I welcome such announcements but with a monster caveat.
Welcome because Lawyers will get extra work when such cases gets filed on a/c of non-payment of 20% salary to housewife (it will be second biggest thing happening to Jr. level Advocates after what we see the heat of mass pending S. 138 cases is my view), Hon’ble SC down projected memory lane will sit to decide retrospective or prospective aspect of it (your mother is house-wife right or wrong and what is your average age today and when this law will come what will be your average age so it is obvious if your housewife mother files a case on your father it has to mean retrospective application of such Law is the only reasoning why SC has sit on it sooner than later J), NGO’s will get more grants to put forward voice of pan India house-maids as no one else in generic represents house-maids and house-maids domestic contribution should also be recognized vis-à-vis a housewife.
The main argument put forth by the housewives for introduction of this proposed Bill is that in India 95% of women indulge in house-hold works after getting married but their services are going unrecognized and do not get any remuneration for their services, so they must be paid by the Husbands at least 20% of their salary, besides bearing all the expenditure for running the family from the rest of 80% of their salary.
First these are the question it raises the moment you talk to wide strata of general public in your vicinity;
1. Does this law means, wives have to be paid like domestic-maids for doing domestic chorus?
2. If the proposed Law is being made as recognition to the labourious services and remuneration for the house-hold works done by the wives, if in the place of wife, house-maid is discharging every day house-hold work, then how should the house-maid must be treated?
3. Should not the house-maid be treated on par with the wife, because house-maid is doing house-hold works?
4. If wife has to be paid like domestic maid, then how much has to be paid to her for s*xual services to her husband?
5. Is physical contact with wife to Husband is free of cost? If house hold services of wives are being paid then why not payment for having ‘s*xual relation’ with wife?
6. If the living conditions of poor and low middle class wives in the Indian villages and small towns are kept aside, how many women irrespective their educational, employment status are really doing domestic works in the urban areas and well developed towns, whose husbands are earning well?
7. Are really wives doing the house-hold works OR House maids doing house-hold works in urban areas?
8. In the houses where wife is not doing the house-hold work but domestic-maid is discharging house-hold work like cleaning utensils, washing all the cloths including wife’s husband’s cloths, brooming the open space around the home, cleaning bathrooms and toilets, taking their children to drop at schools, cooking food – in such state of affairs, whose role should be recognized by law as wife? – That of house-maid or wife?
9. Then why the domestic-maid should not also be recognized on par with the wife, as house-maid is doing the entire domestic chorus?
10. If 10 to 20% of husband’s salary goes to wife who does not do the domestic work at all, but makes the house-maid to do all the work, then who are legitimately entitled for that 10 or 20% of amount? The person who is doing domestic work or the wife who is just sitting in home eating food and not doing any work?
11. If 10 or 20% salary is deposited on wife’s name, what about the maintenance money to wife, if she deserts the husband and files a maintenance case on husband?
12. After this law coming into force, wife’s position would get consolidated and when salary going into the wife’s account regularly, and then if wife deserts the husband, then what about the fate of husband?
13. Will this law applies to the wives who desert their husbands and goes back to her parents, sit in their home to eat husband’s money without doing any work?
14. Will this law create new financial skirmishes between wives and husbands?
15. Like 498-A of Penal Code, half a dozen Maintenance laws, domestic violence laws, will this law also be misused by some wives down the line?
16. With the introduction of this law what could be the fate of children education, and other domestic expenditures for running the family in already bad state of Indian economy and sky-rocketing prices?
17. What could be the fate of old-aged parents and unemployed sisters and brothers of the husbands in joint families, if 10 to 20% of monthly salary has to be deposited in the wife’s name?
18. What about the fate of the husbands who do not get monthly income properly and who have loans around their head?
19. Had government done any surveys, and got any empirical datas to back its foot and mouth syndrome, how many wives are doing domestic chorus on their own and how many house-wives have hired domestic-maids to get their family’s domestic works done?
20. Can now husband after paying 10-20% salary to her account ask house-maid to leave domestic work in his home to curb un-necessary double expenses as 10-20% salary outflow will not include house-maids salary?
21. Is this Law backdoor entry on lines of Indonesian model where compulsorily 100% salary of all Government male workforce is deposited into his wife’s bank account? But there such law was created due to typical local social issue housewives of Government servant were facing,
22. Will Indian Government differentiate which husband pays and which goes scout free since lots of husbands are un-employed / student too and what will happen in such cases?
23. Suppose Husband offers all domestic help voluntarily inspite of his wife being a housewife, will Government still implement such laws on such husbands?. This would be the case where now lots of husbands are earning a income working from home.
Let us take just few openning warm-up healthy pot-shot on this announcement;
- a housewife makes only breakfast for a month yet lunch / dinner are made by house-maid and flip it she does laundry of her and children cloths and house-maid does laundry of his cloths so will husband be eligible for some Deduction at Source out of 10-20% monthly salary he is asked to give under this Law?
- What about keeoing records of paying 10-20% who will keep and in which format in 4 corners of a bedroom? Will it be based on opening Bank a/c under Rural banking scheme or Urban Banking schemes as both are slightly different as per RBI guidelines? What if it is in-cash it is paid and then wife later sues him in court that he never ever paid my housewife salary? What about Service Tax will it be in Open list or included in Negative list, if my iconic Mr. Tata is asked to compulsorily pay 10-20% of his salary is a case since now-a-days ordinary maintenance award is reaching into 50 K and beyond figures? Can husband deduct TDS if he pays also to the house-maid or only to housewife? Will Husband get any Tax rebate in his ITR on account of various revenue / expenditure / income heads?
Well it is a master stroke Orwellian announcement by State. In West from 70’s feminists were pushing for it, but “free lunch” has been stopped in West hence could never get implemented there but in India the situation is always different as we call it.
This law is useful only to those poor housewives in villages whose husbands are regular drunkards who do not give money to wives, For urban areas living women this law should not be applied, because in urban areas almost in all houses there are house-maids to do household works, even your mommy do not do any work in home which you can check yourself calmly.
Actually my heart goes for domestic-maids read with my house wife J Another reason I love such laws is that I for one is bored arguing same rut day in day out in Courts “hajoor itna jyada kamata hai kutch bhi shaadi ki pahali raat se aaz tak wife ko nahi diya iss adami ne sabh kutch domestic-maid ko deta hai pata nahi kyu L”
The master stroke is good as soap of ruling party to attract both strata of women voters as GE 2014 is nearing.
It sounds absurd. It sounds like we are trying to make family look like business for work for even seeking s*x from wife since you are paying certain % of your income so you can jolyy well always demand its worth as return. There are hundreds of archaic divorce laws in India that need to be amended, which will empower women and help in gender equality. Well if you really want to empower women give them opportunities to get back into the work force instead of pervading Indian homes with more Laws. Spouse never takes permission from State to get married so why shall same Spouse be enthrusted with States biased long arms of Laws?.
When I joined LCI 2 years back this law is what I predicted will hit India very soon.
Nevertheless I welcome it, afterall we loved our “pocket money” did we not so if housewife is given pocket money I am sure she will also love it and fell happy about it is polite way to open up this debate J