New records suggest that there has been a sharp 23 per cent drop in divorce cases in Mumbai as lawyers and their female clients wait for the proposed Marriage Law (amendment), reports DNA News
The proposed Marriages Law (Amendment) Bill has seen a 23 % drop in divorce cases in Mumbai as both lawyers and their female clients play a wait and watch game with the Bill coming up in the winter session of the Lok Sabha ( It has already been passed by the Rajya Sabha on August 26 of this year).
The Bill proposes amendments to both the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 and the Special Marriage Act, 1954. These amendments include a property clause whereby 50 % of the husband’s property, both inherited and inheritable in the future, including any he has acquired after the marriage, may be ceded to his wife. The Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage clause allows for speedier separation if the husband and wife have stayed apart for a period of three years or more on the grounds of unfulfillment or unhappiness. It also states that women can oppose divorce if she can prove grave financial hardships as a result of the divorce, while men cannot.
Marriages Law Amendment Bill Slows down Divorce Proceedings
The Bill has been hailed as a long awaited step in the right direction by women activist groups who especially applaud the Bill’s determination of compensation to the wife as this now takes into account both the husbands current property and inheritable property, as in certain cases, the husband had been able to sell off the property in his name, thus denying the wife of adequate compensation.
But it has raised concerns among husbands and men’s activist groups, many of whom have slammed it as “anti men” and biased. It has raised fears that this bill, if passed into a law could be misused by women just like the anti dowry and domestic violence laws have been in the past, in order to extort more from the husband. This is aggravated by the fact that unlike other countries, Indian law does not recognize pre-nuptial agreements, which only adds to the woes of the married man considering a divorce.
Activists and Rights groups also fear the Bill could undermine the institution of marriage, as men hold off marriage fearing divorce proceedings, citing the example of countries such as China which roll backed a similar law as it had lead to a drop in the number of marriages and men had stopped buying property. Many experts have also pointed out that it could lead to a skyrocketing rise in divorce cases, many of them for all the wrong reasons.