The proposed amendment to the divorce law that gives women 50% share in her husband’s residential property regardless of whether the property was acquired before or during marriage is ill conceived. It will have widespread ramifications and ultimately destroy the institution of family as it has happened in the west.
The new amendment will change the two key legislations-Hindu Marriage Act 1955 and the Special Marriage Act 1954.It may be noted that the personal laws of the Muslims have been conveniently left out of the purview of the new amendment.
The Bill is just another gender biased law open to massive misuse. This Bill does not care that a child would be forced to be brought up in a broken family, and a father would not have any legal right, even to save his own marriage, under this Bill, even for the sake of his own child.
The proposed legislation is designed to deliberately destroy marriages and promoting Divorces by providing property rights only when wife divorces and not when she is married. It would encourage high society (politicians, judges, bureaucratic and business class) wives to take divorce route on simple marital discords at the instance of rivals/adversaries just to get enriched.
Gender biased laws like IPC 498A are a blot on Indian Democracy and they affect Hindus and Muslims alike. The Supreme Court has termed IPC 498A as “Legal Terrorism”.
Even though the laws are biased and are in favor of women, in reality they are anti women. More women (consisting of Mother-in laws, sister-in-laws) have been arrested under this law than all other laws put together. As per the same MHA, in last 10 years, 14,26,288 persons have been arrested including 3,66,030 women (1999-2000). Also more than 91% of the people arrested were found not guilty (pre & post trial) in 2010.
Thanks to cavalier attitude of the government, brilliant lives and careers have been destroyed and men have been forced to commit suicide (according to NCRB data, there have been 61,453 suicides of married men). The irony is that in India criminals and scamstars roam freely , but law abiding citizens, elderly citizens are put behind bars just on basis of mere complain.
During the past few decade, general decadence of moral values in society, a valueless education system and hedonist aspiration has bread a band of unscrupulous and debauched women. These women use these laws to cover up their infractions, to humiliate, to seek vengeance and to force out elderly and dependent siblings of their husband from their own house. They use these laws, in connivance with a corrupt criminal judicial system, for extortion of in-laws.
The amendments come at a time when there is widespread concern over the misuse of these laws and the government has done nothing to alleviate them. If the proposed legislation is passed, there will be a total of 6 sections under which a Hindu woman can claim maintenance leading to unnecessary complications and duplication of law .A Hindu woman has already been given equal rights in her parental property. Modern women are also part of workforce and it ignores the fact that large numbers of cases have been filed for maintenance by husbands (under Section 24 of Hindu Marriage Act) from wife.
The proposed amendment will only aid the ongoing heist. The term ‘financial hardship’ should be defined because otherwise this will lead to a subjective interpretation of this term and will ultimately turn into a tool for extortion.
The proposed legislation is silent on what will happen to the pending Civil and Criminal cases like Domestic Violence Act, 498A IPC, Child Custody, and CrPC 125 and has left scope for future litigations. . The Bill should have a provision to quash cases between the parties before grant of divorce as it happens presently under Mutual Divorce format.
The Hindu Jurisprudence provides for property rights based on duties. A man has to provide his kinsmen, aged parents, unmarried sisters with food, raiment and shelter. By giving wives 50 % share in their husband’s property, the new amendment seeks to deprive others of their rights and share thereby subjecting them to abject poverty. In that way this amendment will do great disservice to women and elderly citizens.
In case the man chooses to re-marry, he will be unable to do so as he will not be able to maintain his new wife and the children born out of the wedlock. Without any responsibility and with her own property intact, the woman will use the money for profligacy even though her former in-laws live in abject poverty.
The proposed law is totally silent on division of wife’s marital property and what would happen if the husband is a member of Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) owning a single joint property. It is also silent on how Liabilities such as loans, mortgages etc should also be divided. The new law should not make Marriage as a “PROPERTY TRANSFER BUREAU”.
Think of the following scenarios:-
Sanjay (aged 30) has bought the apartment last year borrowing money from parents and the bank. He has an outstanding loan of 26 lakhs and his wife has threatened divorce. Sanjay does not know what to do.
Amlan is 36 and his wife Suniti (aged 32) has filed for divorce after 4 years of marriage and they have no child out of wedlock. He owns an apartment costing 60 lakhs and she owns a plot costing 50 lakhs. Now, Amlan will be made to give half to his wife, while his wife will not share half of the plot with him. After this law, Amlan’s will own property worth just 30 lakhs, while his wife will have property with a whopping 80 lakhs.
Also the wife can walk out of the marriage on her whims and caprice whereas the man is forever dammed. This Bill is totally unconstitutional and it takes away all the rights of the husband, even to defend himself or even to save his own marriage. A wife would stay away from the husband and would automatically get a divorce by default after 3 years, without any fault of the husband who would also have no right or say altogether.
As in most other countries, the maintenance should be proportional to the years of marriage. A wife in a marriage of 1 year should NOT be treated equally as a marriage of 20 years.
It is a proven fact that men suffer equally from domestic violence and break up of marriage. Any wanton interference by the state in the marital affairs should be avoided as it prevents any rapprochement even in case of minor disputes. A man’s love for his child is no less than that of the mother. A man and his parents can suffer serious mental trauma when denied right to his child. Since Children are the future of a Nation therefore Gender neutral shared child custody and parenting law must be incorporated. Both parents as well as grandparents must have access and visiting rights to the children. There are instances when a dying grand-parent has been denied a final wish to see his grandchild.
In light of the above facts IPC 498A, DV Act and the proposed amendment must be scrapped or they should be made gender neutral, with sufficient safeguards inbuilt in it to prevent its misuse .The word husband and wife should be replaced by spouse in these laws.
In the West family values have been so scorned that they are left with neither Family nor values. Women have been liberated from their husbands, children from their parents and the whole society from moral values. It is moral values that bind a society together. As a result they have teenage pregnancies, widespread illegitimacy, drug abuse and a generation of unloved and uncared for kids. Do we want this in India?
Let us preserve that beautiful institution called Family where we have Grandparents uncle and aunties in a large support system offering a salubrious environment for growth of healthy children.
The Government should think of welfare of society at large rather than pander to the rapacious desires of unscrupulous women and feminist.