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The Marriage Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2010

Page no : 5

Renuka Gupta ( Gender Researcher )     09 August 2010

Brinda Karat has a point after all. In so many cases divorce becomes an instrument to push women into poverty. It remains a fact too that women's career graph does not remain consistent post marriage and by and large women's income does not match that of their  husbands. In fact apart from matrimonial website research which has its own value, a research is needed to map why and how women's career post marriage is affected.  Gender equity is a process  to bring the disadvantaged to a level playing field. Women on the whole are not at a level playing field either socio-culturally or economically and this fact can't be denied. So why women's financial security through her life cycle not be assured to prevent pushing her into adverse economic condition, bI mean adverse condition relative to her spouse. The social and economic cost of divorce as well as lost opportunity cost should be factored in to decide the provisions for economic safeguard of women before IBM. 


Renuka Gupta ( Gender Researcher )     09 August 2010

The point is if gender and social relations are not equal, then gender neutral laws would not advance the cause of  gender equity. Hence my take on this is laws needs to be transformative  which helps in balancing the unequal roles and relationships, here we are talking about gender relations. Though some ---not majority of women have started being economically capable, but they also suffer from double or even triple burden: household management, household related outside work, and her income generating work. Women's roles have changed, but what about those of men? Not really in many cases, and on in addition what about social and cultural expectations from daughters and daughter in laws. A woman normally faces disadvantages as far as her strategic interests are concerned: in terms of education, employment, property rights, adequate mean to live a life of self respect and dignity etc. In a culture where life circumstances are different for both gender,  a gender neutral law  would do injustice to women   who have remained historically disadvantaged which continues till date, though these gender based disadvantages are increasingly being questioned and resisted. IBM then should be place in this context and analysed. 

And now what about that  group of women who  who grew up in an age when many women were not allowed/encouraged  to go out for work, took up work at very late age that they cannot look forward to a secure old age, and who are now facing divorce! 



Let me take from Renuka left -- She makes a point that career and financial graph for many woman goes downward after divorce. As society we need to guard it.

 This line of reasoning is flawed.. but for time being lets go along this line of logic.. and lets say table is turned .. now man is grave financial hardship and career gows downhill -- which is pretty common these days.  Shall not the same rule apply to him? Or simply because he is male his financial well being is not  important?

Suresh Ram (Business)     09 August 2010

IF Gender biasd womencentric  laws alone bring equality, it is time to ask the question that Why not even a singe prosecution for GIVING DOWRY is there in the last 60 long years. The problem is with Judiciary and Police who are diluting the laws by allowing MISUSE! No women has realised hat Misuse of Women's laws are rampant and doing great damage to Women's cause. Extortion in the name of women is what they have achived!

All the women are branded as abla naris. Not even a single self respecting woman with self esteem appear to have objected to this! Obviously the women do not want to have any duties and  reponsibilities defined for them.

Having given s*xual pleasure, they believe, they entitled to concessions and pamperment!

In the name of Empowerment they want all the rights, protection from misuse and ever single legislation which would create obligations and duties for men and ONL MONE for women! They vehimentl oppose any punishment for misuse!

The reason is simple. The profile most of feminist activist would reveal that thry are  older than 50 years. This makes them  jealous  of young Girls leading a Happy life. The simply screw up their lives.

They are converting girls into corporate slaves denying the luxury of idling at home and from being exploited b corporates!


Kindly participate in a healthy debate after Ms. Renuka and Avinash left based on stakeholders mentioned in below news item about IBM, 2010

Posted: Fri, Jun 18 2010. 8:26 PM IST


Lickety split

A new, proposed amendment could make divorce a speedier, hassle-free option. is india ready for the change?

Cordelia Jenkins & Bhavna Raghuvanshi

In 2006, the Supreme Court found itself presented with a quandary: a messy divorce case that had worked its way up from the family court of Kanpur through the Allahabad high court. It was a typical appeal case, fraught with acrimony and confusion, detailing the turbulent relationship of Naveen and Neelu Kohli, married in 1975. But the landmark judgement it was to receive would prompt an overhaul of the Hindu Marriage Act and ease the path to divorce for millions of Indian couples.

