The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Save me, cries husband

Calcutta, Sept. 12: The boot is on the other foot.

Aniruddha Sen, a central government official, has sought Calcutta High Court’s “protection from constant threats by his wife and in-laws to use Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code” against him. This section deals with cruelty inflicted by a husband on his wife and is a non-bailable offence.

Sen, in his petition to the court, said his wife was threatening to move against him under the law because she war aware even a night’s stay in jail could jeopardise his career. The petition was to have come up for hearing today but because of a slip would now be taken up on Monday.

Aniruddha (a permanent resident of Jadavpur — the reason the case is being filed in Calcutta — but now posted in Delhi) married a Delhi-resident a few years ago. They stayed together for some time, Aniruddha’s lawyer (Kinshuk Chatterjee) said, but found they did not have too much in common.

They have been staying apart for the past few months without taking recourse to any legal move for separation or divorce, he added. Both husband and wife are staying in Delhi, he clarified, but Aniruddha’s wife is living with her parents.

The threats to use Section 498A started soon after the decision to live separately, Aniruddha has alleged in his petition. Using the “dreaded section” as a weapon, his wife and her family had “blackmailed” him into paying several lakhs, he has said in his petition.

Besides, the value of articles “extracted” from him — using similar tactics — would run into several thousand rupees, he has added.

His petition, which is to come up for hearing in Justice Pinaki Ghosh’s room, says the threats have been regular and are continuing.

Aniruddha went to the local station house in Delhi, his petition says, but police refused to register a case on the basis of his allegations. “The officials explained that they were ignorant whether a case could be filed against threats to use Section 498A,” it adds.

The petition says Aniruddha’s “only hope” now is the court. “If women who are tortured by their husbands can get help from the court, why can’t it provide succour to husbands who are threatened and blackmailed'” Aniruddha asked. “Does the rule of law apply only to men'”

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