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Wife slaps cruelty clause on man who loves meat, alleging that he forced her to cook and eat it too

SAVITA KULKARNI ( name changed) was miffed whenever her husband would bring home the bacon, quite literally, and says he forced her to cook and eat it. Within two weeks of the wedding, she had left her spouse and sought divorce.

Her husband, Anand ( name changed), was shocked to learn that the police had booked him under the anti- dowry Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code and he could be arrested soon.

" I never saw this coming," he told M AIL T ODAY . " I had made my customs and traditions very clear to my wife." Anand said no one in his family is forced to eat pork and it is left to everyone's discretion.

According to analysts, frivolous cases of divorce and dowry harassment are Turn to


Man says he was booked under anti- dowry law after wife alleged he made her eat pork

Continued from page 1 on the rise in India and police have been advised to verify all facts before pressing criminal charges.

Anand and Savita met in 2008 and fell in love. They got married in court seven years later. The difference in their social backgrounds and no approval from the parents did not deter the couple.

" Before getting married, I had made it clear to my husband that I would not change my lifestyle and eating habits to which he had agreed," she said in her police complaint. " He told me that he would even quit eating non- vegetarian food. But after we got married, I was forced to cook pork and even eat it. They told me that it is a part of their custom to eat pork at an auspicious func- tion. I believed those fake promises and even severed ties with my family. Had I known that I would be put through this torture I would have never married against the wishes of my parents." Experts say people in India often file for divorce on the grounds of abuse, or what's legally termed " cruelty", a phrase that has long been open to debate.

The Delhi high court this year upheld a lower court order in a case, saying that calling a husband " fat elephant" could be grounds for divorce.

" The casual outlook towards the institution of marriage is the reason behind moving courts on petty issues. Couples want the best lifestyles for themselves with minimal efforts," said lawyer Prashant Mendiratta.

" Both husband and wife need to compromise and work on the marriage." The Supreme Court has said there cannot be any " straitjacket formula or fixed parameters for determining mental cruelty in matrimonial matters". Savita mentioned in her complaint that she was not allowed to practice her religion and had a lot of restrictions imposed on her. " I was made to do things under the fear of being divorced.

In the absence of support from my parents, I was tortured and harassed," she said.

Mendiratta argued that the " cruelty" clause in the case only stands if the wife can prove she was forced to eat meat.

Denying the charges, Anand alleges that it was his wife who asked him to adopt her lifestyle and even sever ties with his parents.

" I could not believe that despite being in a relationship with the same woman for several years, there would be trouble over such a trivial issue," he said.

When contacted by Mail Today, Savita said she does not want to comment as the matter is in court, but added that she was harassed and abused by her husband and in- laws and was diagnosed with food poisoning after being compelled to eat non- vegetarian food.

Activist Ritwik Bisaria says anti- dowry laws are frequently misused.

" Filling Section 498A is as easy as ordering a pizza on the phone. This case shows the same fact. The Supreme Court, in many cases, has observed that any and every vague allegation is not 498A, but police is under tremendous pressure to register FIRs on false and frivolous allegations under this most abused IPC section," said Bisaria, coordinator of the Save Family Foundation. " The SC has also termed its misuse as ' Legal Terrorism'. Having a criminal case FIR curtails one's rights as a citizen. This law must be scrapped." I could never see this coming. I had made my customs and tradition very clear to my wife.

Moreover, the ceremony mentioned in the complaint was never held as my mother was ill and we had married against the wishes of our parents.

-- Anand, husband ' Before getting married, I had made it clear to my husband that I would not change my lifestyle and eating habits to which he had agreed. He told me that he would even quit eating non- vegetarian food. But after we got married, I was forced to cook pork and even eat.

-- Savita, wife ' ' ' Wife seeks divorce within two weeks of marriage

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Jul 3, 2016
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