The Kohlis had filed for divorce in 1994 and legal documents show details of a bitter and protracted battle involving police orders, claims of theft, cruelty, adultery and physical violence—all relatively common in Indian divorce courts. In Kanpur, the couple had been granted a divorce, but a successful appeal to the Allahabad high court had overturned that judgement. It was for the Supreme Court to settle the matter.

The judges’ exasperation as they attempted to decipher the details of the 20-year battle is clear from their case notes. Should they or should they not grant the estranged couple a divorce? Could they prove cruelty? Who was more to blame? As the issues were debated, it became apparent that the existing legal framework couldn’t encompass the complex realities the Kohlis faced. The law, as it stood, was too rigid for a society that was changing fast.

It wasn’t the only example of the system frustrating otherwise clear circumstances. In December, Smriti Shinde, daughter of Union minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, asked the Supreme Court for a divorce on grounds of “irretrievable breakdown of marriage”. Seeking to end her unhappy marriage and frustrated by her husband’s persistent refusal to a divorce by mutual consent, Shinde’s counsel argued that by not granting her a divorce the court was violating her constitutional right to live life with dignity.

In finally granting the Kohlis a divorce, the Supreme Court added a plea to the Union of India “to seriously consider” introducing a new ground for divorce into the Marriage Act: that of “irretrievable breakdown of marriage”. Indian courts have traditionally been wary of this ground, accepted in US and British law, fearing that it diminishes the sanctity of marriage vows, though there have been exceptions. In a 1971 case, Yousuf vs Sowramma, the judge made a poetic plea for more leniency. “There is no rose which has no thorns,” he said, “but if what you hold is all thorn and no rose, better throw it away. The ground for divorce is not conjugal guilt, but breakdown of marriage.” Still, throughout the 1980s and 1990s, judges continued to describe marriage as “made in heaven” and claimed that irretrievable breakdown was not a good enough reason for divorce. Over the last decade, their tone has changed.

“Once the marriage has broken beyond repair,” the judges concluded in the Kohli case, “it would be unrealistic for the law not to take notice... The marriage becomes a fiction, though supported by a legal tie. By refusing to sever that tie, the law does not serve the sanctity of marriage... it shows scant regard for the feelings and emotions of both parties.” Gradually, the way was being cleared for a new path to divorce; one which would be speedier, more even-handed and less humiliating for the unhappy couple.

Last week, a draft Bill from the Union government proposed amendments that would allow couples to cite “irretrievable breakdown of marriage” as a reason for divorce. India’s marriage law looks set to evolve, and there seems little political objection to the proposal. The Bill passed through the cabinet without debate, and the news has been greeted without much fanfare and fuss. In fact, the reaction to the amendment is a clue to its pertinence and evidence of a willingness on the part of the courts and the government to keep up with a changing society. Shinde could be among the beneficiaries of the new amendments.
It is no longer contentious to say that divorce is on the rise in India. Though the numbers remain modest (11 marriages per 1,000 end in divorce, compared with 400 in 1,000 in the US and 200 in 1,000 in China), the increase is sharp (in 1991, the figure was 7.41). Marriage counsellors, lawyers and psychologists overwhelmingly attest to the increase.

“Divorce is no longer a stigma, so people opt more readily for it,” says Suhail Dutt, a New Delhi-based divorce lawyer, who has been practising for 25 years
. “Women are much less dependent on the husband for matrimony and alimony, so more mutual divorces are being sought.” With a new generation of working, economically independent couples, a divorce can take place without ruining the livelihood of either party. For the most part, these conditions exist only in the cities, however. It is much rarer for women living in rural areas to be financially independent.

With this in mind, the draft Bill makes provision for women without income. A woman can appeal to the courts, citing financial hardship, and the divorce will not be granted unless she is properly recompensed. The same applies to divorces in which children or dependent family members are involved; the court must be satisfied that they are being provided for. Even unmarried adult daughters are being taken into account.

