IrBM Arguments in the Media

Divorce Cakes a_007

Recently there has been a spate of discussions in the media on the upcoming Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage Law (IrBM). Some important highlights of the proposed bill are –

  1. Divorce can now be filed as a ‘No-fault Divorce’ stating that marriage has broken down irretrievably.
  2. Husbands do not have the right to oppose the divorce petition filed by their wives, whereas the wives can oppose the divorce petition filed by the husbands. Hence, the irretrievable break down of marriage can only be claimed by a wife and not the husband as husband’s petition can be challenged by the wife.
  3. All the property of the husband that he currently owns and his ancestral property (inherited or inheritable) will be divided between the husband and the wife.

Some arguments that have been promulgated for supporting this bill during media debates are –

1) Poverty is a gender issue and primarily in India women are poor: This is a baseless argument as the data shows just the opposite. Two most important features of poverty are malnutrition and substandard healthcare due to which the life expectancy reduces and deaths due to diseases increase respectively.

i) Average Life Expectancy of women in India is higher than males at 65 as opposed to males at 62. This implies that women live longer and healthier, hence have lower malnutrition[i].

ii) Health care facilities are better for women than compared to males. WHO data shows that deaths due to diseases for males is 880 as compared to women as 780 (per 100,000). Hence, women have better access to healthcare as compared to the male counterparts[ii].

Therefore based on the above facts it is the men who live a substandard life as compared to women.

2)      Stigma of Single women- they cannot rent a house in Cities: How does unable to rent a house have anything to do with property rights and divorce laws. If housing societies donot allow single women to buy / rent flats then an amendment in Co-operative Housing Society Act is required and not the passing of IrBM. These two points and issues are completely unrelated.

3)      Price of Love and Price of Care that women invest in a relationship should be paid: This point has come in various debates and in various forms. Treating marriage like an economic relationship is completely incorrect. Even if we assume that the feminists are treating marriage as an economic relationship, then the wife’s due was paid by her husband during the marriage by way of providing love and care to his wife. The husband also provided for necessities like food, clothing, shelter, vacations etc… Post-divorce, there is no love / care given by  the wife hence, no payment is required by the man. Any payment to wife post marriage is an ‘unjust enrichment’ to the wife.

4)      It is important for the woman to have a home as 80% of women keep children: Some important questions, brought up in this point is that

i) No source has been quoted of this 80% number.

ii) Why is it only important for the woman to have a home? Why is it not important for a man to have a home? Are men disposable or are they second citizens?

iii) Why can’t the women work are create their own home? Are they not able bodied?

Baseless reasoning such as these promotes parasitism, which is not healthy for any living organism or society.

5)      For the past 5000 years, women were treated as second class citizens and hence taking into account the development, their literacy rates etc… in the past 15 years is incorrect: We should all note that laws are passed keeping in mind the situation as on date not 5000 years back. As on date women are empowered, and their status 5000 years back (which we donot know is true) has no bearing to the present situation. Therefore this argument does not hold water.

6)      Parents donot give any property to their daughter: If parents donot give a share of their property to their daughters then a law should be passed to enforce women’s share at their maternal homes. Why pass IrBM for that. If is akin to saying that if company ‘A’ does not pay salary to their employees then company ‘B’ is liable to pay it. This is an illogical and unfair argument in support of this bill.

7)      Women give birth to babies therefore they should get the property: Every female mammal on this earth gives birth to a baby, which is how nature has made them. Asking for property rights because women give birth to babies is preposterous. Such arguments should not even be entertained by the debate show hosts.

8)      In the past women were treated like chattels (property): In the past laws were not well developed as they are today. There were no human rights or any such thing. We had crude laws and property laws were the only laws that were more or less enforceable. Hence, women might have been treated like chattels to protect them in the society. Further, men were not even treated like chattel. In case of any contingency they were supposed to lay down their lives to protect their property ie. Men were SECOND to chattel. Feminists have not been able to provide any evidence to support any claim that in stable societies women were treated badly. Further, again we are discussing things of the past, today we have well established human rights and personal laws and no person is treated as chattel. Laws are to be made taking into account today’s situations and not the situation which existed 5000 years back.

