“Yaar..My Life is finished! My wife abused my father and attacked him with knife in front of me. I cannot live with this lady anymore”. Cried Ravi, my childhood friend. I was stunned to hear this. Ravi married four years back to a post graduate lady. After initial peaceful few months, his life started moving towards hell. His quite literate wife started complaining about his parents for trifle reasons, then about his relatives. After a few days, complain turned into vociferous discussions like any session of parliament. Moreover, she started giving threats to him, for instance she will kill his parents; she will commit suicide; she will shout in public, she will go to police etc.
In order to appease her “Angry Young Lady”, Ravi settled to some other rented flat away from his old and ill parents. But this “donation” was not enough to pacify her. She continued bickering with Ravi. Now she added new items in her everlasting demand list like she would not cook, she spent money irrationally, she would send money to her parents regularly etc. She never stayed for more than 3 months in any rented house.
She continued to call her parent in laws and abused them. Ravi used to share his glum with me but what he shared last was beyond my imagination. How can his wife attack his father without any issue? All my sensitive nerves were jolted and heart rendered to look at the pathetic condition of Ravi. Ravi and smile were two inseparable things four years back. Now smile has been replaced permanently by sorrow. Ravi is looking for legal actions under Hindu Marriage Act 1955 to nullify his marriage and get rid of his “hurricane” wife.
Moved by my friend’s miserable condition, I did some research on internet related to Hindu Marriage Act. Under this act, there are nine grounds for bridegroom on the basis of which, he can file petition for divorce and brides have three more grounds besides these nine on the basis on which she can file petition for the divorce, including the famous IPC 498A which empowers women to make dowry charges against her husband and her family members.
When the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 came, the Hindu society was different especially the status of women. Women were considered as “abla nari” (weak women) or “sati-savitri” (devoted to husband) and for any marital quarrel, husband was considered the natural offender. The lady always had the sympathetic wave of society with her and still she enjoyed this emotional wave.
But now the time has changed and so the condition of woman, the so called “Abla Narri” is very “sabla” (strong) and “Sati-Savitri” character has also changed drastically. There are no dearth of evidence where male and his family are regularly, mentally as well as financially harassed by his wife with the help of IPC498A.
I am not denying the fact that women are not harassed by men and his family members for dowry and many different sorts of reasons. But now she has a law which when executed impartially can get her rid of her marriage. But What about those husbands who are tortured by their wives? What about those parents and families who had dreamt for the beautiful life of their wards? These husbands cannot even share their agony in open. They cannot even go to their relatives and elder society members for the solution of this inhuman torture. They will be considered weak, impotent and powerless. There are many husbands whose life is more miserable than Ravi. Their wives have more advanced ways of blackmailing them.
The suicidal threats or going to police with IPC498A in her armour, makes wives deadly. Husbands bear all these for the sake of respect of his family, for no further torture to his family members, in hope of a better future. But all these bearings go in vain and the vociferous lady becomes horrendous and one fine day, husband decides to get rid of her legally. But the current law does not have enough teeth to give a shy of relief to these tortured husbands who in fit of frustration attempts to kill their life. In view of changing society and changing status of women, grounds for divorce should be expanded to include:
- Marriage by force.
- Marriage by fraud.
- Harassment, torture and agony caused and rendered by girl’s parental and relative excessive interference and involvement aka Ekta Kapoor’s afternoon soap operas
- Marriage to a person who claims to be “Hindu”, “traditional”, “conservative” and “respectful” as quoted often on matrimonial websites but in reality is of undignified character.
- Marriage to women who has not attained complete womanhood, who cannot bear child.
In democracy, law is made to spread equality in society. Law is not made to embolden any section of society so much that they take undue advantage of the law to inflict torments on other sections of the same society. These hapless husbands’ agony must be heard. People like Ravi, has all right to live a peaceful and happy life even after marriage.
This article is written by Kunal Thakur. He is working as a Senior Software Engineer in Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).