Press Release – INSAAF demands formation of a JPC

PRESS RELEASE

Sub: INSAAF and allied NGOs demand formation of a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) to probe into the law making process of the upcoming Marriage Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2010.

About INSAAF: “Indian Social Awareness and Activism Forum” (INSAAF) is an international think tank specializing in social and gender research. Consisting entirely of intelligentsia possessing vast collective expertise in advancing social reform, legislative consultation and advisory research, this Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) has branches in both the United States and in India. We have acted as trusted advisers on national and international research studies and have provided very credible data and unbiased factual research on various legislative issues both at the state and national level both in US and in India. We have approximately 1400 active contributing research experts all over the world supplying us with their valuable opinion.

About Marriage Laws (Amendment) Bill: 

  1. The Marriage Laws (Amendment) Bill was introduced in the Cabinet in 2010 following recommendation from Law Commission of India and the Honorable Supreme Court of India.
  2. The Law Commission of India had recommended introduction of the ground of Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage for divorce, way back in 1978. By and large, the recommendation lay in cold storage.
  3. The Honorable Supreme Court of India also recommended the same in 2009.
  4. Govt. of India introduced the bill in 2010.
  5. Feminists created a huge hue and cry in the media about divorce being given to a man without any cost.
  6. Bowing to pressure from women’s organizations, the Govt. of India introduced radical property division clauses in the bill, in 2010, which was vehemently opposed by organizations fighting for men. They deposed in front of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel and Law and Justice and opposed clauses specifically targeted at grabbing husband’s property in the event of a divorce happening.
  7. Around March 2012, the bill was approved by the Cabinet and it was very clear from the media reports that the objections raised by men’s rights organizations were completely ignored as the Standing Committee forwarded its recommendations to the Govt.
  8. And towards the end of the budget session in the third week of May, India witnessed a complete mockery of India’s law making process as we shall see it further.

INSAAF’s objections to the Marriage Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2010:

  1. Marriages are tumultuous for men. This fact reflects in the suicide statistics that are published year-over-year by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs and it’s the married men who top the list of suicide. Suicide rate of husbands’ increases 4 times the rate of wives’ and 6 times the rate they are bornEvery 9 minutes a married man commits suicide. This fact clearly proves how bad marriages turn out for men and if divorces are also made costlier by way of such laws, this will lead to further increase in suicides by men. Is the Government of India trying to facilitate the suicides of men?
  2. There is one more law in the pipeline – Matrimonial Property (Rights of Women upon Marriage Act), 2012 – which talks about making wife the co-owner of husband’s properties right at the time of marriage; then, why this law? Why is the Government hell bent on making redundant anti-male laws and convert marriage into an extortion industry thriving on men?
  3. In a democratic law making process, objections raised by a particular group or individual cannot be ignored without any proper justification. The panel has failed to give any just and proper reason as to why the objections raised should not be considered.
  4. As per Dowry Prohibition Act, any demand of cash/kind in relation to marriage is “Dowry”. Is not this law legalizing dowry to be paid to wife from husband under the cute name of “Financial Security of Wife”?
  5. Right to Equality is a fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution of India and cannot be disrespected under any circumstances. Current bill thoroughly violates it, as far as men are concerned.
  6. Feminists are claiming that nearly 80% of women do not have a place to live post-divorce. This is completely false because no such study has ever been conducted. India does not have any standard data collected as to how many divorces are happening, of those how many own a house and how many do not, how many are nuclear, joint and HUF families. Without any such data in place, any claims made are just airy claims without any data. Formulating a law on airy data is dangerous.

However, the main objection by INSAAF has been about the law making process sabotaged as explained below: 

  1. Even though the Govt. of India was benevolent enough to include property division clauses into the bill, at the behest of women’s organizations, yet they created hue and cry about the bill not being women-friendly.
  2. They were unhappy that a man would get divorce without any hassles and wanted to make it more and more anti-male.
  3. Even, the Govt. was bowing down to their pressures, what with the Honorable Union Minister of Law and Justice, ready to amend the law after every debate in the House.
  4. No amendments followed the proper process of law making like, getting the recommendations reviewed by the Law Commission, taking citizenry views/comments, referring extreme views to appropriate Standing Committee rather than modifying the draft after every House Session.
  5. Even, after filing multiple applications under the Right to Information Act, to the Ministry of Law and Justice, we were not provided with the copy of the bill and its clauses therein.

