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  India   All India  01 Sep 2018  On divorce, give women equal share in property: Law panel

On divorce, give women equal share in property: Law panel

AGE CORRESPONDENT WITH AGENCY INPUTS
Published : Sep 1, 2018, 3:01 am IST
Updated : Sep 1, 2018, 3:01 am IST

The panel, on the last day of its term, suggested the measure as a step towards removal of discrimination against women across the country.

As a result, there is lack if uniformity in women-friendly provisions in marriage laws across the country. (Representational image)
 As a result, there is lack if uniformity in women-friendly provisions in marriage laws across the country. (Representational image)

New Delhi: With a view to promote gender equality across communities and religions, the Law Commission of India has suggested that in all cases of divorce, property or income gained after marriage should be divided equally between the woman and the man.

The commission said in its consultation paper on “Reform of Family Law” that all property acquired after marriage of either spouse be treated as a unit between the couple as there is a need to recognise the role of woman in a household, regardless of her financial contribution. It said that all personal and secular laws should be amended accordingly.

 

The paper suggested that the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, Special Marriage Act, 1954, the Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1936 (for Christians), the Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act, 1939, can be amended to reflect this change.

The panel, on the last day of its term, suggested the measure as a step towards removal of discrimination against women across the country.

The provision for women’s equal share in husband’s self-acquired property already exists in the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, but not in personal laws of all other communities. Marriage laws are state subject and all states have adopted different provisions. As a result, there is lack if uniformity in women-friendly provisions in marriage laws across the country.

 

Instead of a full-fledged report on a uniform civil code, the law panel preferred to release a consultation paper on Friday as it had little time at hand to bring out a comprehensive report.  

The government may now seek public suggestions on the commission’s paper and move towards addressing provisions discriminating against women across personal laws.

The commission said in its paper that it is often women who compromise on careers in order to support families and they also contribute to a major share of housework which is never calculated in monetary terms.

The society inadequately values housework, it said, adding that for working women, child-bearing results in a career break which affects their employment in a way that it does not affect their husband’s career.  

 

“Therefore, it is important that regardless of whether the wife — financially or monetarily — contributes to the family income, her contribution to a household in terms of household labour, home management, and child-bearing and care should entitle her to an equal share in a marriage, and thus all property for income gained after marriage should be divided equally upon divorce,” the paper said.

It also cautioned that this principle does not automatically translate to an “absolute” equal split of property at the end of the relationship, as in a number of cases such a yardstick may bring an “unfair burden” to one of the parties.

 

“Thus, it is important to retain the discretion of the court in such cases,” the commission said. It said that this principle of equal share in property does not mean that inherited property will also be included in this division “but its value can be taken into account by the court for determining maintenance and alimony”.

Tags: divorce, law commission of india, dissolution of muslim marriages act