Monday, July 26, 2010

Whose crime is it anyway?

With a spurt in cases relating to adultery and toothless laws governing it, is there need to relook at norms that are as adultrated?

“I sort of felt uneasy when I first entered his house.As if its very aura was crying out loud and warning me against something. It was hard to tell why as I wasn’t supposed to worry about anything at all... It should’ve been the happiest day of my life, after all I had just been married! His was a close-knit joint family, yet I felt uncomfortable and sensed something was being brushed under the carpet.

The first few months passed fairly well but it didn’t take too long for the ‘honeymoon period’ to get over. My hubby rushed in one day, agitated without reason, reprimanded me for things I clearly wasn’t at fault for and stormed out. I kept waiting for him with a watchful eye on the clock thinking he’s out with friends sharing his problems – I didn’t realise when I drifted into a slumber while I waited for him – until the next morning when I woke up and passed by my brother in-law’s room, which had a partly-opened door, and saw my husband sleeping with my brother in-law’s wife. Shattered as I was, I raised an alarm and to my horror, nobody even raised an eyebrow! My protests were simply brushed aside and everybody continued with their daily chores. I would’ve discussed things and may be also forgiven if it was a one-off incident. But once it was out in the open, no one else had any problem with it, including the man whose wife was sleeping with my husband. The sheer boldness of their actions was piercing my soul as I watched helplessly. I had lost my father long back and couldn’t muster the courage to drop this bomb on my aging mother. Not just that, I was also carrying this man’s baby. Regular altercations, domestic violence and eventually divorce is what followed.”

Nishi was inconsolable while talking to this correspondent, and while this is just one side of the story, there is more one needs to know before passing a judgement. Those who are supposedly safeguarding our interest and responsible to help us get justice are equally helpless in such cases. “The Indian social set-up is such that the archaic Indian Penal Code also seems like a victim of gender discrimination. It suggests that, ‘Man is a seducer and the married woman is merely his hapless and passive victim. Wife of the man, if he is married, who had consensual sexual intercourse with another woman, married or unmarried, is not deemed to be an aggrieved party and thereby is precluded from making a formal complaint against either her husband or the adulteress woman.’ And, ‘a married man, with impunity, may seduce and establish sexual liaison with an unmarried woman, a widow, or a divorcee, even though such a sexual link is equally potential to wreck the marriage between him and his wife;’” says Advocate Harry Rikhy. As of now we are in dire need to decide: Are these laws relevant in the present day scenario, and is adultery really a crime? And if so, how can we be fair to the aggrieved? After all, it’s hard to simply move on saying ‘que sera sera’!

For more articles, Click on IIPM Article.

Source : IIPM Editorial, 2010.

An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).

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