REFORMATIVE MUSINGS

JUSTICE, DELIVERED TO 'CHILDLESS' WOMAN

The most inhuman insult that can be heaped  on a ‘childless’ woman is her husband marrying again.

The High Court passed an order in a case where a man gave some property to his wife of 26 years and obtained her ‘consent’ for his second marriage and pronounced that such a consent was not valid as it amounted to marital cruelty.

The matter is related to the sale of a property given to the  women by her husband who wanted to take a second women on the ground that the wife did not bear a child. He gave to the wife some properties and said she could enjoy them during her life time but they would return to him if she did not have a child.

The litigation started when the wife sold the property after her husband’s death. The second woman  claimed that the sale was illegal as she (wife) had been given only ‘limited right’ by her husband

Justice Vimala rejected the argument of ‘limited right’. The judge observed, “if the interpretation that the woman will get only limited right is accepted, it would amount to encouraging more men to create broken families and promote illegal activities which is not conducive for an orderly society.

If the aim of the Cis to ensure equality and dignity to women, and if gender  bias is to be eliminated, then the purposive interpretation would be that the woman  would  get absolute right under the transaction. Any other interpretation would take the woman and in turn the whole society form e-age to stone age.  

It was observed that the first wife was will within her rights to sell properties given to her by her husband.Lamenting the ‘fish bowl existence of the women, suffering from the social troubles of not blessed with child, the judge observed thus: “Though women alone are not the cause for the childless issue, yet the problem of infertility has broken many homes, separated many couples and caused disharmony among couples”.


WOMEN IN LIVE – IN RELATIONSHIPS, ENTITLED TO MAINTENANCE

The Madras High Court has ruled that women in live-in relationships and partners are entitled to payment of maintenance by their male partners. Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 recognizes such relationships.

A writ petition was filed by the estranged wife of a former government employee, against the payment of family pension to his illegal second ‘wife’  with whom he had lived for 47 years without obtaining divorce from the petitioner.

After the case was filed to restrain the official concerned from disbursing the pension to the second ‘wife’, maintained by the deceased government employee, the two women entered into a compromise mid way and informed the court that they wanted to share the monthly pension equally.

The deceased government employee was a Hindu by faith. The issues involved in this case is whether the court could give its stamp of approval for sharing of pension between his legally wedded wife and illegal companion when the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 does not authorize a second marriage during the subsistence of the first.

The broad definition given to the term ‘domestic relationship’ under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 was interpreted by Justice R. Mahendra thus: “The purpose of enacting such a law would only make way for maintenance not only to legally wedded wife but also to a second wife or concubine”.

The judge directed the Accountant  General’s Office to disburse the pension in equal share to the petitioner as well as her husband’s companion. If  in case of death of either of them, the surviving party shall be entitled to full family pension. The concept of paying pension to the family members is to enable them to lead a decent life after the life time of the pensioner. Therefore  the memorandum of compromise is accepted and recorded..

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