Save Indian Family Foundation (SIFF), an NGO dedicated to creating awareness campaigns about problems faced by men and conducting gender based research campaigns from male perspective, in association with Children’s Rights Initiative for Shared Parenting (CRISP), announce protest against the proposed Marriage Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2010 due to be tabled in the Parliament during the 15th Lok Sabha.
The protest will be held in Nagpur on the 16th of February 2014 at Samvidhan Chowk, near Shree Baba Shaib Amedekar statue at R.B.I square Nagpur from 10:00 to 4:30 PM.
Historical Background of Protests against the Marriage Laws (Amendment) Bill:
- Ever since its inception and introduction of dangerous anti-husband property grabbing clauses in the bill, SIFF has taken a tough stand against the Marriage Laws (Amendment) Bill and has always opposed it.
- Various street protests across the country in various cities and towns like Bangalore, Delhi, Lucknow, Hyderbad, Pune, Mumbai, Kolkata, Nagpur etc. have been held from time to time and activists have also courted arrests by participating in protests outside PM’s residence, Parliament House. Patel Chowk, Delhi, etc.
- Numerous letter campaigns, sms campaigns and door to door meeting with MPs have also been conducted in the past 2 years ever since the Cabinet introduced the bill in Parliament in March 2012.
- Even before that, activists from SIFF have deposed in front of the Parliamentary Standing Committee opposing draconian provisions in the law. However, all this fell on deaf ears and Rajya Sabha passed the Marriage Laws (Amendment) Bill.
Notwithstanding the anti-husband clauses, SIFF declares Marriage Laws (Amendment) Bill as unconstitutional because of the following reasons,
- Husband does not have right to oppose divorce like a wife can.
- Only husband’s property is being considered for division and that too not necessarily jointly acquired marital property.
- Property owned by wife is not being considered for division.
- Wife’s contribution to property is not being considered at all.
- Judiciary has been vested with the power to divide properties despite the known fact that judiciary is anti-male making the bill extremely precarious for men.
- Care hasn’t been taken to end long-dragged matrimonial litigation; only quick divorce is being mooted.
- Bill is silent on safeguarding husbands from other laws like 498A, Domestic Violence Act, Section 125 etc.
- Such lacunae won’t necessarily reduce matrimonial litigation as claimed by the Govt. of India.
- No mention about custody of children post separation and there is no clarity what would happen to children if the mother simply vanishes with the money received post divorce and does not take care of children.
- Shared parenting has not been made mandatory.
Govt. of India is showing undue haste in passing the law citing pressure from women groups. However, SIFF believes, it’s a farce and it’s the UPA led government’s prime intention to bring such a draconian anti-husband law.
SIFF also declares that if UPA Govt. tries to bring the legislation in its current form despite strong protests from men’s rights groups, then SIFF activists would be constrained to campaign against UPA in elections 2014. This would be a deterrent to other political parties and future governments in acting against the interests of men and their families.
SIFF has following recommendations for Marriage Laws (Amendment) Bill:
- This bill must not be tabled in its current form in the parliament.
- Either both the parties should have unobstructed right to oppose divorce or none should have.
- Property division should not be a blanket clause; there can be provisions for it with enough safety riders built in.
- The bill must not incentivize divorce and marriage breaking.
- For the purpose of property division, only property acquired post marriage must be considered.
- For calculating share, Govt. must come up with a formula for calculating contribution of each spouse taking into account, duration of marriage, number of children, financial status and earning potential of both husband and wife.
- Govt. must rope in Law Commission and the men’s rights activists to derive this formula.
- Custody of children and shared parenting must be given due significance and Father’s Rights groups must be consulted for the same.
- Women must be first given property share in their father’s property as per Hindu Succession Act.
- The bill must have safeguards against other matrimonial litigation like Section 498A, Domestic Violence Act, and Section 125 CrPC which are liable to be filed against husband.
- If property is being divided then no other mode of payment in the form of maintenance, alimony or one-time settlement should be allowed.
- Earning/Educated women should be categorically denied any sort of financial assistance.
- In case of housewife with long break in career, assistance can be provided to obtain livelihood but not lifetime alimony or blind property share.
Apart from the above recommendations, SIFF demands
- De-listing of the bill from 15th Lok Sabha business and be sent back to Parliamentary Standing Committee for further review.
- Men’s rights organizations like Save Indian Family Foundation should be involved in re-drafting of the bill in order to safeguard interests of husbands and their families.
SIFF reiterates the need for safeguarding the rights and interests of boys and men in law making as Article 14 of Indian Constitution guarantees equality before law. Any bill which violates this article becomes unconstitutional and India Inc. must stop making gender biased anti-male and unconstitutional laws.
SIFF is organizing this protest against Marriage Laws (Amendment) Bill and the anti-male law making process of India wherein each and every law made is targeting the wealth and property of men.