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A recent judgment says separating a man from parents is cruelty. How can the law support this bias that married women who leave their parental homes are only following a 'natural' course?
A recent judgment says separating a man from parents is cruelty. How can the law support this bias that married women who leave their parental homes are only following a ‘natural’ course?
The case of Narendra vs. K. Meena, that was heard by the Supreme Court yesterday, is of great interest to all. The bench presided by Justice Anil R. Dave and Justice L. Nageswara Rao passed the judgment that forcing a man to separate from his parents amounted to an act of cruelty.
While in this particular case, there were allegations made that the wife threatened the husband and harassed him, one needs to look at what the Bench had to say with respect to the separation of a man from his parents.
“In normal circumstances, a wife is expected to be with the family of the husband after the marriage. She becomes integral to and forms part of the family of the husband and normally without any justifiable strong reason; she would never insist that her husband should get separated from the family and live only with her…. If a wife makes an attempt to deviate from the normal practice and normal custom of the society, she must have some justifiable reason for that and in this case, we do not find any justifiable reason, except monetary consideration of the Respondent wife. In our opinion, normally, no husband would tolerate this and no son would like to be separated from his old parents and other family members, who are also dependent upon his income.”
By stating this, the apex institution has in fact granted a stamp of approval to the age old custom of woman leaving her house and joining the man’s family. That this is what was considered “normal” and that it would infact be unreasonable for her to want a separation.
What stings the most is the fact that they presume that men would not like to leave their families but that it was completely okay for women to do so.
The wording of their statements proves that it has always been taken for granted that the woman should leave her own home and parents behind but that would never be called ‘cruelty’. It is very startling that the highest court in the nation would say this.
Can we (reasonably) expect that the law should always be free from such bias?
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"I chose to go out into the remote, wild, unknown, and make it home," says entrepreneur Kiranjeet Ahluwalia Chaturvedi, who owns Birdsong & Beyond.
The story of my mountain home Birdsong & Beyond started taking shape in 2009, on the internet, the way many stories do these days.
My childhood fascination for a life in the Himalayas led to an internship with a central Himalayan NGO instead of a much prized corporate assignment. But when they offered me a full-time job, I refused. I was overcome by fear and a lack of confidence.
My other longings pulled me away – the longing to fit in, to earn validation from others. By my mid-30s, with all the trappings of a middle-class urban life in place, the call of the snows couldn’t be ignored anymore. So I got to work on it with clearer intentions and a stronger sense of what I needed for myself, and why.
Many Indian elderly are firm believers in enslaving a daughter-in-law in the name of tradition which is actually a tradition of oppression and not of religious faith.
Albeit, the popular culture has interpreted scriptures as suggesting that Kanyadaan is the supreme form of donation given to someone, the connotation that the word donation alludes to definitely objectifies the girl.
Even when the exegesis justify the act of giving away the daughter, considering it a ritual to mark the initiation of the daughter into her husband’s gotra and her becoming the part of his family tree.
There is no denial of the fact that this initiation is not required on the part of the groom thereby formally denoting the end of the filial ties with the daughter as it was popularly instructed to the bride during the Vidai ceremonies:
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