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Legal Literacy

What are Alimony Laws like in India?

Divorce is stressful for everyone. It is a legal way of ending a relationship. It is important that the decision of separation should be justified for both the parties. To support himself or herself after the separation, the spouse is granted some monetary compensation by the financially stronger partner. The compensation paid is called alimony.

“Alimony is a monetary aid provided to a financially weaker spouse in order to maintain his/ her standard of living same as before separation.” The compensation typically depends upon the law of the land. However, different laws are applicable to different religions.

Types Of Alimony

Alimony is of two types; one which is paid at the time of the proceedings during the divorce in courts. Also known as the maintenance amount. And the second, which is paid after separation, it can be paid as lump sum or instalments.

The Entitlement

Most often it is the female partner who is entitled to the alimony.  But sometimes it is the male partner who is found to be harassed and the court may ask the wife to compensate for his losses. It is rare that court compels the male partner to pay the alimony when he does not have any source of income while the wife is financially well off.

Also, the court may ask husband to return the Stree-dhan — the wealth received at the time of marriage from her parents.

How Much Alimony One Has To Pay ?

It is the court which decides the actual amount of alimony. The amount to be paid as alimony is calculated keeping in view many factors like the income of the partners, social status, standard of living, number of children, and number of years spent together and emotional attachment.

There isn’t any specific formula to calculate the amount but generally, it is generally the 1/3 or the 1/5 part of the salary of the paying spouse.

Who Ends Up Paying The Alimony?

In case of Wife 

  • If wife is earning- If the husband has high income and a good financial status then the wife will get alimony.
  • If wife is not earning- An alimony amount is to be paid compulsorily by the husband to ensure that the standard of living of the wife is maintained.
  • When she remarries- The alimony stands invalid and the husband only has to pay for the children if any.

Husband gets alimony

If the husband is unable to earn or is disabled, the court may ask the wife to pay the alimony too.

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Legal Literacy

Misuse of Dowry Law

Section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code, Protection of Women against Domestic Violence Act and Dowry Prohibition Act, state the laws which are designed to protect women against dowry harassment and domestic violence.

The violence against women across social, economic and cultural sections of the society marks the fundamental importance of these laws. However, over the years, there have been many adverse instances of women misusing these laws to harass their husbands and in-laws to gain financial support. The offence is stringent, non-bailable and non-compoundable in nature thus, a complaint can lead to immediate arrest.

Over the years, the paranoia against these laws is only increasing with more and more incidents of their misuse. Men feel helpless against these laws that are heavily in favour of women.

This approach has become a matter of policy debate. The Centre proposed an amendment to 498-A which has made the offence compoundable and has allowed the parties to settle their issue outside the court if they so wished.

Dowry Harassment Laws And Protection From Such Misuse

With respect to dowry harassment laws and of the multiple cases of their misuse, in 2014, the Supreme Court directed the state government to instruct the police to not immediately arrest anyone and only do it after checking a list of provisions mentioned under the law.

Implementation is the key in any legal framework. If our implementation is sensitized and proper precautions will be taken before making an arrest, half the cases will be resolved with just that. In this regard, The Supreme Court’s guidelines are a step in the right direction.

What is relevant is that for every man to feel safe too along with women. Many men’s lives crumble down due to the false accusations which women file against them.

Illegal arrests are a widespread problem. With Apex Court taking note of the situation, there is hope that men wrongly stuck in these situations will receive the much needed reprieve. Although there are all these directives, illegal arrests still happen. Ultimatelythe keys are awareness and vigilance. It is important to be aware of your rights in a situation. It is important to take preventive measures to protect yourself and your family. Seek legal advice immediately is one of the most important preventive measure. A lawyer will not make you understand your rights but will also provide the best solution to your problem. Your right actions at right time can save you a lot of unnecessary trouble and humiliation.

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Legal Literacy

Things You Must Check With A Lawyer While Buying A House

Buying a house of your own is one of the most overwhelming experiences for any person. However, purchase of involves a lots of legal issues. The dream of buying and owning a house can turn into a nightmare if anything goes wrong with the legal processes.

This, however, can be easily avoided with little attention and investment in a good lawyer.

