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Divorce, relationship and alimony: Why the Madras High court is right


By Nithin Sridhar

The Madurai bench of the Madras High court, has recently made an observation that a divorced woman cannot claim alimony from her ex-husband, if she enters into any relationship with another man.

Photo credit: wonderwoman.intoday.in
Photo credit: wonderwoman.intoday.in

The bench was hearing a revision petition filed by a man who was pleading that he should not be made to pay an alimony of Rs 1000 to his ex-wife as he had got an ex-parte divorce from his ex-wife on the grounds that she was adulterous.

Justice S. Nagamuthu, who presided over the case said that: “Since a man carries an obligation to maintain his divorced wife, the woman also carries the obligation not to live in relationship with another man. If she commits breach… she will suffer disqualification from claiming maintenance… If she wants to live in relationship with another man, she may be entitled for maintenance from him and not from the former husband.”

The judgment has come under criticism in certain sections of population who are viewing the judgment as patriarchal. But, is such a view really justifiable?

Let us first look into what marriage is. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines marriage as “the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law.” Therefore, marriage is not just acquaintance or friendship. It is a union between spouses in every-sense of the word- physical, mental, and social.

hindu marriage

The concept of marriage in Hindu culture takes it one step further and makes it even a spiritual union, wherein the spouses together work towards attaining all the four-fold goals of life- kama (desire including sexual desires), artha (wealth and prosperity), dharma (duty and righteousness), and moksha (final liberation).

Therefore, sexual fidelity is implicit and most vital in the union of marriage. As marriage is a physical, emotional, ethical, and social bond, the sexual infidelity or adultery which amounts to cheating at all levels from physical to social, is considered as being opposite to the very essence of marriage.

The bond of marriage is rooted in fidelity, and this bond breaks down due to infidelity. It is for this reason that the amendment to the marriage laws in 1976 stipulated that even a single instance of adultery could be a ground for divorce. Therefore, sexual fidelity which implicitly includes emotional, ethical and spiritual fidelity as well is at the very center of marriage and hence of divorce as well.

Regarding the reason for giving alimony to women after divorce, Justice S. Nagamuthu said: “Even after divorce, the law takes care that a woman does not end up in destitution and that is the reason why she is entitled for maintenance from her erstwhile husband.”

Therefore, the husband is to provide financial assistance to his wife even after divorce, so as to help her sustain herself. In other words, the husband is being stipulated by the law to perform his conjugal duty of economically sustaining the family, even after divorce.

Now, if such a divorced woman, who is receiving alimony from her ex-husband, is entering into a relationship with another man, be it casual affair or permanent bond, the woman in question is breaching the conjugal bond that is rooted in sexual fidelity with her ex-husband and creating a new conjugal bond with a different person.

Hence, the court rightly observes that: “If she wants to live in relationship with another man, she may be entitled for maintenance from him and not from the former husband.”

Why should the husband be expected to do his conjugal duties even after divorce, when his wife has established a new conjugal relationship with another man?

Therefore, it is incorrect to consider the court judgment as being patriarchal. Instead, the judgment upholds the core tenet of marriage which is fidelity and commitment.

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Having a Child with Cancer Doesn’t Impact Parents’ Separation: Researchers

Being parents to a cancer patient kid doesn't trigger separation, say researchers

cancer seperation
Chldhood cancer may not trigger seperation among parents according to researchers. Pixabay

Contrary to traditional belief, researchers now say that having a child with cancer did not appear to impact parents’ risk of separation or divorce or affect future family planning.

Childhood cancer can cause feelings of fear and uncertainty among parents and burden them with many practical challenges related to caregiving and work-related obligations, according to the study published in the journal Cancer.

For the findings, the research team from the Danish Cancer Society Research Centre examined data from several registries in Denmark, linking information on parents of children diagnosed with cancer in 1982-2014 (7,066 children and 12,418 case parents) with parents of children without cancer (69,993 children and 125,014 comparison parents).

Parents were followed until 10 years after diagnosis, separation or divorce, death, emigration, or the end of 2017, whichever came first.

Overall, parents of children with cancer had a four per cent lower risk of separation and an eight per cent lower risk of divorce compared with parents of children without cancer.

Among parents of children with cancer, those who were younger had less education, and were unemployed had elevated risks for separation and divorce.

The findings showed that risks were also higher among parents of children diagnosed at a younger age.

Parents of children with cancer had a four per cent lower risk of separation. Pixabay

The investigators also evaluated how the diagnosis of cancer in a child affects parents’ decisions on having another child.

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They expected that parents of a child with cancer would have fewer children than parents of children without cancer and that they would postpone having another child.

This was not the case, however, as the researchers found that the childhood cancer experience did not negatively affect parents’ future family planning in Denmark.

The researchers noted that health care providers should communicate these reassuring and encouraging findings to parents, but that support should be offered if needed to improve family life in the long term. (IANS)

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How to Salvage Your Marriage from Divorce

It's okay to feel anxious and down-casted if your spouse wants a divorce

Marriage, Divorce, US
You are sending a message with every wedding invitation – trying to get your recipient to show up. Pixabay

Currently, divorce has become so rampant; for instance, in the U.S, the divorce rate stands at a whopping 50 percent! It’s alarming, right? However, when you’re on the wrong side of these odds such statistics even makes it more painful.

