Behind the scenes of women’s property rights is this shocking reality

Property rights

It is shocking to note the double standard of government of India over women empowerment in the country. A nation where women empowerment is highly debated, it is disturbing to note that common men are continuously fooled to believe different things by the government in different legislations.

While the much debated and widely protested marriage law amendment bill 2010 proposes giving share in husband’s property to wife but not vice versa, citing that only 2% women in the world holds any property and hence it is important to give wife the legitimate share in her husband’s property so that women in India get good rehabilitation after divorce and acquire property. A clause that China has taken away in 2011, Indian govt. is set to introduce in 2013 by falsehood.

What is shocking to observe is GOI’s double standard in terms of showing Hindu women’s capability to earn property.

In a bill introduced and passed in Lok Sabha (lower house) earlier this year, this govt. has shown Hindu women as capable and earning a lot of property through their own ability. As the amendment to Hindu Succession Act, 1956 suggest (Bill No 17 of 2013), and I quote –

The proposed amendment has been necessitated in view of the vast changes in the social milieu over the past few years. Over the years, women have taken a stride in all spheres of life. The consequence is that women are acquiring property earned by their own skill. These situations do not seem to have been in the contemplation of legislators when the Act was initially enacted.”

This bill further makes provision to make the legal heir of a woman in case of her death (and her husband and children being absent) in following manner –

(i) firstly, upon the mother and the father of the female;
(ii) secondly, upon the heirs of the father of the female;
(iii) thirdly, upon the heirs of the mother of the female; and
(iv) lastly, upon the heirs of the husband of the female.”.

So this amendment clearly denies any right to the property of a woman to her in-laws after her death.

So when the government has introduced this bill earlier in 2013, they have projected Hindu women as capable of earning and acquiring property. However, in the proposed marriage law amendment (passed in RS in August 2013) the same government has projected the wife as incapable of acquiring property on her own and hence given her right to husband’s property without fixing contribution of a wife. The marriage law amendment bill not being gender neutral (i.e. the wife’s property not being given to the husband) will ensure that marriage becomes a property transfer institution where the property of a man is transferred to a woman.

Also the amendment to Hindu Succession ACT, 1956 passed earlier this year shows that a husband’s family has no contribution in wife’s acquiring property. This is one way of directly attacking the Hindu family system and forcing the man and the family to stop contributing to the economy and forcing the women to acquire property through hard work instead. This in a way will change the entire social structure and force women to work harder and de-motivate all men to contribute to the economy.

Indian economy is bleeding today. In this scenario if Indian men stop contributing to the economy that will prove to be a disaster for all of us. Women will be forced to work harder while men take rest as for them there is no motivation to work and contribute to the economy.

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3 comments

  1. If an unscrupulous, well-off and independent woman so chooses, she can file a petition seeking support, and the husband would have to defend it. Not only would his property self-acquired during the marriage be up for grabs, but also his inherited/inheritable property “considered”. An “easy” divorce quickly becomes a “hard” divorce for the man, until he agrees to the terms of the woman.

    If the man is at an economic disadvantage in the marriage, he has no such rights. The woman’s earnings do not come under the purview of this law. He cannot oppose the divorce.

    This law is retrospective. Pre-nuptials are illegal. This means that men who walked into marriages before this law is passed and made investment decisions based on laws existing then will suffer when marriages turn sour.

    This law does not take into account conduct of the parties. A woman could live in adultery, file false cases, etc, but those are independent of her rights to husband’s property. What the law strives to achieve is a no-fault divorce, but the husband is virtually at fault if the wife decides to seek property.

    This law speaks nothing of other cases pending between the couple. It is trite that 498a and DV are abused. This law allows the woman to file criminal cases against the husband and his extended family, claim “irretrievable breakdown”, and now walk away with the husband’s property, leaving him and his family to deal with criminal trial. This is in addition to her rights for maintenance possible under various existing provisions.

    It is true that a lot of women are being abused. But over-correcting for this with one-sided, biased laws will only encourage quick divorces and gold-diggers at the expense of innocent men. This is exactly what happened in other nations. The USA turned into Divorce Nation after the passage of no-fault divorces.

    The law allows for maintenance of children, again already possible under various laws, but makes no mention of a father’s rights to be part of his children’s lives. A father has to struggle through courts for many years, despite paying child support, to be able to just get visitation rights. Regardless of the conduct of the mother with false accusations, parental alienation, etc, custody remains a pipe-dream, just because getting stable visitation itself is so hard.

    Not all men are criminals. Not all husbands are abusers. Not all dads are deadbeats.

    The current spate of laws — 498a, DV, GWC, maintenance and marriage — recognize abuse of women and give them legal remedies often via multiple provisions. But they also allow economic, physical and emotional abuse, often compounded by the abuse of the above laws, with little to zero legal remedy whatsoever.

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  2. Last line should read “But they also allow economic, physical and emotional abuse OF MEN, often compounded by the abuse of the above laws, with little to zero legal remedy whatsoever.

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    • “It is true that a lot of women are being abused” – How do you know and conclude? What is the definition of abuse? If it is gender neutral then you will see a lot of men are also abused. If the yardstick of abuse is same, then anyone can be abused. Even I am abused, but not all abuses should go to court. Even though I fight for men’s rights, even if a woman abuses me I will not go to court for every abuse. (provided I have sufficient laws recognising the same as my abuse). So I don’t agree to your comment that ‘a lot of women are abused’…we all are abused, not every abuse is worth going court.

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