Men suffering from false cases related to matrimony have been sharing hope on social media that if pre-nuptial agreements were made legal and valid in India, then it will help men in future, or expressing a narrower implied interest – protect themselves in second marriage.
Some have understood the point that even in West where there is more of a regime and cultural acceptance of adhering to letter of law and to contractual obligations, pre-nuptial agreements are easily thrown out in family courts, when they are deemed to be unfair – to women of course.
A news was reported few months back that Prenuptial agreements were being discussed inside government especially inside Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD), headed by Ms Maneka Gandhi. So it became necessary to fish out the discussions happening in WCD and other departments like NCW to lay to rest once and for the doubts about whether pre-nuptial agreements regime will help husbands/men or not.
So following RTI was filed few months to WCD ministry back citing above news requesting internal discussion/reports/proposals on pre-nuptial agreements.
RTI details requesting for discussion/reports/proposals on pre-nuptial agreements
Kindly refer to attached news story about discussion and proposed meeting by WCD ministry on pre-nuptial agreements. It also refers to similar proposal being discussed in year 2015 which was reportedly abandoned.
Kindly share the following
1. Documents/records/information/meeting discussion minutes/other relevant information as applicable about Pre-nuptial agreements related discussions in WCD ministry in year 2015.
2. Documents/records/information/meeting discussion minutes/other relevant information as applicable about Pre-nuptial agreements related proposals and discussions currently in WCD.
3. Any studies/data/statistics/documents/records/any relevant information about NRI brides being abandoned.
4. Any information/records on whether wider public will be invited now or in near future about feedback on current proposal making legal pre-nuptial agreements in India.
On filing RTI and finally upon filing first appeal, following documents and reports were made available as part of RTI. Initially Ministry of WCD had sent one page evasive reply, and only after filing first appeal was the above document was received (Hint: you may need to file first appeal, RTI is usually not enough for WCD).
One can quickly scan or peruse the RTI reply in detail, and it is easy to see that the intent, objectives of pre-nuptial agreements as per these documents are SOLELY to grant more opportunities, ‘equality’, property rights, maintenance/alimony, and legal rights to wife; and there is nothing intended in them which could improve a husband’s rights upon separation or divorce.
Here are major points which can be discerned from above documents:
- It should be a warning to all men who are trying to support any law for bringing in pre-nuptial agreements in India, hoping it will safeguard them.
- The benefits given to wife under pre-nuptial agreements will be in ADDITION to any ‘rights’ she can get by filing cases on husband, so it is foregone conclusion that it will only create additional burdens and responsibilities on married men, and CANNOT safeguard them from false cases and IPC 498A/406, DV Act, CrPC 125, maintenance and so on.
- The only possibility is that a carefully worded pre-nuptial agreement could safeguard someone to some extent from dowry harassment allegations at the time of marriage. Of course, it cannot safeguard anyone from false dowry harassment allegations AFTER marriage, which is usually the fond hope expressed! More details about this are given in this article (read section “Can an affidavit from wife protect from further false cases?”)
The PDF above is in image format, so text extraction is not easy. It will be good if someone can create a text summary of the important information, which can be shared with all readers.