Until now, couples wishing to split have had to choose between two unsatisfactory options. Either they can cite “matrimonial fault” (in which an allegation such as adultery, cruelty or insanity must be proved against one partner) or they can choose the “mutual consent” route (which can be delayed for years in court if either partner refuses to participate, wasting court time and leaving the loser stranded in legal limbo). “It’s time-consuming and it causes a further rift in any situation,” says Dutt of the current situation. But the narrowness of the choice offered to couples at the moment can also make a divorce needlessly acrimonious and humiliating for those involved.

Delhi high court lawyer Arun Khatri cites one case in which a girl from a traditional family decided to tie the knot without her parents’ consent. Two years into the marriage, she fell in love with a colleague and started dating him. She wanted a divorce but her husband would not consent. So she was compelled to file false charges of cruelty against him. Later she confided to her lawyer, “I had no ill feelings for my husband, but to seek (an) easy divorce, I had no option but to frame wrong charges against him.” Her story is not unique.

Shaifali Sandhya is a clinical psychologist and the author of Love Will Follow: Why the Indian Marriage is Burning, which, as the title suggests, takes a dim view of the state of Indian marriage today. Between 1996 and 2009, Sandhya interviewed 400 Indian couples about their marriages and made some surprising discoveries. First, the vast majority of divorces are instigated by women, Sandhya says. The contemporary stereotype of an Indian divorcee is one of a young, financially successful city dweller, who places little emphasis on religion and tradition and more on self-gratification. But Sandhya claims that portrayal can be misleading. “Divorce is not restricted to the youth; nor is it simply an urban phenomenon,” she writes, “it is also afflicting marriages beyond 10 years. Divorce, it is claimed, is the new accessory to marriage in India.”

The new law promises to address women’s rights issues within the divorce process. The combination of changing attitudes to female divorcees and increased financial independence is a potent one, and along with the changes to inheritance law in 2005, giving equal rights to all siblings, including sisters, heralds another stage in the progress of the women’s rights movement. Aruna Broota, a marriage counsellor and psychologist, sees shifting attitudes in family life and says the rise in women seeking divorce could be due to this. “Women do not passively tolerate undue treatment to the extent they did earlier,” she says. “The attitudes have changed over the decades. Not only economically independent working women, but also those from wealthy and affluent families do not take nonsense.” But Broota is cautious about overemphasizing the “progressive” society theory. “Sociocultural attitudes are still backward and conservative even in the most educated and affluent bracket,” she says.

Ajay Singh, research scholar at International Institute for the Population Sciences, Mumbai, agrees with Broota’s reasoning. “The major cause of divorce in urban India, particularly in metro cities, is the growing self-dependence of women,” he says. In 2002, Singh conducted a study of divorce in Mumbai for the institute and found that more women were taking the initiative to file for divorce. “Women are no longer submissive and cannot tolerate discriminatory behaviour,” Singh says, “and the fact that men are trapped in their stereotyped gender attitude means more and more discords in the home.”

In the case of divorce by mutual consent, the courts give the couple six months in which they may rethink their decision before moving on to finalize the divorce. This is the danger time, when one of the partners can hold the other hostage by “changing his (or her) mind” and blocking the divorce. It is most often men that use this tactic, says Broota. “Men are more practically oriented; they do not garner guilt about failed relationships or their role in them and are likely to withdraw from mutual consent proceedings to harass the wife. Men are possessive and unwilling to let the partner go. Many have gone to the extent of stating that they do not wish to incur the high expenses involved in remarriage, having once borne the cost.” Now, this kind of emotional blackmail will be impossible. One partner can get a divorce alone if they can prove a broken marriage and show a three-year separation period.

Not everyone predicts that the new law will make divorce an easy answer to marital strife. In researching her book, Sandhya found that most unhappy couples were choosing to stay married, especially if they were in their 40s or older. “With an apparently easier divorce option, we may see a spike in divorce,” she says, “but it may be due to the clearing of a backlog of cases. Most Indians are reluctant to divorce, choosing their own personal options of dealing with unhappy marriages, instead, by leading as*xual lives and creating separate spheres of existence in one home.”

