Unveiling Equality: Men’s Rights in India’s Legal System and Social Dynamics

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Published On: 22nd April, 2024

Authored By: Anjali S. Raut
Dr. Ambedkar College of Law, Nagpur University


In this article, we delve into the often-overlooked topic of men’s rights in India. This article explores the legal framework surrounding men’s rights, shedding light on the challenges and disparities faced by men in various aspects of society. While it is true that women are more vulnerable to social pressure than men, this does not relieve men of harassment and harm. As we all know there are a lot of provisions for women’s protection. Unfortunately, some of these provisions are anti-men in nature, due to which these provisions are often misused against men. Are there any laws that protect men? Is Indian society ready to accept the fact that even men need protection? It’s an important conversation that aims to promote inclusivity and equality. Let’s embark on this journey together!


An actual feminist movement emerged in the middle of the 20th century, bringing to light the extreme unjust and terror that women had to endure daily. As a result, legislative changes were required to put women equally with men. However, this feminism eventually turned against men. Women who had been properly misled began to demonize men. This had a large negative impact on society and led to many inexperienced women being misguided. The feminist movement was vital, no doubt, but what followed later was a needless evil. When it comes to violence, women in our nation are the ones who are always brought up for discussion. It is always that a man must have committed the crime. It is a social narrative that women are gentle, kind, and innocent. However, violence is no longer limited to women because of recent social and economic changes that have an impact on the structure of society. It is not uncommon for men to experience verbal, physical, emotional, psychological, and sexual abuse.

According to the results of an Economic Times- Sy novate Poll, 19 percent of the 527 respondents polled in seven cities that is Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai, and Pune- claimed they had experienced sexual harassment at work. In Bangalore, 51 percent of those who polled claimed they had been sexually harassed, while in Delhi and Hyderabad, 31 percent and 28 percent of those who polled said they had been sexually harassed, respectively. Around 38 percent of respondents in 7 Indian cities felt that ‘men are equally prone to sexual harassment as women in today’s workplace.[1]

Are there any laws designed to protect men that are as strong as those protecting women?

Under the constitution of India, both men and women are provided with certain rights called fundamental rights. These rights include the right to constitutional remedies, equality before the law, freedom of speech, freedom of association and religion, and peaceful assembly. However, the legislature has also developed unique laws and provisions only for women. They have been carefully curated to protect women. And are against men either directly or indirectly. There is nothing wrong with having laws created just for women; the question is, are there laws made for men?

Men’s rights become necessary when they are denied any rights in comparison to women and when there is widespread misuse of “pro-women” legislation, which is encouraged by the biased Indian legal system. Especially laws such as sections 498A, 307, 312, 354, 375, 376, 377[2] of IPC have often been misused to extort men. Advocates of men’s rights claim that most cases filed under these categories are fraudulent and brought up purely to harass males and most of them resulted in cash settlements only.

There are so many provisions and acts made for women’s protection some of them are as follows:

  • The Dowry Prohibition Act 1961.
  • The indecent representation of women acts 1986.
  • Equal Remuneration Act 1976.
  • Protection of women from domestic violence act 2005.
  • Immoral Traffic Prevention Act 1956.
  • The Sexual Harassment of Women in the Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act 2013.
  • Maternity Benefit Act 1961. Etc.

However, a thorough evaluation of the laws at hand reveals that these are so powerful that women do not even need to prove their case in court, for example, in section 498 A of the IPC, just submitting a complaint can put men behind bars. It says a spouse or any relative of a spouse is liable to imprisonment for up to 3 years and a fine if they commit any act of cruelty to their spouse. Even though women may and do commit acts of violence against males. There is no legislation in India that mandates punishment for such crimes the rule has been misused because of lack of gender-neutral regulations prohibiting cruelty to an innocent person’s defence against section 498A, which is a non-bailable offense that is much more difficult to achieve. A similar set of rules is required to safeguard the husband and other members of his family from the wife’s abuse. This area has been abused in several ways. Gender-neutral rules should be implemented to prevent these kinds of scenarios. In India, the word rape has come to mean an act that can only be commuted by men. However, the reality is that even males and transgender people have been subjected to such heinous crimes. It doesn’t matter whether the guy makes an official complaint about rape perpetrated by a female since the IPC doesn’t have any measures to deal with it.[3]

How do women misuse their powers given by the provisions?

