Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil,Honb’le President of India,
India – 110004.
Telephone : 91-11-23015321
Fax : 91-11-23017290 / 91-11-23017824
Subject: Protest against NCW’s recent proposal to amend Section 125 of Code of Criminal procedure (CrPC) to include women involved in live in relationships to be eligible for alimony and even grant maintenance to a woman charged with adultery.
NATIONAL COMMISSION of WOMEN (NCW), recently proposed an amendment of Section 125 of Code of Criminal procedure (CrPC) to include women involved in live in relationships to be eligible for alimony from their live in partners and even grant maintenance to a woman charged with adultery. This proposed amendment has far reaching consequences, which it is evident that the champions of women causes, the National Commission of Women seems to have conveniently ignored.
Attention of Her Excellency is required on the following points regarding the recent statements of Honb’le chairperson of the National commission for Women:
- On which statistics, reports or surveys this proposal is based?: Smt. Girija Vyas didn’t gave any reference to any kind of Govt report or survey or statistics available to validate her claim that in 70% of the divorce cases, adultery is used to discredit the woman. The NCW chairperson is hijacking the judicial area, as it is the court of law to decide whether the allegations of adultery are right or not. It is not any step forward in the women empowerment. Based on assumptions no law could be legislated and why always the assumption that a woman alone could be a victim, is made? If such an assumption could be made to justify the allowance of maintenance to an adulterous wife and if it is assumed at all that in 70% of divorce cases, allegations of adultery are used to deny maintenance, the same kind assumptions (actually facts as per the Justice Malimath committee report) could be made for the demand of dowry and cruelty allegations misused by women to reason out their separate living from her husband. In 98% of the cases these allegations are found to be false.
This is just a forcible imposition of morality on married men without any check on the immoral married women. This kind of radical feminism is nothing but double standards and hypocrisy.
It’s just another ridiculous effort to save adulterous woman. Character has become the first scapegoat for these findings of National Commission for Women. This is one of the evils of movies and tele serials where that character is assassinated and shown the bad women as paragon of virtue.
- What about the rights of a legally wedded wife?: Legalizing the live-in relationship will further create problems for the protection of the rights of the legally married wife and her kids. The live-in relationship should never get any legal rights.
Whatever may be the reason these relationship exists in society (mainly because in all such cases, the man or the women is taking advantage of each other), however tragic and sympathetic the stories of live in women are, fact remains the same that they are NOT legal wives. They are already encroaching upon legal wife rights (both mentally and economically). Do not take trample over the rights of wife and make her undergo hardships if she has to divide her legal rights to maintenance, properties etc also with a live-in woman.
This is a western concept and people who enter in such relations are well qualified and know what they are upto. To get a status of husband and wife, we already have a system called marriage which is recognized by law. Idea behind live-in-relationship is these people do not want any strings/liabilities attached and they can free themselves any time they want. Then what this drama is all about? Alimony or compensation was introduced to help a legally wedded woman who is totally dependent on her husband and if husband deserts her, she has nowhere to go. On the contrary girls in live-in-relationship are working women and bold enough to be a rebel [because in traditional society no one would approve such kind of relation]. This law if enforced will be more misused than used.
If a man has live-in relations with N number of women, then his salary would be shared between his legally wedded wife and all these N live-in partners. Poor wife have to suffer. The system and society has to respect and protect the legal and first wife.
- How come this is a women empowerment?: There are much more implications of this law then what we see at first. This law is being proposed for all women who are suffering from the fact that when they are going through a separation, the man could not say that she is not entitled to any benefits because she is not a legally wedded wife. Will it lead to any kind of women empowerment except a small short time relief? After this amendment many more such live-in relations will creep up in the society and more women will again be victimized but compensated in the name of maintenance. The approach taken by NCW for women empowerment will lead to more women adopting live-in relations.
Will NCW even consider the partnership of Indian women in women empowerment or just go by what foreign funding agencies taught them?
- Where is gender neutrality?: Such kind of proposals from NCW lacks gender neutrality and shows short sightedness of the commission members. The whole concept of a live in is no commitments and no strings attached. People do it out of their own choice wherein both the partners are independent and earning well. What about live-in males who might have no income and what about domestic abuses by woman? This way even a man should get alimony if the woman dumps him.
If NCW thinks Indians are getting comfortable with the western lifestyle then they should also develop sensibilities of ownership and responsibility. With new economic independence women are smart enough and know what they want. It’s both persons choice to try out living together and there’s no way that men should be forced to pay for that time.
It will be highly immature on NCW’s part to assume that all relationships end due to men’s fault and hence they should be made to pay for the same in the form of alimony. After totally lopsided and stringent provisions under the anti dowry provision, which are misused to the tune of 98 per cent as provided by the two per cent conviction rate in 498A cases as per National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data, which has killed the institution of marriage silently, it seems it is now the turn of live in relationships.
