NEW DELHI: India’s Supreme Court on Monday upheld the right of women to marry but made it mandatory for men to have parental rights.
India’s top court on Monday ruled that women should not be forced to register as “domestic partners” or marry for the sake of gaining access to a male relative’s land, property or a man’s job.
The ruling is a major blow to India’s long-standing tradition of gender equality, but it was welcomed by the government, which said it would make it easier for women to get married and have babies.
“In the face of a changing society, the court has rightly made it clear that India’s tradition of equality for women is of utmost importance and should not get in the way of the social justice,” Justice K.V. Krishna said in a written statement.
He added that a new law on dowry was necessary to ensure that women could take part in the workforce, and that the country should have a national standard of living.
The law was approved by parliament in January after a series of high-profile court decisions that ruled on a number of important issues, including a case against a young woman who allegedly took advantage of her family to pay for her first marriage.
The Supreme Court has also set aside the 2009 verdict that declared the Indian constitution a “social contract” between the state and the people and that women were equal before the law.