Monday, February 27, 2012

New Feather in the Cap: Laws related to Women!

Flavia Agnes of Majlis - a Women Rights Activist Group -- their efforts led to a change that is an amendment to the law for women. This is termed to be a "progressive new addition to the law for women". Now women in India can, legally continue to use their maiden name and surname, if they so wish, even after marriage and for all the official purposes.

Now it is totally legal for a woman to retain her maiden name after marriage. The High Court of Bombay amended a vital rule recently, under the Family Courts Act that would now prevent a woman from being coerced to file marriage-related suits only by using her husband's name/surname. This would thus give relief to all the women who are/would be seeking divorce. And legal experts have commented that it will help a married woman file proceedings in other courts too using her maiden name.

This Rule says: "a wife, who has not changed her name after marriage, by publishing in the official gazette, may continue to use her maiden name". Clear it is, as it appears, a woman now, is not obliged to use her husband's name, even after marriage. This would thus make a lot of things easier for many women, in many ways.

Now, after this amendment, a woman can file suits or carry on any legal proceedings, in her maiden name or any other name that she might have adopted, the only catch is that the name should be officially registered in the Gazette. She very well can, retain her maiden name and no court can force her to write her name as her first name followed by her husband's name and his surname while filing any marriage related petitions.

As a lawyer at the Bombay High Court quotes: "A woman cannot be compelled while seeking divorce to adopt her married surname if she hadn't been using it, just as she cannot be compelled to drop her married name and revert to maiden surname after divorce, if she had been"

It now is a trend, at least by the urban women to retain her maiden name and surname even after marriage, to protect their long earned fame or for just having their identity. So for such women, this new amendment is a boon. As a Mumbai Based Family lawyer says: "These women, when they approach the family court to initiate a divorce dispute or a plea for protection from domestic violence few years later or after decades of living with their maiden name, the insistence by court staff to adopt their husband's name comes as a shock and sends their litigation-induced stress levels soaring"


After Marriage

* A wife may continue to use her maiden name if she has not changed it officially after marriage

* A wife can file for divorce in her maiden surname; married surname; any other name she may have adopted and officially in the gazette

After Divorce

* A woman can continue using her former married surname, except if her intention is to defraud the ex-husband!


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