The Marriage Law Amendment Bill of 2010 was passed by India’s upper house, Rajya Sabha, in July 2013, to the applause of many Indian feminists and the great dismay of men’s rights activists and pro-family groups who have been campaigning for a long while against the legal misandry it embodies.
It awaits action n the Indian lower house, or Lok Sabha.
In the Rajya Sabha, there was much talk about the “sanctity of Hindu marriage” during the passage of the bill, as though it were being passed to defend Indian culture against the onslaught of the cultural mores that have destroyed Western family units.
Nothing could be farther from the truth.
The bill actually seeks to introduce those mores into the nation through the concept of “no-fault” divorce, a concept that many blame for the rise in divorce rates in the West.
For greater detail about the ghastly provisions of the bill, read the blog, Rollback IrBM (Irretrievable Break-down of Marriage).
Men stand to lose not only half of their own property during marriage, but also property acquired before marriage, their inheritance, and gifts, even while women’s inheritance, prior acquisitions, gifts and income are retained by the women in full.
In 2011, the crude divorce rate (the rate of divorce per 1000 people was 1.1 in India. By contrast, it was 3.6 in the US, the third highest in the world, following Russia and Belarus.
These figures are not terribly enlightening, of course, because they do not tell us whether the population involved was of marriageable age…among many other problems.
Still, as a kind of rough index, they do tell us that marriage has been fairly stable in India.
So, what is the need to fix something that is at least relatively intact?
The answer lies in the politics of Western-style feminism and its onslaught on traditional Indian culture.
Legally enshrined misandry has had a history in India from the 1980s, when foreign funding and media agitation created laws that were ostensibly about protecting women but in practice ended by victimizing men.
“The first weapon feminists used, was a woman’s share in her paternal property, termed as “dowry”.
India saw an increased reportage of bride-burning and dowry harassment cases in media.”
Lila: Deshpande mentions “increased reportage.”
He also mentions elsewhere that there was Western funding for this. I need to go back and look at those old reports and see who was writing them and how accurate they were.
“The cry was made shrill enough to drown any sane voice, if ever there was any. An anti-dowry harassment law, Section 498a of the IPC was created in 1983 which is draconian and most misused. It gives a woman complete power to get anyone from her husband’s family arrested. Then came the Dowry death law –Section 304B of the Indian Penal Code. It considers any unnatural death of a woman within 7 years of marriage as dowry death – meaning it assumes the husband and his relatives as guilty for her death and they are put behind bars immediately. There have been many other anti-men laws that have come up regularly.
Misandry in India, overall, can be gauged with the high number of suicides of men and crime against men:
According to the National Crime Records Bureau, Ministry of Home Affairs – 62,433 married men and a total of 87,839 men committed suicide in 2011 — and this figure is increasing every year. The same bureau report shows that 92% of all crime happens against men and the society is still not even considering issues of men as a topic worth attention.”
Lila: Notice that the situation for upper and middle-class men in India is much worse than it is for the same men in the West, where the laws on harassment and divorce are at least gender-neutral in wording (if not in effect).
Moreover, in contrast to India, it has been documented –most recently in the landmark Lund University study in Sweden – that Swedish males who are unmarried have the highest rates of suicide, not married men.
Ever since Durkheim, studies of mental health have documented, more or less, that marriage offers both men and women protection from the anomie that often leads to suicide.
The fact that married men in India are committing suicide at more than three times the rate of single (unmarried) men and at more than twice the rate of married women should be a warning bell.
These statistics, if accurate, suggests that Indian middle and upper-class males are one of the world’s most unhappy demographics, far more likely to kill themselves than their female counterparts. It would suggest that married Indian men are the victims not the villains of marriage as it stands.
The new Marriage Amendment bill seems to be more of the same.
Media coverage of the debates have been misleading in not clarifying the crucial fact that the amendment bill of 2010 only targets Hindu marriages and is seen by many as a weapon deliberately aimed at Hindu families.
The law doesn’t target Christian or Muslim men.
“Army Against Dowry Law Misuse in India (AADMI) has demanded roll back of the alleged anti-family clauses in the upcoming bill which proposes to introduce “Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage” as a ground for divorce in the Hindu Marriage Act and Special Marriage Act.
AADMI members, who also took out a protest march, said though the proposal is a welcome step, it has three controversial clauses which are totally anti-family and anti-husband.
It points out that in the bill wherever exercising the rights has been mentioned, the person who can do it has been mentioned as “wife” instead of “spouse” which clearly indicates that the bill denies to extend its cover to husband.
It is very clear that after marriage, a wife can get out of it at any point of time seeking divorce from her husband whereas no such legal provision has been given to a husband till date.
The bill says that along with allowing divorce, absolute rights will be given to the aggrieved wife on 50 per cent of husband’s marital property. However, it does not mention division of wife’s belongings and property at her maternal house, said the members.
Also, the Bill does not deal with matters like custody of the children, visitation rights etc. Union cabinet has approved this bill with some amendments and at present it is with the “Group of Ministers” for approval before being tabled in the parliament.
AADMI demands include withdrawal of controversial clause and to make the bill gender neutral.
Children must be given access to both biological parents in case of divorce or separation, government must first put an end to all false cases related to marital problems against men and the children should also have an equal share of the alimony amount given to the wife by the husband. They said while making amendments in the current laws, the government must also take into account a man’s financial responsibilities towards his parents and also the family liabilities should be deducted before sanctioning the alimony figure to the wife.”
In most countries including Pakistan, domestic violence complaints can be filed by either partner. In India, under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (PWDVA 2005), domestic violence is considered to be solely perpetrated by married men (and their relatives) over the hapless wives!
In most countries, matrimonial property sharing at time of divorce results in equitable sharing of both assets and liabilities earned by both spouses during the marriage duration. However in India, the proposed bill aims to give property rights to women only at time of divorce. Even if a woman has more property than husband, the law will probably allow woman to lay claim over man’s property. The duration of marriage be it 1 day or 20 years is of no concern, and the property sharing is left to discretion of the courts.
Sexual harassment complaints can be filed by either sex in most countries. However in India, in the recently approved bill by cabinet about Sexual Harassment at Workplace bill, the proposal to include men as complainants has been completely ignored so far in spite of many representations made to government and lawmakers by men’s rights groups.
Divorce rights and obligations are gender neutral in most countries.
But in India, the proposed amendments will allow a wife to block husband’s divorce petition moved on grounds of “Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage” but a husband will not be allowed to do the same if wife moves a divorce petition on same grounds. Evidently, the government believes that all Indian wives are like Mother Teresas and all Indian husbands are devils incarnate!
Adultery is a crime which can be committed only by men and not by women under Indian Penal Code (IPC).
India has probably the dubious distinction of being the only large democratic country where in all above areas the existing or proposed laws give relief only to wives/women and exclude men completely from their ambit except treating them as providers or perpetrators! Is India moving towards 21st century or moving back to 16th century?
The law talks only about wives’ rights and has no mention of their responsibilities as wives. These amendments are in continuation of the trend evident in Hindu Marriage laws which seek to define only obligations of married men and only rights of married women.
The proposed amendments if accepted will reduce men to status of slavery in marriage. These so called attempts to achieve equality for women are nothing but attempts to create feminocracy in families and ultimately reduce men to second class citizens and create breakdown in society and a fatherless society.”