Monday, July 5, 2010

Single mothers need easy laws for adoption


Single mothers need easy adoption laws

July 4: Former Miss Universe and actor Sushmita Sen made waves by her decision to adopt not one but two baby girls as a single parent. But she has hardly set off a trend as women like her are still few and far between in the country. Santhosh Vas, former chairperson, Child Welfare Committee (CWC), says she has not come across many single women in Karnataka adopting children although there are plenty of abandoned babies in the state.

But could this situation be about to change? Are we likely to see more single mothers with the government likely to amend the Guardians and Wards Act, 1890 and the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956, to bring in more gender equality in matters of adoption? Legal experts, who report that an increasing number of girls are filing for divorce today, bolstered by their more financially independant status, feel it’s only a matter of time before they begin to want the joys of motherhood too without a husband in tow.

While there is already a provision under the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance act, 1956, for a woman who is not married, or whose marriage has been dissolved or who is a widow to adopt a child, the new amendment, among other things, allows married women fighting lengthy divorce battles to adopt children without their partner’s consent, in the years between.

Noted advocate, Hemalatha Mahishi feels that the new law is bound to help women as many more of them are opting for divorce today since they are financially independent and unable to accept traditional male dominance. “They can no longer accept insults or humiliation and as parents too are supportive today, more of them see divorce as a way out of unhappy marriages. Now with the planned amendment allowing them to adopt a child even before the divorce gets through, they could opt for it so as to not miss the joys of motherhood while waiting to be free of their spouses,” she says. Former chairperson of the state women’s commission Pramila Nesargi too thinks that with marriage no longer being the only goal of women these days and as they are usually able to support themselves, more of them may opt to adopt children while still single in their quest to find an heir for their property and also enjoy the joys of parenthood. “With girls delaying marriage in pursuit of a career, more of them could adopt children even when not married,” agrees filmmaker Kavitha Lankesh, a single mother herself.

But Ms Mahishi warns that single mothers in their quest for parenthood, must not forget to legally adopt the child as otherwise he or she will not be able to inherit property. “They must make sure the adoption is legal in the interest of the children they bring into their lives,” she cautions


the law may be about to make it easier for women to adopt children while saying goodbye to their spouses, but it's obviously a step that cannot be taken without careful thought.
"Will a woman going through a divorce be in a state of mind to take on the additional responsibility of an adopted child when she is going through her own trauma," asks filmmaker Kavitha Lankesh, a single mother herself.
Kumar Jahgirdhar, president, Child Rights Initiative for Shared Parenting, comes up with yet another pitfall. In his view a woman who adopts a child during her divorce, may find it difficult to patch things up with her husband, should she want to do so later, as he may not want to take on the additionally responsibility thrust on him without his consent.
"Adopting a child is a life time responsibility," warns Ms Lankesh, explaining that women will need some family support, and a fatherly figure for their adopted child to be able to raise him or her successfully. "They may find that grandparents may be happy to play with the child, but not help them take care of it," she says..
"My entire career changed after Isha was born. I work late in the night after she sleeps and still need to be fresh when she wakes up. How much ever you do, a mother always feels that something more needs to be done. But women are good at multi-tasking, and as they usually handle most of the responsibility of bringing up children even in a normal family, single mothers are certainly upto the job, " she adds.
Dr Sathyanarayana, a psychiatrist, suggests that as the child needs both parents for all round development, a single woman should try to see there is someone her adopted child can look upto as a father figure.
Senior advocate Hemalatha Mahishi feels that if creches are provided at the workplace and if employers are more flexibile in their outlook single women will find it easier to bring up their children.
With the government mooting the amendment of The Guardians and Wards Act, 1890 and the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956, the state is likely to witness an increase in the number of single women opting for adoption. Experts too feel that with marriage no longer being the priority of career driven, financially stable women these days, more may go in for adoption to find an heir for their property and also enjoy the joys of parenthood, reports Shilpa P.Former Miss Universe and actor


Women may get adoption rights

Chennai, June 19: A Bill seeking to make it easier for women to adopt children is likely to be tabled in the Monsoon Session of Parliament.

Some amendments have been proposed to remove discrimination against women, especially unmarried women and widows, said Ms Jayanthi Natarajan, chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on personnel, public grievances and law and justice, on Saturday.

