India society is highly complex due to diversity of religions, castes and sub-castes, gender related issues, and due to coming of modern ideals of equality, liberty and fraternity since independence.
In this respect, various communities (religious and caste) follow different customary family laws that often collide against constitutional and legal rights of individuals.
Recently government-appointed high-level panel gave suggestions related to family reforms Panel was formed for the review of women and family laws with respect to marriage, divorce, custody, inheritance and succession.
Suggestions by the Panel:
- Amending the IPC on adultery (Section 497) – Currently it can be only used by the husband against the person who has sexual relations with his wife.
- Removing the gender discrimination inherent in laws that stipulate a lower legal age of marriage for a girl.
- Ban on triple talaq and polygamy.
- Right to maintenance for Muslim women in their personal law as well as for women in live-in relationships and unmarried dependent daughters.
- Introducing a separate legislation for dealing with “honour killings”.
- Amendment of Special Marriages Act – 30 day public notices under the Act should be done away to protect couple marrying against the wishes of their parents.
- The term ‘cruelty’ also needs to be re-defined since personal laws recognize cruelty as a ground for divorce.
Why is reform required:
- To implement Uniform Civil Code in India as envisioned in Article of 44 of constitution.
- To remove the implicit gender biases in the personal laws of various religions.
- To create peaceful conditions for people to marry according to their choice and prevent them from societal pressure like from Khaps.
- Will help in improving the condition of women and their empowerment in patriarchal society of India