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Report No. 89

IV Peculiar Disabilities of Married Women

5.13. Married women.- We now turn to a slightly different topic namely, the position of married women. Section XII of Limitation Act No. 14 of 1859 (legal disability) provided as under:

"XII. The following persons shall be deemed to be under legal disability within the meaning of the last preceding section married women in cases to be decided by English law, minors, idiots and lunaties."

However, in the subsequent statutes of 1871 and 1877, the class of "married women" was removed from the list of persons under legal disability. In England, the Married Women's Property Act abolished the common law rule and made married women's wages and earnings her separate property and gave her a power to recover them in her own name.

As far as Hindu or Muslim women in India were concerned, they never suffered from the disability of prohibition from acquiring property1. For others appropriate provision has been enacted.

1. See Law Commission of India, 66th Report (Married Women's Property Act, 1874).

5.14. No change needed as to married women.- No doubt, there are certain procedural difficulties of a married woman in seeking legal redress today. The prevalence of the dowry system and certain other anomalies have brought to surface some of the handicaps of the married women.

While we fully appreciate the difficulties faced by married women (especially from the rural parts of India), in obtaining legal advice, we have come to the conclusions that amending either section 5 or section 6 and creating a separate category of persons under disability would be carrying the statute too far, for the simple reason that (unlike minority or lunacy), the disability of a married woman would not come to an end until the demise of her husband or a divorce.

The resulf would be an excessive prolongation of the period of limitation otherwise, applicable. This might result in defeating some of the basic features underlying the law of limitation. Rather than classifying them as persons under disability, education about rights would be a better solution. Consequently, no amendment of section 5 or section 6 is suggested to cover this particular problem.



The Limitation Act, 1963 Back




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