Marriage Law Amendment is set to create more gender divide in India

First published on CNN


On 25th August, 2013 The upper house of Indian parliament (Rajya Sabha) passed Hindu Marriage Law Amendment Act, 2010. This bill grants share in husband’s property including that of inherited and inheritable property to the wife. The proportion of property to be given to the wife is to be decided by the court.

While passing the bill, Minister Kapil Sibal claimed that throughout the world women consist of 50% of the population but have only 2% of the total assets.

However, earlier in 2013 the same government has brought amendment to Hindu Succession ACT, 1956 in the parliament. This bill says (please refer to the Statement of Objects and Reasons section on page 3 of the bill) – “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.”

Please note the words that the same government has said earlier in 2013 – “….women are acquiring property by their own skill.”

Clearly the two bills brought by the same government within six months time in the name of women empowerment raises questions why the govt. had to say completely opposite words for two different bills. If women are already acquiring property by their own skills, which is a reality today, then why should they be entitled to husband’s inherited and inheritable property on divorce? Why the woman’s property will not be considered for division on divorce? Or when bringing in the woman’s ancestral property for marriage is considered as dowry and a crime, then how the giving husband’s ancestral property becomes a right for the wife? How does the husband and NOT the government become responsible to ensure that women earn property?

Amendment to Hindu Succession ACT empowers women to claim equal share from their parents but while passing the Hindu Marriage Law Amendment the Indian government claimed that women are not claiming property from their parents and hence they need rights to husband’s inherited property. But how does the husband become responsible for sharing his own inherited property if the wife does not claim her own rights from her parents is never explained.

Several Human Rights Groups have already raised questions regarding these biased provisions and opined that if this marriage bill finally passes in the lower house of the parliament (i.e. the Lok Sabha), too and become a law then the crime rate in the society will increase. They have opined that men will now have no option but to kill their wife on simple suspicion of divorce and the same can happen with women too. Some have also opined that as a result not only all marriages will stop but crime like prostitution (both male and female prostitution) will increase.

The misuse of Dowry laws have already become a concern for many. Statistics show that more women undergo harassment in each dowry case rather than they get relief. Under these circumstances introduction of one more gender biased provision is only making Indian men more insecure and creating a deeper gender divide in the Indian society.

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Related Articles –

1. Marriage Law Amendment Bill 2010 – A Death Warrant for India

2. Life After IRBM

3. A Comparative analysis of property division on divorce in different countries

4. The second marriage blues

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3 comments

  1. If we go by Kapil Sibal’s statement that throughout the world women consist of 50% of the population but have only 2% of the total assets then also, is it the justified route for them to enable women to gain property. This is absurd and insane. Kapil Sibal and GOI have gone crazy and are acting like puppets of NCW, according to whom the a bala naari is pratadit for over 5000 Years now. #Shame Kapil Sibal. #Shame GOI. #Shame NCW. #Shame Feminists.

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  2. Partha,

    I just read a few articles in your blog. With all due respect, I would like to ask you a few questions. I hope you will provide me with suitable and appropriate answers.

    1.) You seem to have an opinion about married women in general. I would like to ask you about your opinion about a professional and unmarried woman who have decided not to marry and have kids at all and devote her entire life to looking after parents and also become a highly successful professional at the same time. Would you mra’s and other men just leave her alone and let her live a life just as she wishes ? I am asking this question because doing this in India, is a little difficult even now, never mind other third world countries, especially middle-eastern countries.

    2.) I am a Phd. degree holder in Biotechnology. I have a few research papers myself. Life has been pretty smooth for me till now primarily because I am a man. This is not the case for my female colleagues/batch-mates who are equally or maybe even more qualified than me. Many men have actually turned down marriage proposals to them because these men were not as qualified as them. So, is it still a fault or a sin for woman in India to become highly qualified ?

    3.) You mra’s are shouting equality and blaming women for almost everything. Would you mra’s become a Ghar-Jamai and become a house husband if given an offer to do so ?

    4.) It is the women who have to worry about childbirth. They have periods and medical problems relating to it and many women around the world still die while giving births. I do not know whether a man has died while becoming a father, as yet. Do you at least, recognize that men should at least, take care and provide comfort to them as far as possible during childbirth and infancy periods of their children ?

    5.) I personally know someone whose husband hit her/kicked her in the stomach while she was pregnant. She almost died and gave birth to mentally handicapped boy later on. Her husband just abandoned her afterwards. What is your reaction about this ?

    6.) I also know someone whose in-laws were forcing her to get an abortion because she was carrying a girl. It was her first child. She mustered all her courage, filed a divorce case and is
    now bringing her child up while also working in a MNC. Please share your opinion about this too.

    Sorry for the lengthy post though. I hope you will give me as logical reply as possible.

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      1. Why should we have any opinion about a woman’s life unless that affects us adversely? If such women decide to demean men in any manner for their choice, we will get concerned.
      2. Highly qualified women end up demeaning their ‘not so qualified’ husbands. Also no matter which part of the world they belong to they end up not participating in economy. I have another article on that , you can refer to that. The fact that other men have turned down their proposals are their choice, why do you want to be judgemental about their decisions?
      3. Again, it is about personal choice, we don’t deal with individual choices like feminists try to dictate terms for everything.
      4. Because women die during childbirth, they have thousands of welfare programs relating to that. Mostly male taxpayer (including MRAs) money is used for that.
        5.Lol..I am (nor other MRAs) are judges. So better you deal with such individual cases in courts. Women any way have a lot of laws, provisions in their favor.
      5. Considering this as true I think for getting the sex test done, those people need to be punished first. Rest whether she is raising the child alone what’s the big deal? given a chance many men also do that. Only theyr are not given custody.

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