Are Indian matrimonial laws benefitting women only on paper?

For justice and dignity

Indian marital laws are not gender-sensitive, say activists

Unable to bear the daily harassment by her husband, 34-year-old Aliya, a mother of two, finally decided to call it quits and filed for divorce, little knowing that her problems were far from over.

Aliya's world since 2001, when she filed a divorce petition, has been limited to running from pillar to post trying to make her husband cough up the alimony that was due.

But the protracted battle in the court is slowly taking its toll on her health and is keeping her from her only possession- her children.

"Aliya's case is not a one-off incident. There are thousands of cases like hers pending before courts all over the country. This only goes on to show that there are several loopholes in the Indian marital laws that need to be plugged," said Jaya Sagade, vice principal of ILS Law College, Pune.

Sagade's voice was among the many at the two-day seminar on economic rights and entitlements of separated and divorced women held in the capital which saw women lawyers, teachers and women rights activists come together to deliberate ways to "plug-in" the "flaws" in Indian marital laws.

They also raised concerns about how the right to maintenance which was increasingly being used as a tool for discrimination.

"We need to, at first, look for alternatives to the word maintenance. People, especially those connected to the judicial system, are increasingly looking at alimony as a welfare scheme where money is doled to women.

"The first step is to change this perception and start looking at it as a right," said Malavika Rajkotia, a lawyer at the Delhi high court.

Separation and divorce for the Indian women usually leads to the woman returning to her natal home with absolutely nothing, she said, adding that this not only leads to a drastic fall in her lifestyle, living standards and social status but is also a big blow to her confidence.

The stigma associated with single women, the paltry amount in alimony, expenses incurred during trials, "class and gender bias" among lawyers are some of the problems that were raised during the course of the seminar.

"Let's take the case of Kerala which has the highest women literacy rate, but even this state is not spared of violence, crime and discrimination against women," said Geena Kumari, a lawyer practicing in the Kerala high court.

Women often feel that they are doubly harassed, first by their husband and marital families and then by the police and lawyers they approach for help, she said.

"Women most often are unaware that they are entitled to maintenance, have no idea how much their husbands earn, or even where they work, and are unable to provide their income proof in order to ask for maintenance," Kumari said.

"These are least of their problems. In addition they have to carry the stigma of being a single woman, go through the cumbersome judicial process, try to meet the expenses for each hearing and the end of all this make-do with the meagre alimony they get which can be as low as Rs500 per month," she said.

Geetha Ramasheshan, an advocate at the Madras high court, said, "Government must try to address more gender-related issues."

She said the judicial system, in the meanwhile, must start treating refusal of alimony as a criminal offence.

A primary recommendation that emerged during the discussion is that all separated, divorced Indian women must be entitled to at least half share of assets in marital home or assets acquired by couple during the period that they were together.

The women also raised the need to sensitise judges to gender issues and a support system for women whose husbands can't give maintenance.

"What is sad is that it's been almost three decades since the landmark Shah Bano case, where the 62-year-old mother of five went to court seeking alimony, but sadly the marital laws in the country have evolved little since then," said Mary E John, director of Centre for Women's Development Studies.

 

http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_indian-marital-laws-are-not-gender-sensitive-say-activists_1484145


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Nationalist

The laws are full of flaw, implementation is also difficult 

 
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Manager

Roshni, a law can be seen only in its totality. Two types of laws are possible :-

 

1. Based on Nature - Man and women are different

2. Based on Indian Constitution : No discrimination based on gender.

Now, it is our constitution which tries to violate the laws prescribed by nature. 

As per nature, different sets of laws are required for men and for women. But going by the constitution, any law has to be Gender Neutral ( and not Gender Sensitive) .

One must be clear about which set of laws one wants to prescribe. But having selected a particular set of law ( natural / constitutional ) , one has to be ready to bear its consequences till the end.

 

Having said that, I personally believe that violation of natural laws are not sustainable in long term ( even by the constitution of any sovereign nation). The nature has three sets of laws :-

1. Laws of Physical Sciences

2. Laws of Biology

3. Laws of Psychology.

Whether any law / act violates any of the above three laws of nature , in course of its implementation, is the only acid test for correctness of a law.

 

 
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Consultant

WHY SHE IS LOOKING FOR PITTANCE AND RUNNING FROM PILLAR TO POST. SHE WUD EARN MORE IF SHE tries to be self sufficient.

she may not get any significant alimony after deserting her husband.


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TL

I don't understand what these feminists want. Even after seeing so much misuse of these gender biased laws. They lived their life peacefully and now they want that nobody else can live life just for their dirty politics.

Please tell me how many more family breaking laws you want.

These laws are more misused than used.


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Legal & Social Activist

 

 

 

There should be equilibrium in law and justice and its should not be gender biased.

 

Today women is claiming ,maintenance whether they have any real problem with their husband or not but they are claiming it as a matter of right and it becomes business now to earn easy money. Marry the rich person , do quarrel with them and then claim maintenance and alimony. When she is not ready to co-operate and take care of her husband and family then why she should get any maintenance/alimony. IT MUST BE STOPPED AND BE GIVEN ONLY IN DESERVING CASES WHERE HUSBAND IS GUILTY AND WIFE IS INNOCENT.IT WILL SAVE THE FAMILIES.

 

It is a jungle raj and  way to become rich on others money.

 

If husband has duty to maintain her wife then wife has also duty to take care of him and give love and affection. So there should be no maintenance at all for wife's who are just trying to enrich them by using this ANDHA KANOON.

