NEW DELHI: The Union Cabinet is likely to discuss an amendment to the marriage lawswhich, in the event of a divorce, would give the wife an equal share of not only the property acquired by the husband during or before the marriage but also his inherited or inheritable property.
The proposed amendment, that is likely to be controversial, aims to redefine the phrase 'residential property' to include not just the residential house but also other properties acquired by the husband.
In case other members of the family (apart from the husband) also have rights in the inherited property and it is impractical to divide it, the amendment proposes to compensate the wife with an equivalent amount of money in place of her share.
The proposed change aims to give the wife an equal share in the property regardless of whether it was acquired before or after marriage and regardless of whether it is only in the husband's name or held jointly.
The changes in the Marriage Laws (Amendment) Bill, being brought under pressure from civil society as well as a section of MPs, is expected to come up in the cabinet meeting on Wednesday.
The government had earlier introduced the amendment bill in order to alter the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, and the Special Marriage Act, 1954, to introduce the option of divorce on grounds of "irretrievable breakdown of marriage".