Below is a list of important things that you must consult your lawyer about, if you are planning to own a property.

Chain Of Documents — Everything You Need To Know

The documentation required for a ready-to-move apartment and an under-construction house is different.

For a ready-move-apartment, being bought directly from the builder, obtain and verify:

  •  Title Deed or Sale Deed of seller – to ensure that he is rightful owner of the property and has the right to transfer ownership of the property to you
  • No Encumbrance Certificate – to ensure that there are no mortgage or claim against the property
  • NoC from Bank, in case there is a loan involved
  • Share Certificate from Society, in case of cooperative housing society
  • Entire Chain of Documents from first Sale Deed, also called the Mother Deed
  • Utility Bills & Tax Receipts
  • Society Related Documents
  • Possession Certificate
  • NoC from Society
  • Completion Certificate (CC)
  • Occupation Certificate (OC)

While all these documents may seem obvious, it is easy to miss them when there is no lawyer involved.

For Under Construction Properties

At the time of booking:

  • Check the Title and Ownership of builder by checking the Sale Deed and  Land Records
  • Change of Land Use or CLU Certificate from Agricultural to Residential
  • Layout Approval by the development or the municipal authority
  • NoC & Clearances obtained from Environment, Electricity, Water, Fire and Safety Authorities
  • Certificate of Commencement
  • Allotment Letter

Apart from all these docuemnts, you must ask your lawyer to check terms of the Allotment Letter as well as Builder-Buyer agreement to ensure the safety of your interests.

After the Construction is Completed:

  • Ask the builder for Completion Certificate
  • Ask for Occupancy Certificate
  • After complete payment, don’t forget to collect Possession Certificate from the builder

And never ever forget to get all these documents checked by your lawyer.
For sale/purchase of independent, pre-constructed houses, obtain and get verified

  •  Sale Deed and Land Records
  • Change of Land Use (CLU) Certificate
  • Layout Approval
  • No Encumbrances Certificate
  • Property Tax Receipts and Utility Bills

In case of independent houses, a Mutation Certificateis required to be obtained from the municipal body after the sale is complete.

What Can Go Wrong And Why A Lawyer Is A Must?

The list of documents provided seems to not require a lawyer to acquire. But plenty of things can go wrong despite the knowledge of basics.
Documents may be fake – The only way to ensure that they are not fake is   proper legal due-diligence which includes verification of documents by a Sub-Registrar.

Double Mortgage/Undeclared Encumbrances/Antecedent Titles – Again, independent due-diligence is required. Most property lawyers have their own agents who sift through years of records/documents in the offices of authorities. Only a lawyer can look through the intricacies and peculiarities of the issue.

Fraudulent Builder Practices  This is an extremely common problem, the only way to avoid this is to be aware about one’s rights as a buyer. It is important to always have a lawyer and be aware of what and where you are signing for before getting into any agreement.

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Legal Literacy

Challenges For A Newbie Lawyer

At the beginning of any profession there are many pre-requirements which need to be fulfilled in order to reach success. A newbie is bound to face many challenges in a field where the senior professionals are already ruling. Especially the legal profession which demands consistent and unbending efforts from a newbie. Many tough yet rewarding challenges are faced.

The law college gives knowledge but doesn’t prepare a newbie for practicing before the courts. It takes a few months or sometimes even years before a fresh graduate is of any use of an experienced lawyer. An experienced lawyer as a mentor is very important to learn all the rules of trade.

Unless you have an influential background, finding a mentor can also be a laborious task. Only few manage get themselves a senior lawyer as mentor who can train and up skill them to kick start their legal career.

The next obstacle after choosing and getting a mentor is that it takes time to actually earn in this profession. Junior lawyers are only paid a meager amount, and the anecdotes by their seniors help them believe that this is indeed the convention in this field of work.

A lawyer always has a hunger for recognition and it is especially true in the case of young lawyers. This career offers flexible working hours, however, only when a lawyer spends their quality time on work as well are they able to achieve success. It is only after the initial low paid hard working years, that a newbie starts to get recognition among the fellow lawyers and in the courts.

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Legal Literacy

Prostitution – Is it a problem?