The personal stories in Sandhya’s book detail a depressing litany of intimidation, threats and emotional blackmail used against women. “And yet, despite the terrible bargain that divorce offers them,” says Sandhya, “80-85% of wives will initiate divorce.” Sandhya sees Indian women as inherently submissive. “In my 10 years of treating couples in therapy, I have seen Western women battle for the fulfilment of their wishes too, but the conforming to the family that has to accompany an Indian woman’s struggle, and their resilience, are particularly unique to our culture,” she writes.

Of course, not all Indian wives are victims—Broota gives plenty of examples where the woman has been equally at fault. In one instance, a woman who had applied for divorce under mutual consent, withdrew at the final hour citing suspicions that her husband was being unfaithful. A mutual friend had suggested he might be hiding an affair from her and she baulked at the idea of letting him off the hook. “If I sign this, he will get freedom by midnight,” Broota remembers her saying.

The proposed changes to the marriage Act will not mean the end of the road to reform. There are many aspects that the law ignores and plenty of details that have yet to be decided, including fairer division of assets and access to family property for the wife, not to mention the custody of children. Sandhya points out that without a truly equitable system, “the marriage malaise will continue and the recent divorce changes, in the face of grave and urgent societal need, will be only a cosmetic fix.”

Additionally, the changes are confined only to the Hindu Marriage Act and the Special Marriage Act, covering Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains, meaning other religions (most notably Christians and Muslims, who have the strictest divorce laws) will remain left out of the system. But the sheer pragmatism of the proposed amendments marks a crucial step forward by the government at a time when the need for a realistic solution to dealing with divorce is becoming urgent. As the judges concluded in the Kohli divorce case, “Nothing is gained by trying to keep the parties tied forever to a marriage that in fact has ceased to exist.”
Manish Ranjan contributed to this story.

Renuka Gupta ( Gender Researcher )     09 August 2010

Mr. Arun, in spite of differences in our perspectives, let me sincerely appreciate  your references which I always read with great interest. Thanks for this one. 


ha ha you know Ms. Renuka ji I am not sure of your thinking but I am a lost kid here and sincerely like to understand how to check and balance the already done damage in a marriage hence I always will go for "march ahead"

Here is interesting look at a glance landmarks in Divorce Laws in India for readers further (healthy) takes:-

Renuka Gupta ( Gender Researcher )     09 August 2010

Mr. Suresh Ram, 

Age in Fact does not have any bearing with grounding in feminism. There are many young women as well as men around who call them feminist. Amartya sen whose development economics has influenced the entire world was a great feminist too and called himself so.  Ridiculing one's age in itself is not good. People restart their studies at the age of 50, so what? If you apply abroad for any degree, they do not ask age--it's the concept of lifelong learning. You are underestimating the younger generation's capacity to think and reflect critically on socio-cultural, political and economic issues. And they are going to be our hope for a better world where true equality between women and men exist. So let us stop talking about age in a derogatory manner.


Renuka Gupta ( Gender Researcher )     09 August 2010

Correction: Read Amartya sen .......was a great feminist as Amrtya sen -------is a great feminist. 

Renuka Gupta ( Gender Researcher )     09 August 2010

Mr. Arun, Thanks for this one also. Good to be a lost kid, if it results in such sharp references:)


@ Renuka

ha ha aha good healthy poke

On second thought I appreciate your academic interests too and since it interests you,  you may contact my below enemies (I am a men's right activitis with special pulse on gender equality and gender neutrality in family laws for aam adamai's point of view) and bring out their research to public domain on gender divide = gender equality = gender neutrality = gender biasness invading India and aloow me to throw rebuttals for all of their so called research on how confusions are created between younger (urban) and older (rural) generations;

All India Democratic Women's Association(AIDWA)
Women's organisation committed to achieving democracy, equality and women's emancipation.
Address: 121, V.P. House ,Rafi Marg, New Delhi 110001, India
Telephone: 011-23710476, 011-23319566

Centre for Women's Development Studies
Trains Santhal tribal women in Bankura, West Bengal, in collective and individual livelihood skills.
Address: 25, Bhai Vir Singh Marg , New Delhi 110001, India
Telephone: 011-3366930 or 011-3345530
Email: or

