Dr. Manmohan Singh
Prime Minister of India
New Delhi 110 011
Sub: Proposal to make marital laws a part of academic syllabus in schools.
Respected Sir / Madam,
Of late, the social institution of marriage has come under great scanner be it the increasing rate of divorces due to any number of reasons or the breakage of marriage due to enthrallment of legal terrorism on its precincts via the misuse of women protection laws like Section 498a of the Indian Penal Code (45 0f 1860), Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, Section 125 of CrPC (for maintenance) or alimony provisions in divorce proceedings and various other related provisions related to Family Law.
It is very interesting and pertinent to note here that though the prevalence of dowry in marriages has been in discussion since almost 50 years as the Dowry Prohibition Act was enacted way back in 1961, it is now, of late since the last 5 years or so since 2003, that we are seeing marriages being broken due to dowry so much that all over the country and abroad, various support groups have formed under the aegis of Save Indian Family to stop the menace of dowry and the misuse of its legal provisions.
Such unfortunate incidents have far reaching effects on the society; one of the most prominent one is the rising suicide rates especially among married men which is in fact double than that in married women, if data provided by National Crime Records Bureau for the years 2005 and 2006 is anything to go by. Other secondary effects of this colossal wave engulfing the society include eroding faith on the institution of marriage, growing mutual distrust between the two genders, establishment of the foundation of a fatherless society, growing apathy towards the legislature and executive lobby, and many more to count.
As the old adages go, “Prevention is better than cure” and “Knowledge is power”, it becomes the moral and ethical duty of any society to study and identify disturbing trends taking turns in the society and nip them in the bud. Family being the basic unit of society and marriage being the first step towards its establishment, its erosion cannot be tolerated with closed eyes and be allowed to take place.
Save Indian Family Foundation and its partner NGOs, dedicated to promote the cause of gender equality and family harmony, strongly believe as a result of their continuous efforts in this area, that including family laws as a portion of academic syllabus in the education of students in secondary education stage is a necessary and positive step towards educating the coming generation to the perils and pitfalls of a failure of marriage.
It would also be imperative to state here that the inclusion of Rule 2 of “The Dowry Prohibition (Maintenance Of List Of Presents To The Bride And Bridegroom) Rules, 1985” would also go a long way in imparting education about this social menace called dowry and creating awareness to uproot it from its very foundation.
In addition to the above background, we emphasize the inclusion of marital laws in academic syllabi for the following understated reasons:-
1 All have to marry as it is a social norm hence all should know family laws for when we can teach our children about the basic social behavioural paradigms then why not about the legalities involved in marriage because, “Knowledge is Power”.
2 Not providing education pertaining to matrimonial laws is analogous to asking a person to drive without knowledge of driving norms, vehicle and safety norms and then penalize the same person for accidents and loss of life and property.
3 When the Government can provide sex education in the schools then why not laws related to marriages.
4 The high number of suicides by married men and women are due to the fact that they are not aware of matrimonial laws and the protection offered by them. The suicides can be reduced drastically by keeping a subject on Matrimonial Laws. For often it is the expectations crestfallen that give birth to the suicidal tendency and its consequent culmination rather than an unexpected marital tragedy befalling. Imparting proper, necessary and sufficient prior knowledge will go a long way in mature shaping of expectations and development of a tendency to accept.
5 As all matrimonial laws are either civil or criminal laws and these laws are intended for the benefit of the civil society and also as the students are the future of any country hence in wake of today’s deteriorating age of marriages its is imperative that they be taught about Matrimonial Laws.
6 It has been seen that more and more educated women are unable to maintain themselves and are hence seeking maintenance from their husbands once their marriages fall apart which is mostly due to the imbalance between expectancy potential and acceptance levels. Teaching about Section 125 CrPC and Domestic Violence will make women more knowledgeable, empowered and independent.
7 The National Commission for Women and the Women and Child Development Ministry have also been demanding to sensitize youngsters about the sensitive issue of marriages but it looks like an untold nexus of Police and advocates is working against this move as they are the biggest beneficiaries of breakage of families due to improper use of marital laws owing to unnecessary litigations. It is estimated that close to 48 % of cases in courts are marital cases. The huge market potential around it is anyone’s guess.
8 Imparting this knowledge will reduce the misuse as most of the times it is found that people misinterpret a law and cause more harm to their near and dear ones. The same has also been corroborated by a statement by the Chairperson of National Commission for Women Dr. Girija Vyas that 60 % of women file these cases in ignorance in this article.
9 As corroborated by the World Health Organization that misuse of marital laws is the biggest reason behind elder abuse in India and taking this step to reduce misuse will automatically reduce elder abuse as well.
10 As a frivolous litigation filed in ignorance has the deadly potential to rip apart a family, and the worst and most unwarranted targets of such a fallacy are the children born out of that wedlock who become objects and objectives of an ego war between erring couples, this step will save many innocent childhoods from being strangulated in the precincts of a litigating corridor.
11 Last but not the least, such a step will only is a positive effort for achieving social as well as matrimonial harmony.
Save Indian Family Foundation and its affiliates strongly hope and expect that the above considerations are taken in the right positive spirit by your good office and they see the light of the day for a better tomorrow.