THE HINDU MARRIAGE (AMENDMENT) BILL, 2014
SHRI BHARTRUHARI MAHTAB, M.P.
A BILL further to amend the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.
BE it enacted by Parliament in the Sixty-fifth Year of the Republic of India as follows:—
1. ( 1 ) This Act may be called the Hindu Marriage (Amendment) Act, 2014.
(2) It shall come into force on such date as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint.
2. In section 3 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 (hereinafter referred to as the principal Act), the existing clause ( a ) shall be renumbered as clause ( aa ), and before clause ( aa ) as so renumbered, the following clause shall be inserted, namely:—
”( a ) ‘abandoned wife’ means a female party to a marriage whose husband has deserted her or has failed to provide such support to her as, according to the customs and social practice, is expected to be provided by a husband to his wife, for a continuous period of not less than one year.
For reckoning the continuous period of one year, any intervening period of less than one month during which the cohabitation resumes and subsists, shall be excluded for the purpose of computing the continuous period of one year.”.
3. After section 24 of the principal Act, the following sections shall be inserted, namely:—
“24A. ( 1 ) An abandoned wife shall be entitled to payment by her husband such sum of money every month for her maintenance and support, as, having regard to the husband’s own income and property, the income and property of the abandoned wife and other circumstances of the case, is sufficient to enable the abandoned wife to sustain a standard of living commensurate with the husband’s income and property: Provided that in no case the amount of maintenance granted under this section shall be less than two-fifths of the gross monthly income of the husband.
( 2 ) If a husband, at any time, fails to pay to his abandoned wife the amount of maintenance under this section for a continuous period of two months, the court shall secure future payment of maintenance from the husband by creating a charge on his income and, if necessary, also on his assets.
( 3 ) The right of maintenance and support of an abandoned wife under this section shall be without prejudice to her right of maintenance under sections 24 or 25: Provided that the maintenance granted under section 24 shall not be less than the amount of maintenance granted under this section.
( 4) A petition under this section shall be decided within three months from the date of filing of the petition.
24 B. ( 1 ) The husband of an abandoned wife shall provide a suitable portion of his residence free of cost to her with all necessary amenities to make her stay habitable: Provided that where the husband owns more than one residential premises, the abandoned wife shall have the option to choose any of such premises for her residence: Provided further that the husband and his other relatives shall, as far as practicable, have no right to access to such portion of residence or such residential premises, as the case may be.
( 2 ) The right of the husband to sell or in any way dispose of any property in which his abandoned wife is living by virtue of sub-section ( 1 ) shall remain suspended till, on a petition by either party, a decree is made under section 13 or 13B or till the expiry of one year from the restitution of conjugal rights of the abandoned wife under section 9 or otherwise.”.4. In section 28, after clause ( 2 ), the following clause shall be inserted, namely:—” (2A ) An order made under section 24A may, on an appeal, be varied to the disadvantage of the abandoned wife only on the ground that she has not remained chaste.”.
STATEMENT OF OBJECTS AND REASONS
The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 provides maintenance to women during the pendency of a proceeding for judicial separation or divorce under the Act. However, there are many women who are abandoned by their husbands and they are unable to take recourse to proceedings under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 for various reasons. Such abandoned women have to face severe financial and social hardships. On one hand, they are deprived of financial and economic support from their husbands. On the other hand, society does not view them with the dignity and honour that is due to them. Though there are social and economic dimensions of the problem, it cannot be denied that both are intricately related. The plight of such women becomes even more pitiable when the weaknesses in the existing legal framework are misused to prevent institution of a proceeding under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 to thwart any attempt to provide maintenance to them. In this way, they are unable to either obtain maintenance from their husbands or get the matrimonial relationship terminated.
2. In order to provide relief to women who have been abandoned by their husbands, the Bill proposes to amend the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 to provide for:—
( a ) provision of such mandatory maintenance to abandoned wife as would enable her to sustain a standard of living commensurate with the husband’s income and property. For the purposes of the Bill, a woman shall be deemed to have been abandoned by her husband if the husband has severed ties with her or has failed to provide such support to her as, according to the customs and social practice, is expected to be provided by a husband to his wife, for a continuous period of not less than one year;
( b ) securing the payment of the amount of maintenance in case of default by the husband by creating a charge on the income and, if necessary, also on the assets of the husband;
( c ) ensuring right of the abandoned wife to reside at the residence of her husband or at any other residential premises owned by him; and
( d ) suspension of the right of the husband to dispose of or part with any interest in any property in which the abandoned wife has a right to residence.
3. The Bill seeks to achieve the above objects.
NEW DELHI ; BHARTRUHARI MAHTAB June 26, 2014.
EXTRACT FROM THE HINDU MARRIAGE A CT, 1955 (25 OF 1955)
3. In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,— ( a ) the expressions “custom”and “usage”signify any rule which, having been continuously and uniformly observed for a long time, has obtained the force of law among Hindus in any local area, tribe, community, group or family: Provided that the rule is certain and not unreasonable or opposed to public policy; and Provided further that in the case of a rule applicable only to a family it has not been discontinued by the family;
24. Where in any proceeding under this Act it appears to the court that either the wife or the husband, as the case may be, has no independent income sufficient for her or his support and the necessary expenses of the proceeding, it may, on the application of the wife or the husband, order the respondent to pay to the petitioner the expenses of the proceeding, and monthly during the proceeding such sum as, having regard to the petitioner’s own income and the income of the respondent, it may seem to the court to be reasonable: Provided that the application for the payment of the expenses of the proceedings and such monthly sum during the proceeding, shall, as far as possible, be disposed of within sixty days from the date of service of notice on the wife or the husband, as the case may be.
28.( 1 )
( 2 ) Orders made by the court in any proceeding under this Act under section 25 or section 26 shall, subject to the provisions of sub-section
(3 ), be appealable if they are not interim orders, and every such appeal shall lie to the court to which appeals ordinarily lie from the decisions of the court given in exercise of its original civil jurisdiction.
A BILL further to amend the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
( Shri Bhartruhari Mahtab, M.P. )