NEW DELHI: The Centre on Friday approved path breaking amendments to the Hindu Marriage Act. The meeting of the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh approved the redrafted Marriage Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2010.
Apart from giving women the right to their husband’s property, the Marriage Laws (Amendment) Bill-2010, also aims at giving rights to adopted children on par with biological offspring of a couple in case the parents go for a divorce. The Marriage Laws (Amendment) Bill-2010, was introduced in the Rajya Sabha two years ago and then referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Justice and Personnel.
The Parliamentary Committee, headed by Janaynti Natarajan, submitted its report in March last year.
The committee was in agreement with the broad objective that ‘irretrievable breakdown of marriage’ should be introduced as new ground for granting a divorce. As per the new amendment, while a wife can oppose a husband’s plea for a divorce under the new ‘irretrievable breakdown of marriage’ clause, the husband will have no such rights to oppose if the wife moves the court on the same grounds. The panel opposed doing away with the prevailing waiting period before moving a joint motion for annulling marriage. Partially accepting the recommendations, the government has now decided the ‘cooling off’ period will be decided by the courts.
The committee recommended that the government should make adequate provisions in the matrimonial laws to ensure that the courts at the time of divorce decide upon the women’s share in the matrimonial property, to which they have contributed during the marriage. The government has also accepted the recommendation of the panel that women should have a share in the property of her husband in case of a divorce, but the quantum of share will be decided by the courts on case-by-case basis.