IFSHA (Institute for Support, Healing & Awareness)
Works on s*xuality and gender issues through research, counseling, awareness-raising programs etc.
Address: J-39, South Extension Part - 1, New Delhi 110 049.
Telephone/Fax: 011-6253289/98.
Email: or

Address: C-54 South Extension, Part Two, New Delhi.
Telephone: 011-642 7015

Kali for Women
A feminist bookstore.
Address: B 1/8 Hauz Khas, 1st floor, New Delhi 110 016
Telephone: 011-6852530 / 6864497 ,fax: 91-11-6864497 /+ 6866720

Campaign against s*xual harassment at workplace.counselling services over the phone and information about specialised medical, police, therapists & other NGOs if required.
Telephone : 011-4324503

Explores this indigenous knowledge of India's dais.
Contact: Janet Chawla
Address: 120 Sunder Nagar , New Delhi 110 003, India
Telephone: 011-4621190 or 011-4611821

Organisation focusing on womens health and education
Contact : Arti Srivastava
Address: B-64, Sarvodaya Enclave, New Delhi - 110017, India
Telephone: 91-11-6966334 or Fax: 91-11-6517726

A Delhi-based centre provides support to survivors of incest.
Address: M 79 G.K II, 2nd floor , New Delhi 110 048, India
Telephone/ Fax: 011-6238466/641 9849

Address: 105-108 Shopping Complex,Defense Colony Flyover, New Delhi 110024.
Telephone: 011-4616485

Joint Women's Programme
Contact: Jyotsna Chatterji.
Address: CISRS, 14 Jangpura B, Mathura Road, New Delhi 110014,
Telephone: 011-4619821, fax:462-3681
(also has branches in Bangalore, Calcutta, Madras)

A violence intervention center in New Delhi. They provide training, research, counselling, credit, and education. Address: B-67, South Extension Part - I, New Delhi - 110049
Telephone : 011- 4623295 ,Tele Fax : 4643946
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Shakti Shalini
Action against dowry-related crimes.
Address: J- 13, Jangpura Extension , New Delhi - 110014, India
Telephone: 011-4312483

Sangini is a group for women attracted to women with information, support, and to meet one another. Helpline Friday 6 to 8pm and Saturday 4 to 6pm at 011-26851970/71.
Sangini (India) Trust, c/o Naz Foundation, PO Box 3910, Andrews Gunj, New Delhi 110049,
email:, website:

Talking About Reproductive and Sexual Health Issues (TARSHI)
TARSHI works on issues related to s*xuality, adolescent s*xual concerns, safer sec and s*xual violence
Contact: Paramita Kundu
Address: 49 Golf Links, 2nd Floor, New Delhi - 110003, India
Phone: 91-11-4654603

Women in Security, Conflict Management and Peace (WISCOMP)
Based at the Dalai Lama Foundation in Delhi.
Address: WISCOMP, The Dalai Lama Foundation, Core 4 A, Upper Ground Floor, India Habitat Centre , Lodi Road, New Delhi - 3.
Telephone: 011-4648450. Fax: 4648451

The Center for Feminist Legal Research
Promotes women's human rights through workshops, training and seminars for women, and the development of feminist legal research in India.
Address: C/602, 1st. Floor, New Friends COlony,
New Delhi - 110 065, India
Tel.: +11 - 4162 8118
Fax.: +11 - 4162 9569
Email ID:

Suresh Ram (Business)     09 August 2010

There is no denying that there are more Men (puticularly Judicary)  ""Committed to the Cause of women"" like A.Sen and obviouly the reaon is not "Jealosy" as in the case of old women !!. A.Sen is a communist who  subscribe the Communist Manifesto of "Family Breaking  and Family being a competetive Institution to the State. Commis want to nationalise women and children.

Most men purticularly older men support women's claim for money for all their preceived or actual wrongs of the society. They want reparations for past wrongs from the present Husbands!!

My point is not only age but jealosy amont women  and expecation of s*xual favours by older men!!

