after many decades which only exposes her to “defamation suits” to get real justice for herself! Also, it must be ensured that the identity of both the women levelling the allegations and the men against whom allegations are levelled are not revealed in public until the case is decided at least in the lower court! Such cases too must be decided at the earliest and not after many years as the reputation of both the women and the men suffers enormously which only robs them of their right to privacy which just recently in KS Puttaswamy case has been declared to be a fundamental right!

We all have seen just recently how Italian actress Asia Argento who became a leading figure in the #MeToo movement after accusing powerhouse producer Harvey Weinstein of rape, paid hush money to a man who claimed she sexually assaulted him when he was 17! The $380,000 payment was made to Jimmy Bennett who is an actor and rock musician who claimed Argento assaulted him in a California hotel room in 2013, according to the Times, which cited documents sent to the paper by an unidentified party. This was reported in Hindustan Times dated August 21.

I am certainly not against women getting justice who have suffered at the hands of men but I also simultaneously favour the reasoned and logical stand that, “Men too have right not to be defamed and denounced without facing strictest legal scrutiny in accordance with due procedure of law”. Every Indian women must always abide by what Geetanjali Arora who is herself a female has said which I have quoted right at the beginning! Women are beating men in studies and outsmarting them in every field then why should they take things lying down when it comes to sexual offences?

Why not lodge complaint at the first place instead of just indulging in character assassination after many years as part of “#MeToo” campaign and getting defamed yourself also and making a huge public spectacle of yourself? Now it is for women to decide for themselves which course of action they would like to adopt but now they must stop laying the victim card and abide in totality by what Geetanjali has said and never tolerate any sort of any misconduct from any men under any circumstances whatsoever! It is high time and now women must be actually treated at par with men by not always allowing women to play the victim card and encouraging her to always take men head on whenever any men dares to violate her physical or mental integrity in any manner!

It is most heartening to read in the web portal “LiveLaw” what all has been stated in detail by the Bar Council of India (BCI) for which it too certainly deserves to be complimented and congratulated for the common person would not have come to know all this had it not been published by them in their website! I too have gathered most of my information from this website!  BCI says in no uncertain terms that there is nothing wrong with the report of the in-house committee which has given clean chit to the CJI and that its decision is “just and proper” as it has not found any merit in allegations against the CJI.

It also says that complainant was not happy with anyone after Justice Gogoi, she started blaming and commenting against Justice NV Ramana that he favoured Justice Gogoi [being close to him] due to which Justice Ramana had to recuse himself from the case after which two very noble, fair, polite and soft spoken lady Judges were included in the in-house panel. Not stopping here she still continued raising questions and did not attend the proceedings till the end and left it mid way while casting aspersions on the fairness of the proceedings itself! How can this be condoned or justified under any circumstances?

 

 

 

Judges Themselves Responsible For Such Unfortunate Situation

As anticipated, BCI rightly says that judiciary is itself responsible for the culture of “malicious complaints” by encouraging them. It says further that some of the totally “absurd, sentimental and reckless verdicts” of the Judges of the Supreme Court has resulted in lodging of such complaints frequently and expects practicality from Judges in future.

Going forward, BCI also gave a note of advice to Judges saying said that, “The oral testimony of the prosecutrix is enough to convict under Section 354 or 376 IPC,” Why? We are not in 18th century, that one can presume that a female will never make such allegations to falsely implicate her enemies. We have great respect  for our women. But time has changed, we must keep in mind. Our Judges are expected to be practical now, they should think of common man and other respectable citizen also while deciding or dealing with such cases. They should not be guided by the sentiment or presumptions only. Always think that like 498A IPC, such cases of false implications have now become very common/very easy/rampant.”

Hope That Our Judges Will Lay Down Some Law Soon

To put things in perspective, the BCI said that, “Bar is hopeful that our Judges would now realize the problems, the mental and physical agony and harassments of the common men. So long our traditional Laws, Evidence Act were properly applied by our Law Courts, we found 90% cases resulting in acquittals; but, when our Honourable, Learned, Experienced, Knowledgeable Judges started keeping the settled principles of Evidence Act in waste paper boxes, the incidents of false implications started increasing and today we have reached to this situation.”

Limitation

Be it noted, the BCI also rightly suggested that, “When Indian Judiciary and our Legislature are treating such offences of Section 354 or 376 I.P.C. very serious, then why should not there be some period of limitation for reporting such offences? If some delay is there in lodging a case of murder, it is viewed with doubt, then why should the case of 354 or 376 I.P.C. could be taken and accepted so casually, without considering the delay factor? The delay normally very much proves and establishes that the so called prosecutrix was/is either a liar or was a consenting party. And after sometimes, when the situation changes or for blackmailing, complaints are lodged.”

Moving on, the BCI also then rightly laments that, “But our Judges have made this most vital factor of delay in such cases totally meaningless and redundant. Is it not against the set principles of our Criminal Jurisprudence? If such cases are not reported immediately, the benefit of doubt should go to the accused. What is the sense in entertaining such cases reported after several days, several weeks, several months or even for several years of alleged occurrence/story?” Also, it rightly urges that, “This is the high time, the Parliament and our Supreme Court are required to apply their mind over this important factor in the changed social scenario and degeneration of moral values.”

It has to be said without any caveats that the BCI deserves certainly to be complimented, commended and congratulated wholeheartedly for taking such a balanced, principled and determined decision of fully endorsing the Justice Bobde panel report and also for reposing unflinching faith in the incumbent CJI Ranjan Gogoi who has always enjoyed an unblemished reputation and who never believes in giving out-of-turn hearing to even senior advocates and who believes that all advocates must adhere to rules and procedure while arguing cases and should not try to rush cases just because they are senior! BCI too feels that there is no substance in the allegations made by the complainant against the CJI Ranjan Ggoi! History will always judge BCI very lavishly on this score! Eminent and senior lawyers like Harish Salve too have posed their full faith in CJI Ranjan Gogoi and so have lawyer-turned-politicians like our Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and many others! Very rightly so!

I strongly believe that the time is ripe now for making changes in our penal laws and treating woman on the same platform as men. Just like adultery has been decriminalized there is now a dire need to ensure that if a woman makes false accusations against any men then she is not allowed to get away scot free. She must be also made to pay for her crime of making false accusations. There must be a minimum two years imprisonment and maximum five years imprisonment for anyone whether he/she is a man or woman who makes false allegations against anyone without substantiating it due to which the reputation of the person affected suffers irreparably! Also, a woman should not have any right of alleging rape after voluntarily indulging in sex herself! How can sex with consent be termed as rape?

Sanjeev Sirohi

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