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Verdict on Adultery: Dangerous for every section of the society

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The seventh vow of Hindu marriage is “We will love, honour and cherish each other forever”. Catholics vow to hold their spouses for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do them part. They also promise to be true to their spouses in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. They promise to love and honour them in all the days of their lives.

A Jew promises his/her lawfully wedded wife/husband, to love, to honour and to cherish. A Muslim pledges, in honesty and sincerity, to be a faithful and helpful husband/Wife. Is it not a fact that most of the marriages in the world happen by any of these pledges? Does Adultery, not break this promise?

A marriage is not just a means for food, livelihood etc. A marriage is not only for living together and having babies. The most important thing is the bond between a man and woman for which marriage is an important link. This bond is the foundation of the great institution called family. A family is what makes a house a home, where a person retreats at the end of the day. A faithful marriage gives comfort and honour to both husband and wife. It is a great insult for a person if other people come to know about any affair of his/her spouse. Can the judiciary or state protect this honour? Can state replace a family or even supplement it? Can it protect all the weak, dependent, poor, unemployed, uneducated which is effectively done by the family.

This SC verdict strikes at the very core of this Institution.

On the topic of adultery, would any person like if his/her spouse is in physical relation with another. Who can live normally with the fact that his/her spouse is seeing someone else? CONSENT is a key word in the text of the judgement but the court should know that an average person DOES NOT consent to their spouse having physical relation with another unless he/she has fantasies of Cuckolding. Adultery is not often the result of a failed marriage as being suggested by the SC. Adultery is often the result of temporary sexual desire where it only satisfies a physical craving and not an emotional one. Given the chance, people would be more than happy to have multiple sexual relations and live happily with their spouses at the same time. But, can sexual gratification replace emotional attachment?

Rishi Jamadagni’s wife Renuka used to go to the river to fetch water in an unbaked pot held together only by the power of her chastity. Once in the river she saw a group of Gandharvas in a chariot passing in the sky above and was filled with desire for only a moment. The unbaked pot she held dissolved in the river. Jamadagni noticed his wife had not returned. Through his yogic powers, he saw all that had taken place and was enraged. He ordered Parashuram to kill his mother.

There is another story of a young man who went to the Prophet Muhammad. He asked for permission to fornicate because he could not control himself. The Prophet asked him if he would approve of someone else having illegal sex with his mother, sister, daughter, or wife. Each time the man said ‘no’. Then the Prophet replied that the woman with whom he plans to have sex is also somebody’s mother, sister, daughter, or wife.

These stories emphasize the importance of faithfulness in marriage. All religions prohibit adultery and even propose strict punishments including death. Islamic shariah suggests stoning or flogging for adultery. Bible says that anyone who even looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. It should be noted that Jealousy is a natural instinct which even animals have and the court should know that these natural tendencies can never be curbed by judgements or by any other reasoning.

The most important thing that differentiates a marriage and a live in relationship is responsibility. The state can provide food, water, house, job and protection but it is has no scheme for loneliness, need for companionship and love. A promise given at the time of marriage is what protects us all, but can the society depend on restraint or self control of the mind of a married person to save marriage? If that were true then police, Judiciary and other law & order mechanisms can be removed and society can sleep happily by just giving moral instructions.

Any removal of inhibitions to adultery will open a Pandora’s Box which no state can control. People would lose faith and respect and relationships would seem meaningless. There will be conflicts between people and no way to solve them except breaking off the marriage by divorce. The judgement has done well to reduce the difference between lifestyles of animals and humans. The judgement is silent on feelings of dejection and heart break a person has when he/she finds out about cheating.

It is also much true that women have been tormented, enslaved, sold off, bought, kidnapped and killed reducing them to property. SC says that curtailing the sexual autonomy of a woman once she enters a marriage is antithetical to Constitutional values. If sexual autonomy is like a fundamental right then people should rather not marry and bring in the issue of adultery. SC says in its judgment that adultery can still be a ground for divorce as if a great concession has been given. The SC should have tried to remove this bias against women rather than give a free hand to destroy marriage.

Recently Supreme Court ruled that Triple Talaq practice against the basic tenets of Quran. Is not faithfulness in marriage a basic tenet of all religions? There will be serious negative consequences and the only hope now lies in the fact that SC can review its own judgement.

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