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What a judgment Sir-ji

Whether you choose your spouse and have it approved by your parents or whether your parents choose it for you and you approve it. Whether you decide to marry or prefer a live-in. These are personal choices. There isnít any reason to pass value judgments over it.

Whether you choose your spouse and have it approved by your parents or whether your parents choose it for you and you approve it. Whether you decide to marry or prefer a live-in. These are personal choices. There isn’t any reason to pass value judgments over it.

Just like if I don’t believe in God and in religion that’s my prerogative. And if you are a God fearing Hindu or a 5-times Namaz reading Muslim it’s your choice. It is this attribute that has allowed India to remain a pluralistic and not a theocratic society.

Now a judge has stepped in to drive a wedge of sorts. One could have dismissed it outright as a caricatured statement had it not come from a Judge of the High Court, more so of the revered Madras High Court.

You see, our judges are a law apart. They seem to often get away with plain murder. And that’s what looks like happening now. The learned judge has remarked that if you sleep with a woman long enough, you are deemed to be married to her. His exact words were: “If a couple chooses to consummate their sexual cravings, then the act becomes a total commitment with adherence to all consequences that may follow.”

 

Pray don’t trivialise tradition...

The judge was passing a judgment in a case involving alimony for a woman who was in a live-in relation with a man and who had two children through him.

Now, Justice Karnan is free to voice his views on whether live-in tantamount to marriage and whether a live-in can lead to alimony. That’s his prerogative. Had he stopped at that I would have had no issue. But the judge went on to trivialise marital customs. He says: “formalities such as tying mangala sutra, exchange of garlands and rings and circling around matrimonial fire are not a must for valid marriage but, ‘to comply with certain religious customs’ and ‘for the satisfaction of the society’.”  Now boy that’s uncalled for.  

Boss, this is India. Here the husband is a husband. The wife is a wife. They are not ‘partners.’ People throw a party to announce that they are married. It is this that has social standing. Customs and rituals are a form of this practice. Such weddings, statistics show, have the greater opportunity to stand the test of time. Proof of that is the fact that divorce rates in India are a fraction of what they are in the West. Little wonder India has less unwed mothers, less of single parenting, less of multiple marriages, less of fatherless children (okay, bastards if you want to be specific). The fact that in our country people have stayed married for decades is a testimony of the strength of arranged marriages. Marriage is not a legal contract; not something that you should be able to get out of in a jiffy.

Judges have this tendency of shooting their mouth off at a tangent without staying to the facts of the case. The language, their tone and tenor in most judgments makes one feel uneasy. While judges need to be protected from criticism because that would affect their fearless functioning, the members of the jury should not use that as a licence to speak whatever comes to them. If they do that, they would fast lose respect.

If you want, defend live-in; but don’t trivialise traditional weddings.

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