 

 

Certain suggestions to preserve families and to save them:

 

          No maintenance till guilty is proved and if husband is ready to reconcile and bear all the expenses of wife and children if she re-joins him.

 

          No maintenance  and alimony in the 2nd marriage if she has got it in the first divorce.

 

          No maintenance if she can maintain her or her parents can maintain her and if husband is ready to take her back.

 

          Compulsory mediation for avoiding long legal battle.

 

          Law should be such that both husband and wife try to reconcile .

 

          Law should not be favoring anyone to ensure that marriages are saved.

 

        

      Domestic violence complaint / fir should be filed within 24 hours of alleged incidence in place of today's situation in which wife and her parents try to black mail the husband and his family to agree to their terms and if they do not agree then they file case even after many years.

 

 

DV Act must be applicable equally to men and women as today women is more aggressive and ill-treat, abuse, beat husbands and in-laws but the DV Act not applicable to them. It must cover wife's and their families to ensure equality and justice.

 

 

Limits provided in the Act for filing mutual consent Divorce after 1 year separation, desertion of 2 year,3 years for IRBM etc. should be removed and it should be only 3 months so both can start their life’s afresh.  When two persons can marry without any waiting period then there should be no waiting period for separation.

 

The most important thing is to fix time limit for completion of hearing and disposal of case in any court say 6 months only. The cases must be tried on fast track basis. The infrastructure of the legislative system should be strenght4ened and cases must be disposed off within 6 months.

 

For filing cases some minimum requirement of proofs etc. must be there and it should not be like this that for any small small issue anybody can go and file the case.

 

Specially for family matters pre-litigation mediation must be compulsory and the behavior/flexibility of each party in resolving the issue must be recorded and should be base of their case in future (if any).

 

Pre-neputal agreement should be made legal so husband and wife are aware before hand what they are going to get or loose if they part there ways and they should be allowed to take divorce on the terms mentioned in the agreement without going to court. 

 

MAXIMUM LIMIT OF MAINTENANCE AMOUNT BE FIXED IN THE ACT ITSELF TO STOP ITS MIS-USE

 

THERE MUST BE STRICT PENAL PROVISIONS FOR PETITIONER AND ADVOCATES FOR FILING FALSE CASES.IT WILL REDUCE LARGE NUMBER OF FALSE CASES. AS PER STATATICS 95% DOWRY/ DOMESTIC VIOLANCE CASES ARE FALSE.ONCE JUDGES START PUNISHING THOSE INVOLVED IN SUCH CASES THERE WILL BE SEA CHANGE.

 

Dowry law, Hindu Marriage law, Domestic violence Act etc. must be made equal for both husband and wife. Lacs of husband are suiciding because of these biased laws.

 


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Manager

@ Dear Gaurav,

I endorse the spirit of your point.

What you said about feminists, is actually applicable to almost all the activists.

Any  practising manager knows about the Policy Chain which is someting like this :- 

Cause ---> Policy Decision -------> Policy Implementation ----------> Consequences --------> Compare Achieved Consequences with the desired consequences -----------> Solving the deviation ( New cause) .

In my career , I have found that  most activists are unfortunately unable to see beyond a cause for making policy. 

Their statements , such as ( working for a cause) often implies this.

Rarely we find an activist  ' working for a Consequence'. 

 

Thus, most of the activist, whether feminists or environmentalists or any other ... ists propose such short sighted solutions, which literally  makes the cure worse than the disease  itself. 

What's your take?

 

 

 

 
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Advocate

DVA/498A IS A GREAT BENEFIT TO THOSE WOMEN WITH ULTERIOR MOTIVES.


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service

YES ...THE KANUN IS ANDHA,

Women are misusing the law ,particularly urban -educated .I tolerated my wifes abuses for 17 years as I have a son.now  my son has grown up and now he can understand how my wife is behaving ,

she was forcing me to give divorce so that she can have alimony and maintenence  and threated to file domestic violence against me,

Vexed up,I  filed divorce on grounds of crulality  ,as a counter she file 498A  against me, my aged mother ,my brother ,my sister  (all of them  stay in a different state  with their family),for demanding dowry of 5 lakhs after 17 years of marriage.

My son is with me , she is claiming 50% of my salary and my hard earned property. she is well educated and has been working but after filing for maintenance she has changed the job and is working secretly in some unknown place.

where is equality,yes the law is gender baised ,

it is against men.is it the only responsibilty of husband to take care of wife after divorce, i have studied hard to get good education and work sincerly to rise to a good position inspite of unhealty atmospher in the house, she had been enjoying my money till now and when I got vexed and was beyong tolerance,still the law say I must pay her maintenence ,is its it a torcher  to men . why not "her parents" who are also financially sound take care of her daughter ,is n't it a punishment for husband for a mistake he had done by marrying her for which he has to suffer life long.

When a person  dont  get along with friends,brothersand sisters,relative,we simlply dont keep relations,but when it comes s to wife why this discrimination.

today men are scared to get married that is the reason living togather is becoming popular.....judicial system should look into this aspect and should do something to save men from women who are misusing the law.


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UNEMPLOYED

" YES ...THE KANUN IS ANDHA,

Women are misusing the law ,particularly urban -educated .I tolerated my wifes abuses for 17 years as I have a son.now  my son has grown up and now he can understand how my wife is behaving ,"

- SAME REPLY FROM ME ALSO.

- I CAN REMEMBER THAT, MS ASH ALSO ASKED THE SAME THING, ALMOST IN SAME LANGUAGE! 

 
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