In a bid to sensitise the society about the misuse of section 498A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), a documentary film titled ‘Martyrs of Marriage’ has portrayed the tales of how men are driven to commit suicide due to domestic violence and harassment through “false” cases filed under the provision.
Directed and produced by Deepika Narayan Bhardwaj, the one-and-a-half-hour-long documentary tells the story of men who were either driven to commit suicide or their family had to suffer because of “false” 498A cases.
The director says the film is an emotional journey of the men and their families who suffered because of the “false” cases.
“False cases under section 498A, IPC have destroyed the lives of many in India. Even though our courts have time and again delivered judgments condemning it, no concrete measure has been taken till now to contain this malaise which is driving people to commit suicide,” Bhardwaj said.
Bhardwaj, who herself is a victim of a false 498A case after her brother was implicated in it by her sister-in-law, decided to highlight the issue through her documentary.
“Both me and my family suffered because of a false 498A case. I felt that the people across India needed to know how many married men are driven to commit suicide or mental depression because of the harassment.
“I hope, the film initiates a serious discussion around these false cases, how they destroy lives and how it is time the State came up with a concrete solution to alleviate the problems of those who are being blackmailed,” she said.
Since its release, the film has been screened in Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai and in Madurai where it was shown to magistrates and police officers at the Tamil Nadu State Judicial Academy.
The film was screened here on Sunday, which was organised by an NGO, Hridaya.
The NGO, in 2014, had launched a mobile app and a helpline number, 08882498498, to help those men who were at the receiving end of domestic violence or slapped with false rape cases.
The film has captured the perspectives of lawmakers, judges, lawyers, police officers, social activists, private detectives, NGOs, women’s rights activists and men’s rights activists on the issue and presented real life stories of victims of false 498A cases and families of men who committed suicide because of the harassment and torture.
“It’s time that we acted against the misuse. Or else, it will be too late,” Amit Gupta of Hridaya said.