In the famous ‘Rohtak Sisters Case’ Pooja and her sister Aarti from Thana Khurd village in Sonipat district humiliated three teenagers from Assam village in Rohtak district on a moving bus on November 28th, 2014, on the grounds that they had molested them. As the investigation was underway, the two con sisters and their character assassination of the boys were being held by the national media based only on biased accusations and a bus videotape. An FIR was filed, and SIT was established to investigate the matter. Eventually, the police inquiry proved the sister’s accusation to be false. Among the 50 or so witnesses, none of them including the girl who recorded the incident on camera supported the sister’s account. Tests using polygraphs show that the address sisters were providing some informational concealing as the boys came out clean.[4]

We all have heard about the ‘Nisha Sharma Dowry Case’, in this case, Nisha Sharma accused Munish Dalal, her intended groom, of demanding dowry, raising concerns about the dynamics and justice of such claims within the court system. Indian and foreign media gave the case a lot of coverage Nisha was presented as a female role model and a symbol of youth. In 2012 after the court cleared every accused party, the matter was concluded. To avoid getting married to her fiancé, the court determined that Nisha had made up the false dowry charges. It represents how IPC 498 A can be misused against men who are innocent.[5]

The accusations of sexual harassment against Sarvjeet Singh in 2015 by Jasleen Kaur and the subsequent events gave rise to the controversy surrounding her. A Delhi lady named Jasleen Kaur said that Sarvjeet Singh had harassed her sexually when she shared a picture of Singh’s Facebook in August 2015. In India, a post went viral on social media and attracted a lot of attention. Kaur received a lot of support from national leaders and celebrities for speaking out against sexual harassment and teasing on social media. Singh denied harassing Kaur; however, he did admit that he and Kaur had disagreed. A few days following the incident, Singh’s story gained credence when an eyewitness tested his innocence. An Indian court declared Singh innocent in October 2019 after he was cleared of all charges Sarvjeet Singh filed a petition requesting a criminal investigation against Jasleen Kaur for making false claims to which Kaur replied that she would fight on. The Delhi High Court later dismissed Singh’s plea.[6]

Another tragic example of false rape involving 23-year-old Vishnu Tiwari who was first detained in September 2000 after the woman, her husband, and her father-in-law filled the false report in the police station. ‘She was 5 months pregnant when he allegedly beat her sexually assaulted her and committed rape’ This was the false accusation made by the woman and her family members. After that he was charged with rape and crimes against humanity under the SC/ST Act despite getting released Tiwari was taken into custody once more in 2001 before being condemned to life in jail in 2003 by a Lalitpur trial court. He was an undertrial for 2 years. Tiwari had petitioned a trial court in 2005 to overturn his conviction but his case was dismissed because it lacked some necessary paperwork. That was how things were for 16 years. He was in jail for 20 years despite being innocent, later when the case re-opened it was seen that the accusations were false and Tiwari was innocent, but that was still so unfair. The innocent Vishnu Tiwari had already lost 20 years of his precious life which no law can bring him back. That poor person still struggling to cope with the social and economic changes that had happened in those 20 years he lost. And there are a lot of untold cases where men are suffering.[7]

The challenges men have to face due to such misuse of provisions against them:

Not only men but the entire family have to bear the repercussions when it comes to fictitious cases. Indian societies are built on respect and reputations, if a man or his family is associated with any form of false cases, the entire community turns against them making their situation much more difficult. False cases such as those involving dowries, rape, and adultery ruin everything that one may have achieved. As a result, the man and his family have to deal with social rejection and humiliation.

