New Delhi : A group of men, fighting for shared parenting in case of divorce or separation, will demand this Independence Day a law to make shared parenting mandatory. The group also says pre-marital counselling should be made compulsory to bring down the number of divorces.
“We will meet in Agra this Independence Day to chalk out a strategy to raise the demand to roll back the Marriage Laws (Amendment) Bill of 2010, which is pending in the Lok Sabha,” Kumar V. Jahgirdar, founder and president of the Child Rights Initiative for Shared Parenting (CRISP), told IANS.
He said a new bill with a provision to make shared parenting mandatory in case of separation of the parents should replace the existing bill, also known as Irrevocable Breakdown of Marriage. According to him, a child needs the care and affection of both biological parents and grandparents.
Jahgirdar said more than 200 men activists from across India would chalk out a plan for “equal married men rights”. For the first time, foreign delegates from the US and Britain are also participating in the two-day summit beginning Aug 15 in Taj city.
Bangalore-based CRISP, which has been fighting in association with Save Family Foundation for the rights of fathers and children for six years, will organise this annual event, the sixth in the series. Among other issues slated for discussion during the summit are to make the Domestic Violence Act of 2005 gender-neutral so that ‘harassed’ husbands also have an opportunity for judicial remedy.
They also want amendment of section 498(A) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) – that deals with harassing a married woman – to make it a bailable offence. Quoting figures from a National Crime Record Bureau report titled “Crime in India – 2013” released last month, he said the number of suicides increased to 134,799 in 2013 from 110,851 in 2003.
The report says the number of married men (64,098) committing suicide in 2013 was double the number of married women (29,491). “The incidence of married men committing suicide mainly due to family stress is on the rise,” Jahgirdar said.
On the analogy of the Lokpal Act, which has a special clause to punish those who misuse the law, there should a law to check misuse of Section 498(A) and the Domestic Violence Act, said Save Family Foundation-Delhi founder member Swarup Sarkar.
He said parents who force their children into marriage should be punished as in most cases, a failed marriage often ends up in falsely implicating dowry and harassment cases against the husband and his family.
CRISP, with regional chapters in Chandigarh, Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Delhi and Lucknow, has been demanding an increase in the number of family and magistrate courts. “The current budgetary allocation for judiciary is abysmally low at 0.4 percent of the GDP (gross domestic product). This should be increased to at least three percent of the GDP. The additional allocation should be used for setting up of new courts,” Jahgirdar added.