Minister for Woman and Child Development Maneka Gandhi might soon propose the introduction of prenuptial agreements in Indian laws.
As of now the concept of such an agreement is alien to our country’s laws. The absence of such agreements, a common practice in the West and Thailand, makes divorce proceedings and alimony settlements cumbersome.
According to Economic Times, officials will be holding a consultation process anytime this week on how to insert prenuptial agreements into existing laws.
It will be attended by top lawyers, representatives from national law schools in Delhi and Bengaluru, sociologists, psychologists and experts in the field.
Gandhi had met Law Minister DV Sadananda Gowda to discuss the matter. Gowda has reportedly concurred with the need to hold a wide consultation with all stakeholders to reach a conclusion.
Former Additional Solicitor General of India Mohan Jain said that introducing such a facility could call for an amendment in existing laws or introduction of a new provision.
A prenuptial agreement is signed between couples before they get married. It meticulously sets out, often to the minutest degree, as to who does what and who gets what in case of a divorce.
At times, such agreements also list out the roles and responsibilities of the couple after marriage.
One advantage of such an agreement is that no party – the husband or wife – can contest the dissolution of marriage and they can apply for a divorce by mutual consent only.
Under India’s existing laws, a party can contest the demand for a divorce making such cases a time-consuming procedure.
Such an agreement will greatly aid the women. A prenuptial agreement gives a clear idea of the amount of alimony a husband needs to pay to a wife in case of divorce.
There is only one hindrance. Sections 23 and 26 of the Indian Contract Act of 1872 treats such pacts as “void”. Section 23 says that a contract may be void if they are immoral or against public policy.