One cannot rule out that 498a has its own merits, if it is implemented in true spirit, i.e. at the time of investigation, only in true cases the charges are made or in false cases wives are prosecuted under S212 for giving false info to police officer, there would have been hardly any reason for the birth of this group. i.e. why legalists say “misuse is no ground for unconstitutionality”, Every law gets misused then.
Unfortunately quality of investigation, before trial, is abysmally low in India, which has led to the trauma, the members of the group are facing. The problem with 498a is with the twisted procedural provision of making it non-bailable crime, which has been used by most of the 498a wives, as lawyers and wives know that because of the quality of investigation and judicial attitude, they will not come into problem because of wrong information given to police officer and the initial imprisonment and trial itself is sufficient punishment to the husband and family.
By making such laws available only for women's protection (i.e. one section of society), which has more populist value today, the government is free to enact laws which are extremely discriminatory and allow for domination over male gender. Now consider the situation when the same laws are applicable for offences against male gender, it will be difficult for women's orgs to enact such twisted provisions to create an environment of threat, as with the same acts the female gender may also be punishable, in same situation.
If we are successful in making right interpretation of article 15(3), the attitude of government and NCW in particular will have to undergo drastic change, as the laws will have to be extremely judicious and such threatening laws and raising torture camps (CAW cells) in the name of women's protection will not be possible. Hence it is of prime-most importance for us to clarify the constitutional position on article 15(3) and all the great laws associated with it.
So far as the question of female victims of 498a is concerned, we do not want to gather sympathy by hiding behind our sisters and mothers. Whoever is the perpetrator must be punished, whether those are females or males, but if the same atrocities are made against males, they should not be denied protection from the female & male members of the family.
Yes there is one petition when protection under article(14), was denied in 498a. It appears that the judgement said that husband and his relatives is a sound classification, and it is an established fact that only husband and his relatives are prepetrators. Hence PIL is not valid. It will be challenging to convince SC on this point.