Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Married Woman Living with Boyfriend? No Problem says Court

Imagine a headline like this in the Western World. Give me a break. And a friend of mine, who is literally a vice president at a major software company and one of the smartest men I know is telling me that he thinks this is fine. And they say the men in this country aren't feminist-sponsored robots. Sure. 

This woman was "THIS CLOSE" to having my respect and admiration. It sounds like her family insisted she marry one man and she chose a different one. She was living with her lover, but then, again, probably to satisfy her family, she married man #2, in an arranged marriage. Now she's in a pickle, right? Because guess what, men will not share the same woman. Hello?  Her husband, man #2, takes her to court, basically to insist his wife live with him and not her lover. He uses a habeas corpus motion to release her from the custody of another man.

Cough, cough.

First off, that's a strange and bizarre use of habeas corpus and I don't agree with it. That said, in India, women are still seen as being a man's possession to some extent - and if she can divorce him and take all he has - and she can! - than the man better damn well keep track of her, as it means all that he has if she leaves! Or what else would you, dear reader, suggest the man do!?!?!?

So they go to court and instead of the adults telling them "the woman here must pick one man, marriage or not, now go home," the court says, NO PROBLEM! Marry one, live with the other, hey do as you please! Now, legally, I have no problem with that. It is not the LEGAL judgement BACKED by the POLICE that should force a woman to be with one man or the other. That's crazy! Is the STATE the shotgun held behind a man's back at the wedding? Come, now.

That said, my outrage is behind what this woman is asking: that she be able to marry one man and yet live with another. That's absurd. Further, IF that is granted - and it has been! - then the divorce laws MUST IMMEDIATELY AND WITHOUT APPEAL, be changed to NO TRANSFER OF WEALTH OR ASSETS BETWEEN PARTIES. As it stands now, a woman takes everything a man has, or nearly everything. That is absurd if she can literally commit adultery right in front of the man's face without any recourse to him.

Back in 1940 or whatnot, some women did leave their husbands to be with other men. Sadly, it happens, and will always happen - to both men and women. People grow apart, fall in love at work (stupid), whatever. I would hope it never happened, but that is not the real world. If a woman did leave a husband, in the old days, she left only with what she had. Everyone cried, and explained, whatever. And then they moved on with life. The ex-husband remarried and everyone went on their merry way.

Otherwise, this mess will only get worse:

Married woman can live with her lover: court

KS Tomar  Jaipur, April 19, 2007
First Published: 01:28 IST(19/4/2007) | Last Updated: 03:43 IST(19/4/2007)
Can a married woman lawfully live with her lover against the will of her husband? The Rajasthan High Court says yes.

In a judgment on Wednesday, the court allowed a married woman, Manju, to live with her lover, Suresh. “It is improper to pass an order to hand over any unwilling married woman to her husband with whom she does not want to stay,” said justices GS Mishra and KC Sharma. The court also said that nobody should consider an adult woman as a consumer product. (JB: what the Hell does that mean?)
While dismissing a habeas corpus petition filed by Manju’s husband, the court came down hard on the misuse of habeas corpus petitions by people who want to thrust their will upon adult women without their consent. The court said the husband was free to approach the family court for divorce.
Commenting on the judgment, senior Supreme Court advocate and noted women’s rights activist Indira Jaising said, “Though it sounds strange, I am in complete agreement with the high court.”
"At the end of the day an adult woman has a right to decide whom she wants to live with. She can’t be forced to go with her husband against her will," Jaising said.
In this case, Jaising said, it is clear that the woman was prepared for divorce. She also felt that Manju’s husband had abused the habeas corpus petition because such petitions were generally filed when somebody is actually missing.
Asked whether it amounted to adultery, Jaising clarified that the woman could not be prosecuted for this offence under the law. As for the other man, she said, “it seems he is ready to face that”. National Commission for Women Chairperson Girija Vyas said that although it seemed like an important judgment, she could not comment on it since she had not seen it yet.
Manoj Chaudhry, the counsel for Manju and Suresh, had earlier rejected as baseless the allegations that Manju had been kept in illegal confinement by Suresh.
He said that the duo had been living together by their free will and that the relationship had begun even before Manju had got married.
With inputs from Satya Prakash and Sutirtho Patranobis.

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