People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


Vol. XXXVI

No. 18

May 06, 2012

AIDWA Concerned at Re-Introduction

Of Marriage Laws Bill

The following is the press statement issued by the AIDWA on May 1:

The All India Democratic Womenís Association expresses deep concern that the Marriage Laws ( Amendment) Bill 2010 and the Amendments to it, †reintroduced in the Rajya Sabha on April 30, 2012, is sought to be passed without first giving women equal rights to marital assets including the marital home, and without strengthening the laws relating to maintenance.

The amendment seeks to make irretrievable breakdown of marriage a ground for divorce, and proposes that the court may give the wife a share in theproperty acquired during the subsistence of marriage.. Unfortunately, whether a share should be given at all and the quantum of the share in marital property is left to be decided by the Courts on a case to case basis. Our experience in the courts has shown that a large number of courts have been very been very conservative and close-fisted about granting maintenance for wives and children and have awarded dismal sums. These courts have obviously acted with a bias towards women and have treated them unequally. When women approach the courts for maintenance, they are awarded sums that may normally range anywhere between five to thirty five per cent approximately of the manís income, even if there are children to be supported. The courtsí evaluation of what constitutes adequate maintenance frequently falls far short of what women and children require even to survive in a dignified manner. Thus, allowing the courts to decide on a share in the marital property is no guarantee that the wife will receive her just entitlements.

In countries where irretrievable breakdown of marriage has been introduced as a ground of divorce, laws relating to an equitable division of all marital assets also exist. This is because the contribution of a woman in building up of the household and in primarily taking care of the children is recognised and is considered to be as economically valuable as work outside the house. Unless women are treated as equals in a marriage and given the same financial and other security that men have on its breakdown, it would be discriminatory to further liberalise the grounds of divorce.††

AIDWA demands that the amendments for irretrievable breakdown of marriage as a ground for divorce be introduced only after a law has been enacted for giving women equal rights in marital property. This law should allow for equal division of the marital property upon separation and not merely on divorce. A provision should also be made for women, and children to get more than the half share for example the matrimonial home if the children are living with their mother. The laws relating to maintenance for women and children must be strengthened to ensure that women/ children receive an adequate amount of maintenance.

AIDWA has written a letter of appeal to the Rajya Sabha members to prevent the perpetration of injustice against women by the highest law making body of our country, and to oppose the law in its present form.†††

AIDWA Concerned at Re-Introduction

Of Marriage Laws Bill

 

The following is the press statement issued by the AIDWA on  May 1:

 

The All India Democratic Womenís Association expresses deep concern that  the Marriage Laws ( Amendment) Bill 2010 and the Amendments to it,  reintroduced in the Rajya Sabha on April 30, 2012, is sought to be passed without first giving women equal rights to marital assets including the marital home, and without strengthening the laws relating to maintenance.

 

The amendment seeks to make irretrievable breakdown of marriage a ground for divorce, and proposes that the court may give the wife a share in the  property acquired during the subsistence of marriage.. Unfortunately, whether a share should be given at all and the quantum of the share in marital property is left to be decided by the Courts on a case to case basis. Our experience in the courts has shown that a large number of courts have been very been very conservative and close-fisted about granting maintenance for wives and children and have awarded dismal sums. These courts have obviously acted with a bias towards women and have treated them unequally. When women approach the courts for maintenance, they are awarded sums that may normally range anywhere between five to thirty five per cent  approximately of the manís income, even if there are children to be supported. The courtsí evaluation of what constitutes adequate maintenance frequently falls far short of what women and children require even to survive in a dignified manner. Thus, allowing the courts to decide on a share in the marital property is no guarantee that the wife will receive her just entitlements.

 

In countries where irretrievable breakdown of marriage has been introduced as a ground of divorce, laws relating to an equitable division of all marital assets also exist. This is because the contribution of a woman in building up of the household and in primarily taking care of the children is recognised and is considered to be as economically valuable as work outside the house. Unless women are treated as equals in a marriage and given the same financial and other security that men have on its breakdown, it would be discriminatory to further liberalise the grounds of divorce.  

 

AIDWA demands that the amendments for irretrievable breakdown of marriage as a ground for divorce be introduced only after a law has been enacted for giving women equal rights in marital property. This law should allow for equal division of the marital property upon separation and not merely on divorce. A provision should also be made for women, and children to get more than the half share for example the matrimonial home if the children are living with their mother. The laws relating to maintenance for women and children must be strengthened to ensure that women/ children receive an adequate amount of maintenance. 

 

AIDWA has written a letter of appeal to the Rajya Sabha members to prevent the perpetration of injustice against women by the highest law making body of our country, and to oppose the law in its present form.