Remember the judge who claimed that peacocks do not mate and that the peahen gets pregnant drinking the tears of the peacock? Well, the same judge, Justice (retired) Mahesh Chandra Sharma, who is now a member of Rajasthan State Human Rights Commission (SHRC), is dominating headlines yet again. In another eyebrow-raising incident, the SHRC has asked the central and state governments to prohibit women from opting for live-in relationships and alleged that live-ins were against human rights. And, Justice Mahesh is part of the same bench.
According to media reports, the commission said that the women in these relationships need protection through law as they could be treated “as concubine” and live a dishonourable life. The order issued by Justice Prakash Tatia, the commission's chairperson, and Justice Mahesh says Right to Life in Article 21 of the Indian Constitution translates into “an honourable life, not an animal-like life.”
“From no viewpoint can a concubine-like life of a woman be called a dignified life. Hence, for a woman to sacrifice her honourable life and adopt a dishonourable life in the form of a concubine, is not right to life. By demanding such a life, women can’t protect their fundamental rights,” the SHRC said.
Bizzare, isn't it?
The order further demands strong campaigns to raise awareness on why women should NOT opt for live-in relationships, “It is the responsibility of the government and human rights organisations to protect women from the harms of live-in relationship through intensive awareness campaigns.”
Clearly, some politicians need to be enlightened on what are live-in relationships.
A live-in relationship works on a mutual agreement. It is an arrangement where two or more people are not married but live together. They often involve a romantic or sexually intimate relationship on a long-term or permanent basis. Now, if our politicians fail to understand a concept as simple as this, should we even trust them with formulating women's right or any human right for that matter?
The commission has also asked the government to introduce a law that declares the eligibility for live-in relationships. Not only this, they have asked for a process for registration of live-in relationships and mandatory counselling sessions in case there is a break-up. “The law should specify eligibility of partners; how such relationships will be known to people at large; procedure of registration; and how these relationships can be ended after a mandatory counselling,” the commission said in the order.
The order also said that either the state government can use its own powers to bring in the law on a relationship in the nature of marriage (i.e live-in relationship) or can request the Centre to do it. The order has now been sent to the chief secretary and additional chief secretary (home) for an action.
Well, it also appears, Justice Prakash and Justice Mahesh are completely oblivious to what the Supreme Court had said last year.
Even though live-in relationships in India have an unclear status, the Supreme Court passed an order in May last year, which said that adult couples have the right to live together even if they aren't married. It had also said that live-in relationships had been recognised under provisions of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005. In another judgement, the SC had called for a law to protect the children born out of such relationships.
However, Lad Kumari Jain, who is the former chairperson of Women Rights Commission, has called out the order. According to her, creating awareness against live-in relationships may be a wrong move and the right of a woman in a live-in relationship is equal to that of a wife. “It is a wrong move since it is the personal choice of partners in such relationships. Moreover, such a relationship cannot be criminalised in any way as even the Supreme Court grants right to the women partner in live-in relationships under the Protection of women from domestic violence act-2005,” she said.
“If two adults are living together out of consent there is no harm rather, the women partners also have rights and the women partners should be made aware of these rights,” she further added.
Whether it's a live-in or marriage or no relationship at all, a woman enters a relationship on her own terms. Then, who gives these people the right to make such derogatory statements?
Featured Image: Twitter, pexels.com
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