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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 October, 2003, 18:01 GMT 19:01 UK
India reacts to landmark marriage ruling
Indian couple
Some believe the ruling with have a major impact on Indian married life
Indians have been giving their reaction to a landmark case in the country which ruled that a man has no right to force his wife to live with his family.

The Calcutta High Court ruled recently that Kakoli Das could not be made to live with her husband Ashis Ghose's family - a judgement Mr Ghose says he will ask the Supreme Court to overturn.

The case could have a huge impact on family life in India.

"It's a good judgement because most of the women want to live with her husband. If she wants to live with her in-laws that's fine, but if she doesn't like to stay with her in-laws her husband should be allowed to live seperately," one Indian woman told BBC World Service's Outlook programme.

"The judgement is fine - it is needed for our society," another said.

"In our society women suffer very much and are harrassed in the in-laws' house. If she wants to live seperately then her husband should let her."

Gauging the cities' reaction

DJs Freishia Bomanbehram and Reshma Sassy, who work for the Red FM radio station in Mumbai, have been gauging the reaction there.

Ms Bomanbehram said that the decision was not likely to change many lives in the city.

Bombay
Residents of Bombay are seemingly indifferent to the ruling
"What's happening right now in Bombay is that a lot of people aren't living with their mother-in-laws," she confirmed.

"Things have changed quite substantially - and they are changing more and more."

However, Ms Sassy said that for her personally, the arrangement to live with her mother-in-law had proved invaluable.

"I think there are advantages if you're working as I'm working," she said.

"I reach home only at nine or 10 o'clock. There is someone who has been at home and taking care of it.

"After some years if you have a kid, she is there to look after your kid. In that way there are advantages."

'Mischevious litigation'

Others, however, doubt that the ruling will make much difference anywhere in India.

"I think the impact of the court case is being exaggerated," Professor Pushpesh Pant, a sociologist in Dehli, told Outlook.

"I don't think it's going to make any difference to anybody. I think it's one of those frivolous, mischevious litigations."

Huts in rural India
Rural India is much more traditional
He added that he felt even the more traditional rural regions would remain largely indifferent to the Calcutta court's decision.

"This issue is of personal concern to almost everybody who is of marriageable age and who has kids or has a potential marriage in the family," he said.

"But I don't think that there are very many traditional Indian families - even in rural areas.

"I come from a village in a hill region, where sons have set up a seperate household. When they get married, the accepted pattern is that the son will live his life seperately - within reach if the older parents need him."

Prof Pant added that the ruling had to be seen as just one of many recent changes in Indian society.

"There have been a lot more inter-caste marriages; some inter-community marriages; and people are taking up jobs outside their places of origin," he said.

"These are transferrable jobs, and people are living in one-room apartments in cities. No-one rightly expects the sons to keep their parents or mothers together all the time.

"They are used to village life - if they are happier seeing a little money then that is enough concern shown and affection expressed."


SEE ALSO:
India faces key marriage ruling
16 Sep 03  |  South Asia
India's eunuchs demand rights
04 Sep 03  |  South Asia
Parsis split over marriage rule
21 Apr 03  |  South Asia
Indian couples redefine marriage
11 Apr 03  |  South Asia
Indian church holds 'love classes'
23 Aug 00  |  South Asia


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