Centre for Men’s Rights organized a protest against the Marriage Laws (Amendment) Bill. Around 300 Men with their families gathered in front of Town Hall in Bangalore and protested that the proposed amendments in the law were unfair and against men.
The Men’s rights activists who gathered told that their demand was that the bill in its present form should not be passed and instead modify all laws to make them gender neutral where the word ‘husband’ or ‘wife’ is replaced by the word ‘spouse’. They also pressed that the government should create a National Commission for Men to study and take measures on war-footing on the problem of increasing men’s suicides, and promote well-being and welfare of men.
One of the activist Santosh Patil said that the Marriage Laws Amendment Bill is patently anti-men and it takes away rights of married men while giving rights to married women without any responsibilities.
Santosh said that the bill aims to give married women rights in husbands’ residential property in case of a divorce, and she becomes eligible to 50% of it irrespective of whether it was acquired before or during the marriage. Irrespective of the fact who owns more property and who initiates divorce, the wife is supposed to have property rights whereas the husband has none.
He further added that the law is more about easy divorce option for women without commitment in marriage rather than protecting their rights. Even after making wife 50% owner, the proposed law still gives courts the discretion to divide other movable and immoveable assets owned by her husband. Who will benefit in the end? – the divorcing women, or the legal divorce industry and the unscrupulous women who will use these provisions as a tool to walk out of marriage claiming the riches.
Another activist Phanisai told that the most damning evidence of anti-men bias in the bill is that in spite of the fact that 80-85% of divorces are initiated by women the bill aims to ‘empower’ wives to veto any divorce filed by husbands on grounds of ‘irretrievable breakdown of marriage’ while the husbands who want to save marriage will not be allowed to oppose similar petition by their wives. There is a hidden presumption that married women are always with good intentions whereas married men are basically villains.
He also added that Men’s rights organisations from acrossIndiahad made representations about the loopholes in the amendments in front of the parliamentary standing committee, but the government has proceeded ahead with approval of amendments making mockery of public voices of dissent.
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