National Commission of Women (NCW), recently proposed an amendment of Section 125 CrPC to include women involved in live – in relationships to be eligible for alimony from their live –in partners. This proposed amendment has far reaching consequences, which it is evident that the champion of women’s causes, National Commission of Women seemed to have conveniently ignored.
Granting women involved in live – in relationships a right to claim alimony is a direct insult of the most sacrosanct social institution, marriage, as in India, a marriage is a solemnized vow to support each other through thick and thin taken in the presence of community elders and with their blessings, but, in contrast, a live – in relationship is initiated by the couple just as a means to stay together. But unlike marriage, the commitment factor in a live – in relationship is very low as the ties are very easy to break. There are no liabilities involved from either side.
But giving women an extra and added advantage over men in a live – in relationship is by no means becoming of a national body like NCW. It will be highly immature on their part to assume that all relationships end due to men’s fault and hence they should be made to pay for the same in the form of alimony. After totally lopsided and stringent provisions under the anti – dowry provision, which are misused to the tune of 98 % as provided by the 2 % conviction rate in 498A cases as per National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data, which has killed the institution of marriage silently, it seems it is now the turn of live – in relationships.
What the logical rationale fails to understand is how any person having the slightest of common sense can draft any provision on the basis of a generalized statement that all men are criminals and all women are truthfully innocent. When there is a provision to extract money legally, why will a woman not initiate a live – in relationship, break it at will and then harass the man for whole life. As it is the concept of live – in relationship has not come of its age in the Indian society and will also not come as Indian societal scenario is hundred times more complex than western society which is being beautifully attempted to be aped here.
And what do we expect the next step? To legalize children born out of such relationships and promulgate the concept of fatherless society wherein any couple starts living together, parts at will and leaves the children in lurch. Such children will have deep psychological scars rendering them very vulnerable to the possibility of turning into criminals with a multiplicity factor of 9 – 10. Rather than inviting women to start relationships and end them to earn tax – free money without doing any work, the NCW needs to condemn the very idea of live – in relationships and women should not get any sops so that they are discouraged to refrain from entering the wedlock.
Also a proposed amendment in the Immoral Trafficking Act, advocates the concept of addressing prostitutes as victims. It is highly demeaning on part of the agencies championing themselves as women activists to project women as victims always and keep on giving them protection at the cost of men. Today’s women are capable of multi – tasking and are no longer living under financial slavery. Provisions allowing women to claim maintenance under the aegis of a failed relationship either need to be scrapped altogether or at least amended to make them gender neutral (thus allowing men also to lodge complaints to redress their grievances) and include severe and stringent punishments for filing false cases.
It is quite logical that when the woman knows that she will get money only on leveling allegations, she cannot be expected to sacrifice and compromise to make the relation work. It will only be the poor man who will have to keep giving in to keep the woman happy so that she does not lodge a complaint against him and the day he refuses to do so, the woman will feel ‘hurt’ and seek damages in the form of alimony as proposed by NCW. Such a provision can never ensure long lasting relationships.
The following are the proposed amendments to ensure proper justice to all and sundry:-
1) To begin with all monetary provisions need to be removed completely. Either the complainant or the defendant needs to be punished with imprisonment. If allegations are proved to be true the defendant goes to jail and if proved to be false the complainant goes to jail for an equal term for causing unnecessary harassment, torture and defamation to the defendant.
2) Secondly judgments and legal provisions need to completely gender – unbiased and based on merits and application of mind.
3) Thirdly, replace all words like man / woman, husband / wife with person and spouse respectively.
4) No alimony for earning spouses or having a capability to earn and that needs to be determined from the qualification of the petitioner.
Promulgating promiscuous women by allowing them alimony from live – in partners is just another name of Legal Prostitution as now a woman can claim a lifelong alimony by even spending one night with a man (as a prostitute) and such measures need to be severely condemned in a civilized society and the penalties need to be shared by both the partners as both of them were mature adults when the relationship was started and the decision was mutual.
The shadow of doubt in a biased system is permanent as the veil of darkness remains forever. When a man is aware that stringent legal provisions are present to penalize him on harassing a woman, he will not do it on a prima facie basis. And when a woman very well knows that her allegations and tears are going to get her free money, it is highly unlikely that she is going to level true and realistic allegations. And moreover, it takes two to clap. No relationship can be single handedly initiated and ended by a man. The woman is equal partner to every phase of the relation and thus should be made an equal partner in the brunt of the fallacy as well, if unfortunately the relation does not work.