Amendments would be brought to the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act 1956 and Hindu Guardians and Wards Act to remove the discrimination, she said.

Speaking to mediapersons after chairing the meeting of the committee here, Ms Natarajan said the amendments would facilitate the appointment of women as “guardians” of children. Stating that most states favoured the proposed amendment, she was hopeful that the Bill would be passed in the Monsoon Session.

On Saturday’s meeting, she said the committee was entrusted with the job of conducting a nationwide study about the status of women employees, with a specific mandate to assess aspects like women employees’ promotion in public sector undertakings.

A policy has been proposed for women employees and public sector units have assured to consider the suggestions.


Adoption to get gender neutral


Adoption to get gender neutral

It’s good news for women who want to adopt a child in our country sans a man as a guardian of the child. According to a recent report, the Union Cabinet is contemplating amendments to the Guardians and Wards Act, 1890 (GAWA) and Hindu Adoption Maintenance Act, 1956 (HAMA).

As per the current adoption laws, when any couple adopts a child, it is the man who is the guardian. These amendments will make the status of the guardian gender neutral. These changes will also make adoption easier for men and women who have separated from their spouse. Women welcome this move to make changes in the existing adoption laws.
The proposed amendments for adoption laws aim to make the tedious procedure of guardianship more amicable for single women. Soumya Chandran, a PR professional who wants to adopt a child in the future, says, “With these amendments, single women in our patriarchal society can also raise a child on their own. It will be a great change and strengthen women power because now they won’t need a man anymore to raise a child.”

Earlier, for women who had separated from their husbands due to conflict or personal disputes, getting legal guardianship of their children from the father was a Herculean task.

Smita Sinha (name changed on request), an IT professional and a mother of a 10-year-old boy expresses her delight at this decision. She says, “I am happy that the laws for adoption and guardianship are being amended. A few years ago, when I was getting divorced, I had a tough time getting my son’s custody. Now I think women won’t have to fight and go through the tedious procedures in the court to get legal rights of their own children.”

Many women feel that these revisions in the existing adoption laws will bring them at par with their male counterparts and give them equal rights.

Sutapa Sen, a GIS analyst at a private firm is thrilled with this move. “These amendments seem to be good and if implemented, this would go on to become a milestone in the history of women’s empowerment. It will also be beneficial to the child, since he/she will not face any legal problem regarding custody and guardianship if the couple is getting divorced,” she says.

Divorce is contagious too!

Divorce is contagious too!

London: Believe it or not! Divorce too is contagious like some diseases and can infect friends, colleagues and families.

The impact of divorce, described as a domino effect, means that if an immediate friend or colleague splits up, your own chance of divorce increases by 75 percent, say American researchers.

Scientists say that even the break-up of a friend-of-a-friend's marriage increases your chances of divorce by a third, Daily Mail reported.

The phenomenon is highlighted by the Primrose Hill set of North London celebrities in the 1990s - which included pairs such as Sadie Frost and Jude Law, Patsy Kensit and Liam Gallagher, and Meg Mathews and Noel Gallagher. Today, none are together.

The American researchers describe the effect as "divorce clustering" and believe that divorces within friend circle force couples to start questioning their own relationships.

A friend's divorce may also reduce the fear of social stigma of splitting up, even when children are involved.

The findings come from a study into the lives of more than 12,000 Americans living in the New England town of Framingham since 1948.

The researchers - led by Rose McDermott of Brown University, Rhode Island - found that every divorce sends ripples through friends, families and work colleagues.

"These results go beyond previous work intimating a person-to-person effect to suggest a person-to-person-to-person effect," said McDermott.

"Individuals who get divorced may influence not only their friends, but their friends' friends as the propensity to divorce spreads," she said, adding, "A person's tendency to divorce depends not just on his friend's divorce status, but also extends to his friend's friend."

The observation shows that participants are 75 percent more likely to be divorced if a person - other than their spouse - to whom they are connected is divorced.

"The size of the effect for people at two degrees of separation, for example the friend of a friend, is 33 percent. At three degrees the effect disappears."

The study showed that people who set up life elsewhere also had as much influence on a friend's chances of divorce as someone living in the same street.

