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Men oppose 'biased', woman-friendly marriage legislation
Saturday August 17, 2013 7:49 PM, IANS

A group of men, who met here over the past two days to discuss the marriage laws amendment bill, Saturday passed a resolution terming it "unconstitutional" and biased in favour of women.

They also demanded that all family laws should be gender neutral.

"We have passed a resolution and declared that Marriage Laws Amendment Bill of 2010, which is pending before parliament, as unconstitutional," Kumar V. Jahgirdar, founder and president of Children's Rights Initiative for Shared Parenting, told IANS.

He said CRISP, in partnership with another NGO Save Indian Family Foundation (SIFF), would submit memorandums to the prime minister, the chief justice of India, the leader of opposition and the Law Commission of India for immediate withdrawal of the bill to save families from laws biased against both men and children.

Demanding gender neutral laws, the bill should either be withdrawn or redrafted by making it more gender neutral and children rights should be protected.

Jahgirdar said more than 120 men, representing 10,000 people, from across the country deliberated for "equal rights".

CRISP has been fighting for the rights of fathers and children for more than five years. This was the fifth event in the series.

SIFF's Hyderabad chapter president Shah Ali Ahmed said a resolution to constitute a men's welfare ministry was also passed unanimously.

"In India when we have an animal husbandry ministry, then why can't we have a ministry to protect the rights and welfare of the men. We demand an independent ministry of men on the pattern of the ministry of women and child development," he said.

Ahmed said a demand to set up a separate ministry for child development to protect their rights was passed. "The children constitute more than 40 percent of the total population. They face problems after the divorce of their parents."

CRISP, with regional chapters in Chandigarh, Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Delhi and Lucknow, has been demanding equal access to children equally for separated parents. It has also sought the setting up of special courts to deal with child custody cases.

The convention also passed shared parenting like allowing the children to stay with their father on vacations or weekends. Even the non-resident Indians should be allowed to meet their children whenever they visit India.

B.G. Ponnappa, a surgeon from Mysore who participated in the convention, said the government was empowering women at the cost of men.

"The article 14 of the constitution, which favours equality for both men and women, should be enforced in letter and spirit," he said.

According to the data available with CRISP, more than 20,000 divorce cases were pending in family courts in Bangalore alone. The figure was collected from family courts.

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