Redefining Family Law in India: Essays in Honour of B. Sivaramayya

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Archana Parashar, Amita Dhanda
Routledge, 2008 - Law - 374 pages
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'Family Law' refers to the set of legal rules which are in practice in India with regards to 'family' issues – marriage, divorce, inheritance, etc. This volume is a collection of articles by different scholars across disciplines to generate a discourse on just Family Law.

Main features:

  • it is an inter-disciplinary collection of articles on family law – not just by lawyers or legal specialists but includes political scientists, sociologists, economists, anthropologists, religion specialists, etc.
  • it is concerned with a just family law that moves beyond a uniform civil code.
  • Has a strong but not exclusive focus on women and women's issues.

The authors demonstrate that substantive rules such as a just family law, in addition to being inclusive, would make connections between the structure of the family and in the wider economic, political and social institutions. Secondly, they challenge the myths about the private sphere as the sphere of non-regulation by law in order to demonstrate that just a family law can be compatible with freedom of conscience. The authors here are seeking to create a discourse on family law that accommodates diversity and is context-sensitive.

However, most of the contemporary legal theory questions the role of law in achieving justice, and there is a pervasive view that cultural diversity is more valuable than a state-imposed family law. This argument is addressed from various standpoints to show that cultural plurality can be pursued in many other ways and a just family law is the minimum condition for a fair resolution of disputes, if and when they do rise.

This book does not just document the pathologies of power within the family but also makes proposals for remedying these inequities. It is not confined to considering what changes need to be inducted into existing family law to make it more just, but also strategises on the means and methods of effecting the change. It seeks to break the silences prevailing in relation to some excluded groups, whose existence is not even acknowledged by contemporary family law.

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