NEW DELHI (TIP): Differences over what constitutes as a woman’s right to her marital property in case of a divorce forced the Union Cabinet to refer the Marriage Laws (Amendment) Bill to a Group of Ministers (GoM) on May 1. The law ministry had suggested that a woman be given a share in residential property of the husband, including inherited and inheritable premises, in case of divorce, while the ministry of women and child development has suggested that a woman’s right to inheritable property and property acquired by the husband before marriage be kept out of the purview of the law. The ministers discussed the amendments for over two hours during the meeting of the Cabinet.
“When thinking men and women present different opinions, different opinions do not mean difference of opinion,” finance minister P Chidambaram said when asked whether the Cabinet was split on the matter. “Views are expressed in a Cabinet and after expressing views, the Prime Minister takes the final decision. In this case the matter has been referred to a Group of Ministers to look at one or two clauses of the Bill,” he said.
The GoM would examine the clauses over the next few days and the Bill will come back before the Cabinet, he said. Sources said that ministers, including Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma, Kamal Nath and Kapil Sibal, felt that there should be greater clarity on the issue. Even as the Cabinet was discussing the matter, a small group of protestors shouted slogans against the Bill outside the Prime Minister’s official residence. They were rounded up by the police and taken away from the high-security zone.