Most women in these kinds of relations are well educated, self maintained women, who want to have the cake and eat it too. They want some social acceptance but want to keep their money and independence too without bearing any social responsibility. Will they pay maintenance to their male partners if they walk out of the relationship? No one forces anyone to stay especially in a live-in relation then why maintenance?
In the name of ‘protecting’ women, the law of India is giving away women all the undue advantages. An adult woman perfectly understands the consequence of a live-in relationship. Why only the male partner has to be charged? Is the same treatment of sexes?
- Isn’t it highly prone to misuse?: Live-in relationship concept is truly a new mode of adultery of modern time. It could be termed as consented prostitution. This concept is against the Indian culture and heritage. On one hand, even in this modern time, we the people of poor but developing country are working hard to preserve our old heritage buildings spending exorbitant amounts and on other end our women politicians are ruining our Indian culture of man-woman relationship. Now next step would be that the women having live-in relationship shall be entitled for succession rights and their
children shall be legitimate.
Modern live-in relationship is lifestyle choice to maintain independence. Why should the man pay for maintenance (however long a relationship is)? Live-ins where one is married is called extra marital affair and the woman a mistresses. Do not glorify these relationships and make them legal.
- What would be the definition of live in relation under CrPC-125?
What would be the definition of a live-in relation for the purpose of maintenance? Considering the below permutations:
1. Unmarried 1. Unmarried
2. Unmarried 2. Married
3. Married 3. Unmarried
4. Married 4. Married
Case 1: Will the moral, financial and social responsibilities be shared equally?
Case 2: Will it be called adultery or a live-in? Will she be fed by both? Her
live-in partner and her husband?
Case 3: Will she share the maintenance with the man’s legally wedded wife?
Will the maintenance be at par with what wife was enjoying?
Case 4: Both are committing bigamy and adultery respectively?
Will NCW define a minimum time limit for a live in relation to be recognized as a marriage kind of relation?
- Marry go round-Old laws incomplete-Enact new-Amend old at par with new?: It is the highly ridiculous proposal of amending the definition of ‘Wife’ under section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code. Amending the definition of wife, so as to include the live-in partner is just indirect legalization of live-in relations in India.
The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence 2005 (PWDVA) was enacted giving the rationale behind it that it will provide a civil remedy to some of those women too who are not legally married wives as old laws like CrPC-125 are incomplete in that sense. Thus the live-in relation was included in its ambit of PWDVA 2005 for any quick remedy like shelter, maintenance, compensation, protection etc. Now if the PWDVA 2005 has been enacted, why NCW need to go back to the old laws to make them at par with PWDVA? After all a change in definition of ‘wife’ in Criminal Procedure Code, which is not any personal law but a code for the whole civil society in India, would mean legalization of Live-in.
It is clear that NCW wants to break home, create chaos in the society by providing financial motivation to women. It is sad that NCW and Ministry for Women and Child development are creating inhuman environment for men which will ultimately destroy the Indian society which we are proud of so much.
- Why women will marry now?: Now it is no longer needed to marry to extort money when a woman can live independent life without any strings of responsibility attached to this relation. We have been aping everything that the west has been doing. Now it has come the institution of Marriage. India is a country despite all the different religions and cultures the sanctity of the institution of marriage is still intact. By giving this status we are encouraging live in relationships. Should we not denounce this culture and work towards making the situation more conducive to the sacred institution of marriage rather than ransacking KFC and the like.
- Will NCW define another family law for punishing or compensating if a mother deny breast feeding to her baby from that live-in relation? – NO.
- Will there be any law prosecuting a live-in woman if she denies accepting responsibility of child of a woman from her live-in partner had with his legally wedded wife? – NO.
So why will women marry after such a promotion to live-in relations from NCW?
Granting an adulterous woman or a woman involved in live in relationships, a right to claim alimony is a direct insult of the most sacrosanct social institution, marriage, as in India, a marriage is a solemnized vow to support each other through thick and thin taken in the presence of community elders and with their blessings, but, in contrast, a live in relationship is initiated by the couple just as a means to stay together. But unlike marriage, the commitment factor in a live in relationship is very low as the ties are very easy to break. There are no liabilities involved from either side.
NCW’s step is futile and awkward step coming out of its idleness. We do not know what worm is itching in NCW member’s mind. We strongly protest and propose that it should not be done at all. Better NCW pay attention and propose something to the legislature against honor killings daily being reported. We still believe, Govt of India has not lost its thinking power and be extremely horrible submissive to NCW.
Enclosures: 1) Times Of India news clip dated 18th Aug, 2007, titled “Wives accused of adultery must get alimony: NCW”.
2) Times Of India news clip dated 30 Jun, 2008, titled “Maintenance for live-in partner?”