By Smriti Rana:
A letter addressed to the Union Law Minister, Salman Khurshid, by Delhi based Save Family Foundation, expresses outrage at the Marriage Laws (Amendment) Bill 2010. The provisions of this bill give the women (post divorce) rights to 50% of the property acquired after marriage. After much debate, it has been furthered to include 50% of property acquired by the male spouse even before marriage. Women have also been presented with the right to oppose the divorce whereas men have not been granted this liberty.
The issue that Wasif Ali, treasurer of Save Family Foundation seems to be having with these provisions are that they, “myopic, unconstitutional, undemocratic and discriminatory”. The bill was to be passed considering the countless problems women face after getting divorced. Most men fail to make their alimony payments and with nowhere else to turn, the women have to lean on their family for support. So post divorce, the brunt of the aftermath is faced by the helpless woman. But Wasif Ali believes this amendment to be unfair towards men. He says it’s unconstitutional and a promoter of a fatherless society.
Although I do think some metamorphosis of the laws regarding women’s rights after divorce needs to occur, this amendment is far too overdramatic and frankly very derogatory to men. There is just too much scope for it to be misused by women marrying just to acquire the wealth. In a generation where relationships seem to be much more fickle (what with the divorce rate soaring), another motive to break this relatively weak bond between man and wife is uncalled for. A divorce is never good anyway, and to give women a motive to break off marriages is just ridiculous.
This seems to me a prostitution of the holy institution that is marriage. Apart from presenting itself as a motive for breakups, this amendment is just not fair. It would make men have to part with self earned property if the wife opposes divorce and also stop the husband from opposing the divorce even in the interest of his biological children just because he’s a male, inter alia. It wouldn’t get rid of the burden, just transfer it from the female spouse to the male. Also, it would more or less ensure the estrangement of a father from his own child, biological or otherwise. Now, if nothing else, that is not justifiable at all.
This is just building up to the destruction of the Indian family system with divorce turning into an easy way of acquiring free property. Changes need to be implemented in a milder way. Men’s rights cannot be ignored just for the restoration of those of women. The bill needs to be rewritten such that equality of either party isn’t endangered.