From time immemorial, the concept of family in Indian tradition means wife, husband and children. But, with the changing times, the way of thinking has also changed. The Supreme Court has recently said that some other relationships in modern society should be considered as family, and this includes cohabitation and homosexuality. Moreover, the court emphasized in a case that there is a need to provide legal protection to these too.
A spouse may become single for any number of reasons, such as death, separation, or divorce. Similarly, children’s guardians (traditionally occupying the roles of mother or father) may change with remarriage, adoption, or foster care. Expressions of love and families may not be typical, but the heterogeneous family bond deserves not only legal protection but benefits under the Social Welfare Act, the bench observed.
The bench noted that gender roles assigned to women and societal expectations mean that women are always under pressure to take on a disproportionate burden of child care work. The ‘Time Use’ survey conducted by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) was mentioned on this occasion. It states that women in India currently spend up to 352 minutes of their time in unpaid work per day, which is 577 percent more than men.