Marriage Law (Amendment) Bill: Bahut bure din for Hindu families
Save Indian Family (SIF), an all-India non-profit organization, which has been working for the cause of keeping Hindu families united against draconian laws like Section 498(A) has published a new whitepaper analysing the impact of the proposed Marriage Law (Amendment) Bill.
The following are the highlights of this whitepaper.
Members of Save Indian Family – Karnataka, hereby want to register very serious and strong objection to the unconstitutional Marriage Law(Amendment) Bill. This bill introduces “Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage” (IrBM) as an additional ground for seeking divorce whereby wife gets 50% of husband’s pre‐marital, post‐marital, self‐acquired and ancestral property as part of alimony, and the husband cannot oppose it.
This is the same Draft bill which never saw the light of the day during the previous UPA government as the BJP realized how disastrous this law was for Hindu families and the Indian social fabric. The Bill was opposed by various segments of society and even ministries and had international criticism on India for proposing such a draconian law.
[pullquote]India has the youngest population in the world. There is a unique combination of youth and skills in this age group. Most of the relationship/marriage/family troubles also occur in this age group. If this age group is not in a stable family and relationship, the productivity of the nation would go down drastically when a major chunk of this age group is deeply immersed in litigation battles.[/pullquote]
In spite of all this, it is really shocking that the new Government under a dynamic leader who pledged “sab ka saath sab ka vikas” has not taken the transparent route and is behaving the same as the previous Congress led UPAGovernment.
Grave far reaching social and economic implications of the proposed Marriage Law (Amendment) Bill, 2014:
- LOSS OF FAMILY VALUES AND FALL OF INSTITUTION OF MARRIAGE IN INDIA
* Marriage will lose its sacred purpose and will become a property and/or wealth-acquiring business. There is already an increasing trend towards material expectations in a marriage; theamendment will have a far reaching consequence. With divorce no more being a taboo inIndia, the incentive of women seeking divorce would work as a reverse dowry menace wherewomen would marry for property and not for family or love.
* China in 2010 amended a similar property annexing law when it found that it was being misused extensively by women to grab property through serial marriages. With misuse of gender laws inIndia close to an all‐time high, this is not the climate to introduce another dangerouslydraconian legislation.
- SEVERE VIOLENCE AND SOCIAL UNREST IS HIGHLY PROBABALE
* Assets/properties are acquired after years of hard work and not because of a few years of matrimonial life. Losing hard earned property in cases of failed marriage will lead to an increase in say, suicides on the part of the husband (the present statistic are troubling) and increase in crime Rates. The Battle of Mahabharata was fought when even five villages were denied to the Pandavas as their rightful share. With the proposed amendments, the home of every husband’s family is going to be in dire straits. This Bill if passed in its current form may result in the very person sought to be benefitted/protected becoming a victim of violence for protecting property as there is hardly any faith in a biased legal system. Will the BJP be willing to take full responsibility for this potentially dangerous social disruption this Bill will cause?
- Indian Economy would be adversely impacted and India will not be perceived as a safe destination for FDI
* When the society is in unrest and family values are broken, the dream of “Make in India” would be of little use. Economies like Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Fiji would grow and India would lose the unique opportunity it currently has.
* Indian men in fear of possible material loss would stop buying properties and it would have adverse consequences to the nation’s economy.
* People would start accumulating wealth in alternate form like gold etc., which would result in a dull economy that believes in secure accumulation than investment for growth.
- MASS CONVERSION FROM HINDUISM TO ABRAHAMIC RELIGIONS
* Hindu men would want to convert to Abrahamic religions to minimize their risks in matrimonial life thanks to the provisions of this Bill. This mass conversion has its own extremely dire social implications.
* Hindu men would stop marrying or opt for a Sagotra marriage to keep the property in the family. This might by itself create a situation for honour killings and people taking law in their own hands.
- INCREASE IN BACKLOG OF MATRIMONIAL CASES IN INDIAN COURTS
* It is an established trend and confirmed by the Apex court that in failed marriages, women are grossly misusing IPC 498A and the Domestic Violence Act for extortion. This amendment will be another tool and further distress families.
* India has the youngest population in the world. There is a unique combination of youth and skills in this age group. Most of the relationship/marriage/family troubles also occur in this age group. If this age group is not in a stable family and relationship, the productivity of the nation would go down drastically when a major chunk of this age group is deeply immersed in litigation battles.
Flaws of the proposed marriage law ammendment bill 2014
- The Bill violates the essence of Article 15 of the Indian Constitution which prohibits discrimination against any citizen on the grounds of religion or gender. The Bill is also unconstitutional as it takes away the basic rights of husbands, even to defend him or save his marriage, whereas the very same Bill gives the same rights only to the wives.
- Internationally in cases of similar laws, property considerations in deciding permanent alimony is purely done on equitable financial contribution to property and duration of marriage and is also based on the conduct of both the parties. In the present Bill, the contribution, duration, assets and ability of the female spouse and liabilities and ability of the male spouse is completely ignored.
- The Bill completely ignores the fact that a wife gets her share of inherited property from her parents under the latest Hindu Succession Act. Blindly entitling the wife for a share in property during divorce under this no‐fault divorce law is against social justice and completely not gender neutral. All men are assumed to be rich and abusive, and the wife is assumed to be poor and always suffering, which is clearly not true.
- Although a marriage can fail due to the fault of the husband or the wife, the Bill essentially extends the “financial assistance” clause only to the wife and not to the husband and this is patently anti-male.
- When the husband is the petitioner for a divorce, the wife will be allowed to use the ‘financial hardship’ condition to block the divorce till her monetary demands are met, thereby legalizing extortion.
- When a wife is the petitioner for a divorce, although the husband may be in financial hardship, he will have no legal provision to claim monetary assistance from the wife or even to save his marriage.
- This Bill has the potential to be widely misused against the husband who will be forced to “pay and buy” a divorce, reducing the institution of marriage into glorified prostitution.
- The Government’s intention of reducing the backlog of matrimonial cases would not come through with this amendment. Instead of letting the couple arrive at a mutual consent divorce, it would only pressurize men and would result in endless court battles in higher courts.
- The Government’s logic of ending the financial hardship of a divorced wife is completely flawed because, even as per the government 70 per cent of the Indian population needs food security let alone house or property. In the other 30 per cent, only 10 per cent own their own homes and even here, only a smallpercentage is Hindu that falls under this amendment. This Bill is not going to bring socialchange for the better or security in any way when seen holistically.