Prostitution – the practice or occupation of engaging in sexual activity with someone for payment. The legal status of prostitution varies from country to country (sometimes from region to region within a given country), ranging from being permissible but unregulated, to an enforced or unenforced crime, or a regulated profession.

Every citizen of India has the right to choose the profession according to his own will. And it is very humbly said by many of our senior citizens that ‘work is worship’ and also that ‘work is work; whether on a large scale or a small one’. When we have humans existing with such great mentality and intentions then why do we develop a “dirty” image in our minds when it comes to prostitution?

It is her body, it is her wish for the way she wants to use it. Sex work is an occupation that many women voluntarily choose. To deny that prostitution is work that not only infringes on women’s right to choose their work, but also on that of men, transgender and gender-diverse individuals. And denying sex workers the right to do their work legally infringes on other rights, such as their access to legal aid and recourse.

Who are ‘WE’ as a society to question her character when she is just earning by doing the work she is comfortable doing?

When it comes to prostitution, Indian laws are vague. In India, prostitution is legal, but activities related to it are not. Law keepers themselves are not aware of the criminal charges that can be held for specific activities. The Immoral Traffic Act, according to this act, prostitutes can carry on with their business in private but at the same time they can be punished if they do the same in open. Section 373 of Indian Penal Code, Section 2 in The Children Act,1960 and so many laws are there to stop minors to engage in prostitution, but these are the laws which are just in books and law in order is completely different and don’t even exist. Indian government is busy in raids on Red Light areas, but no one wants to save those poor innocent souls that are forced to engage in this field. How this does even make sense?

Everyone in India is busy in talking about Human Rights. Even some lawyers are taking the advantage of Human Rights in Rape Cases and even for the terrorism cases, human rights are becoming private defences but when this comes to prostitutes, none of us think about the violation of their human rights which are violated on regular basis and sometimes even without their concern.

Moving to another delicate question which will be further connected to the topic is rape.

What do you think is the cause of rape?

It is sexual desire. Though rapists are not educated enough to understand the sensitivity of a woman’s consent but if prostitution becomes legal, there are chances that there are less rape cases in the country. In addition to that, if prostitution is legalised then there are chances of no existence of human trafficking and it will decrease hidden, illegal and street prostitution. Legalization of prostitution will also protect the women who are engaged in prostitution and they can easily get access to health facilities as they will have their own rights. They could even move to court for the proper functioning of their rights. Women in systems of prostitution also want the sex industry legalized as they are the one who suffer the most because of the absence of any rights for them.

There are 2 million sex workers working in India and the unofficial number would be much higher. In a developing country like India where even engineers are unemployed, prostitution is a source of earning livelihood and how could it be objectionable if a mother is able to feed her child by using her body.

The core problem that we are facing today is identification of the problem.

Prostitution is not the problem. Forced prostitution is the matter of concern. Every year, 20,000 women or girls are forced into this business because of illiteracy, child marriage, poverty etc. Strict laws need to be made to prevent this problem and these laws should also be governed by a strict authority. These innocent souls are separated from their homes and are raped by animals in the shape of humans. Laws exist for this problem. Laws such as The Indian Trusts act, 1882, Section 3,4,5 of The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 and Section 372 and 373 of Indian Penal Code are there to stop minor trafficking and prostitution but mere existence of them does not help. And even when some of the victims escape from their undesirable web, society refuses to accept them which lead to further issues.

India is celebrating 70 years of independence, but still a girl is not allowed to be independent enough to choose her profession. The practice of prostitution should be legalised in India in actual sense so that sex workers are not exploited.

Solution to the problem is simple:

Make selling sex legal but buying it illegal- so that women can get help without being arrested, harassed or worse, and the criminal law is used to deter the buyers, because they fuel the market. Prostitution being already a huge industry in India, should be allowed to establish legally so that lives of innocents are nurtured. In countries where prostitution is regulated, the prostitutes may be registered, they may be hired by a brothel, they may organize trade unions, they may be covered by workers’ protection laws, their proceeds may be taxable, they may be required to undergo regular health checks, etc. The degree of regulation, however, varies very much by jurisdiction. This could be very well done in India if Prostitution would be legalised.