By Ritu Sharma
NEW DELHI: Women in India are unsure whether to welcome or not a court ruling on their rights in a live-relationship.
The Supreme Court on Oct. 21 ruled that a woman can only claim maintenance in such a relationship if the man and woman have been living together for some time are seen by society as spouses.
“It will put a burden on the woman to prove her relationship with the man,” said Jyotsna Chatterjee, director and secretary of the Joint Women’s Programme of the Church of North India.
The Protestant leader said live-in relations should not be promoted, but agreed they have become “fashionable.”
The Supreme Court, while hearing an appeal from the Madras High Court, sided with the trial judge in the case but said a woman had no maintenance rights if she is a servant or has been kept for sex. Nor would merely spending weekends together or a one-night stand entitle a woman to ask for maintenance, it said.
Julian George, a young Catholic lawyer, said she did not see the ruling as anti-women.“When a woman enters into such relationship, she is well aware of the consequences,” she told ucanews.com.
George said she would not opt for such relationship but “everyone should have the right to live according to their wishes.”
Kanchan Das, a Hindu journalist was similarly pragmatic. She said religions in India do not support live-in relationships and people are not generally open to accepting such relations.
“However, so many things happen in society that are not acceptable. You just can’t help it,” Das told ucanews.com.
She said the ruling would check the woman from harassing the man just because she has stayed with him for a few days. UCAN