The man is socially financially, and mentally affected. Suddenly, his friends and relatives no longer believe them. Getting fired from jobs or facing difficulty in getting new jobs easily is where they suffer financially. Man experiences mental depression because, unlike women, men do not have a safe space to express their feelings or cry. The societal narrative for men is that they must be strong in every situation. They have often been told to ‘take it as MAN’. Sadly, it weakens men rather than making them strong when they are most vulnerable in life. In most cases, men take their lives by attempting suicide and that is the most heartbreaking scenario when the legal system and we as a society collectively fail to save the life of an innocent man.

What are the steps that could be taken to prevent all this?

  1. Protection from false accusations: Men’s rights advocates in India contend that because men are frequently wrongfully accused of crimes like rape and domestic abuse the court system needs to do a better job of guarding against this kind of unfounded claims. Punishment should be given to women as well when the accusations made by them are proven to be wrong.
  2. Protection against harassment and abuse: The current acts against harassment are women-oriented. Laws should be made for both men and women, and most importantly they should not forget about transgenders. They are similarly vulnerable to harassment.
  3. Gender-neutral laws- To make the Indian legal system fair, the legislature should make more gender-neutral laws. Currently, in India, very few laws are gender-neutral for example Acid Attack Act or Attempt to Acid Attack, another example is the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, in which even men are entitled to claim maintenance from their wives. But most of the laws are still gender biased which needs to be addressed.
  4. Awareness and Education: Men should be educated from childhood to express themselves. They should be taught that being emotional or opening emotionally to friends and family is totally acceptable. Special care should be taken towards the mental health of the men. Educating them about the rights they have or provisions that can be used against them.
  5. Establishment of organization: There are several NGOs working and supporting women in need. These organizations constantly work towards spreading awareness, essential support, and care. Though there are a few NGOs that also work toward the protection of men, those are, the Save Indian Family Foundation and VAASTAV- the social reality. The men’s right moment is a brilliant example when we talk about the place for men’s protection and support. We need more such organizations to spread awareness and protect men. Indeed we should protect the daughters of the Nation, but we also need to protect the ‘Sons’ of the Nation.

Conclusion: The article attempted to address the significance of laws and society that are gender-neutral at large. Following a thorough examination, we were able to identify the gaps and the actions that needed to be taken to close them. India, a nation that is rising rapidly must safeguard every person to ensure that its growth is sustainable and appropriate. The USA, the UK, and the Scandinavian nations are examples of nations having laws that are gender-neutral. To achieve gender equality in India, both the legal system and society need to thrive.


  1. Men’s rights in India gender biased laws, International Journal of Science and Research, volume 12 issue 4, April 2023.
  2. Position of males in Indian laws: gender equality or gender-biased? Bharti law review, oct-dec, 2016, Ms. Sonal Chaujar and Ms. Madhuri Bakshi.
  3. Save Indian Family Foundation Blogs.
  4. Voice for Men Blogs.
  5. Documentary by Journalist Deepika Narayan Bhardwaj.
  6. Indian Kanoon.

[1] Men’s Rights in India-Gender Biased Laws, International Journal for Science and Research (IJSR), pg. no.1007

[2] Indian Penal Code, 1860.

[3]Men’s Rights in India-Gender Biased Laws, International Journal for Science and Research (IJSR), pg. no.1009

[4] https://voiceformenindia.com/court-dismisses-appeal-for-action-against-rohtak-sisters-as-girls-have-also-suffered/

[5] https://voiceformenindia.com/nisha-sharma-false-dowry-case-after-9-years-court-observed-her-decision-to-call-off-wedding-was-pre-planned/

[6] Sarvjeet Singh vs state (Nct of Delhi) & Anr. On 19 September 2022.

[7] Vishnu Tiwari vs The State of Uttar Pradesh on 9 July 2019.

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