In India the Family and Matrimonial institutions are undergoing several dramatic twists and turns with the introduction of several pro-women laws one after another, in the country. After introduction of Sexual Harassment of Women at Work Places Prevention Law recently in Indian Parliament, now the Indian government is seriously working out draft to introduce a new law to further empower the women by making it mandatory for all Husbands to deposit monthly income of 10 to 20 per cent of their salary to their wives account. From the daily labourer to top CEO of a company or top level Bureaucrate of the country would all come under the ambit of this proposed law.
The main argument put forth by the Feminists for introduction of this proposed Bill is that in India 95% of women indulge in house-hold works after getting married but their services are going unrecognized and do not get any remuneration for their services, so they must be paid by the Husbands at least 20% of their salary, besides bearing all the expenditure for running the family from the rest of 80% of their salary.
I have questioned some women and men belonging to different sections ranging from employees, housewives, domestic-maids, husbands, businessmen and female students on this subject. To my utter surprise they have raised several controversial questions on this issue such as:-
1) Does this law means, wives have to be paid like domestic-maids for doing domestic chorus?
2) If the proposed Law is being made as recognition to the labourious services and remuneration for the house-hold works done by the wives, if in the place of wife, house-maid is discharging every day house-hold work, then how should the house-maid must be treated?
3) Should not the house-maid be treated on par with the wife, because house-maid is doing house-hold works?
4) If wife has to be paid like domestic maid, then how much has to be paid to her for sexual services to her husband?
5) Is physical contact with wife to Husband is free of cost? If house hold services of wives are being paid then why not payment for having ‘sexual relation’ with wife?
6) If the living conditions of poor and low middle class wives in the Indian villages and small towns are kept aside, how many women irrespective their educational, employment status are really doing domestic works in the urban areas and well developed towns, whose husbands are earning well?
7) Are really wives doing the house-hold works OR House maids doing house-hold works in urban areas?
8) In the houses where wife is not doing the house-hold work but domestic-maid is discharging house-hold work like cleaning utensils, washing all the cloths including wife’s husband’s cloths, brooming the open space around the home, cleaning bathrooms and toilets, taking their children to drop at schools – in such state of affairs, whose role should be recognized by law as wife? – That of house-maid or wife?
9) Then why the domestic-maid should not also be recognized on par with the wife, as house-maid is doing the entire domestic chorus?
10) If 10 to 20% of husband’s salary goes to wife who does not do the domestic work at all, but makes the house-maid to do all the work, then who are legitimately entitled for that 10 or 20% of amount? The person who is doing domestic work or the wife who is just sitting in home eating food and not doing any work?
11) If 10 or 20% salary is deposited on wife’s name, what about the maintenance money to wife, if she deserts the husband and files a maintenance case on husband?
12) After this law coming into force, wife’s position would get consolidated and when salary going into the wife’s account regularly, and then if wife deserts the husband, then what about the fate of husband?
13) Will this law applies to the wives who desert their husbands and goes back to her parents, sit in their home to eat husband’s money without doing any work?
14) Will this law create new financial skirmishes between wives and husbands?
15) Like 498-A of Penal Code, Maintennance laws, domestic violence laws, will this law also be misused by some wives?
16) With the introduction of this law what could be the fate of children education, and other domestic expenditures for running the family in the bad state of economy and sky-rocketeering prices?
17) What could be the fate of old-aged parents and unemployed sisters and brothers of the husbands in joint families, if 10 to 20% of monthly salary has to be deposited in the wife’s name?
18) What about the fate of the husbands who do not get monthly income properly and who have loans around their head?
19) Had government done any surveys, and got any authenticated records, how many wives are doing domestic chorus on their own and how many house-wives have hired domestic-maids to get their family’s domestic works done?
These are the questions and apprehensions raised by both women and men from various quarters of the society and summed up in questions form.
“This kind of law would create financial skirmishes between the wife and husbands further, if husband for various difficulties fails to deposit 10-20% of his earnings into the wife’s account” said Mr. Inavajhula Murthy a Cost Accountant. Another employee of a private company Mr. Sanjeeva reddy questioned “my company would not give me monthly salary of Rs.6,000/- properly, then how can I deposit 20% of it regularly in my wife’s account”. Another software engineer Mr.Venkatappaya Sastry bemoaned “my wife left me just with in one month after marriage and claiming maintenance of 1/3 of my salary every month, without givining me divorce she is illegally staying with her mother’s brother, if I have to give now 10 to 20% of my monthly salary means apart from monthly maintenance awarded by court, that would be a thunder on my head”. Another house-wife Mrs.Sanagapappu Sailaja enthusiastically asked “I’m now staying with my parents because my husband is impotent, I’m getting monthly maintenance of Rs.3,000/- from my husband. But with this new law can I also get 10 to 20% of my husband’s salary every month?” Another guy Mr.Pravaraksha gupta lamanted “I’m Assistant Secretary in the government department, my wife never does house hold work in the home, the servent maid comes and do all the work in the home, which in fact what my wife has to do, including dropping my childrent in the school, then why should I pay 10 to 20% of my monthly salary to my wife who does not work in the home, instead sit in the cradle watching Television and eats a lot of junk food, she always complains to her parents and brothers that I’m not treating her well”.
“This kind of laws would create new trends in the Indian Family and matrimonial systems, that wives may desert the husbands and sit in their parents’ homes and claim 10 to 20% of the husband’s salary and use that money for her enjoyment or for the silly expenditures of her brothers and sisters, as in the case of maintenance amounts” said a senior citizen Mr.Bala murali a retired principal of degree college. “Today this law, tomorrow another new law will also be introduced asking the husbands to pay money for the wife for having sex with her” said a businessman so sarcastically. “This law is useful only to those poor housewives in villages whose husbands are regular drunkards who do not give money to wives, For urban areas living women this law should not be applied, because in urban areas almost in all houses there are house-maids to do household works, even my mummy do not do anywork in home” frankly said Ms.Sweta a second year graduate student.
On hearing the proposed law house-maid Ms.Meda Subbayyamma working in a senor Officer’s house felt so happy and demanded “it is we house-maids who are doing all house-hold works in their houses, their wives are not doing any work in the houses, so why should not we be treated and given rights on par with their wives and be paid 10 to 20% of the salary of their husbands, if necessay we would launch agitation to that extent” she claimed. Oh !!!!! what a situation is developing with the proposed law in India. By dchaitanya.