A government-appointed panel has suggested a slew of reforms to amend family laws in the country, The Indian Express reported. These include a standalone law to deal with honour killings, making the legal age for marriage 18 for both boys and girls, and changing the dated law on adultery that is “based on the presumption of wife being the property of the husband”.
A senior official from the Women and Child Development Ministry said the recommendations include “wide-ranging changes across personal laws” and that a decision on them can only be made only after nationwide consultations are held, The Indian Express reported. The 14-member panel’s report, which reviews the status of women in India, was not made public. It will be placed before the Supreme Court, which is currently hearing a plea filed by a Muslim woman from Uttarakhand against her triple talaq. The report has also asked for a ban on triple talaq and polygamy.
In its review of legal provisions that deal with marriage, divorce, custody, inheritance and succession, the panel has suggested reforms to alter the gender biases in the personal laws for Hindus, Muslims and Christians, as well as those in other laws on the subjects. Among several other recommendations, the panel has called for a definition of the term “cruelty” in personal laws that recognise cruelty as a ground for divorce, saying it cannot be left for courts to interpret.