A women’s organisation in Arunachal Pradesh has sought a ‘one man, one wife’ policy for ending polygamy among resourceful tribal people in the State.
The Arunachal Pradesh Women’s Welfare Society (APWWS) has also suggested the implementation of the Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules in the State to stop polygamy and adultery by government employees, besides denial of tickets to men with “multiple wives” for rural and Assembly elections.
The APWWS made the suggestions in a memorandum to Arunachal Pradesh State Commission for Women chairperson Radhilu Chai Techi during a programme to observe its 40th foundation day on Thursday.
The organisation’s outgoing president Dipti Bengia Tadar said that rich and well-qualified officers in the State had been indulging in polygamy, causing distress to many tribal families.
Arunachal Pradesh has 26 major tribes and scores of sub-tribes. Traditional tribal laws allow polygamy among certain tribes and associated disputes are usually settled by customary courts that are allegedly pro-men.
The first district and sessions courts were set up only after December 2007 when the judiciary was separated from the executive in the State.
The State women’s commission has demanded compulsory registration of marriages towards stopping polygamy and cases of domestic violence against women in Arunachal Pradesh.
Ms. Techi and other members of the commission in June met Chief Minister Pema Khandu to apprise him of “hundreds of cases related to marriage” that the commission deals with.
“Marital disputes remain unresolved or partially resolved due to lack of registration,” Ms. Techi said, asking the government to come up with a feasible Act under which all marriages are registered.
Women’s rights activists say polygamous men usually take teenage girls from economically weaker sections of society as the second or third wife apparently to rescue them from poverty. Many of these young wives end up as victims of abuse and need to be rescued. Some are abandoned too. The APWWS has been facilitating the stay of such victims at safe homes.