Law Commission floats Consultation Paper on family law reform

The Law Commission has floated a Consultation Paper on family law reform. The paper discusses a range of provisions within all family laws, secular or personal and suggests a number of changes in the form of potential amendments and fresh enactments.

To reform family law, the paper discusses the introduction of new grounds for ‘no-fault’ divorce accompanied by corresponding changes to the provisions on alimony and maintenance. It further discusses changes to the provisions on the rights of differently-abled individuals within marriage, the thirty-day period for registration of marriages under Special Marriage Act, uncertainty and inequality in the age of consent for marriage, compulsory registration of marriage and bigamy upon conversion.

Under the Hindu law, it discusses problems with provisions such as restitution of conjugal rights. It suggests the inclusion of concepts such as ‘community of property’ of a married couple, the abolition of coparcenary and rights of illegitimate children. It also makes suggestions for addressing the self-acquired property of a Hindu female.

Under Parsi law, the paper makes suggestions relating to protecting married women’s right to inherit property even if they marry outside their community. The paper also discussed a number issues such as polygamy, nikah halala, settlement of a Parsi wife’s property for benefit of children and the law on adultery but since they are presently being heard by the Supreme Court, the paper did not suggest any comprehensive changes at this stage.

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