The Union cabinet on Friday approved a set of key recommendations by a parliamentary panel to make divorce proceedings for unhappy couples easier and women-friendly.
The Marriage Laws (Amendment) Bill, approved by the cabinet, will provide women with a share of their husband’s property if they opt for divorce. It also seeks to give adopted children the same rights as those of biological children.
The bill was introduced in Rajya Sabha in August 2010, and later referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Justice.
The committee supported the bill, which sought to make “irretrievable breakdown of marriage” a new ground for grant of divorce, but opposed doing away with the prevailing waiting period before moving a joint motion for annulling marriage.
Partially accepting the recommendation, the government left the decision of waiving off the cooling-off period for the courts.
According to the redrafted bill passed by the cabinet, adopted children will have rights on a par with the biological offsprings of a couple, in case the parents opt for divorce.
The government has also accepted the recommendation of the committee that a woman should have a share in the property of her husband in case of a divorce, and the quantum of division would be decided by the courts.
Moreover, while a wife can oppose a husband’s plea for divorce under the new “irretrievable breakdown of marriage” clause, the husband will have no such right if the wife moves the court on the same grounds.