Marriage laws will now become more women friendly with the government on Wednesday approving a slew of measures including providing for sufficient compensation for the wife and children from husband's immovable property in case of a divorce.
Seeking to put an end to prolonged legal battles in divorce cases, the Union Cabinet also approved a proposal which will allow courts to exercise discretion in granting divorce after three years if one of the partners does not move a second 'joint application' for divorce with mutual consent.
Accepting the recommendations of a Group of Ministers set up recently to decide on the Marriage Laws (Amendment) Bill, the Cabinet has decided to make a provision for ensuring compensation for the wife and children from the immovable property of the husband in case of a divorce and the amount will be decided by the court.
It has also been proposed to empower the courts to decide the compensation amount from the husband's inherited and inheritable property for the wife and children once the marriage legally ends. A new section 13 (f) has been added to this effect.
"A provisio 13 (b) 2 has been added which gives judge the discretion to take ex parte decision on granting divorce if one of the two parties refuse to move a joint application. This does not mean the divorce will come into effect. It only means that the court may grant divorce in such a situation," a top government functionary explained.
A six to 18 month waiting period or cooling off period already exists in the present law when the two parties move joint application for divorce with mutual consent.
The GoM, headed by Defence Minister A K Antony had decided against the earlier proposal of equal share for wives in their husbands property in divorce cases, since it was felt that division of inherited property may lead to further litigation.
The GoM was set-up by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh following sharp differences over the provisions of the bill in the Cabinet in April this year. The government has been struggling for a consensus on the bill after it was first introduced in the Rajya Sabha in 2010. This is for the fourth time the bill has been cleared by the Cabinet.
The amendment bill, which seeks to alter the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, and the Special Marriage Act, 1954, introduces the option of divorce on grounds of "irretrievable breakdown of marriage".