Notwithstanding the subversion of democracy in the law making process, INSAAF and other allied NGOs from all over India have written petitions, supported by mass signatures, to the Honorable Minister of Parliamentary Affairs asking for a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) to be formed to probe into the apparently illegal law making process. These petitions have been sent from Bangalore, Pune and Mumbai.

The main demands in the petition seeking for a JPC to be formed to probe into the law making process are as follows:

a)      Further proceedings on the law must stop till the probe is not over and must continue only after the JPC probe gives clean chit to all involved in the law-making process.

b)      Immediate removal of the aggressive women’s groups (from within the Government women’s agencies or private NGO’s) from gender law making process as it hampers the effort of law making and prevents laws from adhering to the principles of natural justice

c)      JPC Investigation into the actions of the Law Ministry in formulating amendments with ferocious intensity during the Parliament session in May 2012 with little national debate or consultation.

d)      JPC Investigation into the reasons why the Law Commission was not consulted before the ultra vires amendments were introduced in quick succession?

e)      JPC Investigation into the allegation that pressure was applied on the Government for formulation of this law and ignoring the principles of natural justice.

f)       JPC Investigation into the reason behind the government hurriedly introducing this law 32 years after it was recommended by the Law commission?  Was there political pressure behind the introduction of this bill?

g)      JPC investigation into all the data provided to support clauses of property transfer.

Copies of these petitions have also been marked to the PMO and the leader of Opposition. We would like to end this press release with a parting note men form more than 50% of the population. Making any law that completely subverts their rights, interests and welfare may lead to cornering of men which can have socially disastrous consequences.

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One thought on “Press Release – INSAAF demands formation of a JPC

  1. Basic tenets of our law:
    Everybody – male or female is equal in the eyes of law
    Hundred people can go scot free but no innocent person should be punished
    Everybody is deemed innocent till proved.
    Putting the husband, in-laws on complaint by wife in jail without proof was bad and is being corrected. .The case of a family reported in The Week recent months proves the misuse of marriage laws. A man goes abroad to earn a better living leaving his wife ,and buys a few flats in his town and one in Mumbai. His wife cheats on him and is caught and on divorce she was given a few flats as per local laws-is this justice to the hapless husband. Many a husband and his people were threatened and silenced by the wife/her relations that they are harassing and asking dowry etc. Has this marriage any charm, sanctity and pleasure. Why perpetuate an unhappy marriage- better terminate and leave the people to look forward for better times and prospects. A miserable marriage will not produce any good results from husband or wife in their jobs or promote better groomed children.
    The new law proposed to be amended now is forward looking that irrefutable differences and separation for three years gets quicker divorce. If the couple are separated and no communication all this time clear cut divorce should be granted to let them lead peaceful lives and the property division and maintenance can be followed. A share in the residential property acquired before wedding and during the married life can be fruitless as many homes cannot be partitioned and so one of the parties have to buy it. If they cannot agree then they will have to sell it and lose the added value to the property. Is the residential property of the wife is also available to the husband on equal rights basis.
    With the new law in promulgation we are afraid the following scenario may turn up:
    All upward mobile young men who make a lot of money will try for:
    -a live in arrangement so that he does not have to part with his hard earned property
    -have pre-nuptial contract as in west to limit his commitments.
    -make a benami transaction to evade a share in the property.

    The best option probably would be :
    Property division should be on the basis of their earnings only during the married period. If she is an earner herself , there should be no maintenance, and if the wife is a housewife she must get maintenance and some property.
    In urban areas where there may not be any residential property to share,a decent maintenance should be provided for her and the children that she takes.
    Clear-cut divorce should be a quick process in case of irrefutable differences and staying apart for more than three years so that they can start their lives afresh. Prolonged divorce proceedings do not help either the husband or the wife or the children- it only prolongs the misery
    Property division and maintenance arises where a woman is housewife without property and needs support and if she is an earner she should not be given ,as many women try to make this route to get rich and later go for another marriage/live in relationship .Law should be same for men and women . Problems are different for different couples and so they should be considered on case to case basis.

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