9) India is a male dominated society: This argument is has many different version such as patriarchy, no representation and oppression. How do we define domination? One method of defining domination is by looking at the political representation of the group. A group with a higher political representation controls the law making and is the dominant group in a democracy. This is because the elected representatives need to do as directed by electorate. As per the Election Commission of India, the voters of India were  –

Year

Men (% votes)

Women (% votes)

Source

1999

40.01%

59.99%

  [iii]

2004

41.93%

58.07%

  [iv]

2009

45.8%

54.2%

  [v]

The dominant group from the above data is clearly the women of India, as they are nearly 60% of the voters, and not the men, therefore stating that India is a male dominated society is incorrect, as the data speaks otherwise.

The bill is unfair, unjust, and gender biased because of –

a)      Only women have been given a right to oppose a divorce. Men cannot oppose divorce petition filed by women. This clause seems to clearly discriminate against men.

b)      Only property (ancestral or owned) of men is to be divided. Property of women is not to be considered.

c)      In case of a no-fault divorce, other cases such as domestic violence and 498A can continue. If it is no-fault divorce then how can other cases which have a fault continue?

d)      Men are still liable to pay maintenance and alimony to women under other sections of various acts.

e)      The bill seems to be against gender equality promised by the Indian Constitution under article 15.

f)       Liabilities of men are not considered in case of division of property. Assume a house was bought on a bank loan, and in case of divorce, 50% of the house will be given to the woman but the man is still liable to pay the entire loan amount. This tantamount to taking away the future assets of the husband. Further, it is to be seen how would the banking sector react to this as it is a risk to their security (ie. House) which is mortgaged against the loan.

In other developed countries laws are gender neutral and have the word ‘Spouse’ in their language and not ‘Wife’ as the case in India. In developed nations each spouse shall be responsible for his or her own support. This has been kept to deter parasitism in their culture.

For example in Sweden maintenance is given when a spouse has difficulty in supporting himself or herself for a transitional period following the divorce. Such transitional maintenance provides the needy spouse with opportunities to seek gainful employment or retraining. Section 7 of Chapter 6 (Maintenance) of the Swedish Marriage Code (Aktenskapsbalken) is: “Following a divorce, each spouse shall be responsible for his or her own support. If a contribution towards the maintenance of either spouse is needed for a transitional period, that spouse shall be entitled to receive maintenance payments from the other spouse on the basis of what is reasonable in view of the latter’s ability and other circumstances.”.  Further, Sweden has a concept of personal property and marital property. Property jointly acquired by the spouses is treated as marital property. An exception is there, if only one spouse acquires property, then his/her personal property may be treated as marital property.

Further, post the division of marital property, the maintenance and alimony is reduced. (ie. the clauses are not mutually exclusive) [vi].

For example in Germany: A spouse must provide for their own maintenance after divorce (Sections 1569, 1577 BGB). Maintenance may only be granted for an intermittent period till the other spouse retrains so as to be employable. Further, the networth of the spouses at the time of marriage and after the marriage is calculated. The difference is treated as marital property and property of both spouses is equally divided. An exception is there that if a spouse does not contribute in promoting the economic gain in marital property, he/she is not eligible for anything. Further, adultery and cruelty is given weightage.

In essence, both the developed nations treat the property of husband and wife separately and only joint contributed property as marital property. This comes from the tenet that all able bodied persons should be liable for their own upkeep[vii].


[vii] http://www.ejcl.org/123/art123-4.pdf

Please Note: If you have any concerns with any part of this article, do feel free to comment. Your concerns will be appropriately addressed and/or modifications to the article will be made.

Home Page: Stand Up for a Cause…

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28 Responses to IrBM Arguments in the Media

  1. Sathya says:

    Brilliantly written and justified answers given. Thanks to the writer. This needs to reach to masses.

  2. kumar says:

    well written article…

  3. Thanks Sathya and Kumar.

  4. Juris Prudence says:

    I believe this is a Constructive form of activism….and it needs to be circulated widely and sought answers to…
    ….well done standupforacause.

