Going slow on hurried divorce

New Delhi, May 2: Speedy divorce got delayed Wednesday with a proposed amendment to the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, getting stalled in the Rajya Sabha.

The Marriage Law (Amendment) Bill, which was to amend Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, for including “irretrievable breakdown of marriage” among the grounds for divorce, could not be passed after opposition parties, prominently BJP, opposed the bill, saying it was anti-women.

Law Minister Salman Khurshid, after initially seeking to refer the bill to a select committee of parliament, sought time to respond to the bill, leaving the bill’s fate hanging.

Khurshid said the government would sit with Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley and discuss the amendments needed in the bill. However, as members wanted to pursue the discussion on the bill, the debate was taken up.

Participating in the discussion, members across party lines felt the bill was brought in a hurry and that more deliberations were needed on it.

Parties, including Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Biju Janata Dal (BJD), Communist Party of India (CPI) and Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), said reducing the “cooling” period during divorce was not a good idea.

Participating in the debate, SP legislator Jaya Bachchan said the bill should be considered on “emotional grounds” as well. She added that the bill was for “a handful of people in the urban areas” and the majority of Indians did not want “hurried divorce”.

Dravida Munnettra Kazhagam (DMK) leader Kanimozhi, however, said the debate had been mainly from the point of view of men and questioned why women were not perceived to be the ones seeking divorce.

“A woman may want freedom, she may be wanting to get a divorce,” she said.

IANS