Divorce among family members and work mates also increased the chances of someone's own marriage ending, the experts found.

The more divorced people that you know, the riskier your own marriage, they said, and the impact makes no difference for even those couples who have children.

Men’s lives, women’s laws

A reality bite today in india is that by default for every unmarried woman who dies penalise her boyfriend and for a married woman death penalise her husband and family.

Arnt women responcible enough for their own actions.

These heavily tilted gender biased wife/women centric special laws and some more draconian ones in the pipeline are wrecking havoc and malevolence because of unchecked and escalating rampant STATE sponsored MISUSE.

If WOMEN blame MEN for all her problems then they better stay away and be happy and let men also be happy. Hetrosexual relationships have become crime for MEN in INDIA NOW. Its time MEN should now go for the ALTERNATE COMMUNE and SHUN any kind of such relationships till LAWS ARE MADE GENDER NEUTRAL and SOCIETAL MINDSET UNBIASED TOWARDS MEN


Men’s lives, women’s laws

Leher Kala

Jul 05, 2010 at 0015 hrs IST

In India, you’re better off being born male. But every now and then, the dice is heavily-loaded against men

A successful model’s suicide is a lot more captivating than the poverty and debt related suicides that occur routinely across India, so almost two weeks later we still get a daily update on Viveka Babajee. Was she a jilted lover or a manic depressive struggling on the fringes of Mumbai’s glittering modeling scene?

A combination of anti-depressants, loneliness, financial issues and a boyfriend dodging a commitment can be lethal. But my sympathies are with Gautam Vora, Babajee’s alleged fiancĂ©, who must be negotiating with lawyers and cops as I write this, fearing that at any minute he could be arrested for abetment to suicide. Though unlikely, if charged and found guilty his life is effectively over: Section 306 carries a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison. Even if proved innocent the stress of getting entangled in a criminal case, another trial by the media, and going down for posterity as “the guy who’s girlfriend killed herself” is enough to finish one off, at least temporarily. All this for a girl he knew for a month. Vora must be cursing his luck. And his lack of judgment.

One of the perks of being adults is the right to start and terminate relationships as and when we like, outside of marriage. Amicably, preferably. Promises in relationships are routinely broken, flouted and misused but in normal adult equations, suicide isn’t part of the deal. Ditching someone might be morally wrong but in the course of a lifetime it’s a crime many of us have been guilty of.

In India, where society and laws are a jumble of complicated contradictions, you’re way better off being born male. Once in a while though, with some of our gender based laws, the dice is heavily-loaded against men. If you reverse the suicide scenario, for example, let’s say a man hangs himself after a failed relationship blaming a girlfriend, I don’t see her having to seeking anticipatory bail. I’m not sure if such a precedent exists in India. The only case that comes to mind is when actor Rekha’s husband Mukesh Agarwal hung himself in 1991. Rekha wasn’t even questioned. Then there is the draconian, anti-dowry law, 498A where even a hint of dowry allegations by an unscrupulous woman to the cops can land a husband and his extended family in jail for an indefinite period. Sexual harassment accusations are equally prone to misuse. And almost nobody believes a man over a woman. A male friend of mine, who runs a successful export business, hired an experienced buying agent, twenty years older than him. Within six months he figured she was dipping into his cash and cutting deals on the side. When he confronted her she threatened to call the cops for attempted rape. Even his lawyer advised him to write off the money saying in the situation the police would turn extortionists and it would do irreparable damage to his reputation.

Coming back to Babajee, she was talking marriage with a guy five years younger who she’d known for a month. She was either a die-hard optimist or exceptionally confident. I happened to have spent some time with MTV anchor Nafisa Joseph, who also committed suicide in 2004, after a failed relationship with a Mumbai businessman, ironically enough, also called Gautam. Joseph was bubbly and well-mannered with a fragile air about her. It turns out her fiancĂ© was lying about being divorced, which tipped her over the edge. Her utter self-absorption that surfaced in the two days we hung out in Gwalior prevented her from seeing everything she had going for her; a successful career, supportive parents and a bright future. At the risk of sounding horribly trite, success and good looks is no magic wand for happiness. Nor does it guarantee an ability to cope. Even a complete lack of perspective can do you in.