Christ and the Woman taken in Adultery
by Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo
What happens behind the walls of the house or even in public places (remember the film Arth where the drunken wife abuses her husband’s ‘mistress?), the Indian courts have decided that a live-in companion is entitled to maintenance. Now, it has gone a step further:
The Delhi high court allowed a married man, father of two daughters, to live with a woman other than his wife while also granting him police protection as he apprehended a threat from his live-in partner’s kin. Delhi residents Arvind Yadav and Renu Sharma had filed a petition seeking cover after the woman stated, in the court, her desire to live with the married man.
“She is above 18, she has chosen a path for herself to live with a married man. It is her life and this court can’t tell her not to choose a path of her choice.”
So far, so good. However liberal the law, it is clearly in favour of men, except for the shelling out of maintenance, and everybody knows what a process that is. The very legal definition of adultery is this:
“Whoever has sexual intercourse with a person who is and whom he knows or has reason to believe to be the wife of another man, without the consent or connivance of that man, such sexual intercourse not amounting to the offence of rape, is guilty of the offence of adultery, and shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years, or with fine, or with both. In such case the wife shall not be punishable as an abettor.” (Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code)
Besides the fact that this is male-centric, it does not take into account the single status of one of the adulterous partners. In the present case, Renu is above 18, but what will be her position in the house? I assume he has set up a different home with her and managed to get security for themselves. What about the possibility of threat to his wife and children? What if the wife demands that she wants to spend more time with her husband? Is she not legally entitled to it?
It is easy to applaud the court in such matters, but if this young woman is looking for a lasting relationship – and it appears so if they took the matter to court – then she may be financially stable, but it won’t be a fairytale. The man is happy enough juggling two homes, but he is answerable to his wife and children.
I wonder what his take would be when his daughters grow up to be 18 and wish to live-in with married men.
Relationships have always been tricky and one cannot take a moral position on them. However, there are the nuts and bolts to be taken care of. Unfortunately, the law emphasises only on cohabitation and has no room for the emotional turmoil even the non-wife might face.
The Gospel truth?
|Cover of the 'Wicked Bible'|
A rare copy of the ‘Wicked Bible’, which shocked readers with the phrase ‘Thou shalt commit adultery’, is to go on public display for the first time. The notorious seventeenth century book will be displayed along with a collection of rare religious texts at Cambridge University. The exhibition will feature a 1631 edition of the Bible in which the word “not” was accidentally omitted from the commandments. The books were mostly destroyed and only a handful of copies survive.
You can destroy copies, but not temptation.