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- 09 -
July
2012

India Today3 comments

"Women have very limited economic rights on divorce," says Kirti Singh, Supreme Court advocate and former Law Commission member. In the last six decades, India has widened grounds for divorce. But the fact is that almost all Indian women endure a sharp fall in standard of living on separation and divorce has consistently been ignored by policymakers. But now laws are coming to their rescue: For the first time, the nation is deliberating over legal changes that propose to accord women new equality with men on property rights and lifestyle post-divorce.

On March 23, the Union Cabinet approved the Marriage Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2010, giving women the right to an equal share of property acquired after marriage. It has sparked off a nationwide debate, with a war of words in the Rajya Sabha on May 2. The Cabinet has now decided to take on board various views and amend it to provide for a clearly defined 50 per cent claim for a wife in her husband's immovable residential property, acquired even before marriage. Although a wife's share in her husband's other assets is still left to the judge's discretion, the Bill has the potential to make Indian divorces among the most equitable in the world. Read more

- 09 -
July
2012

India Today 2 comments

The world has changed since then for women. One-third of India's 480 million jobs are held by them, show an imrb survey in 2011. About 60 per cent urban women say they are responsible for everything that happens in their life. And they are ambitious, with 86 per cent aspiring to a top job, says a 2011 global survey by Centre for Work-Life Policy. Their income has doubled, especially in the cities, boosting their family's wealth. They buy 80 per cent of household goods, and are targets for half the nation's advertising. They watch their liberated sisters on television and feel good when hair colour companies write pretty slogans for them: "Because you're worth it."

Will money make men and women equal at last? Well, in divorce at least, if not in marriage.

How does one survive a divorce? Get out of home and mingle, plan fun activities with friends, take up a new hobby, see a therapist, start dating again, advice divorce survival guides. But the modern pick-me-ups fall flat in the land of Manu, where the consequences of a marital breakup are still not the same for men and women.

"It is well known that unlike in the West, most divorce petitions in India are filed and initiated by men," says Kirti Singh. About 80 per cent women oppose divorce because they have no other economic alternative outside marriage. "Women, if they can afford to file a case, do so primarily for maintenance and return of stridhan and dowry." But with most courts granting just 2-10 per cent of a man's income after rounds of expensive litigation, women rapidly slide down the economic slope. Read more


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