While I am happy to say that the age old impression of India tarred as Male-Dominant society is changing in Metropolitans in India – I am equally worried about the way it’s getting women-dominated (in marriages). The good thing is – judges and police officers are very careful in passing orders and registering cases respectively against husbands because of increase in the trend of false cases on husbands and their families to extract money and property.
In Maharashtra , Government Resolution bearing GR no. DDW/1109/P.K. 836 / VS- 6 dated 29-05-2010 states that in any complaint U/s. 498-A an F.I.R. should not be registered right away and adequate enquiry with respect to the authenticity of the said complaint should be verified by the Investigation Officer by first recording the statements of all parties, counseling them, mediating them and then registering the case if it is a true case of Domestic violence. This is indeed a relief for husbands and saves them if case is false and baseless. (you can request for a copy of this GR via email)
Children – custody and access
Divorce or separation happens between spouses. A child is never divorced from his father. As a biological parent, access to his child is a fathers legal right and it will be denied only in rare circumstances by a judge. A lot of women now-a –days use access to child as a mode of emotional blackmail to make men succumb to their demands. Husbands on the other hand should know that if there is sufficient reason for a judge to believe that it is against the interest and welfare of a child to be in mother’s custody, full custody is awarded to the fathers. Fathers can apply for access to their children even when the case is filed by the wife for Divorce, Restitution or Custody.
Joint movable and immovable properties
The properties that are jointly owned by the spouses devolve equal rights on both. However, when a certain property is owned by the parents of husband, it is an established position in law that the daughter – in – law cannot claim rights in the property individually bought by and owned by the parents of husband. (for more – read Supreme court citation S.R. Batra & Anr Vs. Smt. Taruna Batra dated 15-12-2006 Authored by Justice M. Katju)
Maintenance and Alimony
The provision of maintenance was introduced for women who were not capable to maintain themselves. While determining interim maintenance ( interim maintenance is granted for period of pendency of case in court) the judges are not only to consider the qualification and work experience of the husband but also wife. Merely because she is not earning at present does not give her enough ground to claim maintenance from the husband. There are oodles of judgments whereby time and again different courts of India have affirmed that the provision of law for maintenance should not used as a mode to extract money from the husbands. Maintenance stops when ex-wife remarries. Either party can apply for increase or decrease in maintenance amount based on changed circumstances. A child can claim maintenance through his mother. Alimony is a onetime amount to be paid by husbands to wives. This amount changes drastically depending upon facts of individual case.
Divorce and Restitution
It is a notion with Indian society and especially Indian men that if they file for divorce first they will have to pay a handsome alimony to their wife. Some even believe that they do not have a right to file for divorce at all. I had once had a case about 6 years ago where a man was waiting for his wife to file for divorce who had eloped with her lover leaving behind a letter declaring the end of marriage for him. He did not know he could approach the court and seek a divorce. While, some men who do not want a divorce and want to save their marriage can also file for Restitution of Conjugal Rights (RCR).
Platforms and NGO’s
There are several troubled husbands as well as social activists who have some together and formed several platforms both online and offline where husbands can seek help, assistance and guidance. These include : Save India Family Foundation ( SIFF), Hyridaya Nest, LawRato, Legistify, Lawsisto and others ( I am not advertising any of these nor suggesting – kindly do enough research before joining any of these)