New Delhi: The Union Cabinet on Friday approved various proposals seeking amendments in the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 and Special Marriage Act of 1954 aimed at providing ‘irretrievable breakdown of marriage’ as a new ground for parting ways.
The redrafted Marriage Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2010 gives courts the right to reduce or waive off the mandatory cooling period and grant divorce immediately.
The bill, based on key recommendations of a Parliamentary Standing Committee, also allows a woman a share in her husband`s property. The quantum of share will be decided by the court on case-by-case basis.
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
Supporting the bill which sought to make "irretrievable breakdown of marriage" a new ground for grant of divorce, the Standing Committee had in March last year opposed doing away
with the prevailing waiting period of six months to 18 months before moving a joint motion for annulling marriage.
The changes made in the 2010 bill are based on the recommendations made by the Parliamentary Panel then headed by Jayanthi Natarajan.
According to the Cabinet note, 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 government has also made share in husband`s property acquired by marriage a right for women who so far used to get maintenance from courts.
A Minister who attended the meeting said the bill lacks any clear cut rule on the share of property a wife will get.
Apart from giving women the right to their husband`s property, bill also aims at giving rights to adopted children on par with biological off-springs in case a couple goes for divorce.
The Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh cleared the draft bill.