OPEN LETTER TO THE PRIME MINISTER OF INDIA
Dt: 28 Nov. 2014
Hon’ble Prime Minister
PMO, South Block, Raisina Hill
Sub: OBJECTIONS TO THE PROPOSED
MARRIAGE LAW (AMENDMENT) BILL
Print media has reported that The Marriage Law (Amendment) Bill 2010/13 has been listed for vote in Parliament in the Winter session 2014. For a law that will affect the lives of every citizen, the newly elected government has made no prior notification for discussion nor did it seek opinion from all interested stakeholders/eminent analysts/NGOs within the general public & is showing undue haste to push for a vote.
The existing adversarial system of litigation in marital law has led to the increase in false accusations to malign the other spouse in & to gain the sympathy of the Family & Criminal court system which has a plethora of anti-male laws to assist in the process.
The result is a humongous backlog of matrimonial cases & consequent property/alimony/maintenance proceedings. Under pressure from a buckling judiciary & overflowing jails the previous govt. decided to simplify the process & correct this disastrous social experiment. The solution proposed via the subject BILL are a few Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage(IrBM) clauses to enable divorce petitioners to make a clean break without too much of emotional and legal hassle.
However, the clauses namely 13D to13F which are highly volatile & discriminatory in nature and have the potential to seriously undermine the fabric of Indian society.
These clauses give invitation & incentive to Indian women (particularly Hindu women) to intentionally breakup their marriages in order to gain financially. In an age where gender equality is also equated with financial freedom, these clauses will prove to be highly destructive tools on a mass scale. There is also a high scope for collusion between husband & wife to instigate fake divorce cases in order to separate ancestral properties. There may be other unforeseen negative effects in terms of property related crime, once these clauses become operational law. People will lose faith in the rule of law and shall take matters into their own hands. Majority citizens of progressive India have predominantly middle-class values. It can be accurately surmised that effects of such a law once promulgated, it will irreversibly change the psyche of the entire nation. Also please note that when rewarding/inducing marital union with dowry is a crime, it is also a crime to reward/induce marital breakup with property/financial gains.
Being a citizen of this country it is my responsibility to advise caution to the policy makers of the nation not to hastily implement this law. I request you to initiate wide-ranging talks with representatives of gender rights on both sides, child rights, social, healthcare & industrial representatives before proposing this Bill to be passed in Parliament. I also request you to remove the said clauses 13D to 13F before introduction in the Parliament.