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Towards Achieving Equal Rights in Marriage

Women's organisations and groups have suggested that the amendment to the Marriage Law Amendment Bill 2012 should be redrafted to make it mandatory for the court to order that both immovable and movable property acquired during the subsistence of marriage be divided equally between the wife and husband. It has also been suggested that the court should take into account any disadvantage suffered by the woman or the children with her and give her a further share of the property.

The 2010 Marriage Law Amendment Bill was primarily meant to make divorce easier by the inclusion of irretrievable breakdown of marriage as a new and more liberal ground for divorce in the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 and the Special Marriage Act, 1954. Women’s organisations and groups have however opposed the bill on the ground that making divorce easier in the Indian context would adversely affect the interests of women who have extremely limited rights on separation and divorce. At present, maintenance is the only claim that a separated wife and children with her can make. Women’s organisations like the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) and others have pointed out that neither Indian law nor policy recognise the wife as an equal partner in the marriage and that unless women get an equal right to marital property, women’s financial situation post-divorce would worsen.

Less Than Equal

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