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Mizo divorce ordinance faces uncertain future
Aizawl, Mar 29:
Published on 30 Mar. 2010 1:21 AM IST
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The Mizo Divorce Ordinance, 2008 is facing an uncertain future with the state Assembly yet to legislate the ordinance, 17 months after it was issued in the Mizoram gazette, reports UNI.
In reply to Zoram Nationalist Party (ZNP) member Lalduhoma, Law Minister Lalsawta informed the House that the first state Assembly session, after the ordinance was issued, failed to legislate it.
‘’The ordinance was issued in the Mizoram gazette in October, 2008. It was supposed to be legislated in the first state Assembly session, which was held on December 16, 2008, but no action has been taken to legislate the same,’’ said Lalsawta.
Lalduhoma was clearly against the Ordinance that overrides the Mizo customary law.
‘’What is the need for this Divorce Ordinance, while we have a good customary law protected by the Indian Constitution? Whose idea was this ordinance anyway? Wider discussion with concerned organisations should have been made before enacting such crucial ordinance that overrules our customary law,’’ Lalduhoma expressed his opinion, in a supplementary question.
The state law commission has found certain shortcomings in the ordinance, which was made in a hurry, therefore, puts in on hold, Lalsawta further stated, adding ‘’We also find it crucial to hold wide discussion on the ordinance before legislating it.’’ The ordinance, which had been given a big hand by Mizo women organisations, overrides the customary law that does not give them any right over family property and over her offspring after separation from her husband.
It aims at checking the harassment of wives by husbands and makes it mandatory for a husband to give financial support to his divorced spouse.
According to the ordinance, if any one of the couple wants a divorce, he or she must approach the court and submit a petition.
The grounds for divorce, as put forward by a husband or a wife, must satisfy the court in order to make it legal and the husband, in accordance with his income, would be liable to give alimony (to be fixed by the court) to his former wife. Mizo customary law says children belong to the father and he can keep them till they are three-years-old.
The court can give the child to the father or the mother keeping in view who was the capacity to look after the child better and the character of the parent.
The Indian Divorce Act, 1869 was not in force in Mizoram as the Assam Frontier Regulation, 1888 says the legislation did not extend to the Mizo Hills.
The ordinance had been hailed by women organisations as a path-breaking decision to liberate Mizo women from strict patriarchal legacy.

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