Male Rights Groups Want Review Of Marriage Laws Bill
Male rights groups working for family laws which are gender neutral will force the government to review the Marriage Laws (Amendment) Bill of 2010. They claim that the law in its present form is discriminatory to men.
“We are going to meet members of parliament, starting with Law Minister (DV) Sadananda Gowda next week, to convince them that the government should reintroduce the bill in the new format as suggested by the male rights groups,” said, Kumar V Jahgirdar, president of Bangalore-based Child Rights Initiative for Shared Parenting (CRISP).
The marriage law bill was introduced in Rajya Sabha on August 4th, 2010, but is yet to be taken for discussion. It requests to amend the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 to provide the irretrievable breakdown of marriage as a new ground for granting a divorce.
According to Jahgirdar the bill, in its present form, violates the essence of Article 15 of Indian constitution, which prohibits discrimination against any citizen on grounds of religion or gender. He also added that there is no protection for children to connect with both parents trough the shared parenting option as there is a presumption that the child likes to remain with the mother. He added that the studies have shown that single parenting is not advisable for the welfare of the child.
Swarup Sarkar, the founder of the Delhi chapter of the NGO Save Family Foundation, said that the law, if passed in its current form, may get misused as there is no time limit for the marriage to be sustained to claim maintenance.
s also unfair that the separated woman will claim for the estranged husbands ancestral property, even in case of a short-duration marriage,” Sarkar pointed out.
Yashna Chawla, a Bangalore-based family counsellor, is of opinion that the bill only focuses on the married woman and does not consider the problems faced by other members of the family in case of a separation.
“All the property of the husband that he currently owns and his ancestral property will be divided between the husband and the wife, but what about the man’s unmarried sisters and his mother?” asked Chawla.
According to Jahgirdar, the government should try to understand the public opinion about the law before reframing the bill.
“In failed marriages, misuse of section 498 (A) of the IPC (Indian Penal Code) dealing with harassing a married woman is an open secret. This amendment will be another tool and further distress families,” he added. The bill in the present form has not mentioned about the custody of children in post-separation cases.