  5. Harpal Singh says:

    Great blog with justified answers given. Thanks to the writer.

  6. Yashna Chawla says:

    Superbly written. Explains the law in detail so that even a layman understands it. It should be spread far and wide.

  7. vishal says:

    ancestral property divide law will have a negative impact on indian families .. and may increase incidences of suicides.. this law need to be reverted ASAP

  8. Gourab Panda says:

    very nicely composed, this should be brought into media!

  9. Very Nice and Logical Post, I wish the Ministers should also have that logical approach,

    This should be sent to the media and further to the govt.

  10. Good penning !

    Children property rights are most affected in IrBM.

    The children should also have a equal share of alimony & property given to the wife by the husband and courts should make an order accordingly to open and ESSCROW account and appoint a trustee to safeguard the interest of the children in financial matters until the child reaches the age of 21 as it is common nowadays that parents remarry after divorce and beget more children & thus create conflict of interest among step siblings. Hindu Marriage Law should also protect ancestral property rights of children

    • Thanks!

      You are correct, right to property for children is missing. The trust suggestion is interesting and would protect interests of children in the case of a conflicted divorce.

  11. thanks for such a great post and the review, i am totally impressed! keep stuff like this coming.

  12. sarab1275 says:

    After reading your blog anybody can interpret that — Institution of Marriage is going to destroyed — The Divorce rates are going to rise by four times fold — Beautifully written.

    • Thanks Sarab. There could be a rise in the divorce rates, but the major issue is the maintenance and property division of the husband. Pre-nups should be made legally bindable to avoid any issues during separation.

  13. Harsh says:

    U r the great writer .men suffering the harrasment so the govt. Find out soluation. In such cases investigate the truth of cases

  14. victim says:

    This law is helpful for those who are really victims of dowry harassment. So, it has to be passed. Because this will gave punishment to those who tortures their wife , daughter in-law just for sake of money…. and i don’t think above data’s are related to this law. i just ask one think there are women who works along with husband but all in all its wife who do all household works… and after all this after sometime what she get is divorce don’t you people think that it women who is tortured in society and seen with bad eyes after divorce… and how can you people forget that there was time when ratio of girls was low w.r.t. boys at time you people were where. this protest against law shows that you need mazaa and then clean divorce without giving anything… why don’t you think that you together husband wife and family live happily together and never let the chance of divorce in between. and i just say yes GOD please help all those who are right , may be its women or men. but one should be right.
    so, i just conclude saying that it is helpful for those who are really victims of dowry harassment.

  15. victim says:

    because i feel life of girl and boy is more important then money and property. above protest are because they don’t want to give property instead everybody should make himself and herself right. if they don’t give divorce then how would that property be shared. this shows that they want to marry and then clean divorce . yes but there should be amendment that boys can also oppose divorce than it will not be misused and save marriage life.

  16. victim says:

    Also this is same for your sisters, mothers. they are opposing for their bhabhi and bahu. but for themselves they also want this law to be passed.

  17. victim says:

    aur agar case aapki behn ka ho toh aap khud bolte hoge ki law pass jaye….. baaki i just say that it should be passed with amendment that husband can oppose divorce so it will not be misused.

  18. Tom says:

    This is one of the most articulate pieces I have read on this topic. Unfortunately because of feminists in the media and elsewhere this point of view will never get the attention it deserves. Politicians are making laws that are pro-women to please them as a vote bank. This is going to cause havoc in the long run. The damage to society will be massive and in several areas. Women will find it very hard to marry someone richer than them. Families will need to pay huge dowries to get their daughters married. Successful professionals will choose not to marry while the underprivileged will multiply rapidly. In the US they have strong laws for this but they also have the concept of a pre-nup.

    There is a conspiracy on in India by feminists and gays to run down men and feminize them. You can see ads on TV that humiliate the male characters all the time. Search for Red pill groups on Reddit or elsewhere and you’ll find there is a section of men who want to maintain a positive identity in society instead of this misandry. There is also a section of men growing in size in India who are actively choosing not to marry. They are referred to as MWGTOW aka Men who go their own way.

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