If not feminists wpuld demand only punishment for erring husbands and not MONEY from the very husband !!

Why no one is claiming the Govt should pay money to the divorced wives?? No one fights for the right of women from her Parents!!


For readers learning here what is Communists Philosophy on women and the extract from the very Manifesto of the Communist party by Marx and Engels I quote few extracts from it as:-

"Abolition of the family! Even the most radical flare up at thisinfamous proposal of the Communists. On what foundation is the present family, the bourgeois family, based? On capital, on private gain. In its completely developed form, this family exists only among the bourgeoisie. But this state of things finds its complement in the practical absence of the family among proletarians, and in public prostitution.

The bourgeois family will vanish as a matter of course when its complement vanishes, and both will vanish with the vanishing of capital. Do you charge us with wanting to stop the exploitation of children by their parents? To this crime we plead guilty. But, you say, we destroy the most hallowed of relations, when we replace home education by social. And your education! Is not that also social, and determined by the social conditions under which you educate, by the intervention direct or indirect, of society, by means of schools, etc.? The Communists have not intended the intervention of society in education; they do but seek to alter the character of that intervention, and to rescue education from the influence of the ruling class.

The bourgeois claptrap about the family and education, about the hallowed correlation of parents and child, becomes all the more disgusting, the more, by the action of Modern Industry, all the family ties among the proletarians are torn asunder, and their children transformed into simple articles of commerce and instruments of labor.

But you Communists would introduce community of women, screams the bourgeoisie in chorus.

The bourgeois sees his wife a mere instrument of production. He hears that the instruments of production are to be exploited in common, and, naturally, can come to no other conclusion that the lot of being common to all will likewise fall to the women.

He has not even a suspicion that the real point aimed at is to do away with the status of women as mere instruments of production. For the rest, nothing is more ridiculous than the virtuous indignation of our bourgeois at the community of women which, they pretend, is to be openly and officially established by the Communists. The Communists have no need to introduce free love; it has existed almost from time immemorial.

Our bourgeois, not content with having wives and daughters of their proletarians at their disposal, not to speak of common prostitutes, take the greatest pleasure in seducing each other's wives. (Ah, those were the days!)

Bourgeois marriage is, in reality, a system of wives in common and thus, at the most, what the Communists might possibly be reproached with is that they desire to introduce, in substitution for a hypocritically concealed, an openly legalized system of free love. For the rest, it is self-evident that the abolition of the present system of production must bring with it the abolition of free love springing from that system, i.e., of prostitution both public and private. "

PS: One eminent Ld. LCI Lawyer; a expert member has relied on communist propoganda while rebutting earlier "do matrimonial laws really favour women" thread and the actual reproduction of Communist Manifesto as above reproduced is an ode to Communism and all that Brinda Karat's have brought India to  all about !

Arup (UNEMPLOYED)     09 August 2010

nobel loriet Amartya sen married twice. both are bengali.

first wife a writter, write for children, i was fond of her writtings, she divorced in her early age.

second wife is a feminist.

mr sen had a link with communists but it fails, while he started residing usa. but his theory for which he achived nobel prize, is somewhat influenced by the theory of communist ideology. anyhow he supperted the economic theory of capitalism.

sivani (engineer)     10 August 2010

@Arun, would you like to answer this one or ignore it like my other posts............

'HC call live-in wwalk-in, walk out'  says high court.

A woman a mother of a child from her first marriage had a live in and the court has declared that in live in there are no strings attached to the relationship nor the relationship creates any legal bond or obligation.  For a second assume that the woman had married the man in question...........if she is working, would she get the same answer if the IBM 2010 is implemented because if her husband applied IBM 2010, she would not be in 'grave' financial hardship as she is working (even if she is earning bare minimum) and the husband would not have any responsibility for the child as it is not 'out of the marriage' though he married fully aware that the child comes with the marriage.  So what would be the strings attached and obligations in marriage???????  So why should any working woman marry?  What is Moilly trying to do, convert a marriage into a prostitution????????  or reduce it to a mere live-in.  What happens to the institution where both were responsible for each others welfare????????????

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