New Delhi(PTI): A bill was today introduced in the Rajya Sabha to amend existing laws to make divorce easier, with BJP opposing the legislation on the ground that certain provisions could be “dangerous” for women.
Introducing the Marriage Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2010, Law Minister Salman Khurshid said by amending the Hindu Marriage Act, 2007, and the Special Marriage Act, 1954, the government proposes to make divorce easier in case of irretrievable breakdown of marriage among consenting adults.
The Bill also has made provision under which adopted children will have rights on par with biological off springs of a couple in case the parents go for a divorce. It also gives a woman a share in her husband’s property. Initiating the debate, Leader of Opposition and BJP leader Arun Jaitley objected to some provisions of the Bill saying it “will create hardship for women” and encourage misuse and exploitation of women.
He said an alternative argument should be factored into while studying the Bill as it was heavily loaded in favour of one of the parties and both the victim and the perpetrator are treated equally. “The person causing irretrievable breakdown can also seek divorce,” he said, highlighting several drawbacks in the Bill and feared the measure will be “very dangerous for Indian jurisprudence”.
Jaitley said the bill should have been drafted keeping in mind that there are not enough support system for women in Indian society. He said if one of the parties created conditions for divorce, the other party would be forced to accept and apply for divorce. The creator of the condition will get benefited while the other would be the victim.
Najma Heptulla (BJP) opposed the deletion of the ‘cooling off’ period as it allowed an opportunity for reconciliation. “Until we give enough protection to women, this will be very dangerous for women,” she feared. She said irretrievable breakdown in marriage should be “codified” and should not come as “a tool in the hand of the husband”.