Good news for you! Unhappy marriage does not mean the end result is divorce. Provided one of you has a strong desire to salvage the marriage, it’s possible.

Marriage counseling in Denver state that they have helped so many couples to reconcile and enjoy their marriage again. Some of the couples had even signed the divorce papers while others were at the verge of divorce.

Which tactics did they use? Below are 6 steps that prominent marriage therapists recommend to salvage your marriage.

Marriage, Divorce, US
Marriage counseling in Denver state that they have helped so many couples to reconcile and enjoy their marriage again. Pixabay


  • Accept your spouse’s feelings


It’s okay to feel anxious and down-casted if your spouse wants a divorce; however, it doesn’t mean your partner will not come around.

Each one of you has the right to express or feel the way they want to; therefore, you have to agree that your spouse wants out. It’s important for you to accept your partner’s position without manipulating it.

This will help you get to the root cause and most likely things will turn around and reawaken your love towards each other.

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  • Take responsibility


This might be the last thing you want to do! You need to approach your spouse and validate why they want to leave the marriage.

This is very powerful; just keep it brief and straightforward. For instance, you can tell your spouse, “I understand. You feel I haven’t been faithful to you.”

Confirm that you understand from their perspective even if you don’t agree.

Marriage, Divorce, US
Currently, divorce has become so rampant; for instance, in the U.S, the divorce rate stands at a whopping 50 percent! Pixabay


  • Stop over-reacting


You need to block the fight or flight reaction that is easily awakened by divorce threat. You should remain calm, kind, mature and the affectionate person that your spouse fell in love with.


  • Take a break


Give your companion space; don’t try to pursue, plead or beg your partner at such a time. Do your thing as this is time to let go. Create a scenario whereby your partner will miss you.

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  • Work on yourself


At this time you need to concentrate on building yourself and being the best person you can be. Visit friends, marriage therapists like those Marriage Counseling in Denver or learn yoga.

Ultimately your spouse will notice the changes and the new positive attributes in you.


  • Reestablish contact


After following the above guidelines, most likely your spouse will come around. You can meet for coffee and focus on positive discussion, not on the fallen relationship.

Once the barrier is broken and you can smile and laugh again; you can gauge if you can work out things together.

It is important to note that stable marriage needs both partners to be actively involved. After following the steps above, you should assess if your partner is reciprocating or you are just hitting a rock.

You can involve a counselor along the process in case things are not adding up. Try as hard as you can to salvage your marriage, but if your spouse doesn’t show up you will still feel great how you carried yourself. 

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Madras HC: Rape Victims Should Not be Unnecessarily Compelled to “Knock Doors of Court” for Abortion

"The victim girl should not be unnecessarily forced to move court for abortion"

rape victims, abortion
The victim then moved the high court, which directed her to get admitted to a government hospital to get medically assessed for abortion. Pixabay

The Madras High Court has said that rape victims should not be unnecessarily compelled to “knock doors of the court” to terminate their unwanted pregnancy.

Justice N. Anand Venkatesh, in his order delivered June 19, ruled that if a victim suffers an unwanted pregnancy and its duration has not exceed 20 weeks, then the “victim need not be referred to the medical board and the termination of pregnancy can be done as per the provisions of Section 3 of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, 1971.

“The victim girl should not be unnecessarily made to knock the doors of this court.” If the pregnancy has not breached the 20 weeks mark, then the length of the pregnancy is irrelevant, and instead the life of the pregnant woman shall be prioritized, the court said.

abortion, rape victims
Madras high court. Wikimedia Commons

For isolated cases, where the length of pregnancy has exceeded 20 weeks, the medical practitioner shall take immediate steps in accordance with the MTP Act to save the pregnant woman’s life, it said. The victim, in this case, was blackmailed into having sexual intercourse and had got pregnant. Eight weeks into the pregnancy, after being denied any relief from government hospital, she moved the court.

The police informed the court that victim had requested assistance in terminating the pregnancy during the registration of the rape case. However, police apparently refused to help her, and then she pooled her resources to get admission in a private hospital, but was discharged without undergoing abortion.

The victim then moved the high court, which directed her to get admitted to a government hospital to get medically assessed for abortion. The victim had, on June 8, consulted a doctor at the government-run Kasturba Gandhi Hospital for Women and Children and General Hospital here. The doctor found her eight weeks pregnant but instead of terminating the pregnancy, referred her to another government hospital.

abortion, rape victims
“The victim girl should not be unnecessarily made to knock the doors of this court.” VOA

On June 12, the high court gave strict instructions to admit her at a government hospital and carry out the necessary medical procedure. On June 17, the doctors aborted the pregnancy. On June 19, the matter came up for further hearing before the court, which remarked that the hospitals wrongly interpreted the provisions of the MTP Act, and made the victim run from pillar to post.

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Lashing at the government and doctors, the court said: “In cases of this nature, the doctors and the courts need to be more sensitive and should act fast since the victim girl is carrying a foetus, which keeps reminding her of the agony faced by her due to rape and every moment she suffers mental agony and depression due to the unwanted pregnancy that has been forced against her.”

As the victim’s counsel requested the court to issue guidelines to ease the abortion process for rape victims, the court said that medical boards have already been constituted across the country to address request of similar nature. (IANS)